At 80-storeys tall, the early proposals for The One, a new residential and retail tower coming to Yonge and Bloor, are nothing if not ambitious. If Mizrahi Developments‘ vision goes forward, the skyscraper would stand 318.6 metres or 1,045 feet tall – eclipsing Toronto’s tallest tower, First Canadian Place, as well its neighbour Number One Bloor and the West Tower of Mirvish+Gehry development, currently the tallest planned tower in the city. Its proposed height would also make it the tallest high-rise in Canada.
At the first community consultation for the skyscraper on Wednesday, no one seemed too put off by the height, with one community association representative even suggesting adding a few more storeys on top for the sake of increasing public space at ground level.
The first proposals for the high-rise would see multiplex retail – eight levels of retail starting at street level, that in the words of Developer Sam Mizrahi, would look like “jewellery boxes” with walls of glass that are uninterrupted by supporting columns. The remaining 72 storeys would house 560 residential units, though year-round public space elements as well as semi-enclosed winter gardens, have also been suggested for the site.
Below ground, there are plans for some 600 parking spaces as well as loading docks and other infrastructure for the shops, in order to keep delivery trucks out of the heavily trafficked intersection. Mizrahi is also hoping for two underground connections in order to link the structure to the subway.
Foster + Partners, the London-based architectural firm tasked with the skyscraper’s design, called Yonge and Bloor the most important intersection in Toronto, if not Canada. The intersection reportedly sees a 24-hour pedestrian volume of 51,392 and the site proposals calls for widening the existing, narrow sidewalks on both Yonge and Bloor.
An internationally recognized firm, this would be Foster + Partners first residential project in the city though they’ve also worked on the Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building on College Street. In Canada, they’ve designed The Bow, Calgary’s loftiest tower and the tallest high-rise in Canada outside of Toronto.
Partnering up with local firm Core Architects, Foster + Partners said they don’t want The One to be mistaken for an office tower. The proposed design features a steel exoskeleton over the glass building and the architects called for a warmer colour palette of bronze and champagne.
The very active Q&A session was a mix of praise – designer Brian Gluckstein and Harry Rosen both stood up to lend their support – and concern over the creation of wind tunnels from the increasingly vertical neighbourhood, as well as heritage preservation. The One will rise from the former site of Stollerys, a menswear shop that had stood at the downtown intersection for 114 years.
Sam Mizrahi told attendees that the limestone stones from the site had been conserved and were currently in his custody. He spoke of creating a “monument” to Stollerys history in the neighbourhood that will be a permanent fixture of the new development. It’s not yet known how that will take shape.
After the surprise announcement that the large-scale Honest Ed’s redevelopment will be 100 per cent rental and recent news of downtown condos such as The Selby and Kingsclub being converted to rental, the issue of rental housing popped up again at the end of the consultation.
When asked whether The One could see rental units, Sam Mizrahi said they hadn’t ruled it out.
Here’s a look at the scale model and newly released renderings: