Bay-Adelaide towers tell a story
Another tower is rising in the canyons of Toronto’s financial district. The 44-storey Bay-Adelaide East tower due to be completed by the end of this year marks another stage in the history of a development that has been a bellwether of Toronto’s economy.
A tower on the site was originally conceived in the boom years of the late 1980s. Construction began in 1990, but after the parking levels and elevator core were completed and $500 million had been invested by Markborough Properties and TrizecHahn, construction was halted in 1993. An economy in recession and office vacancy rates of 20% led the project to be called off, leaving just the service core stump and car parking levels remaining.
The tower had always been contentious because of its massive size and height, which exceeded the city’s official plan. However, the developers had won permission to build in exchange for providing a half-acre public park and other social facilities, and these were carried forward and built.
After more than a decade where the stump stood as a sorry reminder in the face of the financial community of the perils of overblown real estate investment, new plans sprang to life. In 2006 Brookfield Properties took over and began development. The 1990s tower stump and adjacent buildings were demolished to make way for the new West Tower at 51 storeys which was completed in 2009. It incorporates facades of the historically designated National Building.
The East Tower now rising will have over a million square feet of office space, with Deloitte as its anchor tenant. As well, a six-storey block Podium is nearing completion to the east of the tower, connecting to Yonge Street. There will also be a pedestrian arts and events precinct on Temperance Street along the north side. A tower on the north is also planned.
Bay-Adelaide East Tower is being designed to LEED platinum standards, with 45% energy savings and features such as multiple HVAC zones per floor, water conservation, exit stairs 20% wider than code, and two generators for back-up.
The design team for Bay-Adelaide East is KPMB and Adamson Associates as architects, Entuitive as structural engineers, TMP as mechanical engineers, and Mulvey + Banani as electrical engineers.