Last week, the Province of Ontario announced the $260 million sale of the LCBO lands, located just east of the foot of Yonge Street in Downtown Toronto. Accompanying the announcement, preliminary plans for part of the site were outlined by new owner Menkes Developments, with a 24-storey office tower and a 8,755 m² park fronting Queens Quay.
Those uses cover the portion of the site south of a Harbour Street extension. The north end could look very different. This week, a development application for the entirety of the 11.5-acre area was submitted to the City of Toronto, revealing a proposed cluster of additional towers with heights of 85, 80, 76, 74, 70, and 65 storeys (in orange).
With Cooper Street at its centre, the site spans north-south between Queens Quay and Lake Shore Boulevard, with two long blocks on either side of Cooper. As part of the Lower Yonge Precinct redevelopment plan, Harbour Street will be extended east through the site, effectively dividing the both existing blocks in half.
The new public park and the B+H Architects-designed office tower—seen below, the building will house the LCBO's corporate headquarters along with a new liquor store to replace the current one onsite—will respectively occupy Blocks 3 and 1, south of Harbour Street. While the majority of Block 3 will be given over to park space, a two-storey retail frontage at the north end of the block will face Harbour Street, contributing to a shopping strip along the extended street. North of Harbour Street, the proposal envisions a total of six towers on Blocks 4 and 2.
At the northwest end of the site, Block 4 sees the lion's share of new density. Four residential towers are proposed for the area currently occupied by the LCBO's head office and warehouse (built between 1950 and 1954). Fronting Lake Shore Boulevard, the plan for the north half of the site "includes the retention of the majority of the existing 4-storey LCBO office building," according to a planning rationale submitted to the City on May 10th. Above, the site's two tallest towers ('B' and 'C') rise to 85 and 80 storeys above a shared podium, with 960 and 1,050 units respectively.
As the project is still in its very early stages, the proposed massing and residential density does not necessarily reflect what may eventually be built. Since the proposed height—which tops out at 288.5 metres for the 85-storey 'B' tower—exceeds the general density and heights targeted in the Lower Yonge Precinct Plan, the scope of the project could be scaled down somewhat before approvals are granted. Seen below, the Lower Yonge Precinct Plan only foresees three towers on Block 4, where the Menkes proposal has four.
In this sense, the proposed massing should be considered a starting point for negotiations between Menkes and the City. In terms of architectural expression, the elevations seen earlier likely do not indicate an aesthetic direction for the project, merely illustrating the proposed massing. Similarly, the Waterfront Toronto rendering above featuresplaceholder towers representing envisioned building locations and massing.