February 6 2013: Construction progress on the Downtown condo midrise, viewed from the south at the intersection of Wellington Street West and Portland Street.
9 up, 2 to go: One year ago, excavation work was just in its early stages at the 508-516 Wellington Street West site of the boutique Downtown condo building. As of this week, concrete has been poured for 9 floors of the 11-storey midrise structure.
A project of Parallax Investment Corportion, the 89-unit condominium building was designed by Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co. Architects Inc. It’s the third new midrise condo building to be constructed on Wellington West, between Spadina Avenue and Portland Street, just in the past two years. (The other two, now occupied, are 400 Wellington and Five Hundred Wellington West.) But Downtown is the first building — both in Toronto, and possibly the entire world — to feature the innovative Flexnatür raised-floor building design that Sweeny Sterling developed.
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 …
… 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.
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 …
… 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.
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.
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.
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.