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Mirvish+Gehry Development Resubmitted as Two Supertalls

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The tallest Frank Gehry-designed structures in the world are proposed to get taller. The proposed east and west towers of Mirvish+Gehry Toronto are now proposed to rise to 301.55 metres and 329 metres, respectively, to the top of glazed parapet walls crowing the towers, following a submission by Great Gulf for Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments with revised plans. The proposed heights place both towers above 300 metres, the number at which the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat recognizes a tower as a ‘supertall’.

There are currently 91 supertall skyscrapers in the world, 17 of which are in the United States. There are none currently in Canada, although 1 is currently under construction in Toronto at Bloor and Yonge, and dubbed The One. 101 other supertalls are under construction around the world, nearly all of them in Asian and Arabian Gulf countries. There are also 3 ‘megatalls’ in the world, 600 metres and taller, with another 3 under construction.

The east and west towers, approximately 27 and 24 metres taller, respectively, than the previous plan, now have one fewer inhabited floor each, coming in at 81 and 91 storeys. The height difference comes from taller floors, an indication that the developer is anticipating a demand for higher ceilings in what will be considered luxury suites.

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, designed by Gehry Partners LLP for Great GulfLooking northwest to an updated model of Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, image from submission to the City of Toronto

The zoning bylaw amendment that achieved approval for the previous version noted that neither tower would cast a shadow on the north sidewalk of Queen Street, three blocks to the north and protected as a Heritage Conservation District. New Sun and Shadow Studies indicate a small additional shadow impact during the mornings at the Spring and Fall Equinoxes, dates at which the City judges shadow impact. It remains to be seen if the City will accept the small incremental shadow increase.

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, designed by Gehry Partners LLP for Great GulfSample shadow study on the equinoxes at 11.18 AM, incremental shadow in pink, image by Bousfields

There are many more differences than merely a change in height to the towers. Especially notable is that a high-end hotel is now part of the recipe for the west tower, replacing 237 residential suites on floors 10 through 20 with 209 hotel rooms and 2 new podium floors of function rooms. The 91st floor of the west tower will also be deduced to the hotel; as yet what use the hotel will make of that floor is not stated in the plans. Total residential suites in the two towers drops to 1,716, for which a total of 572 bicycle storage spaces are proposed. The total number of parking spaces provided is proposed to drop to 454 from 662.

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, designed by Gehry Partners LLP for Great GulfLooking north to an updated model of Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, image from submission to the City of Toronto

Another notable change are new canopies extending over much of Duncan Street (with the honourary name of Ed Mirvish Way on this block) between the east and west towers. The canopies will provide architectural interest at street level while protecting those arriving at the hotel, and sheltering warm-weather outdoor tables at a hotel cafe on the west side of Duncan. Two floors of retail will animate the base of both buildings, while the third floor of the west podium is proposed as commercial office space. 

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, designed by Gehry Partners LLP for Great GulfWest and East Podium uses, Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, designed by Gehry Partners LLP for Great Gulf

Both the Royal Alexandra Theatre and the Princess of Wales Theatre are maintained in the new plan, as is the facade of the heritage Anderson Building, which will now stand as an entrance to a rental space in front of the sculpted metal wall of the west podium. OCAD University will get over 2 floors of space in the east tower podium, some of which is planned to be a new art gallery. The Mirvish Gallery will be established in the Eclipse Whitewear Building at the west end of the west block (across John Street from the Lightbox).

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, designed by Gehry Partners LLP for Great GulfTop-of-tower uses, Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, designed by Gehry Partners LLP for Great Gulf

Tuned Mass Dampers will take up some of the space on the 82nd and 92nd mechanical penthouse floors in the towers to counteract wind loads and reduce sway. (Click on any images to see them larger.)

Additional information and both old images and more new images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.

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Do you know what kind of condo you’re buying?

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(NC) Condominiums can come in all shapes and sizes. But it’s important to know that not all condos are created equal when it comes to warranty coverage.

Whether you’re buying a condominium townhouse, loft-style two-bedroom or a high-rise studio, they are all classified as condominiums if you own your unit while at the same time share access (and the associated fees) for facilities ranging from pools and parking garages to elevators and driveways, otherwise known as common elements.

The most common types of condos are standard condominiums and common elements condominiums. The determination of how a condominium project is designated happens during the planning stage when the builder proposes the project and the municipality approves it.

When you’re in the market to buy, you need to know how your chosen condo is classified because it affects the warranty coverage under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Standard condominiums have warranty coverage for units and common elements, but common elements condominiums only have unit coverage.

How could this affect you as the owner? If your condo complex has underground parking and, for example, there are problems with leaks or a faulty door, the condo designation will determine whether there’s warranty coverage.

If your unit is a standard condominium development, then the common elements warranty may cover the repairs. If it’s a common element condominium development, then repairs might have to be covered by the condo corporation’s insurance, which could impact your condo fees or require a special assessment on all the owners.

To avoid surprises, you should have a real estate lawyer review the Declaration and Description attached to your purchase agreement to be sure that you know the designation and boundaries of the unit you’re looking to purchase. Find more information on the types of condos and their coverage at tarion.com.

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5 savvy renovations to make your kitchen look like new

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(NC) The kitchen is the heart and focal point of any home. But if yours is looking a little tired, a few simple renovations can change the feel of the entire space.

Whether you’ve just moved in, have been meaning to update for years or are experiencing life changes, remember that a kitchen uplift doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. These small-scale projects could be the change your kitchen needs:

  1. Brighten it up.Adding LED lights below your cabinets will brighten your backsplash and counter and provide a warm glow. Place your favourite containers below to act as focal points – those copper canisters that are hiding under the island and the marble coasters you couldn’t resist can now all be on display.
  2. Swap the old with the new.The backsplash is the first thing you see, so replacing it can be enough to give the space a whole new look. Try a unique shape or colour to change things up, like turquoise or patterned tiles, hexagon-shaped tiles or even a full slab of stainless steel.
  3. Rework what you have.People often think new cabinets are necessary for a kitchen reno, but a lot can be done with what you’ve got. Repainting the cabinets and switching out the knobs to chic new handles will do wonders for a makeover.
  4. Don’t hide away.Try adding some open shelving in an unused spot, such as above the sink or window, or next to the cabinets. Display your most beautiful dishes and add some decorative pieces to give the space a modern, airy feel.
  5. Add new materials into the mix.Changing the island to a butcher-block counter adds warmth and practicality.

Taking on a renovation can often feel overwhelming. But if you talk to your contractor about budgeting and spreading out payments through services like The Home Depot Project Loan, it can be easier than you think. The service allows you to finance any home projects, big or small and is available at locations across Canada.

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How to afford a home renovation that fits your life

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(NC) Changing seasons always bring about the desire to update our living spaces. But your life stage and budget can influence what kind of upgrades you can make. Here are some tips to get you started.

Assess the investment. The first step is to gauge how much value your investment will bring, whether you’re looking to sell or grow into a family home. A common misconception among home owners is that all renovations will increase a home’s value; unfortunately, this is not always the case. It’s always a good idea to strategically renovate the space to fit your life plan and goals.

Plan for both long- and short-term value. As a homeowner, it is important to assess what kind of value items can contribute to your life plan. Searching for products that are energy efficient, like an eco-friendly washing machine or water filtration system, can help you save on your monthly bills. A long-term investment, such as hardwood floors or bathroom tiles, can spruce up a living space for years to come. While sometimes this require a larger budget, the project can be both appealing to future buyers and stand the test of time in a family home.

Create a renovation budget. Once you have a clear plan, you’ll need to create a budget to align with your financial goals. Always ensure your budget includes any interest you’ll be paying. Ask multiple sources for competitive quotes.

Use a payment plan. For those high-ticket investment items, consider using a payment plan. Payment solutions such as The Home Depot Project Loan can help with bigger renovations. This allows you to stick to your budgeting goals while using a flexible payment plan to make larger purchases more accessible.

Use DIY to offset costs. In addition to using a payment plan, taking on a few safe and simple renovation projects yourself is an easy way to offset renovation costs. Your local hardware store can help source materials and provide helpful tips to make those do-it-yourself projects, such as refinishing cabinets or sanding old hardwood floors, a breeze.

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