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Kazakhstani Developer Unveils Plans for 'International Icon' at Yonge and Bloor: You Like?


Yesterday morning, to a surprisingly large gathering of the local media at Panorama, Bazis International revealed its plans for an 80-storey condo tower at Yonge and Bloor. The name for the project? Quite simply, 1 Bloor.

While I got the distinct feeling the developer isn't as familiar with Yonge and Bloor as say, Zanta, they have sold 80% of Crystal Blu on Balmuto Street and they have hired a Toronto boy, Roy Varacalli, as their architect. Varacalli's previous firm was behind The Absolute Community-but not the 'Marilyn Monroe' Tower itself.

They've certainly got the full backing from Councilor Kyle Rae, who was at the press conference and answered more questions than the developer and the architect themselves. Rae had strong words for the current state of the 'most important intersection in Canada', calling it a 'failure' and said that Torontonians must 'demand fine architecture'.

So, is this 'fine architecture'? Will 1 Bloor be an 'International Icon'? It's too early to say, but I think the current rendering shows a building that is bold, interacts well with the street, and certainly isn't boring. I was most impressed with Varacalli's interpretation of the city in his design. The east and west sides of the building are intentionally different, to reflect the different personalities of the East and West sides of the City.

And what did the developer and Rae have to say about the issues brought up in the comments section of my teaser post? Height issue? There is no issue. The height has already been approved by council and remember-this is Downtown, get used to tall buildings! Additional strain on the Yonge-Bloor subway station below? Won't be a problem. Loss of public space? That's what the 3-storey retail podium with the roof-top garden is for.

What do you think of the design?

Image courtesy of Bazis. The high-res version will give you a much better look. [Bonus points for the first person who spots what's wrong with the image.]


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