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Live-work-play development comes to Toronto’s prime business district

Toronto’s business district is creeping southwards towards the lake. The South Core district is Toronto’s exciting new live-work-play community. There’s a flurry of development activity going on at the moment that includes the complete revitalization of Union Station, a brand-new GO bus terminal and several prominent commercial and residential towers all currently under construction.

What makes this area different than other international cities is that outside of a few gazillion-dollar, über-elite condo suites, you seldom see such a mix of residential, retail and recreational choices located right in the heart of the business district.

Transit plays a big role in all of this. Metrolinx has been tasked with completing the Union Station renovation in time for the 2015 Pan-American Games. GO transit has long outgrown its busy regional bus depot located across Bay Street. A deal has been struck with commercial developer Ivanhoe Cambridge to build a new GO Bus terminal and two commercial towers at 45 and 141 Bay St., the site of an existing parking lot on the south side of the CN rail tracks. A spectacular, inner-urban green space will extend over the tracks to provide pedestrians with a link to the new station.

As of October of this year, you can walk all the way from Union Station south to Queens Quay through a network of connected glass bridges that run underneath the Gardiner Expressway.

Menkes is well underway with the construction of their One York and Harbour Plaza developments, composed of a new commercial tower and two residential condominium towers and an enormous retail podium at street-level. “A decade ago, that whole area was just this wasteland of parking lots,” says Menkes spokesperson, Mimi Ng. “We’ve got 1,300 condominium residences that we’re building in two towers; they’re 69- and 65-storey towers.”

Of the proposed 200,000 square feet of retail space, the anchor tenant will be a spacious Target Store occupying the second and third storeys of the podium. In addition, a section of Harbour Street will be transformed into a pedestrian promenade which will see an existing Gardiner off-ramp converted into a public park.

Across the street at 10 York Street, Tridel’s new condominium development is underway. In a unique collaboration, Tridel has partnered with Build Toronto, an independent land development organization previously owned by the city. The 65-storey tower with 665 suites is slated for completion in the summer of 2017.

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