Over the past six months, Cityzen Developments announced the purchase of two highly sought after sites in downtown Toronto.
One was the old Home Depot owned site at Cherry St. and Lakeshore on the Waterfront, and the other is currently home to a Greyhound terminal at 154 Front St. at Sherbourne.
Although still in the early stages of development, we are very excited at the possibilities each site represents. We sat down with Cityzen Principal Sam Crignano to get his thoughts on these two acquisitions.
Let’s start with the site at 154 Front St. East. What’s going on here?
We just made the application, and now it goes through the formal approval process, so we're still in the early days! Sorry, but not much to report yet!
What makes the site special?
It's one of the last two remaining sites in the St. Lawrence Market district and it's on Front street. It's a fantastic location in an up-and-coming part of the city.
Did you look at any other sites in the neighbourhood?
I am always looking in this neighbourhood! We love this neighbourhood, obviously, so we're always scouting for new opportunities, as are all the other developers! All of a sudden this area has become really hot.
Cityzen has a reputation for great designs. Any chance we will see something out of the ordinary here?
Well for this project we have brought on board Peter Clewes of Architects Alliance. He has done some amazing work for us in the past and we expect the same on this site.
The waterfront site at Cherry St. and Lakeshore East is 2.4 million square feet. That’s a lot of space. Any ideas on what is planned here yet?
It’s a multi-use project and it’s something that we are just now starting up in terms of putting together our consulting team and working on the design that we think is ideally suited for the site. So, it will be a few months before we can come up with a concept that we can move forward with.
There’s a lot of building happening on the waterfront, including our own Pier 27. What does the Cherry St. site mean for the development of the waterfront and how will it fit into the overall aesthetic?
It’s the last private sector waterfront site, so we are really excited about this. With this site and Pier 27, we now have the "book-ends" of the Toronto Waterfront. There will be a lot of exciting things happening with the site from a design standpoint.
We're trying to create a development that is suited not only for people that live there but also for people that want to work there, people that want to come and be entertained, and so it will be multi-use in nature. It will be a live, work, learn, play environment.
There will be more than one architect involved in this project and in all likelihood, in addition to local architects, we will bring in someone of star quality. I'll leave it at that!
What do these acquisitions say for the future of Cityzen and its aspirations?
Well, we are fully committed to the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood and also to the Toronto Waterfront. We are making a statement with the design that we brought, and will bring, to the Toronto Waterfront.
Cityzen is shaping the downtown core of Toronto and Mississauga. Any future plans to move outside the GTA?
We have looked at opportunities to move outside the GTA but we haven’t seen anything at this point that is of interest to us, but yes, we continue to explore certain areas outside of the GTA as well.
What sort of timelines are we looking at for each project?
With respect to Front Street I'm hoping that late this year/early next year we'll come to market. Like I said, we already have Peter Clewes on board and are moving forward with Architects Alliance, so we are making good progress. For the Cherry Street project, I think within 2 years we should be in the marketplace.
L Tower had Daniel Liebskind brought on board. Absolute World held an international design contest. Backstage had an online naming competition. Can people expect to see more innovation from Cityzen on these new sites?
Absolutely. We've got some amazing strategies relating to the design going forward. We are very much committed to great design. We can’t stress its importance enough. It means a lot to our organization and affects the overall aesthetic to the city, as well as from the standpoint of the consumer.
Everyone wants to live in a building that to some degree makes a statement. We are committed and are going to continue along the same vein with respect to design. Lots of new and exciting things to come.
When can we expect more updates?
Well, we're currently assembling our team for the Cherry Street site and as soon as we have an update on who's going to be working with us on it, the blog will be the first place I'll announce it!
Thanks Sam. You've heard it! For all the latest updates on all things Cityzen, be sure to keep checking our blog.