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Old November 3rd, 2010, 03:12 PM   #821
Jasonzed
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Controversial waterfront site sold to developers

A suburban style HD would have been a nighmare...

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/...evelopers?bn=1



By Tony Wong

More than a decade ago, developer Alfredo Romano opposed construction of a mammoth Home Depot store on the Toronto waterfront.

He had company. In 1999, Home Depot’s decision to build the big-box outlet drew strong opposition from politicians and residents.

“I wasn’t opposed to putting retail in the area, but it was the size that was the issue,” Romano said in an interview.

“What most people didn’t want to see was a big box.”

The high-profile developer at Castlepoint Realty Partners confirmed to the Star Tuesday that he has purchased the Home Depot lands along with two other developers, Cityzen Development Group and New York-based Continental Ventures.

And he’s not ruling out putting a Home Depot in the area — if it’s the right size.

“If it fits the sensibility of the area and works within an urban setting, that would be a possibility,” said Romano, noting that big-box retailers such as Canadian Tire already have smaller locations downtown such as the one at the Eaton Centre.

The site at the southwest corner of Cherry St. and Lake Shore Blvd. E. was home to Tent City, a shantytown built by homeless squatters who were evicted by Home Depot in 2002.

The developers closed the deal Oct. 29. The price is undisclosed.

The 5.54 hectare site is important to the fortunes of the waterfront not just in location, but also because of the scale: It was rezoned this year for 2.4 million square feet, which makes it larger than the 2-million-square-foot Pan Am athletes village project in the West Don Lands.

“We are very excited to come to Toronto,” said Jane Gol, president of Continental Ventures.

“There is a lot of synergy with arts and film, and there is incredible potential in waterfront development,” she said from New York.

“We already do a lot of work with waterfront in our city and we believe this is where people want to live.”

Gol, a former commissioner on New York City’s planning commission, has had significant experience in redeveloping and nurturing underdeveloped areas in urban centres. This is her first foray outside the United States.

“Other developers would come back and tell me that I should go see what’s happening in Toronto, that this would fit the type of long-term development that we do, and they were right, we love the city,” said Gol.

Romano said the project will likely be a mixed-use development of retail, condominium, hotel and office space.

“We are still in the planning stages, and we are assembling a team, but it will be something we can be proud of — we want to lead with outstanding design,” said Sam Crignano, president of Cityzen.

Crignano said the developers were in talks with Home Depot for the past year before the deal was struck. “Home Depot isn’t in the development business, so it was really a win-win for all sides,” said Romano.

Home Depot had owned the land for more than a decade. Despite public opposition to the 113,000-square-foot store, it took its fight to the Ontario Municipal Board, where it was turned down.

The controversy was not unlike the recent fight over the building of an ice rink in the portlands, dubbed “Home Depot 2010” by some critics, a clash over suburban and urban values.

As first revealed in the Star earlier this year, noted urban designer Ken Greenberg quit over the proposal which ignited debate over the fate of the portlands.

A revised vision of the rink was finally approved by Toronto City Council in August.

However, mayor-elect Rob Ford was one of the councillors who voted against the $88 million building, so it is by no means a sure thing.

The developers estimate it will take at least two or three years before a shovel hits the ground, and the project will take about a decade to build.

“We are all very patient developers and we want to see it done right,” said Gol.

The sale of the Home Depot site means that development along the Toronto waterfront is now at full throttle.

Waterfront Toronto also has another project in the East Bayfront district, four hectares of land south of Queens Quay Blvd., between Lower Sherbourne and Parliament Sts.

The plan, developed by Hines, a global real estate firm, was approved by council in August and calls for 1,700 condos and space for 2,400 jobs.

Romano’s company is the largest private owner of land in the Toronto waterfront area.

A related company in the Castlepoint group already owns two hectares adjoining the Home Depot site. And Castlepoint is a part owner in the neighbouring Pinewood Studios.

The developers are known for their bold design statements, including teaming with Cityzen and Fernbrook Homes to develop the L Tower, designed by star architect Daniel Libeskind on Front St.

Cityzen is a partner with Fernbrook on the Peter Clewes-designed Pier 27 waterfront condominium development at the foot of Yonge St.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 07:26 PM   #822
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Great news! Thanks for posting it, Jason.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 10:06 AM   #823
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbt View Post
I recall a handful of high-rise towers at the south-west corner adjacent to the tracks.
I thought those were only around 30-35 floors?
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Old November 4th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #824
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Quote:
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I thought those were only around 30-35 floors?
Yes. Does 300 feet not count as high-rise now?
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Old November 4th, 2010, 07:11 PM   #825
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As long as Concord doesn't have anything to do with the development, we should be fine.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 06:59 AM   #826
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Let's hope they move on to another city; preferably outside of Canada.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 10:49 PM   #827
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"Let’s not be waterfront wannabes"
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle1784949/

"When Toronto compares itself to Chicago, it suffers from waterfront envy. Torontonians who visit the Windy City often marvel at the swath of parkland that graces its Lake Michigan edge. Why can’t Toronto do something like that?

But imitating Chicago’s waterfront would be a mistake. As the latest news from down by the water shows, Toronto is trying something altogether different. The result should be a waterfront that in its own way is every bit as successful as Chicago’s.

Last week a group of developers struck a deal to buy a 5.54-hectare chunk of property at the east end of the downtown waterfront, just west of Cherry Street and south of the Gardiner Expressway. Home Depot originally planned to build a big-box store on the site. It dropped the idea after a public uproar and a negative decision from the Ontario Municipal Board. After sitting on the land for a decade, it decided to sell.

The new owners plan a mixed-used development – condos, offices, stores – that will transform the barren patch of land into a vibrant urban neighbourhood overlooking the harbour. Construction could start in three or four years.

The development is the latest in a string of exciting changes on the eastern end of the harbour. Just to the north of it, the West Donlands community is starting to emerge, anchored by the future Athletes Village for the 2015 Pan Am Games. Just to the west, the so-called East Bayfront is taking shape, with new office buildings, classrooms, shopping, apartments and condos.

Most Torontonians are still only vaguely aware that this is happening. Once they see all the construction, many will object. Memories of what happened around Harbourfront years ago still colour every debate about the waterfront. After a series of unattractive condos sprang up, many residents complained that the city was being cut off from the harbour by a wall of ugliness. No one wants that to happen again – and it won’t.

We have learned from the Harbourfront experience. Everything that goes up on the waterfront now has to go through design panels, environmental officials and planning approvals. To preserve harbour views, the buildings going up in East Bayfront will be arranged like a staircase, with the lower buildings by the water and the taller ones further back next to the Gardiner.

The whole area will be fronted by a tree-lined promenade so that people have direct access to the water. Two creative new parks, Sugar Beach and Sherbourne Park, provide still more open space.

“It’s not our hope to block the waterfront but to open it up,” says Jane Gol, president of Continental Ventures Realty, one of the developers of the Home Depot property.

What emerges will be far better than a sprawling waterfront park, swept by winter winds half the year. What we will get instead is a dynamic living community, open to the water but also tied into busy downtown scene. “If anything the waterfront needs more people. It needs life,” says Sam Crignano, president of the Cityzen Development Group, which is working with Ms. Gol’s Continental and with Castlepoint Realty Partners.

Chicago’s waterfront is the product of another era. City fathers decided in the mid-19th century to leave the land east of Michigan Avenue “public ground, forever to remain vacant of buildings.” The eventual result was the grand expanse of Grant Park, with its fountains, walking trails, softball fields and, most recently, the Frank Gehry-designed band shell of Millennium Park.

It’s a wonderful and heavily used public space, often known as downtown Chicago’s front lawn. But Toronto already has its waterfront green space: the Toronto Islands. For a growing city in the early 21st century, it makes more sense to build a truly urban waterfront where people come to live and work as well as play."
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Old November 6th, 2010, 01:03 AM   #828
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From Waterfront Toronto:

East Bayfront Construction Update



Over the next month, permanent light poles will be installed along the Water’s Edge Promenade, and the streets in and around Corus Quay. The lights, which will replace the temporary ones installed earlier this summer, include a timber tampered pole with a cast metal base featuring an oak/maple bark pattern.

The light poles, which were designed by West 8 + DTAH for the downtown waterfront, will also be installed at Canada’s Sugar Beach. The lights will be adapted slightly for the park by extending the height of the poles from nine metres to 12 metres, and by including three special light fixtures at the top which can be positioned to prevent light glare during concerts and other events.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 06:18 AM   #829
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From Sugar Beach, a new angle of the core.

image hosted on flickr

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4090/...06893dda_b.jpg

image hosted on flickr

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4124/...d5030367_b.jpg


Another view from the beach.
image hosted on flickr

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4112/...672488d2_b.jpg

This will look great when the trees mature.
image hosted on flickr

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4085/...4a99bc0d_b.jpg
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Old November 13th, 2010, 02:22 AM   #830
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Some time ago I started a thread about the West Don Lands in the General Urban Development section:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=982936
From time to time I will post some pictures.
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Old December 16th, 2010, 06:21 PM   #831
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Sherbourne Commom (park) is moving along.

[/QUOTE]
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Old December 16th, 2010, 07:01 PM   #832
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When are things gonna really get moving here?

[/QUOTE]

I filmed a bit of the new condo construction on King Street E, in Corktown, by Streetcar Developments.
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Old December 17th, 2010, 01:34 AM   #833
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What are the F pillers for? Looks really nice sherbourne Park and the new beach park.
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Old December 17th, 2010, 02:47 AM   #834
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OEincorparated View Post
What are the F pillers for? Looks really nice sherbourne Park and the new beach park.
They're a fountain feature. Water will drip from them into the new stream. Kind of like this.

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Old December 17th, 2010, 04:21 AM   #835
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Those 'F' things remind me too much of the Finnair logo:



Jeez.. nearly identical!
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Old December 17th, 2010, 09:50 AM   #836
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Lovin' the colour of the RBC Dexia, etc.. in that shot (of our grey city).
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Old December 17th, 2010, 08:32 PM   #837
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Quote:
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Those 'F' things remind me too much of the Finnair

Jeez.. nearly identical!
And is Santa flying airplanes instead of his reindeer these days?
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Old December 17th, 2010, 09:15 PM   #838
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someone recently sent me a depraved Forward cartoon of Santa and poor Rudolph.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 07:58 AM   #839
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Good progress, thanks for keeping us updated.
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Old January 6th, 2011, 07:04 AM   #840
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Already posted this in the developments section but very relevant to the waterfront in general:


http://www.waterfrontoronto.ca/uploa...s_campus_1.pdf

Not as impressive as the new Sheridan College in 'Sauga but a good addition to the waterfront. Should bring a lot more life to that area too.
















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