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City

Mirvish and Gehry towers given the green light

Posted by Chris Bateman / July 11, 2014

toronto mirvish gehryToronto is going to get two super tall Frank Gehry condo towers. City council voted yesterday to allow construction of the pair of waterfall-inspired towers on the north side of King at Duncan, almost two years after the project was first announced.

"[This] decision by Council was obviously a necessary step in this lengthy process," Mirvish said in a press release. "While we believe today's vote was first and foremost an endorsement of our vision for the site, lead by our architect Frank Gehry, we also believe that it is a clear endorsement of the city's development process and staff's demand for consultation and collaboration among the stakeholders."

The original proposal, unveiled to much fanfare in Oct. 2012, called for three extremely tall condo towers to be erected at the expense of several heritage protected warehouses and the Princess of Wales Theatre on King Street West. David Mirvish said Frank Gehry wanted to build "three sculptures that people can live in."

The main concerns about the project in its original form centred on the potential loss of the historic buildings and the effect of the towers on the already congested King Street corridor.

In May, after several rounds of public consultation and work with Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat, Mirvish and Gehry unveiled a revised design that dispensed with one of the towers and re-worked the lower floors in order to keep the theatre and warehouse structures standing.

The tallest of the towers will top out at 92 floors, making it the tallest skyscraper in Canada, ahead of First Canadian Place (the CN Tower and Inco Superstack excepted.) There will also be about 2,000 residential units, space for Mirvish to display his art collection, and facilities for OCAD University. The smaller of the buildings will be about 82 storeys.

Gehry says the latest designs are meant to evoke a waterfall.

The project still needs to be granted site plan approval before construction can begin.

Are you pleased to see the project approved?

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

Images: Mirvish+Gehry, Projectcore Inc.

Discussion

54 Comments

garneau / July 11, 2014 at 01:13 am
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Wow. Way less exciting then as originally envisioned. Is there some requirement that Toronto skyscrapers be square and boring?

By way of comparison, Calgary (!) got itself this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/80/The_Bow_in_Calgary.jpg

And that's how it looks once built.
Brace yourself / July 11, 2014 at 01:40 am
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Wait for it; brace yourself for a bitch-fest from all the self-loathing types here. lolz at garneau; he Bow in Calgary looks like Toronto City Hall in bondage. Boring.
Jenny Hung / July 11, 2014 at 02:21 am
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OMG, THis is a great day for OCAD. Also most torontoians don't know good, or great, even if it knowing would save their pathetic existence. Also Garneau: that photo is SO terrible and architecture is only a tiny portion the facade of the building, the experience of the shape also happens to exist inside of a build too. So this is great news for everyone: retards rejoice in their ability to 'critique' architecture, and art students get much needed space.
toronto / July 11, 2014 at 02:56 am
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82 stories is ridiculous!!
Joey / July 11, 2014 at 05:44 am
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Maybe Mirvish and Gehry should take a page out of Ryerson's playbook: Step One - make a bunch of promises about preserving historical stuff on the property you want to build on; Step Two - do whatever the hell you want without incurring any consequences from the City of Toronto.
Adam Sobolak / July 11, 2014 at 08:00 am
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If we shouldn't be preserving the stuff of companies that couldn't stay in business, we might as well demolish Eaton's College St, Simpsons at Yonge + Queen, etc.
Perry Como / July 11, 2014 at 08:00 am
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They forgot to mention that an urban style honest eds will take up retail space at the bottom of the condos.
asgas / July 11, 2014 at 08:30 am
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i wish it was 192 floors.
concernedonKING / July 11, 2014 at 08:31 am
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They better be putting a starbucks in at the bottom of this building! I'll be damned if these additional 2000 units added to the King corridor increase my wait time in the morning! Life is so unfair!
DirtyT replying to a comment from Charly / July 11, 2014 at 08:33 am
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Charly,

Using your logic, we should be making McDonald's restaurants historical landmarks (as they were and are successful businesses). Just Brilliant.
Garneau replying to a comment from Jenny Hung / July 11, 2014 at 08:37 am
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@Jenny Hung - I'm not going to be a student of OCAD anytime soon and I'm not going to own a condo in the building. So all I'm going to experience is the outward appearance. In that regard, I don't particularly hate the external appearance and I think it is awesome that Gehry is putting another stamp onto our architectural experience, but you have to admit, it is WAY less attractive / exciting than the original design. So we want to be elegantly functional and conservative. Fine, we're very good at that.

Maya / July 11, 2014 at 08:58 am
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The original design was very dynamic and exciting, and would have put Toronto on the global design map. Although there were legitimate concerns about the original plans, the entire project has now been compromised. Negotiations have yielded yet more terribly boring & average (dare I say, ugly) looking buildings, and the spirit of the original project is gone. This is a lost opportunity for Toronto! What a shame!
NameRecognition / July 11, 2014 at 09:10 am
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A Frank Gehry condo huh? So I guess it'll be about $1.5M for a bachelor, $2.5M for a 1 bedroom, and about $4M for a 1 bedroom plus den. Just a guess...
Brandon / July 11, 2014 at 09:17 am
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Oh my, those are hideous... Just what that area needs too - another blight on the already crowded (lack of a) skyline
bernie Q / July 11, 2014 at 09:26 am
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If the rich guys think thee are going to be that many millionaires and billionaires buying hamstercage condos then we are heading for a great economy for sure...
Tim / July 11, 2014 at 09:26 am
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Its a shame that they couldn't embrace the original design. Gehry himself said these new buildings just don't "have it". I honestly think this redesign is his sly commentary on the blandness, mediocracy and lack of vision that comprises the copy paste glass box forest of condos that have dominated our skyline in the last decade. The council wanted Gehry to try to " fit in" more with the city and that's exactly what he's given them. Glass boxes. This could have been the career masterpiece of Toronto's most famous architect but I guess he'll have to go build it in China.
DPChurch / July 11, 2014 at 09:27 am
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@Charly Saving the Sam's signage has absolutely nothing to do with the success of that business. (Although it was flagship store of what was probably Canada's most successful and best known record store chains. Name another Canadian record store that is still in business. Even late entering foreign chains like HMV and Virgin have disappeared.)

The signage was saved because it is historic neon art.
Luddite.
I guess grammer isn't required at OCAD replying to a comment from Jenny Hung / July 11, 2014 at 09:36 am
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What does this mean?
"Also most torontoians don't know good, or great, even if it knowing would save their pathetic existence."
iSkyscraper / July 11, 2014 at 09:36 am
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Terrific.

By the way, you can pretty much guarantee the end result will look very similar to Gehry's residential tower of a few years ago in lower Manhattan:

http://tinyurl.com/ovzvxbv

Gehry will just do the skin, another architect will end up doing the very regular and developer-friendly interior layouts.

PS - The Bow is lovely but an office building. Apples to oranges.
Spike replying to a comment from DPChurch / July 11, 2014 at 09:49 am
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HMV is still here, as is Sunrise.
Anthony / July 11, 2014 at 09:59 am
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Incredible (re)envisioning. These towers seamlessly bridge Toronto's current architectural legacy to its future's. Well done, Gehry. A worthy and profound contribution to Toronto. What a masterpiece. Yes, notably scaled from its original, but the two shouldn't be compared. They are separate works by one great mind.
Todd Toronto / July 11, 2014 at 10:23 am
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It's too bad they modified the original design. Toronto is woefully lacking in interesting architecture (it's as if we gave up after Viljo Revell died). This design IS interesting, but not jaw-droppingly imaginative, like the original one.

Now I'm off to Google the Inco Superstack.
EC / July 11, 2014 at 10:47 am
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The "artists rendition" model kind of looks like the builder might have been high as fuck and was having a bit too much fun with the clear lego pieces and popsicle sticks when making it. That, or they got their 13 year old kid to make it.
Anti Keesmaat / July 11, 2014 at 11:16 am
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Design matters in 2014. Toronto's City Planner Jennifer Keesmaat should lose her job over this. Any other major city would have jumped at this opportunity. Rather than asserting ourselves to the world, Toronto shy's away. Arrested Development will always be alive and well in Toronto with Jennifer Keesmaat at the helm.

Is anyone interested in signing a petition for her removal?
ANTI - Keesmaat\ / July 11, 2014 at 11:30 am
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#ArrestedDevelopmentTO
Trina replying to a comment from Spike / July 11, 2014 at 11:37 am
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HMV on Queen has closed its doors.

HMV Yonge street is giving it one last try by putting in a concert venue in. Not sure how well that's been going for them.

Jordan replying to a comment from Garneau / July 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm
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You do not have to admit that these are less attractive than the original design. I hated the originals. They were self indulgent and would have stuck out like a sore thumb.
Bill / July 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm
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Ah, the beauty of compromise. Now everybody hates it.
Sean / July 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm
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Will those condos be under 400 sg.ft.?
Phil replying to a comment from Tim / July 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm
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Agreed!
Garneau replying to a comment from Tim / July 11, 2014 at 01:16 pm
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Exactly. Well put.
Andrew / July 11, 2014 at 01:21 pm
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Geez, living in a 92 story building sounds terrible! Imagine the wait for elevators?
Architecturally, not the best looking buildings either.
John Labatt / July 11, 2014 at 01:21 pm
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Every-time you walk your dog or go out for a bag of milk or go for coffee 92 stories down and 92 stories up. The novelty will wear off quick.
BettieLuv replying to a comment from toronto / July 11, 2014 at 02:35 pm
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Yes, it would have been much more interesting if it was more adventurous and higher. As it is, Toronto is again demonstrating an embarrassing lack of confidence or spirit.
Trevor / July 11, 2014 at 04:49 pm
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It seems like complaining about architecture is Toronto's second official pastime (the first is complaining about everything else).

The original plan was decried by some as "too large, too tall". The revised, scaled down plan is decried as "too bland, too compromised".

Living in a city is the definition of compromise. Everyone has different tastes, beliefs, values. If you don't want to deal with that fact, then you are welcome to move to a shack in the wilderness, which you can decorate to your heart's content.
realityCheck / July 11, 2014 at 06:06 pm
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@Trevor and his ilk...Much of the complaints against these projects is not so much about the design or architecture as it is about the tremendous strain they put on existing infrastructure. Simply put, the existing infrastructure is inadequate for what we already have. And the "development fees", which by law are supposed to cover the cost for the additional infrastructure required by the new units, are only a fraction of what they should be... which means that developers get to maximize profits while existing rate payers have to pick up the tab. You say that living in a city is supposed to be about compromise. But most of the compromise seems to be on the part of current residents. One question that I think our politicians and city planners need to ask much more consistenly is why the current level of development is required given that job growth picture is stagnant or deteriorating. (And both the rise in precarious employment and the high level of unemployment are proof of an oversaturated labour market.) Development growth can be good, but not when it drastically outpaces job growth, as has been happening in the GTA for almost two decades. In that case, it's primarily a boon for developers...and banks of course.
Mr. Rhombo / July 11, 2014 at 07:18 pm
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Hmmm...a gold penis and a silver penis = brotherhood? Gay Twin Towers? Call them: Rob & Doug? Hmmm...
Captain Awesome replying to a comment from Anti Keesmaat / July 11, 2014 at 07:20 pm
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You have to be a bit careful in making that comment. They can only negotiate so far before the developer starts threatening to go to the OMB. Given the choice of a bad compromise, or a terrible OMB decision, bad compromise wins.
J / July 11, 2014 at 10:53 pm
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Don't see the waterfall, but, relieved the historic warehouses and theatre are being saved, hated the first drafts. This project does not excite me. I agree with some of the comments above that there are a lot of boring boxes going up, but, these don't seem much better only taller. Ego buildings.
Jamie replying to a comment from DirtyT / July 12, 2014 at 09:58 am
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I think we SHOULD be preserving some McDonald's restaurants. There used to be a really interesting one across from the Museum until it was torn down to build another boring condo.
Rob Ford / July 12, 2014 at 10:29 am
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Some of my best friends are....
Spike replying to a comment from Trina / July 12, 2014 at 10:42 am
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HMV on Queen had low traffic, so it would close regardless.

The HMV on Bloor near Yonge's still open, as are all of the other HMV's save First Canadian Place, and Sunrise on Yonge at Gould is still open, so I don't think that we can count out HMV just yet.
kn / July 12, 2014 at 10:42 am
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Welcome to the fiefdom of ward 20. Land of the box in the sky. Land of the TCHC ghetto and gang central, brought to you by the box in the sky. Land of the million dollar public housing town homes. Land of the back room deal and public dictation not consultation. Thank you Adam Vaughan for leading us! (Everybody stop using the OMB as an excuse for the incompetence and lack of intelligent thought from our councillors.) Seriously, who voted Adam into federal politics? I can only conclude nobody really has been paying attention to who Adam has done during his tenure at city hall.
Spike replying to a comment from realityCheck / July 12, 2014 at 11:48 am
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Also, why can't these condos be built in North York, Etobicoke, East York, and York down avenues like Victoria Park, Sheppard, Finch, Birchmount, Pharmacy, Eglington East, etc.? Let's spread out the condo-building over the entire city instead of one pocket.
BettieHates / July 12, 2014 at 04:49 pm
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Give me a break, BettieLuv. If this were a project in London or New York you would be kissing the ground beneath it. What a bunch of unhappy trolls flock here. And oh, for those who don't realize how big projects work, this is unlikely to be the final, refined design.
kn / July 13, 2014 at 02:03 pm
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Unhappy trolls? How about seeing what this project really is. It's a condo full of little cubicles. It isn't any different from most of the other awful projects of this scale being thrown up in Toronto. Why should we all be applauding the idiotic condofication of our lives? In 10 years, developers have somehow convinced everybody in this city that living in a 500sq/ft apt is the solution to developing our city. The city isn't adding another St Lawrence market, or a hawker's market for small independent food stalls, no new or interesting public spaces/squares, no new places for young families to live (and even if they do build a couple family units it will cost an arm and leg to buy). How about another park? You can't throw a crescent to a squirrel without hitting a half dozen hipsters in Trinity Bellwoods.
Gold/Siver Penises / July 13, 2014 at 05:56 pm
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I would like to live in a large colourful penis.
John Labatt replying to a comment from Gold/Siver Penises / July 14, 2014 at 02:11 am
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That was homophobic and anti semetics, what do you have against small weiners and people who are jewish
Hey Joh Labatt / July 14, 2014 at 08:21 am
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Eat me!...from your gay & jewish friends, you brainless twit. We have nothing against your small weiner or your small brain or your twisted child's sense of humour. Are you really Irwin Mimico's lover?
GRBY / July 14, 2014 at 10:44 am
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The original design was stunning and truly unique. It would have garnered Toronto international design acclaim.

Oh well....

This is Toronto. We do square and conservative incredibly well here.
John Labatt / July 15, 2014 at 01:28 am
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Imagine this building as 75% rentals and 25% owners, right now its 60% owners and 40% renters for most condo's now. The prices are dropping maybe 15% next year 35-40% drop in prices.All these condo's will make Toronto the next Detroit.
Gold/Siver Penises / July 15, 2014 at 08:34 am
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Put condoms on those things for safe erection of buildings!
Jeanette / July 17, 2014 at 05:47 pm
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Although one of the buildings will be 92 floors, it will not be taller than First Canadian Place, just more floors. The one M & G building is to be 998 feet, while FCP is 1145.
Alex / July 18, 2014 at 04:11 pm
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They look nice but that seems like a lot of people to add to that area considering how congested it is already there. I hope they're pulling in enough fees from the buildings to improve the infrastructure in the area.

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