171 front street west

Breathtaking skyscraper with new event venue to replace beloved Toronto landmark

Toronto's skyline is undergoing an unprecedented amount change, and another new towering landmark is expected to enter the fray in 2025 with the coming Union Centre development at 171 Front Street West.

The upcoming project from developers Allied Properties REIT and Westbank Corp marks the second design in the city from world-renowned architects Bjarke Ingels Group, working with executive architects Adamson Associates to bring this new, green-terraced office tower to the skyline.

Rising 54 storeys from the southeast corner of Front and Simcoe, the tower is set to meet to the rear of the existing building at 151-171 Front West.

171 front street west

Aerial view of Union Centre. Rendering by Adamson Associates/Bjarke Ingels Group.

Rising 298 metres — the exact height of the current tallest building in Toronto and Canada, First Canadian Place — Union Centre is primed to become one of the most prominent points on the skyline, even with much taller projects in the pipeline.

But just about anyone can slap together a tall building these days, which is why it's such a treat to see the way this one would contribute to the cityscape — both in terms of how it will morph the city skyline and the cultural landscape.

171 front street west

Greenery will be a major part of the building's aesthetic, similar to Bjarke Ingels Group's nearby KING Toronto project on King Street West. Rendering by Adamson Associates/Bjarke Ingels Group.

The development's approximately 118,700 square metres of new commercial space — including 37 floors of offices — will be crowned by a series of terraces draped in greenery, marking an outdoor amenity space for office tenants primed to offer some pretty spectacular views of the city.

171 front street west

Aerial view of the terraced upper floors. Rendering by Adamson Associates/Bjarke Ingels Group.

Plans to include a 2,000-seat live performance and presentation venue have been public since the current design was revealed back in 2019, but a new rendering (above) is now providing a tease at the impressively-designed space, which reads like an earth-toned reversal of the tower's signature green upper terraces.

171 front street west

The performance venue's unique sculptural interior (seen in the lead image) will also be visible through a glass reveal overlooking the rail corridor. Rendering by Adamson Associates/Bjarke Ingels Group.

This splash of green on the skyline is mirrored by green walls covering the south facades of the lower levels, bridging over a reconfigured Station Street and facing the rail corridor to the south.

171 front street west

Looking along the reconfigured Station Street at Union Centre. Rendering by Adamson Associates/Bjarke Ingels Group.

Another key feature is the inclusion of three storeys that house a new data centre space to expand the existing digital infrastructure currently on site in the red brick building along Front Street.

With the downtown population only rising and a predicted eventual return to normal office conditions, the data centre is somewhat futureproofed through five additional floors of flexible office space that can be converted for a future data centre expansion.

It's not all sunshine and roses, though, as the approved plan would result in the loss of a much-photographed Toronto landmark in the massive barrel-vaulted section of the PATH system's Skywalk passing the UP Express's Union stop.

171 front street west

The existing section of Skywalk linking Union Station and a pedestrian bridge over the rail tracks. Photo by A Great Capture.

In its place, a new-build, two-storey section of Skywalk would be constructed into the base of the tower, maintaining access through the site and across the Union Station rail corridor.

Lead photo by

Adamson Associates/Bjarke Ingels Group

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