A newly proposed mega-development in downtown Toronto was announced late last month, highlighting how the city’s vertical growth spree continues to pick up momentum.
The $2.7 billion ($3.5 billion Canadian dollars) Union Park project, helmed by Oxford Properties Group, a partner in New York’s Hudson Yards, will be one of the largest mixed-use project in the city’s history.
Set on four acres just north of two city landmarks, Rogers Centre (the sports stadium formerly known as the SkyDome) and CN Tower (the city’s iconic communications and observation tower), the development will consist of twin curved 58- and 48-story office towers and apartments surrounded by newly landscaped public parkland, and bring 4.3 million square feet of new mixed-use office, residential, and retail spaces to downtown.
This development comes at a time when other large-scale mixed-use projects, such as the 12-acre Sidewalk Labs-backed Quayside smart city project and The Well, a 7-acre “21st century city,” highlight the city’s rapid expansion. A growing tech industry and expanded immigration, among other factors, have fueled a Toronto condo boom; there are 400 proposed high-rise projects in the pipeline, according to Rider Levett Bucknall a global construction firm, and the city has the most construction cranes in North America.
According to the Financial Post, other forthcoming Toronto mega-projects include CIBC SQUARE, a two-tower development adding 3 million square feet of space and a new Microsoft office, and a plan by Cadillac Fairview and Investment Management Corporation of Ontario to develop 1.2 million-plus square feet of mixed-use office and retail at 160 Front Street West.
Union Park fills a gap in the market, said Oxford vice president Carlo Timpano, shifting the financial sector of the city west by providing additional office space for expansion, and adding needed retail and residential space for an underserved part of the downtown core.
The floors for the office portion of the development are designed to measure 100,000 square feet, providing the large, open floor plans favored by tech tenants.
Union Park will also add public amenities to the downtown, including an enclosed winter garden for all-season recreation and a new two-acre park built atop a covered rail line. The park will point towards Lake Ontario, helping provide a new pedestrian pathway linking the business district with the waterfront.
Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, which designed San Francisco’s Salesforce Tower, with local support from Toronto’s Adamson Associates, the project will be spread across two towers, and add 800 apartment units and 200,000 square feet of retail. The city’s PATH underground pedestrian tunnel system will be expanded to connect to the Union Park Project.
The two-acre park, which will cap the Union station rail corridor between Blue Jays Way and the John Street Bridge, is designed by OJB Landscape Architecture. It’s not the first such project under development; the city’s own Rail Deck Park, a proposed 21-acre green space that just won an appeal against stopping its construction, will be right around the corner.
Oxford, which is starting the public engagement and municipal approvals processes now, expects to begin construction in 2023 and finish within five to six years.