Redevelopment of 545 Lake Shore West scaled back in latest overhaul

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The intersection of Bathurst and Lake Shore is perhaps one of Toronto’s best concentrations of Art Deco architecture. The northeast corner is home to the former Loblaws Groceterias warehouse, built in 1928 and recently redeveloped with retail and office space that has retained and rebuilt the heritage facade. The southwest corner is home to the iconic Tip Top Tailors Lofts, a factory and warehouse built in 1929 for its namesake, which has since been converted into luxury residences. The last Art Deco building on the intersection is the Crosse and Blackwell building on the southeast corner, built in 1927 and currently housing a Rogers warehouse and offices, and which is the subject of a development application submitted for the first time in 2018.

View of the property at 545 Lake Shore West, image via Google Maps.

Located at 545 Lake Shore West, the Crosse and Blackwell Building and its adjoining surface parking lot represent the last block of development in the immediate vicinity and are located at a major terminal vantage point along Queens Quay and the line of windmills from the waterfront. The project is led by Canderel, with Sweeny &Co Architects working with Graziani + Corazza Architects on the design.

Rendering of southwest corner, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

The 2018 proposal involved three towers of 10, 15 and 39 floors which contained offices, a market hall and 508 residential units. The hexagonal pavilion at the corner of the intersection would have been preserved, while the rest of the Crosse and Blackwell building would have been demolished except for part of the heritage facades. The initial proposal did not convince city staff or the Toronto Waterfront Design Review Board, so the developers went back to the drawing board and revised the development, which was submitted to new for rezoning in 2021.

Mass model of previous proposal from 2018, image via submission to City of Toronto.

The new version of the proposal divides the development into two buildings. The Crosse and Blackwell building would now be fully preserved and redeveloped as offices, while a separate 21-storey tower containing residential and commercial uses would be built over the existing surface car park. The heritage building and the new tower are separated by a pedestrian walkway that leads to a courtyard in the center of the site.

Ground floor plan, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

The Crosse and Blackwell building would be preserved and refurbished, with two additional floors added above the building – an office floor and a mechanical floor – and a new consolidated elevator and service core at the south end of the building. In total, the building would house almost 9,000 m² of offices. The hexagonal pavilion would serve as the entrance to at least one of the office units, depending on how many tenants the building is leased to, but the main entrance would be at the south end to provide direct access to the new elevator core.

Rendering of the north elevation along the shore of the lake, image transmitted to Waterfront Toronto.

The tower would contain 412 residential units of various sizes, including two-storey units facing the water, with just over 800m² of commercial space on the ground floor overlooking Queens Quay and Bathurst. The building is U-shaped around the central courtyard, with the 21-storey portion lying along the Bathurst frontage, descending to 13 storeys along Queens Quay and the East Aisle.

Rendering of east elevation, image transmitted to Waterfront Toronto.

The architecture of the new tower is multi-patterned, with an understated rectilinear form on the lower part of the building giving way to a more dynamic wave pattern on the upper few floors.

Rendering of the south elevation along Queens Quay, image transmitted to Waterfront Toronto.

Wanting to emphasize the intersection of Bathurst and Queens Quay, the southwest corner of the building is set back to provide a new POPS and features two iconic angled columns that converge where they meet the ground.

Rendering of POPS at southwest corner, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

The property, described by developers as currently very unfriendly, is also slated for some major public domain improvements. A shared pedestrian and vehicular driveway is proposed along the eastern boundary of the site, providing an important connection across the block between Lake Shore and Queens Quay while also providing access to the loading and parking garage.

Rendering of East Lane, image transmitted to Waterfront Toronto.

Bisecting the site east to west and connecting Bathurst to the driveway, a new pedestrian walkway leads to the central courtyard, which is envisioned as a quieter space of refuge, protected from the harsh elements of the lake and bustling waterfront. Sidewalks around the site would also be landscaped with trees and paving that matches the waterfront promenade, while the building is set back from the property line to ensure generous sidewalk widths.

Courtyard rendering, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

When presenting to the Waterfront Design Review Panel in December 2021, the developer’s team indicated that the City was generally supportive of this current proposal and that they hoped for early approval of their rezoning application in the first half of 2022. Note that the rezoning application only approves the volume of the building, so the design and finishes of the building may still change.

West elevation along Bathurst, image transmitted to Waterfront Toronto.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of 545 Lake Shore West, but in the meantime, you can learn more from our database file for the project, linked below. If you wish, you can join the conversation in the associated project forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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