Transforming Yonge & Bloor
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Transforming Yonge & Bloor

yongebloorskyscraper.jpgIt features our busiest subway station, it’s got one of the most trafficked intersections in Toronto, and it’s the psychological split between uptown and downtown. Despite such importance and notoriety, Yonge and Bloor has remained inexplicably dingy and architecturally bland.
Now, a Kazakhstani development firm and local architect Roy Varacalli want to change all of that with a tower which, at eighty storeys, would be the tallest residential building in Canada (in terms of floors). Rising to 205 metres, the development would be almost forty metres higher than the neighbouring Manulife Centre and only twenty metres shorter than the Toronto Dominion tower.
Currently featuring the ugly, squat City Optical store and a Harvey’s restaurant, 1 Bloor Street East has been on the development radar for some time now. In 2003, the City approved a plan by Kolter Property to build a 60-storey condo that would feature a Silver City-type movie theatre and retail stores at grade. That plan fell through, and the property was sold to Bazis International [warning: annoying browser resizing].
Bazis’ design includes a four-storey double-height podium at the base that would feature high-end retail, demarcating a new entry point for Yorkville’s celebrated shopping district. Previous renderings released for the location are now innacurate, with the latest revision at right, looking southeast.
The yet-to-be-named project isn’t Bazis’ only development in the area: their Crystal Blu condo development is soon to be built a stone’s throw away on 21 Balmuto Street. Architecture firm Burka Varacalli Architects Inc. is also building the neo-Deco Uptown Residences right next to Crystal Blu (on the site of the former Uptown Theatre) and the nearby condo tower at Bellair and Bloor.
The project also recalls this year’s announcement of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, which is also residential and will be higher at 324 metres, but will only house 70-storeys. Bazis’ Yonge and Bloor tower has yet to secure City approval, but is unlikely to meet any significant obstacles.
Image: Bazis International Inc. [High-resolution version]