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Developer wants 80-storey tower to replace Stollerys

WATCH: Mark McAllister has the details on what developers would like to see replace the location of the old Stollerys building.

TORONTO  – The developer who recently tore down the nearly 114-year-old Stollerys building on the southwest corner of Yonge and Bloor wants to replace it with an 80-storey tower that he says will put Toronto on “the international map.”

The building, dubbed The One, was designed by London, England based architects Foster + Partners, which have built the Hearst Tower in New York City and The Gherkin in London.

The 80-storey building will feature eight floors of retail, 560 residential suites, and 600 underground parking spots.

Giles Robinson, the lead architect on the project, said the building will offer an abundance of public space within the retail floors.  He said the residential suites also include access to balconies which he wants to convert to “winter gardens.”

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“Allowing people external spaces they can use during the summer but can also be closed down during the winter and used almost as an internal room with external experience,” he said.

An artist’s rendering of The One at the corner of Yonge and Bloor among the cityscape. Foster + Partners / Handout

If all goes according to plan, the developer says the retail spaces could be open by the first quarter of 2018, and people moving into the building in 2020.

“It’s a key site in Canada. It really is a prime site. I think that site deserves… a building that really will become iconic, it really will become a vocal point of the city and it deserves architecture of the highest standard,” Robinson said.

The building is also unique in that it won’t have any pillars or columns, but instead an “exoskeleton” that Sam Mizrahi, the president of Mizrahi Developments, says allows for retailers and condo owners to custom build their spaces.

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“The exoskeleton is becoming jewellery. It’s jewellery on the building. It’s art,” he said.

“It becomes not only the functionality as I said, but it becomes part of the actual jewellery of the building and part of the actual architectural elements of the building.”

Mizrahi bought the property in Oct. 2014. Crews started to demolish the building in January, to the chagrin of some who wanted it preserved as a heritage building. Mizrahi told Global News Wednesday some of the limestone from the building had been preserved and will form the foundation of a monument to Stollerys in the new building.

The application has not been formally introduced to the city’s planning division yet, but some city staff members, including Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam saw part of the proposal in February. She refused to comment on specifics of the proposal when speaking to Global News Wednesday but did say the project which she saw didn’t conform to the neighbourhood plan.

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“What we want to do is make sure that we hear from the community and go through a proper planning process and the official statutory process. Anything short of that is not acceptable,” Wong-Tam said.

“This is an iconic intersection for the city of Toronto, we want to ensure that we’re going to have the best outcome not just for that corner, but the entire block, and ultimately for the downtown core and the neighbourhood.”

A model of The One that will replace Stollerys at Yonge and Bloor.

A public consultation is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday. Mizrahi said he wants to get feedback from the community BIAs and stakeholders before putting in an application.

“Get comments, get the concerns, work together with the ratepayers associations and the BIAs and the stakeholders and really build this design and build this building together as a city,” he said. “The point of the public meeting is to show what we’ve been doing for the last year, a work in progress, and to start a dialogue and to showcase what we’re really proud of.”

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With files from Mark McAllister

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