The Real Tragedy If David Mirvish and Frank Gehry Build Their Condo Tower

The Real Tragedy If David Mirvish and Frank Gehry Build Their Condo TowerDavid Mirvish and Frank Gehry have proposed a triple-tower condo development on King Street West. I've seen some outrage on Twitter and elsewhere that the Princess of Wales Theatre would have to go to make this possible. Losing the Princess of Wales Theatre is the least of my concerns...

I'm far more upset that we'd lose four century-old buildings along King Street West. These include the Eclipse Whitewear Company Building at 322 King St. West, the Anderson Building at 284 King St. West, the E.W. Gillett Building at 276 King St. West and the Reid Building at 266-270 King St. West.

The past couple of weeks, I've been looking at century-old buildings on King and Queen Streets. I love them... and wish Toronto had preserved more of them. On my recent trips to Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin it was the preservation of old buildings that captured my heart. Toronto is part of the new world, but we do have beautiful old buildings, and I hate the thought of tearing down four of them for yet another condo.

The Princess of Wales Theatre is getting all the press, but it's only been around since 1993 and other venues will sprout up to support our theatre scene. But once we tear down the Eclipse Whitewear Company Building, Anderson Building, E.W. Gillett Building and Reid Building, there's no turning back.

I hope David Mirvish and Frank Gehry build their condo somewhere else. And, if you are a newbie when it comes to putting money in pre-construction condos, here are some things to know before investing.


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Comments (13 - click here to join in!)

CQ

I'm more concerned with the tackiness of super-height development.
We've already loss so much of what looked like Toronto, a couple of nobody business fronts here won't matter an iota.

October 2, 2012 @ 12:41 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@CQ

That attitude bugs me. At some point we need to put a line in the sand.

I like what was done to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and even what they did with Maple Leaf Gardens. Keep the fascade... build the new world within as much of the century-old skin as you can.

I don't care so much what nobody businesses occupy these heritage buildings today, so long as the heritage buildings are preserved.

October 2, 2012 @ 12:44 PM

Rick C in Oakville

If they could incorporate the buildings into the new as they have done at 181 Bay street with the old bank facades, it would respect the heritage of the district.

Probably after your trips to Europe, you can admire the preservation that has taken place there.

October 2, 2012 @ 1:51 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rick C in Oakville

There's that, which has definitely made a difference, and then there's this new quest to score some historic, cool space in Toronto for a June wedding.

I love the 100+ year old buildings with the great exposed brick and such... I just hate to see these buildings intentionally destroyed for new condo developments.

October 2, 2012 @ 1:53 PM

JP

I think we'd all feel better if this proposal was going to be built in a parking lot. It's a shame to lose these buildings.

But I DO believe the prospect of letting Frank Gehry design three skyscrapers in our downtown is worth it.

Some of the buildings he has made have become real iconic landmarks.

Toronto builds so many boring, cookie cutter glass boxes. This is not a daring or interesting city architecturally. This could raise the level of architecture in this city and give Toronto a cutting edge landmark.

I hope it happens. Maybe a bone can be thrown our way and the facades of these buildings can be relocated?

October 2, 2012 @ 2:50 PM

Rob

@Toronto Mike,
Have you looked at One King West? You could get married in the 100 year old bank vault.

October 2, 2012 @ 3:24 PM

Mississauga Phil

I think the bigger concern is: Do we really need 3 more giant condo's worth of people living downtown...it's getting pretty crowded as it is....

October 2, 2012 @ 3:26 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rob

I haven't looked at One King West yet, but I see it's Toronto's "newest 126-year old secret".

I've checked out a bunch of cool buildings lately, mainly on Queen... pricey, but cool.

October 2, 2012 @ 3:30 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rob

One King West starts at $176 per person...

October 2, 2012 @ 4:17 PM

JP

@Mississauga Phil - Density is actually a really good thing for cities. If you build up (condos) rather than out (suburbia) people tend to drive less and walk or take transit more. Much better for the environment. With people living near their work it also usually makes for a more vibrant and interesting downtown. Toronto becoming more dense is a good thing.

The key will be upgrading things like transit.

October 2, 2012 @ 7:00 PM

Anon&on

For a guy who just came back from Paris and Amsterdam- are these Toronto buildings so great? Or are they just old?

I heard an interesting talk a few years ago by Christopher Hume (T.O. Star) about architecture and density in Toronto. He talked about medium density as the best scenario for a large city like Toronto, but how it is impossible based on current planning bias and laws. In Toronto, you need to have one parking space for each dwelling created. That makes medium density (10 story buildings) economically impossible. And it makes a walking city core , or biking city core impossible. The only way to make those parking spots viable now is to have a high density tower, with multi-level underground parking.

There can't be any other model in the current system.

October 2, 2012 @ 7:38 PM

Mike from Lowville

Same thing happened in Hamilton. Looking at pictures from the 40's and 50's there were some great old buildings lay to waste. The Lister block was saved.....just.

October 3, 2012 @ 6:45 AM

Rosie

We don't really celebrate our historic buildings in Toronto until there is a threat of them being demolished. It would be a huge shame to lose these, imagine if all those warehouses in the Distillery were levelled instead of restored after all those years of sitting abandoned. What a loss of history and architecture that cannot be retrieved. But that being said, I want the Frank Gehry buildings.

October 3, 2012 @ 9:15 AM

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