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Queen/King West : Development News

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

16,000 square foot superstore to open in old Caban spot on Queen West

To insiders, it's known as Store 1414, but to thousands of urbanites, it is one of the seals which, when broken, heralds the definitive passing of the old Queen West strip and the birth of a new sort of commercial concentration, built up to serve the area's increasing condo density.

Once a Caban, the two-storey building at the northeast corner of Queen and Beverly will soon be a Shoppers Drug Mart, and a rather large one at that. When added to the planned Rio Can big-box development at the southwest corner of Queen and Portland, the new 16,000 square foot superstore will give this strip, held dearer in the hearts of 40- and 50-somethings than by today's hipsters, a whole new look.

"We need about 17,000 people to ensure the success of a Shoppers Drug Mart," says Shoppers spokeswoman Tammy Smitham. "It's a great opportunity for us; that area has undergone some, I think, growth, particularly in terms of condo buildings in that area."

The two-storey shop, owned by Stacey Kwan, will also add a new post office to the neighbourhood.

The store is due to open by the end of the month.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Tammy Smitham

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 5-storey mixed-use building proposed for Queen and McCaul

Queen Street West may be getting a new 4,200 square foot fifth-floor penthouse suite if a property owner and the city can come to terms.
The old McCaul Variety on the corner of Queen and McCaul, a long-time corner store from the days when that strip of Queen Street was known for its wicker shops and silk-screened t-shirt kiosks, may soon be disappearing.

Though out of business as a corner store for some time, the well-placed storefront, owned by United Republic of Properties, has recently been used as a promotional space by Juxta Productions for movies Daybreakers and Sherlock Holmes. But if UPR gets city approval, there'll be a five-storey mixed-use brick and glass building taking its place.

"Ideally, we're trying to get a fashion tenant and make it a gateway to that Queen Street West area," says Mark Veilleux of CB Richard Ellis, who's handling the leasing. The city's already agreed, he says, to expand the sidewalk on McCaul by five feet. "It'll give it almost a little piazza-type look," Veilleux says.

Of the possible penthouse, Veilleux says, "There'll be areas for a terrace; it could be a pretty spectacular apartment."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Mark Veilleux

King West's Brassai restaurant gets new owners, new chef, new look

Brasaii, one of the restaurants that established the King and Spadina strip as a culinary destination, has just given itself a new look for the new decade.

"The entire space, except for the kitchen, was altered," says Anwar Mekhayech of the Design Agency, which is responsible for the re-design. "All the columns and the entrance were covered in drywall so we removed all of that to uncover the elevator shaft in the front vestibule and to expose all the concrete, steel and brick throughout. The main room was altered by adding the huge limestone, steel and glass bar in the middle that now divides the room into a café/lounge at the front and the main dining room towards the back."

New management -- a group headed by SHI Consulting's founder and president Borys Chabursky that is in the process of taking ownership -- and a new chef, Bruce Woods, kick-started the renovation. "The old look was more minimal and straight lined with lots of drywall, glass tile and stainless steel," says Mekhayech, who has also been an HGTV regular. "Our new design is what we call inspired by industrial chic or urban archaeology."

Brassai re-opened last week, and the patio will launch in May.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Anwar Mekhayech

The original story referred to the new management group as the new owners. Yonge Street was given incorrect information.

New $18 million Gladstone condo begins construction, goes green without LEED

The latest residential addition to the West Queen West neighbourhood got underway this past week with the demolition of a vacant warehouse at 2 Gladstone, next door to the Gladstone Hotel.

In its place will be an 8-storey, 54-unit condominium adding a total of 38,000 square feet of residential space to the booming strip, estimated to cost $18 million. The building will be environmentally friendly  but will not, according to the developer, be applying for any of the increasingly popular LEED certifications.

"To be quite honest, making these small buildings work financially is difficult," says Streetcar Developments vice president Jeanhy Shim, who explains that many buildings costs are fixed, whether the building in question is 8 storeys or 58, meaning the costs in smaller buildings have to be spread over fewer units. "So the having to add the cost of LEED, to be honest, is quite onerous."
(Outside agencies have estimated that LEED certification can add as much as 5 per cent to the cost of small scale projects such as Streetcar's.)

Despite this, however, 2 Gladstone will feature dual flush toilets, low VOC paints, low-flow faucets, locally sourced and produced materials, a green roof, bicycle storage, and a Zip or AutoShare facility.

And, as the name suggests, 2 Gladstone will, like every other Streetcar project according to Shim, be on a streetcar line.
The building is slated to be ready by October, 2012.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jeanhy Shim, Streetcar Development

Starck lobby nearing completion at 75 Portland

Philippe Starck's contribution to the condoboom is nearing completion, as the 75-foot-long table in the lobby he's designed for 75 Portland was moved in late last month.

Known for his work with hotels like SLS in Beverly Hills and his industrial design work for Alessi and others, Starck's design was meant to distinguish this mid-rise Freed development from the pack of condos with which it's been competing.

"Every day, it's looking more surreal,"says Anthony Decarli, Freed's director of development.

The project as a whole was designed by CoreArchitects and is built on the site of the old Artword Theatre, which closed its doors in 2006. People are expected to start moving in this month.
Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Freed Development


Thompson Hotel to open on Wellington in May with 102 units

Thompson Hotels announced last week that their first hotel outside of the US, the Freed Developments project, designed by Core Architects, at 550 Wellington Street West, will be opening in May.

With 16 floors and 102 suites, Thompson also announced the hotel will have a Scarpetta restaurant on its ground floor.

The hotel will be attached to a 336 unit condo project, also by Freed, making this the first time Thompson has jumped on the condo-hotel bandwagon that's been so attractive and, for the most part, successful for other hoteliers like the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton.

"Toronto shares many of the same attributes as our most successful market," said Thompson co-owner Jason Pomeranc in a press release.

According to Anthony Decarli, Freed's director of development, a second restaurant, Wabora, known to Muskoka cottagers for its Bracebridge location, will also be opening in the building, though as a separate entity from the hotel and the condo.


Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Freed Development, Thompson Hotels

New hotel-inspired residences set for King West strip

The last motel in the city's core is gone.

The TraveLodge, the discount motel right in the heart of what has become the designiest part of the King West strip was demolished in December and January, its prominent sign's last message an ad for its used mattress sale. In its place, but not for several years, will be the Thompson Hotel chain's first attempt at residential living.

"It's basically going to be full-service luxury condominium services, with à la carte services provided by the hotel across the street," says Anthony Declari, the development director for Freed Development, the the company that's putting its stamp on the area, with several condo and hotel projects in the works within a several block radius. "It's what we call hotel-inspired."

The hotel across the street will be Canada's first Thompson Hotel at 550 Wellington, slated for completion later this year.


Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Freed Corporation

Developer gets go-ahead to rebuild Queen Street strip destroyed by fire

There were no significant objections raised at the Jan. 27 public meeting convened to consider the proposal to rebuild 611-625 Queen Street West, destroyed by fire two years ago next week. As a result, as soon as developer Hamid Bahrami submits final architectural drawings and details that meet Heritage Services' exterior standards, he is free to proceed.

The destroyed buildings once housed Queen West retail icon Duke's Cycle, which had been in that location for 94 years, as well as Suspect Video's second location and apartments in the buildings' second and third storeys.

His plan is to replace the destroyed heritage designated commercial strip, the only commercial strip in Toronto to be so designated, with what planning department officer Nicole Ivanov describes as a three-storey mixed-use building with storage in the basement, retail on the first floor, and four residential units above, and no parking.

Though there's no definite date set for completion, Ivanov says work should begin shortly.

"People usually get started right away when the appeal period is over," she says.

Writer: Bert Archer

Source: City of Toronto Planning Department

Angell Gallery gets big new space on Ossington, $40,000 reno

Queen and Ossington continues to grow, despite City Hall's one-year moratorium on licensing new bars and restaurants in the thriving neighbourhood.

Jamie Angell's Angell Gallery has moved from its original location at 890 Queen Street West to 12 Ossington, adding 3,300 square feet of space in the process.

Renovations are nearly complete. The gallery opens with a soft launch today at noon, and will have a rotating exhibit of gallery artists in its three spaces until the grand opening in April.

"Its an exciting strip in the city with a lot of new galleries opening," Angelll says. "There another one opening up the street. It's a good sign of the times when galleries are moving into larger spaces."

Angell expects the total cost of the renovation to be about $40,000, which includes high-quality wood stairs, a kitchen, a bar and all new dry-walling for the split-level space, formerly the Lennox Contemporary gallery. The new space will allow the gallery to exhibit larger works by artists such as Jakub Dolejs, as well as more retrospective shows.

Angell represents artists, Canadian and international, in the $1,000-$5,000 range.


Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Jamie Angell

New $15 million Fort York visitors centre takes first step

The Friends of Fort York have now begun their fundraising to contribute to the approximately $15-million expense of their new visitors centre, scheduled for completion in 2012, in time for the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

The team of Patkau Architects of Vancouver and Kearns Mancini Architects of Toronto have been named the winners of the design competition for the 22,000 square foot Fort York visitor centre, with a construction value of $12.2 million, with another $3 million in soft costs.

The visitors centre is part of a more general revitalization of the 43-acre site, which was central to the defence of the realm in the War of 1812. The site is also often referred to as the birthplace of Toronto, since John Graves Simcoe built his first garrison tent on the site in 1793.

Construction is expected to begin at the end of this year.

The federal government announced in December than it had committed $4 million to the project, and the City of Toronto another $5.3 million.

One of the design team's first decisions was not to encroach at all on what's known as the common or the "Field of Fire," the site of actual 1812 fighting, and not to build under the Gardiner Expressway. This left them with a very narrow space to develop.

As Toronto principal Jonathan Kearns explains, "In effect, our building became like the edge of a mini escarpment, which exists in several paintings from the early 1800s and quite a few people have commented on the fact that we in some way reinvented in a contemporary manner the original look of the edge of Lake Ontario."


Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Kearns Mancini Architects


$75 million Panorama project will continue after delays due to design conundrum

One of the two next CityPlace projects to come online has just sent out notices to buyers to delay an original March occupancy to May and June.

According to postings on urbandb.com, buyers in Concord Adex's Panorama tower, the rounded, 28-storey, 385-unit condo building at 38 Dan Leckie Way, have just started receiving their occupancy notices and are expecting their pre-delivery inspection (or PDI) packages to arrive about now.

Designed by Quadrangle Architects, the curved building, with construction costs of about $75 million, according to its developer, was tucked into a small, odd-shaped lot.

"When we first bought the site, we liked it because it was kitty corner to the Douglas Coupland three-hectare park we built," says Concord Adex VP Alan Vihant. "You can cut through the park to get downtown but also immediately to the south, Lower Portland Street is where the Portland quay comes in, so the site's really close to the water's edge as well.

The idiosyncratic site imposed a greater than average number of design constraints on Quadrangle, however, including an extreme proximity to the Gardiner Expressway; the building's distinctive shape was their response.

"The space under the Gardiner became a large outdoor vestibule for the building," says principal architect Brian Curtner. "The curved podium facade follows the Lake Shore Boulevard to the south and the curved form of the tower suggests a billowing sail as it extends above the Expressway. The oval floor plans takes full advantage of the stunning lake and city views while rising above the adjacent Gardiner Expressway."

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche fans may recall Ottawa artist Adrian Gollner's piece staged in the tower this year, during which strobe lights were placed in 600 of the building's windows.

Writer: Bert Archer

Sources: urbandb.com, Concord Adex, Quadrangle Architects

Hotel on Queen on track and will open in 3 months

Hotel on Queen, which some had feared would go the way of Inn on College (which was never built), is apparently on track and nearing completion.

"I expect it's going to be ready in three months," says Mike Niven, the boutique hotel's principal interior designer, whose firm, Mike Niven Interior Design Inc., also worked on the Luna condominiums at CityPlace. The project architect Radek Bronny of Forum Architect Co., confirms that his work is done and that there have been no recent changes to the design. "Right now, the contractor is finishing the job. The shell is done, but the finishes are a substantial part of it, so it will take some time," he said.

Located at 335 Queen Street West (on the site of late, lamented Chicago's), across from the corner of Beverly and smack dab in the middle of the heart of old Queen Street West, before its cultural centre moved Drake-wards, once open, Hotel on Queen will be one of the only boutique hotels of its kind in the city: small, upscale, and right in the middle of everything. Predecessors like Hotel Le Germain chose more discreet, if no less central, locations on side streets. The Drake, and chief competitor The Gladstone, established themselves well out of the core, successfully betting that the action would follow.


Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Forum Architect Co., Mike Niven Interior Design Inc.

Luna and Luna Vista's 712 units fall into place with public spaces

As CityPlace nears completion, a clearer picture is emerging as to what sort of a neighbourhood it's going to be. Luna and Luna Vista, the two-tower condominium that are on schedule to beat Panorama to occupancy by a month or two, with its March date still the goal, are a couple of the finishing touches.

"West of Spadina, we intentionally took four blocks of development and set back the four corners," says Concord Adex VP Alan Vihant, "to make outdoor space for retailers that are restaurants or cafés or food-based with outdoor seating areas."

With the other three setbacks already populated, the southeast corner of Luna with its outdoor seating area will complete the set. Though there's only 3,600 square feet of retail space in the 8-storey podium, which Vihant assumes will be occupied at least in part by a chain café, Luna is across the street from the 30,000 square feet of retail space tucked in beneath the Montage and Neo towers, where there's already a Sobey's Urban Fresh, a CIBC and a Royal Bank, with negotiations underway for one or two restaurants.

Luna, the shorter tower, is 18 storeys, and Luna Vista is 38, at 10 Capreol and 8 Telegram Mews respectively, with 712 units between them, were designed by KPMB and Core Architects.

Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Concord Adex

Smoke's Poutinerie signs Toronto FC deal and will add a 3rd location

Smoke's Poutinerie has just signed a deal with BMO Field to sell its Toronto brand of poutine in the stadium's CNE grounds parking lot during the upcoming Toronto FC season's 40 games.

Toronto is, there's no point in denying it, a trendy city. Whether it be condos, indie cafes or burger joints, things pop up on our streets in waves. Poutine is one of the latest, and though Poutini's initially got some of the best reviews (at least partially because it's close to the Drake, in a neighbourhood where many of the folks who review such thing tend to live, or wish they did), it's Smoke's that's really taking the curds by the horns and going large.

After opening their first location over cult burrito joint Burrito Boyz on Adelaide West, and another on Dundas, Smiths Falls native and former graphic designer Ryan Smolkin is to open a third shop in late March on Queen Street just west of Bathurst.

According to Smoke's general manager Glenn Mori, the new shop will be about 900 square feet and will seat 15.

The opening will represent as much as a 50 per cent increase in jobs for the company, adding between 10 and 15 positions to the quickly expanding company's current 30.


Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Smoke's Poutinerie

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