What developers want to turn a century-old building at Duncan and Adelaide into

What developers want to turn a century-old building at Duncan and Adelaide into

(Image: Hariri Pontarini Architects) (Image: Hariri Pontarini Architects)

What it is: A 57-storey tower with an existing century-old industrial building at 19 Duncan Street incorporated into the west side of its podium.

Price tag: A press release says the developers bought the property for $47 million, but it’s not clear how much the actual construction will end up costing.

Pedigree: The development is a partnership between Allied REIT, owner of a number of skillfully renovated heritage properties in Toronto (including Toronto Life’s offices) and Westbank Corporation, the Vancouver company behind Mirvish Village’s impending makeover. The tower is being designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, currently best known for their work on One Bloor and the Massey Tower.

Most promising feature: The plan, as of now, is for the residences in the tower to be pure rental, similar to what Westbank is trying to do in Mirvish Village. That’s a savvy move: fairly or not, people tend to think of downtown condos as being exclusively for rich kids. Rental apartments, the thinking goes, are for everyone.

Risk factor: The developers haven’t actually made any formal application to the city yet, and they’re telling residents that they want this place to be 186 metres high, which is tall. (The nearby Mirvish/Gehry development managed to get itself approved at 304 metres only after years of struggle with city planners.) Once this proposal starts working its way through the city’s planning department, the tower may lose a few floors.

Likely opposition: The thing currently located at 19 Duncan is a 1908 building designed by Sproatt and Rolph Architects, the same guys who designed Hart House. The proposed development would preserve most of the building’s exterior, but that may not be enough for some of the city’s die-hard heritage buffs. The building isn’t heritage-designated, though, which may give the developers some leeway.

The odds: It’s the entertainment district, so a tower will almost definitely end up being built, one way or another. The only real questions: how tall will it be, and will it look as good as these renderings?