It’s a tall order to successfully incorporate substantial heritage elements into a modern tower that rises 47 storeys high but an executive with Graywood Developments feels his firm has managed the feat seamlessly as it prepares to market its new downtown Toronto mixed-use project this fall.
The Peter & Adelaide building from Graywood pays tribute to the architectural heritage of existing buildings on its site and of some of its neighbours with a brick, metal, concrete and glass exterior.
But with such amenities as a demonstration kitchen, hotel-quality lounge and creative hub with Silicon Valley-type communal working spaces, Graywood has its sights set on today’s urban worker, said the firm’s vice-president of development, Adidharma Purnomo.
The property, at the corner of Peter and Adelaide Streets not far from the Entertainment District, is home to three heritage buildings and Graywood underwent lengthy consultation efforts with the City of Toronto and neighbours including the keen 401 Richmond group to reach solutions to preserve the historic features.
Two are old brick buildings, former garment outlets with wide-open space inside that lately have been used as offices, and the third is a former Victorian semi residence with masonry plus gables and bay windows. It has been used for multiple functions recently, including dining and even home to a psychic, said Purnomo.
"We met with heritage preservation staff to see where we could land with accommodating these properties and we ended up with a very good conservation strategic plan that partially preserved 350 and 352 Adelaide St. and almost full retention of 118 Peter St.," he said.
BBB Architects, U31 Inc. and MBTW were contracted to do the design, interiors and landscaping respectively. Chris Borgal of GBCA worked on Graywood’s heritage strategy. No contractor has been selected yet.
BBB has created a tiered podium that graduates from three to six to 16 storeys along Adelaide while the Peter Street side features columns intended to offer sightlines of the historic buildings on the block. The first couple of floors of podium will have retail, food or beverage, said Purnomo.
"In some ways we took consideration of the esthetics of the old world and tried to capture it in the contemporary design," he said of the different levels of podiums, all done with brick. "We want to have the feeling that this building blends in with the context."
Purnomo said it is not always necessary to create a new identity for a project.
"Being contextual is important to every project, especially when we are building in downtown Toronto," he said. "Because at the end of the day it has to feel like this is a home. It has to fit into the context.
"Creating something foreign or even iconic may not fit into the site. The place already has an identity on its own."
Purnomo said sales will start this fall, with groundbreaking targeted for 2019 and completion eyed for 2022. He said Graywood is "very excited" about the marketplace even with some unpredictability currently in the air.
"At the end of the day, we feel confident that good properties in a good location in the downtown area, which is very close to offices, the financial area and the entertainment district, will attract a lot of demand," said Purnomo.
Amenities besides the demonstration kitchen include 17th-floor podium-top swimming and reflection pools, a large gym overlooking Adelaide Street and an internal courtyard to the north. U31 Inc. designed the communal work space and recreational hub, inspired, said Graywood, by the neighbourhood’s creative industry and manufacturing roots.
"I think one of the big demographics are professionals, even freelancers, people who work in the creative industries, who may want to have the ability to work from home, this allows them to be close to their clients and a place to work, and collaborate with other consultants, people in the industry," said Purnomo. "We feel this is important. And the ability to bring their clients there."
The development will feature a range of housing options from studios to three-bedroom suites with pricing starting in the $300,000s. The units will have quartz countertops and backsplashes and integrated appliances with a suite design said to be inspired by the modernist functionalism of Scandinavia’s boutique hotels.
Other Graywood projects include Five Condos, the Mercer and the Ritz-Carlton.