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Massive development proposed for 1 Yonge Street

Posted by Chris Bateman / January 6, 2013

toronto 1 yongeA long-time contender for the ugliest building in Toronto could be about to get some interesting neighbours. A huge proposal to develop much of the Toronto Star lands at 1 Yonge Street into a cluster of giant, optically-confusing towers is currently percolating among architects and developers.

Though the plans are in their very earliest stages and haven't yet been filed with the city, these drawings that first surfaced at Urban Toronto are an indication that developer Pinnacle International wants something eye-catching for the area currently occupied by a low-key print facility and an open air parking lot.

toronto 1 yongeCentral to the site are two dog-legged towers sketched midway up the block between Yonge and Freeland streets. Though they are smaller than the more conventional structures planned for the Lake Shore Boulevard elevation, these two are the most memorable and the ones likely to see revision at the hands of the city's Design Review Panel.

At street level, judging by the renderings, the complex will have retail space on Queens Quay East (note the confident appearance of a streetcar) that would tie in nicely with the redevelopment work currently underway in the area. Over the next year, the city is working to rejig much of the street to be more pedestrian and transit friendly.

There's not likely to be any relief for enemies of the brutalist Toronto Star building, though. Its leaden presence on the corner of Yonge and Queens Quay is likely to linger on for some time yet, albeit in the shadow of something a little more modern.

What do you think of these plans - would you prefer the developers kept it sensible on this site? Whatever happens, the waterfront location means these buildings won't be lost in the forest of the city's flourishing condo scene. How could this plan be improved?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Discussion

29 Comments

Jeremy / January 6, 2013 at 01:56 am
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"A long-time contender for the ugliest building in Toronto could be about to get some interesting neighbours."

Please expand on this.
Giancarlo / January 6, 2013 at 03:03 am
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There are no contenders for ugliest building in Toronto because 1 and 2 are pretty much set, and have been for some time:

Ugliest Buildings, Toronto
1) OCAD Building.
2) The ROM addition.
Rico / January 6, 2013 at 03:43 am
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Ya they're ugly. But how is that different than any other part of this silly city? Toronto has very little class.
Robert replying to a comment from Rico / January 6, 2013 at 08:55 am
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You may see ugliness, but that is the view in your eyes and your opinion. Many see a modern city growing into the future and are very happy to live here. Very exciting times in Toronto many excellent buildings going up.
Had a chance to visit those suburbs that surround Toronto over the holidays, many like it there. But in my eyes I saw blandness with a healthy dose of ugliness, hectares and kilometers of the same. I understand the need for a GPS in the car you never know were you are it all looks the same. Boredom sets in quickly, no place to go except for walks along streets of sameness with a high speed multi lane road never far away. Saw very few people and even fewer willing to interact, mostly I saw suspicion in their eyes. You best option is get in a car to go places.
Not all is beauty in the city but there is enough of everything to please most everyone. But I do not conclude my opinion is the only opinion. You should try and appreciate were you are instead of insulting other to make yourself feel better about yourself and your choices.

OCAD and the ROM additions may not be what they should have been, yet they add to the richness that makes Toronto great.
Andrew Wells / January 6, 2013 at 09:17 am
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It's about time for this location to be addressed for re-development. Hopefully the buildout will create a new space that's appealing both visually and functionally (based on the renderinings above though, the site looks pretty 'ho-hum'). The buzzword for leading the project should be "design" - we need more vision in the design of new buildings being added in Toronto, rather than just another boring glass walled skyscraper. Someone call Carlos Ott, please!
Craig replying to a comment from Giancarlo / January 6, 2013 at 09:18 am
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The OCAD building is not ugly, insteresting, but not ugly. the ROM is a POS.

The only thing worse than an ugly building is a dull building, which describes the TorStar building. An ugly bulding you can talk about, a dull building is just ignored.
BM / January 6, 2013 at 10:37 am
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Um, the OCAD building is ugly. Sorry.
Grimzeek replying to a comment from Giancarlo / January 6, 2013 at 10:42 am
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Sorry, but what a starchitect designed is not crap on any level, and couldn't be any worse than what's currently at 1 Yonge Avenue. Hopefully, what's being planned and eventually built are BUSINESS buildings (with street retail), and not more condos.
Bubba / January 6, 2013 at 10:47 am
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everything should have 4 corners and nothing else
mm3 / January 6, 2013 at 10:55 am
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Amazing in such an ugly city, with so many ugly buildings to choose from, you would choose OCAD. It's not even in the top 100. That's why toronto is ugly, because torontonians have no taste.
MS / January 6, 2013 at 01:14 pm
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> Hopefully, what's being planned and eventually built are BUSINESS buildings (with street retail), and not more condos.

There's one small office building and four very very tall condominium towers in the plans. These four towers would be pretty much the tallest residential buildings in the city (at least one of them would, the other three would be in the top 5 or 6 buildings).

It's a BIG condo development.
Me replying to a comment from Rico / January 6, 2013 at 02:04 pm
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So move. No one will miss you.
Grimzeek replying to a comment from MS / January 6, 2013 at 06:48 pm
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>There's one small office building and four very very tall condominium towers in the plans. These four towers would be pretty much the tallest residential buildings in the city (at least one of them would, the other three would be in the top 5 or 6 buildings).

It's a BIG condo development.
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What the frack else is new? Of course, it'll be another bunch of shoebox units with not enough room to swing a cat in, and barely anyplace to cook food in. Plus, it'll be taller than anything ever built, blocking out the sun and any other view of things.

Why can't they build these building in Scarborough and all of the other suburbanized parts of Toronto? If the city forced the developers did this, there'd be the density for the subways Ford & Co. claim they want more than LRT.
Johhny (Wad) Homes / January 6, 2013 at 07:11 pm
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Im looking to move in a 270ft condo this might be the place to buy.
skeeter / January 6, 2013 at 07:13 pm
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The woman on the right is hot.
me / January 6, 2013 at 07:21 pm
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That's a rather odd abbreviation of 'East' ("Est").
me / January 6, 2013 at 07:24 pm
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Or, perhaps, an odd intermingling of French.
A replying to a comment from Giancarlo / January 6, 2013 at 09:08 pm
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And the BlogTo trolls strike again.
Calling the OCAD and ROM additions ugly is like calling a Jackson Pollock painting ugly. Might be true (to you) but you're kind missing the point, aren't you?

Shitty, banal and narrow minded opinions do more harm to a city than a couple of experimental building designs.

Gabe / January 6, 2013 at 09:48 pm
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Whatever big name developer wants to Jerk Off onto 1 Yonge St. they'll give the contract too. Who really cares what they put there, whoever lives there has to look onto the Gardiner or the Lake and how often do you really go down there?
Bill / January 6, 2013 at 10:52 pm
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How about we stop building towers.
Johnny (Wad) Homes replying to a comment from Robert / January 7, 2013 at 12:24 am
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you kinda sound like a downer too
McRib replying to a comment from Bill / January 7, 2013 at 03:52 am
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i agree, there must be some farmland somewhere we can plant a subdivision on.

seriously, who wants to live in the city?
David replying to a comment from McRib / January 7, 2013 at 06:11 pm
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Well, I do. But I live in an area which is relatively high-density, but not made up of tiny flats in towers. Most of the houses were built in 1900 +/- 20 years and are part of a heritage conservation district.
RLW / January 24, 2013 at 10:25 am
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Seriously, why are there 4 massive towers jammed onto that site with little to no design continuity or relation to each other, with a view of the oppressive Lakeshore Blvd. and Gardiner strips and the prime real estate on Queens Quay is being developed with yet another banal office tower and retaining that drab Star building...? I love how the City of Toronto emphasizes street level retail, which more often than not, ends up being nothing better than a dry cleaner, subway, convenience store, etc. No doubt the NIMBY's will also bitch about the excessive height of the proposal too.
mass replying to a comment from Giancarlo / March 13, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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People keep harping on about the ROM or OCAD being the ugliest buildings in Toronto, seemingly oblivious to the many strip malls and gas stations built every year. Which is really uglier? Which is really more a blight on our city?
justsaying / April 25, 2013 at 01:25 am
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firstly, the torstar building has frequently been call outdated, and ugly. old city hall was described in the same way in the 60s by the developers that wanted it torn down to become part of the eaton's centre. the additions to the rom, and ocad aren't just buildings. they are addition to two of the city's institutions. they require a bold vision, and bold visions are usually hard to stomach. the eiffel tower was loathed upon completion. these buildings might not be beautiful now, and they may never be, but they are important pieces that we should hold on to. with the torstar building we get a glimpse of the brutalistic nature of architecture of the 70s, the ocad addition the boldness of a young and flourishing university, and with the rom addition, the philosophical side of the addition with respect to the original building. none of these arguments make them beautiful, but we should never underestimate their future importance.

secondly, to have thriving businesses you need people to go to those businesses. head offices are based on bay. those businesses also have a tendency not to invest in the community, but instead in their profits. condos provide people to supply other businesses such as convenience stores, dry cleaner, cafes, and the sort, those business that are more likely to reinvest into their communities. therefore people, condos, and high density are instrumental in building thoughtful communities.

thirdly, many opinions have been shared about this development. the most important aspect of any development happens within the first 6 storys. what is the relationship between the building and street level? the towers around it? the city as a whole? these are the more inportant questions, not whether it's pleasing to YOUR eye.
justsaying / April 25, 2013 at 02:15 am
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also, looking at the development from the south west corner of queen's quay and yonge, in the foreground you'd have the 70s architecture of the 'ugly' torstar building. radiating from that you'd have four other towers with qualities of the first, with a present day twist. the fifth, and tallest, ends sleek, modern, and white. might look nice.
skeeterwasright / April 25, 2013 at 11:14 am
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Holy crap Skeeter, that woman on the right IS hot!
Sam / October 1, 2013 at 02:01 pm
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about time for one yonge

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