heritage building

Toronto heritage building to be repurposed into mixed-use community hub

Friday, November 11, 2016

A heritage building on an historic downtown Toronto site will be preserved and repurposed from an industrial facility into a mixed-use community hub to accommodate the growing residential population.

The Waterworks, designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, brings together food-focused retail and a mid-rise wing of condominium apartments, several of which feature large private terraces and balconies. Also part of the project is a community YMCA with recreational and social facilities, which will be designed by another firm.

The Waterworks’ name was chosen due to its former life as a water treatment facility that was located in a two-storey Art Deco structure built in 1932. In addition to exterior stone detailing, the development will feature a courtyard and 28,500 square-foot industrial garage that will be home to a Food Hall. This space features a 45-foot ceiling and in the 19th century, was home to the city’s third largest market.

“We are retaining almost the entirety of the structural fabric and walls for the Food Hall,” said Donald Schmitt, principal at Donald Schmitt Architects, in a press release. “The building structure, skylights and ceiling elements, windows and door openings are all being refurbished and will retain much of their original materiality and detail and will define the retail public spaces and their character.”

The Food Hall will open onto St. Andrew’s Playground, an urban green space featuring pedestrian amenities. New public routes through the building will be created and an existing vehicular carriageway into the courtyard will be adapted to become a pedestrian mews.

The YMCA will take up the second and third floors of the development and have its own entrance from the courtyard. Ten storeys of condominium apartments with unique floor plans will call a horseshoe-shaped building home, with setbacks from the heritage structure to create terraces. An existing youth housing facility will remain in the building and some of the 299 residential units being built will be operated through a non-profit housing provider.

The project is under development by MOD Developments Inc. and Woodcliffe Landmark Properties, and is expected to open in 2020.

“We want to acknowledge the significance of the building’s past, while merging it with our vision to create the heart and soul of the King West neighbourhood with a food hall, restaurants and a condominium building in a park,” added Eve Lewis, president and CEO of Woodcliffe.

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