Inside the most stunning new building in Toronto
The new building at Richmond and Peter entices passersby thanks to its cavernous, five storey (or 70 feet) atrium filled with soaring x-shaped delta frames.
"It's nice that it's almost an art installation in itself," says property manager Alicia Scott of the Queen Richmond Centre (QRC) West. Though the frames aren't just there for aesthetics; they're also an integral structural part of the building.
The QRC West is Allied Properties REIT's first new build. While the Toronto real estate company is well-known for restoring heritage properties, that component of its business isn't lost here. Architects at Sweeny &Co. incorporated the more than 100-year-old Weston factory - the original 134 Richmond - into a 17-storey tower.
With faded red bricks still visible in the lobby, other aspects of the bakery house - like its original wooden beams - are scattered throughout the massive 302,000 square-foot space. Most noticeable though, are the benches in the lobby.
Ricarda's restaurant will move into the first floor, though it won't open until June 2016. By that time, it'll feature a year-round patio in the atrium. It's also creating a separate wine bar.
Scott tells me that the building is 97 per cent leased and 93 per cent occupied. Anchor tenants include Sapient - which worked with Allied to present the Nuit Blanche installation Mimir's Well - Diageo and Entertainment One. "We didn't want to create your typical office building, we wanted something that was unique," Scott says describing QRC West's tenants.
Entertainment One occupies floors five through ten. Its offices will include a sky bridge to connect floor five to the top floor of the heritage building.
Despite being a commercial space, the QRC atrium is open to the public. Scott has a full schedule for programs that includes events as well as markets and free yoga classes for tenants.
Although, there's now another reason to hang out in the lobby because Early Bird Espresso just moved in with a mobile brew bar, which local firm hollis+morris designed and built. Though temporary, the popular cafe will stick around until June and it's currently serving up espresso-based beverages and brewed coffee on weekdays until 5 p.m.
Like its original Queen and Bathurst location, it features a rotating roster of single origin beans as well as made-in-house baked goods, granola parfaits and chia seed pudding. It also serves up a variety of treats including pop tarts from Lindsey Bakes, cookies from Desmond & Beatrice and Mast Brothers chocolate.
Business is already steady and Scott imagines it getting even more popular as the cold weather sets in.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.
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