King West Heritage Component Part of the Heritage Component of the Allied and Westbank King West redevelopment project. Photo: GMAP

Toronto architecture enthusiasts have been waiting with bated breath for Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to design a project in the city. And now, thanks to a joint venture by Westbank and Allied Properties on King West, it appears the wait is over.

Westbank and Allied have retained the firm led by the 40-year-old Danish starchitect as the design architect for an ambitious redevelopment project planned for a stretch of King Street West between Spadina and Bathurst.

The redevelopment will encompass 489-539 King Street West. According to a press release distributed earlier this week, Allied will retain full ownership of the existing buildings at 511-529 King West, known as the Heritage Component of the site. Westbank will purchase a 50 per cent interest in the remaining property, known as the Intensification Site, from Allied.

“This is another good example of our expanding opportunity set,” said Michael Emory, Allied’s President & CEO, in a press release. “With a proven and compatible partner in Westbank, we’ll be able to realize the value inherent in this site sooner and on a risk-appropriate basis. We’ll also be able to ensure that the site makes an optimal contribution to King and Spadina, one of Toronto’s most extraordinary downtown neighbourhoods.”

“What is so exciting here is that Allied has over time assembled 620 feet of frontage on what is fast becoming one of the most interesting streets in Toronto,” said Ian Gillespie of Westbank. “With this scale, we have a unique opportunity for world-class city building.”

While the news that BIG is coming to Toronto will steal a lot of headlines, it’s also been a big year for Westbank in the city. The Vancouver-based developer made waves earlier this year when it announced that plans for the Mirvish Village redevelopment it’s undertaking will only include purpose-built rental units for its residential component.

Westbank has worked with BIG in the past on two of its residential developments, Telus Sky in Calgary and Vancouver House in Vancouver.

Bjarke Ingels, who founded his firm in Copenhagen in 2006, has quickly become one of the most innovative and sought after architects in the world.

Here’s a look at some of the residential projects he’s worked on in North America and a rendering of his firm’s design for Two World Trade Center thrown in there for good measure:

950-974market_rendering5 950-974 Market Street in San Francisco

VIA VIA in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen

Vancouver House Vancouver House, also developed by Westbank

Telus Sky Telus Sky in Calgary, also developed by Westbank

2wtc-compressed-1024x739

Rendering: DBOX via www.big.dk

Stay tuned for more news on the King West redevelopment by Allied and Westbank.

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