363 yonge street toronto

City order halts construction for one of Toronto's tallest buildings

A colossal condo development approved to become one of the tallest towers on the Toronto skyline now sits idle after City inspectors ordered work on the project to halt immediately on Tuesday.

The project, known as Concord Sky, is set to rise from the Yonge and Gerrard intersection on a site that has a bit of a history of starting and stopping.

It initially began construction as YSL Condos branding back in 2019 under different ownership. Facing a cash crisis, that project's developer went into receivership shortly after the project commenced, leaving propped-up heritage facades and a gaping hole at the site that would remain idle for two years.

Things sprung back to life in 2021, when developer Concord Adex purchased the site, subsequently announcing the resumption of construction early the following year.

The rechristened project would soon kick back into construction on the stagnant site with a slightly revised plan promising an 85-storey landmark — though the developer skips floor numbering and is marketing the thing somewhat disingenuously as a 95-storey tower.

363 yonge street toronto

Facing north on Yonge Street toward Concord Sky. Rendering by architects—Alliance.

Construction crossed an important milestone this past March, when a crane was raised at the base of the work site. It would have been safe to assume things would heat up after the crane was erected, but a little over two weeks after this achievement, the project would hit a major snag.

On March 30, City inspectors served the project with an Order to Comply, stating that work was proceeding without necessary permits and giving the project team until April 28 to comply.

A notice posted to the site exterior informs the owner that "Work at the above location is in contravention of Section 8, Subsection (1) of the Building Code Act, S.O.1992, c.23 as amended."

According to the building code, "No person shall construct or demolish a building or cause a building to be constructed or demolished in a municipality unless a permit has been issued therefore by the Chief Building Official," which the notice claims the project violates by "proceeding prior to obtaining a permit."

363 yonge street toronto

Stop Work Order notifying the owners of the Concord Sky project to cease all construction activity immediately. Image via City of Toronto.

Inspectors stated that construction of the elevator core, interior load-bearing walls, and column footings for the building's P5 level have proceeded without a building permit, and exceeded the scope of approved building permits for the site's shoring and foundation construction.

"You are hereby ordered to correct the contraventions itemized below by the dates listed below, or by Apr 28, 2023," states the Notice to Comply, ordering that owners "immediately submit the necessary documents and obtain the appropriate building permits for the work being carried out."

However, a follow-up inspection weeks later determined that the Notice to Comply had not been adhered to, and the site was slapped with an even more serious Stop Work Order, effectively halting all construction at Concord Sky.

The May 19 inspection resulted in the Stop Work Order being issued on May 23, stating to owners, "You are required to cease all construction immediately."

According to the order, owners are further "required to leave the site in a safe condition and maintain that safe condition until construction can re-commence with the appropriate building permit issuance."

As serious as it sounds on paper, the people at Concord don't seem too worried about what is characterized as a slight hiccup in the approvals process — one they're blaming on the previous owner.

Gabriel Leung, Vice-President of Development at Concord Adex, tells blogTO that "There are some minor coordination issues being resolved that have taken longer than expected," specifying that "The project was delayed by the previous developer."

"We are working with the City to move this project to completion as soon as possible," says Leung, assuring the public and any worried investors that "These issues should be resolved quickly."

At a height of approximately 299 metres, Concord Sky would stand as Canada's tallest building if completed today, just barely edging out First Canadian Place in the Financial District.

However, it's a title the tower is unlikely to ever hold, as two much-taller towers are already well under construction to the north and south on Yonge Street, each certain to beat Concord Sky in the greatest skyscraper race of Toronto's history.

Interestingly enough, one of those two towers that will rise taller than Concord Sky — The One at 1 Bloor Street West — encountered a similar interruption in work early in 2020 over a near-identical overbuild of permits. Construction would resume that August after several months of permit negotiations slowed by those uncertain early days of the pandemic.

Lead photo by

Concord Adex

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