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Office Tower at Mega-Project ‘The Well’ Reaching Grade





It’s been 7 weeks since we last checked in on The Well, Toronto’s biggest construction project. Since then, the site has changed dramatically due to excavation progress, foundation pouring, and work on the building’s unique HVAC system. The mega-project by Diamond Corp, Allied Properties REIT, Rio Can REIT, Tridel, and Woodbourne will bring a 36-storey office tower, 6 residential buildings, and 432,000 ft² of retail space to the Entertainment District at Front and Spadina.

The Well, RioCan REIT, Allied Properties REIT, Diamond Corp, TridelWide range view of the entire construction site from the south east of Front and Spadina, image by of Forum contributer drum118

The 14 month excavation, which the contractor had set out to complete by the end of November, is close to wrapping up. Crews have begun disassembling the excavation ramp – which will be removed within the next two months.

With excavation out of the way in the centre of the site, work has ramped up on pouring the first residential buildings’ foundations and underground parking levels. In our last update, the underground levels of the Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed office tower were one floor below grade on the east side of the site abutting an adjacent heritage office building on Spadina. This corner has now reached street level, while the rest of the floor slab is in the preparation stage, with steel rebar being laid in preparation for the concrete pour. 

The Well, RioCan REIT, Allied Properties REIT, Diamond Corp, TridelRebar caging work at grade for the Hariri Pontarini office tower, image by Forum contributor drum118

To the west of the office tower, the 46-storey architectsAlliance-designed rental tower on Front Street—which was just in the process of its elevator core being formed in early October—now has a grid of steel rebar laid for pouring the base of the P5 parking level. In the photo below, crews can be seen installing the vertical rebar protruding through the steel grid: this s where walls and columns will be built. These rebar pieces will be wired to the next level’s rebar, to extend the support columns into the P4 level and provide strong structural support to the upper levels of the building.

The Well, RioCan REIT, Allied Properties REIT, Diamond Corp, TridelRebar forming for the underground levels of the 46 Storey architectsAlliance rental tower, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

The Well’s uniquely robust ventilation system, which utilizes a Ventilation Air Trench at its 7th underground level, was dug last month and has now been framed with steel reinforced concrete. The purpose of the trench is to bring fresh air into the deepest level of the garage, and then distribute it upwards to the six below-grade levels. 

The Well, RioCan REIT, Allied Properties REIT, Diamond Corp, TridelThe ventilation air trench has been roughed out in concrete, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

Along the northern side of the site, two of the three Wallman Architects-designed condo buildings have begun to form at their lowest levels. Tower A, which is furthest east, and located were the yellow crane is, was the first of the residential towers to begin construction. Seen in the distance with its initial walls in, the floor slab for P5 has just started to be formed above its lowest parking level. The white crane is for the second of these Wellington Street towers. The crane for Tower B was raised in early October as the site’s fifth of an eventual twelve cranes.

The Well, RioCan REIT, Allied Properties REIT, Diamond Corp, TridelTwo shovels dig space for the Enwave Cisterns, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

The two green shovels seen in the photo above are digging another portion of the project’s HVAC infrastructure. The Well is set to hold two 6 million litre Enwave cisterns to expand the Toronto Enwave Network not only to the building itself, but also to future developments in the west end of downtown. Enwave is a sustainable energy company that provides heating and cooling systems to the majority of Downtown Toronto’s office buildings. Enwave technology uses a Deep Lake Water Cooling System that pumps cold water from pipes submerged 83 metres deep in Lake Ontario. The cooling system reduces electricity use by 75% compared to traditional air conditioning. The Well will act as a storage base to hold the cold water which can then later be pumped to new developments built west of Spadina.

The Well, RioCan REIT, Allied Properties REIT, Diamond Corp, TridelA rendering of the entrance to the commercial component to The Well, image courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

The office tower at The Well is set to open in 2022 when it will play host to Index Exchange and Shopify as its anchor tenants. 

You can learn about The Well by visiting our database file, linked below. You can get in on the conversation in the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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UrbanToronto now has a new way you can track projects through the planning process on a daily basis. Sign up for a free trial of our New Development Insider here.


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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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Real Estate

10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers





Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

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