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Queen/King West : Development News

89 Queen/King West Articles | Page: | Show All

36-storey glass tower to add 6,000 square feet of retail to King West

Underground construction has begun at the site of the latest condo towers to go up in in the increasingly intense King and Spadina area.

Charlie, designed by Diamond + Schmitt, built by Great Gulf with interiors by Cecconi Simone and landscaping by Janet Rosenberg and Associates, will be a 36-storey, 300-unit tower on an 8-storey podium.

All glass, the building will also include 6,000 square feet of retail along King Street, livening up a strip that used to be dominated by the parking lot this condo, replaces. The entrance to the residential portion of the building will be off Charlotte Street.

"It's a highly sought-after residential area that's changed immeasurably since Barbara Hall took the industrial use restrictions off in the mid-1990s." says Great Gulf's director of market and acquisitions Geoff Matthews.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source; Geoff Matthews

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Work commences on $16-million rehabilitation of Jameson bridges

One of the biggest projects during this season of road works is the renovation of the Jameson bridges.

"We'll be taking the decks off the Lakeshore west-bounds and to accommodate that, we'll be building a detour for Lakeshore westbound from British Columbia Drive to Dowling Avenue," says John Bryson, the city's manager of structures and expressways. As a result, Lakeshore will run south of the Gardiner for the length of the new detour.

The bridges were old, probably built, Bryson says, at the same time as the Gardiner, between 1958 and 1965. Though they're been refurbished before, this would be the first complete overhaul they'd have received, the result of the bi-annual city-wide bridge survey his department does.

The entire project, including the detour, will cost $16 million.

Work is expected to be completed in the middle of next summer, with the detour removed by September or October. With the exception of a few night-time closures of the Gardiner, Bryson does not expect traffic to be stopped or significantly affected by the work.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: John Bryson

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Hotly anticipated 90-unit condo at Queen and Beverly finally launches this weekend

12 Degrees, one of most hotly anticipated new condo developments this season, partly a result of John Bentley Mays' glowing review of the design, is finally launching on Saturday, May 29.

Part of a new breed of developers specializing in infill rather than large towers, BSäR is staking its reputation on this project, their first.

The architect is Core's Charles Gane, who was also responsible for Peter Freed's 75 Portland and Fashion House, as well as 169 John St., the last condo in the area to be built before 12 Degrees, tucked in just behind the Umbra store.

"Homeowners will really feel the unique attributes of the location when they step out of their front door and get that immediate sense of being in a true urban neighbourhood," BSäR principal Tyler Hershberg says of the building's Queen and Beverly location in anticipation of the launch.

In addition to the 90 units on 11 floors, there will be rooftop gas barbeques and a private dining room and lounge available for all residents.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Tyler Hershberg


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West Queen West gets new 5,000 square foot restaurant and 'heavy metal dude ranch'

The latest in what's becoming a long line of high-design restaurants, begun with Commute Home's work on King Street's Kultura, is set to open in the next couple of weeks.

Parts & Labour is being put together by Kei Ng and Brian Richer, the men behind Oddfellows and the design firm Castor. The chef, Matty Matheson, is also the culinary force behind Oddfellows. The designer of the space, working in conjunction with the chef and owners, is Victoria Taylor, who will be putting an idiosyncratic stamp (described by Richer as "heavy metal dude ranch") on the 5,000 square foot space at 1566 Queen West, west of Lansdowne at Sorauren.

"It's the last frontier for Queen West," says Ng, "and we're excited to shape this particular environment and contribute to the community at large."

In addition to a 30-foot bar, the space will feature six communal tables and an 1,800 square foot roof garden where the team plans to grow many of its ingredients.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Tatiana Read

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The King Edward Hotel to get 140 condos in $20-million renovation

Though you may not have noticed it, the King Edward Hotel, one of Toronto's most redoubtable, has been in limbo for years.

Once owned by a consortium that included Lehman Brothers, which planned a major overhaul, it's been on the market for a couple of years now, But even beyond that, it's third, fourth and fifth floors, once commercial fashion space, have been utterly vacant for a decade. But a new partnership, including Dundee Realty, has bought the hotel and at the beginning of June will launch their $20-million plan for 140 condos to be tucked into those three floors.

"For some purchasers, this will be seen as the quintessential pied à terre," says Jason Lester, chief operating officer for Dundee, who expects it to be popular with down-sizers as well.

In addition to its historic location, and the fact that it's in a hotel and all that will entail, the condos will actually be relatively reasonably priced -- suites will start in the low $400s --  putting the project in a different, more accessible category then the other hotel condos going up around town.

Though there will be no structural renovations, the partnership does plan to redo the lobby into a lobby-bar. It's also currently asking City Council whether they'll be able to restore six King Street balconies – three on the third floor and three on the fifth -- that were part of the hotel's original design.

The Consort Bar, one of the city's favourite old-style hotel bars, will probably stay in its current form.

Renovation and construction is planned to begin in January, with a completion date in the summer of 2012. The hotel will remain open throughout.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jason Lester

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4,000 square-foot Böhmer opens, neighbourhood food shop, espresso bar to come this summer

Chef Paul Boehmer's long-awaited pseudo-eponymous restaurant Böhmer has opened on Ossington just north of Queen, and was given its first major reviews, both very positive, in the Star and the Globe this past week.

The 4,000-square foot restaurant, 20 feet wide and 120 feet long (including the kitchen) on a single level is a gut renovation of the auto shop that occupied the spot before. Designed by Roy Banse in collaboration with Boehmer, with furniture by the Brothers Dressler, the restaurant is the latest and one of the last such spots to open on the booming strip after city council placed a moratorium on new licenses.

"I'm six-foot-seven, I had it built around myself," says Boehmer, describing the 14 foot ceilings and wide open spaces filled with a single long harvest table. He says he was going after "a very communal feeling, where people could be interactive with their food and each other."

The restaurant also features the Fritz Lounge, space devoted to the artwork of the chef's late father, Fritz, who died in 1992.

The Star reported the reno cost $750,000, a figure Boehmer told Yonge Street was inaccurate.

Boehmer expects the shop he's planned, with an espresso bar and offering local cheese, fresh juice and what he describes as "a little butchery" to be ready to open in the same building, but in a separate, next door space (with the same address) sometime this summer.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Paul Boehmer

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or renovating, even a cool new house in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected]


11-storey, 90-unit condo to go up at Queen and Beverly

Though it won't launch till May 29, 12 Degrees, a new condo planned for Beverly and Queen, is already getting some interest on and offline, due to its design, its low-rise stature and, of course, its location.

At 11-storeys, the 90-unit building is part of a new wave of development in the city, urban infill that joins communities rather than building new ones.

It's the first project for the BSäR Group, a collection of young builders headed by Tyler Herschberg and Tarek Sobhi, with various sorts of previous experience.

"We're not looking to create the next Liberty Village," says Hershberg. "We're looking to put proper density and intensification into areas where people want to live."

The site is an odd collection of properties, all bought from the same Swiss family, including some rental housing, some commercial property and a couple of laneways.

The demolition schedule depends on the pace of sales, but since it's a relatively small-scale building, Hershberg expects it to be completed roughly 18 months after they begin construction.

The building takes its name from the fact that above the podium, the first layer of four storeys in this corkscrewing building, designed by Core Architects with interiors by it-firm Munge Leung, will be shifted 12 degrees off the building's north-south axis.

12 Degrees will also feature a full-size roof-top pool.

Units will go from the $300s to just over a million for a three-bedroom.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Tyler Herschberg


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New 5-unit condo-commercial project at Queen and Ossington expects to begin demolition this week

Permits are expected this week for demolition to begin at 2 Ossington, the future site of SMV Architects' two-storey retail and condo building on the northwest corner of Queen and Ossington.

"It's going to add a pretty dramatic presence on the street," says architect Craig Bonham. "The way the building has been conceived is that it is primarily glass at the ground level, very much a retail showcase" for as few as one and as many as six retail tenants.

Another feature will be one of Toronto's first parking stackers, a six-car elevator accessed through a double-wide garage door that minimizes the space needed for cars.

There will be five residential units, from 900 to 1,600 square feet, for a total of about 5,700 square feet of added residential space for the quickly growing neighbourhood. The retail space will total slightly less, about 4,300 square feet.

Bonham expects demolition to begin as soon as the permit is issued, and for construction to start shortly thereafter, with a possible occupancy date of fall, 2010.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Craig Bonham

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$40-million Dufferin Street project adds new rail bridge

The rail bridges are being lowered onto the newly installed frame on the way towards the completion of the $40-million Dufferin Street straightening project, currently scheduled for a July completion.

The roadbed north of the underpass is also being graded in preparation for laying the surface.

"This is a tremendous improvement that will dramatically improve the busiest bus route in the city, improve access for pedestrians and cyclists, beautify the neighbourhood by increasing green space and house a unique public art installation," says Councillor Gord Perks, whose ward will be significantly effected by the project.

Designed by Delcan, the project will also include new street rails and storm sewers.

The chief practical improvement will likely be an easing of the congestion caused by the former jog in the road.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Gord Perks


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Modrobes returns with 1,200 square foot store on Queen West

Modrobes was Lululemon avant la lettre and sans yoga. An independent shop, run by Brock University graduate designer Steven Sal Debus, Modrobes was a Queen West staple from its opening in a 400 square foot shop just west of John in 1997, to its expansion into a spot almost five times that size in the space now occupied by Adrenaline Tattoos. The big shop closed in 2005, but thanks to a winning appearance on CBC's Dragon's Den, Modrobes is back, re-funded, in a 1,200 square foot shop in the old Rotate This space at 620 Queen West.

Following the theme of the new clothing line, which Debus calls eco-sportswear, he designed the shop himself. "It used as much recycled material as possible," he says. "Basically, it's made of old metal and old barn board."

This is the least expansive store he's ever put together, he says. The big one that shut in 2005 cost him $250,000 to design and implement; this one, which opened April 10, cost $20,000.

The clothing is made mostly from recycled plastic bottles – 18 make a jacket, 16 for a pair of shorts – and is priced between $14.99 for an "organic t-shirt" and $150 for the jacket.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Steven Sal Debus

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CAMH begins construction on $341-million redevelopment phase

Demolition was completed last week, and construction begins this week on the first building in the new $341-million, 536,967 square-foot phase of the 27-acre Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at 1001 Queen Street West at Ossington.

All built to LEED Gold standards, the Gateway Building will be first of the four buildings to go up. Designed by Stantec to mesh, says vice president of communications of community engagement Susan Pigott, with the loft-converted industrial buildings in the neighbourhood, the Gateway will be an outpatient facility with administration offices and a café, called the Out of This World Café, on a corner lot on Queen Street.

"It's been too long that the southern strip of Queen Street has been a sinkhole," says Pigott, of the situation that's been largely attributable to CAMH's century-long presence. "The new Gateway building will actually have an external face on the street. For the first time, it will really attract external business. The whole idea is to draw people on to the grounds so it loses that sense of isolation."

In addition to its new buildings, the CAMH property is constructing streets to increase public accessibility, as well as a 179-unit assisted housing project, with 10 units set aside for CAMH-related residents.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Susan Pigott

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Art Condos at Queen and Dovercourt launches photo and video contest

Art Condos, a new condo project on Queen West, announced a photo and video clip contest last week, three weeks into its sales launch.

"We're asking people to give their idea of what Queen Street is right now, what it represents, something that will characterize how it is today... something that will give people a sense of nostalgia in the future," says builder Gary Silverberg. "It's going through a massive change right now, and we want to document it."

Judges include local gallery owners, artists and painter/critic Gary Michael Dault. The photo contest runs until May 24, and the video portion deadline is June 13. Prizes include being part of a video loop presentation in the model suite, as well as prizes donated by local businesses.

The contest is part of a larger social media marketing strategy that began before the project was launched.

According to Silverberg, the 11-storey, 150-unit tower at 44 Dovercourt is more than half sold. Construction will begin this year in preparation for a 2012 occupancy.

The project was designed by Hariri Pontarini and Oleson Worland Architects, with interiors by 3rd Uncle.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Gary Silverberg

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Junction's Delight chocolate shop opens new 400 square foot location on Queen West

In the second expansion of a Junction business into the downtown core in a month, Delight chocolates opened a second location at 805 Queen Street West on March 26.

Delight moved into the space previously occupied by the Spice Trader and Olive Pit. The hand-made, organic, fair-trade chocolate shop, which started up years ago principally as a wholesaler and special order outfit is actually getting back to its roots. Jennifer Rashleigh, half of the husband-and-wife ownership team, used to own Citron restaurant on the Queen West strip, and husband Jeff Brown once worked both there and at The Paddock.

"We were both very familiar with the neighbourhood," says Brown, "and always wanted to return and offer what we're currently doing."

Unlike the Junction location, where the chocolate and ice cream is actually made, the 400 square foot space will be purely retail. "We started out as a wholesaler," Brown says, "but now the bulk of our business is retail out of the Junction. That's where we saw our business growing the most, which is why we decided to have another location that focused just on the retail."

The new store, which required hiring three new employees, needed minimal renovation work, limited to some plastering, painting and minor floor repairs.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jeff Brown

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or renovating, even a cool new house in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected]


New 20,000 square foot, $7-million affordable housing project nears halfway point

There's a poignancy to posthumous dedications. The satisfaction in remembering is mixed with the knowledge that the person being honoured isn't able to share in it.

That bittersweetness is heightened in the case of Edmond Place, an affordable housing development going up at Queen and Dowling. A luxury building with 12 apartments when it opened in 1913, it had been a 55-unit rooming house for 15 years by the time Edmond Yu, for whom it's now named, was evicted in 1996, just a couple of months before he was shot to death by police on a bus in the middle of a schizophrenic episode.

"We wanted the name of the place to be part of its goal," says Victor Willis, executive director of PARC (Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre), the organization that is developing the city-owned property, on which it holds a 50-year lease, "a place where someone like him wouldn't have been evicted."

At about 20,000 square feet, designed by Hilditch Architect to fit in behind the heritage façade, Edmond Place will offer 29 affordable apartments to people with histories of mental health and addiction problems. Originally budgeted at $4 million, the budget expanded to $7 million when the extent of the destruction inside the old building, which had been damaged by fire in 1998, became clear. It's set for completion by the end of this year, with occupancy expected in January, 2011.

Still $300,000 short on its capital goal, Design Hope Toronto is holding an art auction to raise funds on April 16 (see a previous story on Yonge Street about Design Hope).

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Victor Willis

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or renovating, even a cool new house in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected]


Spice Trader and Olive Pit expands by a third, moves west on Queen

The Spice Trader and Olive Pit has a been a connoisseurs' stop on Queen West since it opened, spices on top, olives in the basement, five years ago. But when the lease ran out, they decided they needed a bigger space.

"We wanted to expand, do classes, the space was too small for that," says owner Allison Johnston. The new space, at 877 Queen West, just two blocks west of their old location (previously home to Klaxton Howl), is about a third larger, Johnston says.

Completely renovated to a design by Deborah Fenwick of the Fenwick Design Group, the new single-level space has a 10-foot marble counter, painted copper ceiling and a mural on the wall adapted from the company's logo. According to Johnston, the new look is "old world apothecary." In addition to stocking more store-imported and bottled olive oils, Johnston plans to offer balsamic vinegar tastings and classes in spice grinding.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Allison Johnston

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or renovating, even a cool new house in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected]

89 Queen/King West Articles | Page: | Show All
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