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Old Posted Oct 28, 2012, 4:00 PM
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Density Toronto: Why the skyscrapers on steroids?

Density Toronto: Why the skyscrapers on steroids?
Published on Friday October 26, 2012
Wendy Gillis, Staff Reporter

Toronto’s fascination with towering architecture is in stark relief in its inimitable and ever-changing skyline.

There, the iconic CN tower and lofty downtown office buildings are increasingly joined by glass and steel residential structures reaching upwards of 40 storeys.

But lately, developers and city builders have their heads even further in the clouds. Within just weeks, Toronto has seen five proposals for super skyscrapers that, if built, would be among the tallest in the country.

First, businessman David Mirvish announced plans to build three 80- to 85-storey condominium towers. On Thursday, Oxford Properties Group revealed its casino proposal includes two towers that would be 70 storeys each, 40 for office space below and 30 for residences above. All would be within a few blocks of each other near King St. W.

Why is it that Toronto is suddenly going for skyscrapers on steroids — is this a matter of need or desire?

Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s chief planner, says if the city focuses on building midrise buildings along the avenues — streets planners have designated as ripe for growth — Toronto can meet the province’s growth targets without 80 storey buildings, and with “significant amount of room to spare.”

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/arti...rs-on-steroids
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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2012, 9:50 PM
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^Uhh, because there's demand for them. What an idiotic column.
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2012, 11:18 PM
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the only thing people hate more than sprawl is intensification.
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Old Posted Oct 31, 2012, 5:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil McAvity View Post
^Uhh, because there's demand for them. What an idiotic column.
Is there though? I'm not sure condo purchasers are scrambling to make sure they're in the tallest towers in the city. What the column is asking is, why now are supertalls being proposed when there are many places that could accommodate your everyday 20-40 storey condo towers, enough buildings that would easily equal the same number of units in those supertalls combined.
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Old Posted Nov 2, 2012, 4:04 AM
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Old Posted Nov 2, 2012, 4:13 AM
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they say there are 3 key things for selling a home... Location, Location, and Location.
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Old Posted Nov 3, 2012, 10:40 AM
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The proper question is "why NOT the skyscrapers on steroids?"
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Old Posted Dec 28, 2012, 10:52 PM
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they say there are 3 key things for selling a home... Location, Location, and Location.
That's exactly why people are lining up to pay 7 digits for a high-rise downtown condo in a nice building. Not only do they get gorgeous views of the lake and/or the city but they get also get everything downtown has to offer.
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Old Posted Dec 28, 2012, 11:04 PM
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The proper question is "why NOT the skyscrapers on steroids?"
Great question. And it's one my city (LA) should be asking as well.
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Old Posted Dec 29, 2012, 2:28 AM
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i just came back from miami beach/miami which, though a city absolutely filled with towers, has atrocious suburban sprawl. basically, i think that people down there buy them for the same reasons that people buy them in etobicoke or something - building amenities, simple lifestyle, modern convenience. in central toronto (the parts of the city that pre-date the idiotic amalgamation), i think people are buying for those reasons, but also majorly for proximity to local amenities and work, and status issues like building notoriety and locale, and view and that. the difference between these two explains precisely the demand for something like the mirvish towers.
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Old Posted Dec 29, 2012, 2:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony View Post
What the column is asking is, why now are supertalls being proposed when there are many places that could accommodate your everyday 20-40 storey condo towers, enough buildings that would easily equal the same number of units in those supertalls combined.

20-40 storey towers are the worst of both worlds - they lack the intimate scale of low/mid-rise developments, and they lack the grandeur of 60+ storey towers. A bit of skyline filler is okay, but they shouldn't be the only option for development.
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Old Posted Jan 1, 2013, 4:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon716 View Post
The proper question is "why NOT the skyscrapers on steroids?"
My thoughts exactly!
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  #13  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2013, 8:57 PM
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I think Toronto does an excellent job on it's low/midsize buildings. They are uniformaly attractive, pedestrian friendly, use different architectural stlyes, building materials, colours, and try to fit into the neighbourhood. It's Toronto highrises that are sterile.

The only requirement for building over 20 stories seems to be that they don't fall down. This is why, despite having an unprecedented building boom, Toronto skyscrapers are monotonous blue glass. Every building over 20 stories in Totonto, especially the condos, seem to be CityPlace 101 and all the sterility and alienating enviornment it creates.

As far as why proposals seem endless and taller all the time, what Insertnamehere is absolutely right.......location, location, location. One one hand that is a tribute to Toronto as people want to live downtown in what is an incredibly vibrant city but on the other hand is the result of decades of Toronto not expanding it's subway system which has resulted in few options for people without a car or want to live without commuting with it.
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Old Posted Jan 2, 2013, 1:27 AM
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I think you hit the nail on the head with one point there. The lack of expanding the subway decades ago. Toronto is crying out for a better transit system, especially the subway. Trains into Union Station are fine, could be better, but could be a lot worse. But getting elsewhere across the city by public transit is not easy at all. The cost would be phenomenal now to fully build a multitude of subway lines, but it is something Toronto so desperately needs.
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Old Posted Jan 22, 2013, 5:06 AM
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Jen Keesmaat’s Big Idea

Read More: http://torontoist.com/2013/01/jen-keesmaats-big-idea/

Quote:
.....

Keesmaat told reporters last week that she wants to see the City change zoning regulations to automatically allow mid-rise development along Toronto’s “avenues”—a specific list of designated arterial roads, like St. Clair and Danforth, which form the spines of residential neighbourhoods but themselves are already somewhat built up. The goal is to accommodate Toronto’s growing population by increasing density while maintaining more moderately scaled neighbourhoods, distributing some development across several main streets rather than concentrating it only clusters of giant towers.

- Officially, this has been one of Toronto’s planning goals for quite some time. One key problem: the City’s own zoning rules don’t currently support that vision. The problem is a conflict between two key documents: our Official Plan (a big-picture vision, in which a municipality sets out its planning direction and a strategy for managing future growth) and our zoning bylaw, which lay out the specific rules about what a developer is allowed to build at any given location. Paul Bedford, one of Toronto’s former chief planners, distinguishes between zoning and the Official Plan simply: “the Plan is about vision, the zoning bylaw is about precision.”

- Because obtaining a zoning amendment for large changes is arduous (as opposed to an easier-to-obtain variance, for smaller matters), it effectively tilts the playing field towards big developers: the ones asking not just for small changes in height or use but for substantial ones, ones that they think will maximize the profit (including covering the trouble of going through this amendment process in the first place). This is what Keesmaat is hoping, specifically, to change. The idea is to get to the point where mid-rise construction wouldn’t need to go through the time-consuming zoning application process at all, enabling a developer who wanted to build mid-rise on an avenue to simply apply for a building permit and go, able to construct mid-rise “as of right” (i.e. without needing special permission). “We would essentially take out a whole layer in the process, which is quite time consuming, and for developers quite costly,” Keesmaat told us last week, when we asked for more details about her plan.

- Keesmaat hopes that the corridor-wide Avenue Study process will defuse some of the local antagonism to developers. “I think it’s better for consultation to happen in the context of the study, because you get less parochial interests then with a specific application.” Mid-rise developers are, predictably, excited about the possibility of a shorter, less onerous process. Shane Fenton, vice-president at Reserve Properties (developer of 109OZ, among other buildings), says the current process actually causes more disruption than a more permissive one would. “Someone who wants to build six storeys has to go through the same process as someone who wants to build 30,” says Fenton. “A lot of developers look at that and think, ‘why is it worth my time and money’?”

.....



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Old Posted Mar 23, 2014, 2:44 PM
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A touchy subject with Americans, but I wanted to see how we stacked up to Chicago these days so I tabled a quantitative snapshot of the built form. Extracted from the SSP database, this is for completed and under construction only. I'm honestly surprised how close it's getting.

It's really just in super tall buildings where Toronto falls short and we cream them in the 50-99m category. Toronto will likely be ahead in 3 of the 5 categories in 1-2 years.

Built, U/C

# of Buildings 400m+
Chicago 1
Toronto 1

# of Buildings 300-399m
Chicago 3
Toronto 0

# of Buildings 200-299m
Chicago 24
Toronto 19

# of Buildings 100-199m
Chicago 278
Toronto 235

# of Buildings 50-99m
Chicago 636
Toronto 1028
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Old Posted Mar 23, 2014, 3:21 PM
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Yes, I know it's not a highrise, but Toronto should tie Chicago in the 400m+ category with the CN Tower. It is certainly right up there with Sears/Willis in terms of skyline impact...
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Old Posted Mar 23, 2014, 5:49 PM
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Yes, I know it's not a highrise, but Toronto should tie Chicago in the 400m+ category with the CN Tower. It is certainly right up there with Sears/Willis in terms of skyline impact...
Agree. The CN Tower is usually excluded from the discussion, but it has huge visual impact on the skyline regardless of what it's classified as. I'm going to add it above.
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Old Posted Mar 23, 2014, 5:59 PM
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And a snap shot into the future. Proposals aren't a sure thing, but if they get built this is how it will pan out. I've included the CN Tower as I agree it has visual impact despite not being a 'building'.

Built, U/C, Proposed

# of Buildings 400m+
Chicago 2
Toronto 1

# of Buildings 300-399m
Chicago 5
Toronto 0

# of Buildings 200-299m
Chicago 32
Toronto 37

# of Buildings 100-199m
Chicago 301
Toronto 329

# of Buildings 50-99m
Chicago 651
Toronto 1105
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World's First Documented Gridiron Game: University College, Toronto, November 9th, 1861.
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Old Posted Mar 30, 2014, 2:25 AM
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I think Toronto's a great city. It's our ambassador city to the world, and does Canada proud. I'm from Vanouver, a city with capped height limits to 150m, the a couple of exceptions around 200m. Not at all impressive, but homogenous, if nothing else.
I like the Toronto downtown streets and tall buildings lining them, and the clusters of tall buildings that sprout ubiquitously throughout the city.
But from what I see in future planned renders, Toronto seems intoxicated with height and design daring that goes to the limits. I think I'm thinking of the Theatre District in this case.
I wish it were possible (need corporate donations, no doubt) for less audacious (outlandish?) high-rise designs and more a calming, harmonious citywide architectural
statement, dare I even suggest more pocket parks and open space downtown?.
Love Toronto, want to see it get ever better, but please don't overdo it, is really what I'm saying.
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