Downtown Toronto may soon be in store for some new purpose-built rental stock. According to an application filed on Wednesday, Brookfield Properties is seeking to construct a 51-storey residential tower at 20-22 Front Street West in the "heart” of the city’s Financial District. If realized, the development would bring 593 residential units to the area -- a mix of studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom units.

The proposal also poses a unique opportunity to revitalize a 100-year-old “heritage asset” located on the site, known as the Gowans Kent building. The 14-storey office building was first constructed in 1923, with additional storeys added in the 1980s. It currently occupies a prime spot in the Brookfield Place complex in the sky-scraping company of the Bay Wellington and TD Canada Trust towers, which are 49 and 53 storeys, respectively.

The proposal, prepared by Urban Strategies Inc., states that the south-facing heritage facade of the Gowans Kent building would be conserved in the redevelopment process and integrated into the new tower. However, the interior office space will not be retained.

rental tower proposed downtown TorontoBrookfield Properties

“The retention of floor-to-ceiling heights and interior columns within the existing heritage building, make reuse of the site for office purposes not viable. The proposed development adaptively reuses the existing underutilized office space into purpose-built rental residential units, which can be more easily accommodated in the existing floorplates.”

The application shows that 43,313 sq. m of total gross floor area is planned, with 42,616 sq. m dedicated to residential. In addition, 697 sq. m of retail space is slated for the ground floor. At its highest point, inclusive of the mechanical penthouse, the development is expected to reach 180 metres. In addition, 534 long-term bicycle parking spaces and 60 short-term bicycle parking spaces are proposed.

Downtown toronto tower 1024x500Brookfield Properties

Renderings prepared by KPMB Architects show a "simple and refined" sculpted tower wrapped in a grid-like pattern of rectangular windows. The tower element steps back above the base building to emphasize the heritage facade.

With Union Station just a stone’s throw away, the proposed development makes a strong case for transit-oriented rental development. The area is also touted as being highly walkable and proximate to a variety of employment opportunities and services.