As if the 79 story, towering Aura condo wasn’t enough height to satiate the appetite for “big” in the downtown core, the Bay & Yonge Condo corridors are in for more growth at the south east corner of Yonge and Gerrard. Just kitty corner to Aura and one block away from Lumiere Condos with emerge two enormous towers of 73 and 62 stories (at least as it’s currently proposed) with an adjoining sky bridge component way up above.
So far, reaction from the architecture and design community has been positive, stating that it’s the kind of big and bold design we need for downtown Toronto, that some would argue currently hosts too many bland and predictable glass boxes.
Of course, on the flip side to this is all of the displacement that will happen for current occupants of the site who will need to leave. There are mixed feelings about this as there’s a love/hate relationship for many when it comes to the long stretch of stores from Yonge and Gerrard down to the newly constructed Ryerson Student Centre. The Yonge Street Mission is already set to leave the site in 2016, Remington’s Men of Steel will be one less strip club on Yonge Street, The Big Slice will loose it’s cheesy, greasy home for the past few decades, and lots of smaller mom and pop stores will say goodbye. New retail space will open in their place, but with retail affordability dwindling on prime Yonge Street, it may only be big chain stores or restaurants who will be able to swallow the hefty rents. In other words, will we loose the sketchy charm of Yonge Street in favour of big corporate companies?
I never thought I’d be saying this, but it seems like with the massive growth in condo sizes in the neighbourhood, Lumiere Condos is looking more and more like a boutique residence with “only” around 330 suites! There will be change in the neighbourhood no doubt, and it’s too soon to see how it all comes together, but overall these changes should hopefully make for a cleaner, safer and more interesting neighbourhood for residents and visitors.