Tag Archives: Menkes

Underground floors filling in fast for 1 York Street office building & Harbour Plaza condo towers

Artistic rendering of the One York Street office tower and 90 Harbour Street condo towers by Menkes Developments

This artistic rendering depicts a view from the southwest of the One York Street office building and the Harbour Plaza Residences condo towers that Menkes Developments Ltd. is constructing in the south downtown core



1 York Street office tower

January 18 2013: So far, only cranes and hoarding are visible at the construction site, as seen here from the southwest corner of York and Harbour Streets…



1 York Street and 90 Harbour Street

… but what passersby can’t see is that, behind the hoarding, construction of the underground levels for the office & condo complex is nearly at street level



Approaching grade: It won’t be long before the landmark Menkes condo and office tower development at 1 York Street and 90 Harbour Street begins to rise from the ground and significantly transform the entire look and feel of the southeast downtown core.

Hidden behind hoarding and not readily visible to most people passing by, work has been progressing quickly on the underground parking levels for the One York Street office building and the two Harbour Plaza Residences condo towers.

Only 13 months ago, excavation was just getting underway on the building site — a long, rectangular parcel of land awkwardly situated between several major traffic arteries — the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard to the north, York Street to the west, and Harbour Street and the elevated York/Bay/Yonge offramp from the Gardiner to the south. The property was formerly occupied by a 5-storey brown brick building originally constructed for the Ontario Workmen’s Compensation Board in 1953, and subsequently used as headquarters for the Ontario Provincial Police. The building was demolished during the summer of 2011 (see my July 17 2011 post for photos showing how the site looked before it was acquired by Menkes Developments Ltd.).

By late summer of 2013, work had started on the office tower’s bottom underground level, even though hundreds of truckloads of soil remained to be excavated from the easterly two-thirds of the block-long site.

But by the beginning of December 2013, the below-ground parking floors were steadily taking shape across the entire length of the property.

Now, within weeks, the One York Street office tower will start to climb above the hoarding, finally bringing the construction activity into clear view of passersby.


1 York Street

December 13 2012: A crew works on the western perimeter of the future One York Street office tower location. This is a view looking south across the building site from the southeast corner of Lake Shore Boulevard and York Street.



1 York Street

August 19 2013: A crew works on the bottom underground level of the One York Street office tower as excavation continues on the eastern two-thirds of the building site where the Harbour Plaza condo towers will ultimately rise



1 York Street

December 3 2013: Underground levels are quickly taking shape



 1 York Street

January 18 2014: Rebar for several support columns on the west side of the office tower building site extend almost to street level



Please turn to page 2 of this post to view additional construction photos and see more than a dozen artistic renderings of the One York Street office building and the two Harbour Plaza Residences condo towers.




Promotions start for controversial 365 Church condo tower in low-rise McGill Granby Village

365 Church condo

January 28 2013: This sandwich board sign with a rendering of  the forthcoming 365 Church condo by Toronto developer Menkes


 365 Church condo

… has appeared on the development site, currently a surface parking lot at the northeast corner of Church & McGill Streets …


365 Church condo

… while this “pre-sale” promotional flyer has been distributed to hundreds of households in the area by a Thornhill, Ont.-based real estate brokerage firm.


Sales launch approaching: Promotional activity has begun to rev up for the 29-storey 365 Church condo tower that will rise in the heart of the McGill Granby Village low-rise neighbourhood near Church & Carlton Streets.

A “coming soon to this location” sandwich board sign, bearing an architectural rendering of the rectangular glass building that Menkes plans to build at 365-375 Church Street, was set up just in the past couple of days in the parking lot that presently occupies most of the development site. And last week, a Thornhill, Ontario real estate brokerage firm distributed flyers promoting a website and “pre-sale seminar” for the 365 Church project to hundreds of households in the surrounding area.

But an official full-scale sales launch for the project could be weeks or even several months away, since a legal proceeding concerning the development is due to be heard by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in mid-March. 




Pit Stops: Photo roundup of below-ground and at-grade construction activity at 21 downtown condo, office & university building sites

Picasso on Richmond condos

As 2012 drew to a close, some noteworthy downtown building projects had reached different stages of at- and below-grade construction progress. At some sites, like this one for the Picasso on Richmond condo tower, preliminary foundation drilling work was in full swing …


Studio on Richmond condos

… while at others, like this one for the Studio on Richmond and Studio2 condo towers just two blocks east of Picasso, site excavation was ongoing.


The Yorkville condos

Over the same period of time, underground parking levels were taking shape at some building sites, like this one for The Yorkville condo project on Davenport Road …


X2 Condos

… while over on Charles Street East, construction had reached a milestone mark at X2 Condos, where building had started on the ground level of the tower


Fall photos: Until condo and office tower construction starts to climb above street level, it can be difficult to track how quickly work is progressing on the dozens of new buildings going up in Toronto’s downtown core. Ground-level views of building sites are often obscured by hoarding and security fences, plus concrete delivery trucks, dump trucks and other construction vehicles maneuvering into and out of staging areas adjacent to construction zones. I find it’s a big challenge to monitor ongoing progress at places where underground levels are taking shape, let alone keep an eye on sites where shovels are just breaking ground or preliminary work is being undertaken to prepare for full-scale construction. The vast number of projects scattered throughout the downtown core certainly doesn’t make the task any easier.



Proposals for four skyline-changing towers set for review at Tuesday meeting of TEYCC

York/Harbour Street office & condo towers

This illustration, from a city planning department report, compares the heights of four towers proposed for the York Street/Harbour Street area to the two ÏCE Condominium skyscrapers currently under construction nearby. Click on the image to view it in a larger format.


1 York Street office building

The proposed towers include a 37-storey office building …


Harbour Plaza condo sign

… and two condo skyscrapers rising 62 and 66 storeys …


1 York Street / 90 Harbour Street

… on this surface parking lot property at 1 York Street and 90 Harbour Street, viewed here from York Street looking east.


 Ten York condo tower

Just across the road on the west side of York Street, this surface parking lot is the location for developer Tridel’s proposed Ten York condo tower …


 Tridel Ten York Condominium

 … which would soar 65 storeys from its wedge-shaped site, as depicted in this artistic illustration provided courtesy of Tridel. The developer recently launched sales previews for the 735-foot, 725-suite skyscraper.


Decision day: Two development proposals that would dramatically change the look of the city skyline are up for review at the monthly meeting of Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC) on Tuesday. 

The proposals — the Ten York condo tower by Tridel, and the 1 York office tower and two  Harbour Plaza condo skyscrapers by Menkes — both have the blessing of City planners, who have recommended “approval in principle” of Official Plan and zoning bylaw amendments that would permit the projects to proceed, subject to the provision of adequate parking space.




Office & condo tower complex would revitalize under-used ‘island’ site at York & Harbour Streets

1 York/90 Harbour Street

City planners have suggested the City give an official thumbs-up to a massive multi-use development project Menkes Developments Ltd. has proposed for a 1-hectare site at 1 York Street/90 Harbour Street. Their report recommends approval of a 37-storey office building, one 62-storey condo tower, and one 66-storey condo skyscraper — a significant revision from the original plan described in the development proposal sign posted on the property.


1 York Street office & condo site

October 4 2012: Looking east from York Street. The development site extends to the property line near the historic 6-storey Toronto Harbour Commission building at 60 Harbour Street. The heritage building was constructed in 1917.


1 York Street / 90 Harbour Street

September 25 2012: CN Tower view of the 1 York/90 Harbour development site, presently a surface parking lot (near center of photo).  To its right is the construction site for the 30-storey RBC WaterPark Place office building. Visible in the bottom right corner of the photo are the two ÏCE Condo towers and the Infinity3 condo complex under construction between York and Lower Simcoe Streets. At left are the 50- and 54-storey condo towers of Maple Leaf Square. Click on the photo to view a larger-size image.


Island bridge: City planners are recommending approval in principle of a proposal to develop a piece of prime real estate on Harbour Street into an office and condo complex with three towers ranging in height from 37 to 66 storeys.

The planners’ September 21 2012 report to Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC) says redevelopment of the 1-hectare parcel at 1 York Street/90 Harbour Street — essentially an “island” of property between the Financial District and the Central Waterfront area — would “contribute to the City’s economic base, enhance the public realm of the Central Waterfront and help connect a key site in the downtown to its local context.”

The property already has been identified, in the City’s Official Plan as well as a Secondary Plan, as being “underused and in need of revitalization from its present use as parking lots and surrounded by highway ramps to something more vibrant and contributory to the community,” the planners observed in their 67-page report.




33-storey condo with office space proposed for Church St. site near Ryerson University campus

365 Church Street Toronto

March 7 2012: A 33-storey tower with condos and 3 floors of offices has been proposed for the site of this building at 355 Church Street …


355 Church Street Toronto

… presently the home of Family Service Toronto, an organization that provides counselling, support and other social services for families and individuals


More change for Church Street: A centre that provides counselling services for individuals and families facing difficult life challenges faces a big challenge of its own — finding new premises — now that a development application has been filed with the city to build a condo on the site of its 3-floor facility.

According to an April 26 2012 rezoning application filed with the City, a developer wants to build a 33-storey tower on the 355 Church Street site currently occupied by Family Service Toronto. The building would have a 4-storey podium with street-level retail and 3 floors of office space, topped by a 29-storey residential tower with 335 units. The building would have parking for 185 vehicles on four underground levels, along with 301 bicycle parking spaces.



Menkes proposing 30-storey condo tower for parking lot site at Church & McGill Streets

365 – 375 Church Street development site viewed December 21 2010

Church Street growing taller? Sometimes it really ticks me off to see developers propose new office or condo towers for sites where attractive old or historic buildings are standing — especially since there are so many parking lots and empty parcels of land scattered throughout the downtown core where development would seem more appropriate or even necessary. Why not leave the nice old buildings and their charming streetscapes alone, I often wonder,  and build on the underused empty lots instead? 

So when a developer came along proposing to do just that — construct a condo tower where a parking lot now sits on Church Street — I should have been thrilled. Instead, I felt almost as upset as I get when I hear that a wonderful heritage building is going to be destroyed to make way for a new condo. The reason? The new highrise might block my beloved view of the CN Tower!

Now I admit it probably sounds silly to be fretting about losing views of the CN Tower. But those views are worth a lot of money: real estate agents are constantly pestering us to sell our condo because they have clients eager to buy places with the great skyline views we enjoy every day (and we really do love our view). We don’t plan to move in the foreseeable future but, when we do decide to sell,  will potential buyers still be as keen for our place if the view is blocked? I doubt it, but that’s a problem we probably won’t have to worry about for several more years.


Condo would rise on parking lot site near Toronto’s Gay Village

The potential view-blocker would be a 30-storey condo tower the Menkes corporation has proposed for the parking lot that currently occupies the northeast corner of Church and McGill Streets (municipal address: 365 – 375 Church). The site is just a stone’s throw south of Toronto’s Gay Village, where two other condo tower plans have recently encountered some stiff community opposition (I’ll be posting photos and info about those projects soon).

Menkes proposes a three-storey podium with street-level retail space, and a 27-storey condo tower on top. The building would have 322 residential units plus five underground levels accommodating 161 parking spaces. The tower would be taller than zoning restrictions allow, so Menkes would have to obtain an exemption from City Hall before it could build.

City councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam told Xtra!, the newspaper for Toronto’s gay and lesbian community, that city planning staff believe the Church Street parking lot is an “underutilized” site “that can bear development.” However, she personally isn’t certain “if it can bear 30 storeys,” and promises that neighbourhood residents will get to provide input. A story in the January 13 edition of Xtra! offers further information about the project, as well as Ms. Wong-Tam’s plans for community consultation. Below are some of my photos of the proposed development site.


View of 365 Church Street, looking southeast from Granby Street, on January 18

Site viewed from the west side of Church Street on January 18

Northeast view of the site from McGill Street on January 18

Development proposal sign at 365 Church Street

Northeasterly view of 365 Church Street on December 21 2010

Lumiere condo tower awaits finishing touches

Lumiere Condominiums on Bay viewed January 5 2011

Close to completion: I always find it exciting to walk past a building that has been under construction for several years and suddenly discover that construction hoarding and security fencing have been removed. It’s great to finally get an unobstructed view of the ground level, and to physically feel how the new building relates to and impacts upon the streetscape.

My most recent “big reveal” experience was in early November when I saw that hoarding had been dismantled from the streetfront at the Lumiere condo tower on Bay Street below College. All that remained was a security fence keeping pedestrians away from crews installing new sidewalks out front on Bay.

Lumiere is looking mighty good! I think it’s a nice addition to the block, and it feels like it’s always been there (actually, I can’t even remember what was there before. A parking lot perhaps?)

Lumiere needs a few finishing touches, though. Exterior cladding still hasn’t been installed on the west side of the three-level podium, while the canopy roof awaits some final cosmetic work, too. But plastic balcony panel wraps that had been flapping in the wind for months were removed in December, giving the Bay Street side of the building a sleek, clean look.

A Menkes highrise building project, Lumiere was designed by Toronto architect Rudy Wallman.



Lumiere Condos

Developer’s website rendering of Lumiere condo tower on Bay below College

Lumiere Condos

November 9, 2010 street view of Lumiere Condos

Lumiere Condos

November 9, 2010 street view of Lumiere Condos

Lumiere Condos

January 8, 2011 street view of Lumiere Condos

Lumiere Condos

January 8, 2011 street view of Lumiere Condos

Lumiere Condos

January 2011 view of Lumiere condos rooftop canopy

Lumiere Condos

November 2010 view of Bay Street side of Lumiere Condos

Lumiere condos

November 2010 view of Lumiere Condos rooftop canopy

Lumiere Condos

November 2010 view of Lumiere Condos balconies above Bay Street

Lumiere Condos

Lumiere balconies unwrapped in time for Christmas

Lumiere Condos

Lumiere Condos viewed from Elizabeth Street

Lumiere Condos

Lumiere Condos viewed from Elizabeth Street

Lumiere Condos

North side of Lumiere Condos viewed from Grenville Street