Concert Properties has gone to considerable lengths to ensure its first highrise condo development in Toronto makes a favourable impression. The project, 88 Scott — a 58-storey, 480-unit tower — will be built at the corner of Wellington and Scott streets, where the Financial District meets the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood.
Designed by Page + Steele/IBI Group Architects, 88 Scott will have a five-storey mixed-use podium that incorporates the reconstructed facade of a 1951 building that currently sits on the property.
“The original limestone will be taken down, catalogued, cleaned and reintegrated back into the building,” explains Kelly Wilson, Concert’s vice-president of development.
The developer plans to improve upon the design of the original structure, making it more open and inviting at street level. Every other pilaster on the building will be removed, creating portals that lead into 88 Scott’s two-storey atrium; and the existing sills, which sit above street level, will be brought down to grade.
“(The reconstruction of the building) will be tremendously expensive,” Wilson acknowledges, “but we think it will add a strong architectural element that will help set this project apart.”
88 Scott’s suites range from studios to 1,900-square-foot, three-bedroom units, with penthouses that range from 2,600 sq. ft. to more than 4,000 sq. ft.
The condos are priced from the mid-$300,000s to the mid-$800,000s.
Designed by Union31, suites will have wide-plank laminate flooring and floor-to-ceiling windows with roller sun shades. Most units have a balcony or terrace.
There will be 481 bike parking spaces at 88 Scott, the equivalent of one for every unit (and more than the number of car parking stalls).
88 Scott has been designed as a “vertical neighbourhood,” with amenity areas on three different levels.
There will be a lobby lounge at ground level, with a cafe and meeting room.
On the sixth floor, atop the podium, another amenity space will include a gym, yoga and spin studio, seamless edge pool, sauna and steam room. There will be a lounge with kitchen, bar and fireplace; a billiards room with wet bar and a screening room.
The rooftop amenity area also will have an outdoor terrace with areas for barbecuing, dining and exercising.
On floors 46 and 47, a split-level “Sky Lounge” will include a party room, bar, caterer kitchen and private dining room, with views of nearby Berczy Park and the downtown core.
“We wanted to distribute the amenities throughout the building, so you could buy a more price-conscious unit but still have access to three amenity areas,” Wilson says. “It’s equal opportunity.”
88 Scott’s podium will house 50,000 sq. ft. of office space and 8,000 sq. ft. of retail along Wellington, with a portion wrapping around the corner and up Scott.
The condo’s residential entrance is to be located off Scott, where the building will be setback from the street. The developer is proposing to turn this stretch into a woonerf, a European-style of roadway that slows traffic, ensuring pedestrians, cyclists and motorists can coexist in relative harmony.
While 88 Scott’s limestone base will connect the project with the site’s history, its tower will be decidedly modern, featuring glass and pre-cast concrete, punched windows, and an articulated top that steps down as it moves from south to north.
The building will be at home in the Financial District and figure prominently in Toronto’s evolving downtown skyline, Wilson notes. “It will be in the foreground against the backdrop of city buildings.”
88 Scott is Vancouver-based Concert’s third condo project in Toronto. The company is also building The Berczy — a 13-storey midrise at Front and Church streets — and Blythwood at Huntington, a joint venture with Tridel on Bayview Ave.
Founded in 1989, Concert is a diversified developer of rental apartment buildings, condos and retirement communities, as well as commercial, industrial and infrastructure projects. The private pension-fund-owned company is also involved in property management.
Concert has been active in the Ontario market since 2001 but, until recently, most of its developments here have been new rental apartment buildings, with projects in North York, Etobicoke and downtown Toronto, including Motion on Bay (at Dundas) and One-32 Berkeley, on Queen near Parliament.
Considering how few purpose-built rental projects are being built these days, Concert has found a niche for itself in a crowded GTA property market.
“If you’re a renter, there’s still a desire to know who your landlord is, and to have responsive management,” says Concert’s president and CEO Brian McCauley.
“All our buildings are professionally managed and we have site staff, so you know if there’s a problem in the building they’re going to look after it. That’s not always the case in an investor-owned condo.”
Concert’s experience building in Vancouver has given the company expertise in the development of high density projects amid a limited land base, which should position it well for success in Toronto, where development is becoming more intensified within existing urban areas.
“We’ve built a lot of highrise residential projects on smaller infill sites in Vancouver,” McCauley says. “And that’s where we feel we could add value to the Toronto market.”