Ramako

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You just proved my point. Stand tall and tell all that anyone who had any hope that a project of such magnitude could be built in Toronto is clearly carrying unfounded expectations.

So what part of this scenario leads you to believe that Toronto strives for mediocrity "more than any of city in the world"? Is it because our planning staff (rightfully) threw the Official Plan out the window by effectively approving 92 and 82 storey towers in the Entertainment District, or is it because we've built so many luxury products in the last few years (e.g. Ritz, Four Seasons, Shangri-La, Trump) that the market is no longer there to actually finance and build Gehry's early conceptual designs? Which one of these things is the great injustice to you?

And as far as I can tell, the vast majority of major cities in the developed world don't have prominent civic figures like Mirvish who strive to do things like bringing Frank Gehry to their city. I'm also certain that if this was three 80+ storey condos developed by Canderel and designed by Page+Steele, the local councillor and chief planner wouldn't have formed a special working group to escort it through the planning process. Indeed, the only reason this project is happening is because it's so bold and so inspired.

But please, keep pushing this old naval-gazing, self-hating Toronto narrative.
 

freshcutgrass

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Actually, when it comes to compromise--Revell's City Hall, 1958

s0843_fl0134.jpg


1965

photo-toronto-new-city-hall-opening-night-note-on-left-construction-big-crowd-1965.jpg


Had UT existed in the Mad Men era, there'd be lotsa moaning about the compromises.

Possibly....but I fail to see any obvious major differences between the visionary model and the finished project. With a lot of pissing and moaning (and a good mayor being ousted for it) we did end up with the Henry Moore. (referring back to Toronto's allergic reaction towards art)
 

freshcutgrass

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or is it because we've built so many luxury products in the last few years (e.g. Ritz, Four Seasons, Shangri-La, Trump) that the market is no longer there to actually finance and build Gehry's early conceptual designs?

Ok...either provide actual evidence (which means something other than your wonky logic) to support your claim that the prior 2700 unit project was not financially feasible....or stop bloody repeating it.
 

Ramako

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Actually, it should become increasingly apparent that brains play a far more integral part in this drama than you think.

I am now going to the kitchen to get a fork...so I can stab myself in my freaking eyeball.

I'm quite sure Mirvish didn't hire Gehry to save money on the architectural bill.

I'm also quite sure you have no clue as to Gehry's working style involving his visions as translated through his mind...to the models...to the actual working plans...to the physical completed building. He has managed to build some pretty interesting stuff...and yea...they tend to be expensive to execute.

Oh really?? Can they take the profits from 700 condos in a Gehry building and transfer that to the remaining two as well? (see where the "brains" bit is starting to be more than just rhetoric)

Mirvish's position had always been that these three towers needed to be tall in order to make sense economically. It was based on the idea that the 50 storeys that the city wanted would only be enough to make a regular (non-Gehry) design feasible but that it took that extra 30-35 storeys to produce the profit to pay for Gehry's flourishes.

This makes sense on a tower by tower basis because if you're already going to the trouble of paying for the carrying costs, development costs, equipment, parking levels, etc. for a particular tower, after (and up to) a certain number of floors you hit economies of scale. On the flip side, if you axe one of the towers, you no longer have that extra profit but you also don't have that additional expense that the Gehry-flourishes would have added to that tower. To quote Mike in TO (who unlike me, actually works in the development industry and attended the community meeting), the reduction of units "may actually increase the economic viability by reducing carrying costs, speeding market absorption and lowering a number of risk factors".

Ultimately, I have little doubt that we would have seen similar architectural revisions whether or not the city approved the initial proposal. Not even in New York, Dubai or China do they put up towers as architecturally complex and ambitious as those were. No, I can't see into Mirvish's mind, but unless he was willing to throw gobs of money into Lake Ontario, I'm just not buying it.


Eliminating the POW solved a couple of problems...freed up space for a much better project and was a good business move for Mirvish. If you have been paying attention at all I shouldn't have to even be repeating this. Fewer seats to fill in a theatre down market means the remaining theatres are healthier (including the Royal Alex located on this site).

And I think you overestimate the "animation" the existing buildings add to the street. People aren't using POW 24/7. The rest of the tenants in the old warehouse buildings hardly add any animation to the street, unless you count the panhandlers outside Tim Hortons. Obviously, the original podium would have contained components better able to animate the street. And a better animated street requires wider sidewalks than currently exists (far more important element than people give credit to). You can just kiss that goodbye now.

What else is it you lament about the POW????
The shows?...you will still be able to see them...at the remaining venues.
The POMO street facade? I hope you wouldn't trade a Gehry to keep that.
The Stella art? Don't worry...Mirvish Has Stella on speed dial. (wait a minute...you're an art-hating Torontonian...never mind)

I'm an art-hating Torontonian? What are you talking about?

Anyway, Mirvish has said (I believe during the talk with Hume at the Toronto Reference Library, but it could have been somewhere else) that there's enough activity to sustain the POW in addition to his other theatres and that he'd prefer not to lose it, but that if a trade off has to be made then ultimately he doesn't need it. Regardless, I don't care whether getting rid of the POW is a good business decision for Mirvish personally, but only how its demolition impacts the city. I'm sure Mirvish's theatre business and the Toronto theatre scene will do just fine regardless of what happens to the POW.

With respect to how it animates the street, I understand that it's not a round the clock operation, but keep in mind that those 2000 to 4000 people per day who come to see a show (they have two shows a day on weekends and some weekdays) will often have dinner in nearby restaurants before the show or have drinks in nearby bars afterwards. The POW helps to make the neighbourhood an evening destination in a way that an additional 700 condos units and the expanded gallery space wouldn't have.

With respect to the heritage warehouse housing the Tim Hortons, I never claimed that it animated the street, and I'm hoping that sometime down the line it will eventually get torn down in favour of a tower (the lot is actually a little larger than Theatre Park's lot). And once it is, we'll get back those lost 700 units and hopefully a legitimate gallery space at the base to replace the one that Mirvish now proposes on the roof of the heritage building.

I did not claim that as a blanket statement at all. I am strictly referring to this project, and these players specifically.

Like I've said...if it's the same height, same density, same precedent setting situation, but instead with zero public realm or cultural benefits (ala Aura), then it gets approval from the City (in fact is given height increases).

What we have here, are two men...both of which are Toronto-born and world class in their respective fields, contemplating what is essentially their going out with a bang legacy projects.

And you are telling me we have "gained" from the city-directed dumbing down of this project? Your are indeed rationalizing...or you just have bad taste.

Your comparison to Aura is disingenuous. Aura went up on a bare parking lot in a run-down part of town. This is a totally different scenario.

Furthermore, I'm not trying to suggest that the city hold Mirvish and Gehry's feet to the fire or approach them in a combative manner. I agree that these men are trying to do something special, and I'm glad that the city went out of its way to find a way to approve this project, but ultimately it's not Mirvish's or Gehry's job to properly integrate the development with the surrounding fabric. That's what planners are for, and that's why planners and the city need to be actively involved in this project instead of just rubber-stamping it. That's how you end up with a superior and more well thought out project that takes various considerations into account. The city gains by having the architect and developer sit down and work co-operatively with planning staff instead of against it or despite it. The new quasi-public space envisioned for Duncan Street is evidence of that.

The lack of boldness is not based on what we get....but what we turned down. Step back and think about that.

What's there to step back and think about? Opportunity cost is hardly a profound concept, and it's also premised on the idea that Gehry's initial concept would have gone forward and have been built substantially unchanged but for the meddling of the city, which I reject outright.
 
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Ramako

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Ok...either provide actual evidence (which means something other than your wonky logic) to support your claim that the prior 2700 unit project was not financially feasible....or stop bloody repeating it.


There have been lot of articles talking about the luxury market in Toronto is strained ever since the big four hotels were built:

"Shocking" number of luxury condos for sale on MLS

The number of $1 million-plus condos for sale in Toronto has reached such “shocking†levels, it would take about 20 months to sell them all given current demand, more than four times what it would take to clear the current inventory of more conventional condos.

What’s even more worrisome is those numbers don’t include “shadow inventory,†which could easily exceed the number of high-end condos that were listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service as of the end of June, says Toronto realtor Andrew la Fleur who did the math recently on behalf of an investor.

That shadow inventory includes units that have yet to sell in five-star hotel projects like the Trump International Hotel & Tower, Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La and Four Seasons, all of which have hit the market in the last two years.

...

“It’s very crowded out there,†says la Fleur, who found prices have remained flat, or even slumped, for folks who bought into many of the five-star hotel projects before they were built.

He believes it could be at least three years, and perhaps as much as a decade, before investors in that sector really start to see gains.

Furthermore it's common knowledge that the condo market in the Entertainment District has run out of steam. That's why King Blue isn't selling, why Noir had to be put on hold and re-launched, why Tux was cancelled and why a glut of proposals in the neighbourhood have gone stale.

So, no, I haven't seen Mirvish's pro formas, but it doesn't take a deep financial analysis to conclude that 2,700 units of what would probably be of the most expensive condos to ever be built in this country, if not this continent, would have a hard time selling in this market. I think it's wishful thinking to believe otherwise.
 

innsertnamehere

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King blue has apparently been bought by a Chinese company (Greenland) and will be built as rentals. Idk why the sales office is still open, the building isn't happening as "king blue"

Noir will probably manage to scrape through as a regular condo, but yes this development has challenges. That said, it's probably still a year or two away from launch and has significant hype going around it unlike those other buildings. Usually when you get the level of hype going on around this project it's a good sign when the sales centre opens. (Look at 11 Wellesley, 460 Yonge, etc. Which built huge hype prior to launch)
 

freshcutgrass

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Your comparison to Aura is disingenuous. Aura went up on a bare parking lot in a run-down part of town. This is a totally different scenario
.

The only thing disingenuous here, is calling College Park a "run down" part of town. ha ha ha

Does this not have similar height and densities as the G&M buildings? Yes
Does this not set a height precedent for the area it is in? Yes



Mirvish's position had always been that these three towers needed to be tall in order to make sense economically. It was based on the idea that the 50 storeys that the city wanted would only be enough to make a regular (non-Gehry) design feasible but that it took that extra 30-35 storeys to produce the profit to pay for Gehry's flourishes.

That is referring to density...not height. The latter being a result of the former.


This makes sense on a tower by tower basis because if you're already going to the trouble of paying for the carrying costs, development costs, equipment, parking levels, etc. for a particular tower, after (and up to) a certain number of floors you hit economies of scale.

No...it doesn't make sense. It's the "up to" that matters here. At a certain point, diseconomies of scale start to kick in for very tall buildings.

Look...you can tap dance all you want, but you can't change the fact that the loss of profits on 700 units significantly changes the game on this project.

Oh wait, according to you he could never had sold them anyway, because downtown Toronto is apparently a difficult place to sell condos. ha ha ha

Pull this leg and it plays Jingle Bells
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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Let's put it this way - what's one going to do about it instead of complain? Write to the councillors for additional density? Boycott the developer and not buy a unit where one isn't going to anyways? Let's get real.

AoD
 

modernizt

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Not sure why my post was deleted but constant rhetoric and ranting like "I am now going to the kitchen to get a fork...so I can stab myself in my freaking eyeball" from freshcutgrass is considered more worthwhile...
 

NBGtect

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Thank you, AoD!! It gets so tiresome when a forum member gets so personal; especially when most of us just want to discuss the merits of something or to be frank and open about our experiences in the industry.

There are many ways to view this proposal.

We just happened to be out in front of the PoW last night. It's an awesome feeling here after the theatre lets out, and adding the Jays fans into the mix makes it that much better. We could hear people speak about the 'saving' of the theatre and how happy they were. We are too.

People need to realize that their e-opinion is not the gold standard around here. Being forceful and dogmatic and telling people they should or shouldn't like something when they don't isn't productive.

But if I'm going to take one forum member's opinions seriously, Ramako would be it! Thanks man :)
 

LowPolygon

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This is kind of a mixed bag for me. On one hand I am happy that we will keep the theatre and some of the historic buildings but I am not happy with the design of the towers. I was hoping for a development that would be one of Gehry's greatest works but I don't see that in this design. I don't think these towers will get much acclaim or attention, anywhere outside of Canada.

The design just seems like a pile of boxes at weird angles, with a few indentations here and there, to make it a Gehry. Isn't it basically just 8 Spruce Street light, with a little brother? Those podiums will not help to make the street interesting or beautiful. They are just big and boxy, with a bit of a sculptural quality but still a little boring. There is no variety in textures, shapes or curves. What I love about Gehry's projects are the CURVES and we will get none of that here. I just can't help but think that this will be another AGO, which = Gehry light and the AGO just doesn't work for me at all. You almost never hear the AGO mentioned in articles about Gehry. This is not what I think of, when I think of Gehry.

I know this is a work in progress, so I hope some new details emerge to animate this project, especially in those podiums. The arts centre is going to be a pretty small attraction, if it's under 10,000 square feet. I say go big, or go home. Mirvish should donate that art to an organization and try to get a major Modern art museum build, maybe somewhere on the waterfront. I also don't see much of a public space here.

I'll be happy if it's built but right now, I just can't get too excited from what I've seen so far. I really expected better from Gehery. I wanted something that would be his swan song, bold and original. (YES, even in not so bold and original, Toronto)

I'll keep waiting and hoping for more.


I think they got the angle of the roof, just perfect. I have a feeling that most people are gonna love that roof. (and the lighting too) This and L Tower are both bringing some much needed zip, to our skyline.

You've got to love the ersatz 'more in sorrow than anger' hand-wringing from members who have been cooing affectionately over a POS spandrel festooned mediocrity like Aura and then have the chutzpah to weigh in here in 'great sadness and anger' over 'what could have been'.

Give me a break.

Anyone who wasn't tearing their hair out over the fact that the city allowed a 78 STORY BUILDING to go up without a REAL architect has no business getting on their high horse in this thread over how the city lost the chance to "make history", "go big and bold", "enter the big leagues". etc.

We're already a laughing stock because of Aura and Trump. Let's focus on that. The pursuit of accolades is the least of our worries. Let's at least try to stop building garbage first.
 

verticalvillage

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Remember, the iterations of the original plan actually increased in complexity over time. These are just preliminary models of the new plan, so I bet we will see some more Gehry flourishes in the coming weeks.
Never the less, I really like the designs. They will certainly be the most memorable condos built in Toronto thus far.
 

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