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Your Toronto 2014 Issue Navigator

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Major Development Proposed for Spadina and Front

If approved, the $1.4-billion project known as "the Well" would create a new neighbourhood on nearly eight acres of land.

Laneway, looking south into the site. Image courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects.

The land currently home to the Globe and Mail’s Toronto headquarters could in the future become a large, mixed-use community.

If the developers involved—RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust, and Diamond Corp.—have their way, the approximately eight acres of land bordered by Wellington Street West, Spadina Avenue, and Front Street will be transformed into a new multi-functional neighbourhood, which they’re calling “the Well.”

More than half of the available space in the Well would be devoted to retail, office, dining, and entertainment. The remaining space would be reserved for residential purposes, and likely developed into condos, apartments, and townhouses.

The developers aim to create a neighbourhood attractive to pedestrians: “Pedestrian paths will permeate the site,” explained Lucy Cameron, vice-president of planning at Diamond Corp., via email. “All parking and loading will be constructed in the underground, and although it’s complicated and expensive, we believe the end result will be a welcoming, animated, and pedestrian-friendly experience.”

They also hope to bring together a mix of retailers and amenities that would encourage residents to shop and socialize near home and non-residents to make the trip.

The idea, too, is to design the Well not as a self-contained, stand-alone development, but as one that integrates well with the areas around it. Nearby pedestrian lanes, for example, would be extended into the site to provide a sense of continuity.

The developers will soon be submitting their proposal to the City; if the project is approved, construction will start in 2016, and within five to seven years, Torontonians will be able to get a first-hand look at a new approach to neighbourhood-building.

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