Though long-established, downtown Toronto’s Queen West neighborhood is no stranger to development, with new buildings occasionally being inserted into the area’s low-rise topology. As the city’s Queen Street West Heritage Conservation District (HCD) plan applies here, the new buildings on the Queen here must be sized to fit within the existing historic buildings.
After completing the first phase of the 17-story Queen Richmond Center West (QRC West) in 2015, Allied Properties REIT recently moved forward with the second and final phase of the commercial project. The second phase of seven stories, low to medium rise, is now nearing completion at the southwest corner of Queen Street and Peter Street.
Looking southwest at the complete design for QRC West Phase Two, image from submission to the City of Toronto
Work has progressed at a steady pace since the demolition of previous low-rise buildings on the site began in the final weeks of 2020, with most of the concrete framework now in place that will make up the terraced cluster by architects Sweeny & Co. designed building. Facing Queen Street West with a street wall that maintains the low scale of neighboring buildings, a series of setbacks transitions the new building to its 7-story mark without affecting the HCD’s required 45-degree angular plane, which ensures some regularity the amount of light reaching the busy shopping street.
Looking southwest at the concrete frame, now 6 stories, image by UT Forums contributor Red Mars
As it stands at the moment, the building phase two to the sixth floor has been built. Above the sixth floor slab, the concrete columns that will support the top floor have been poured and cured, and the formwork for the seventh floor slab is in place before the next pour. Focusing on the northeast corner of the phase, we can see a cutout on the third level where the eventual glass corner structural volume will complete the glazing of the street wall.
Moving west we can see the 6 story frame of the building which also emerges over the four neighboring lots to the west. Formerly occupied by an above ground parking lot, the lots behind these roadside lots (owned by others) were included from the outset in the L-shaped plans for QRC West’s second phase, where a significant portion of the total area of the phase lies .
Looking southeast of the south volume rising behind the Queen Street facade, image by UT Forum contributor Red Mars
With a new facade for the corner volume outlined in the phase two design, the surviving facade of a Grade I listed building immediately to the west, commonly known as 381 Queen Street West, will be restored to form part of the phase’s Queen Street front. Supported throughout the demolition process by a steel facade support structure, the facade is now connected to the new concrete frame behind and the temporary steel structure has been removed. While the top floor of the Grade II listed façade remains largely in its original condition, a more extensive restoration process is required to restore the second level Grade II listed attributes. In the meantime, the glazing plan for the ground floor (where all historical elements are long gone) will be a modern interpretation of the original design.
Close-up of the surviving historic facade at 381 Queen Street West, image by UT Forum contributor Red Mars
Viewing the site from the southeast across Peter Street, we get a better sense of the size of the mid-rise volume, the mass of which is not visible to those walking down Queen Street’s south sidewalk. From this angle, even the forthcoming seventh floor will be visible as the various setbacks push the mass further south and close to this vantage point.
Looking northwest at the concrete frame from Peter Street, image by Northern Light, contributor to the UT Forums
The new phase is pending an enclosed multi-story bridge that will cross the lane between it and the first phase to allow access to the first phase elevators at levels three through seven.
With the completion of this project in the near future, we can expect the first glazing panels to appear in the coming months. Upon completion of the phase, the QRC West complex will add a total of 6,571 sqm of new office space while also adding 1,526 sqm of new retail space with premium facades on Queen Street West.
UrbanToronto will continue to monitor the progress of this development, but in the meantime you can learn more from our database file linked below. If you wish, you can join the discussion in the dedicated project forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.
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