Toronto’s oldest drinking establishment is about to get a new -- and much taller -- neighbour. Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Approval applications have been put forth by an unnamed builder to transform the corner of King Street West and Bathurst with a 19-storey, mixed use residential development.
Sitting atop a four-storey podium, the building at 675 King St. W will reach 65.82 m, including the mechanical penthouse, with a total gross floor area of 11,337 sq. m. Approximately 2,253 sq. m of that will be for commercial use and retail at-grade level, as well as the replacement of existing space -- the main use for the squat, three-storey building currently inhabiting the lot. The building will retain its 31 m of frontage along King St. W.
Designed by Sweeny&Co Architects, the tower will house a total of 145 residential units, made up of one-, two-, and three-bedroom floorplans. It will include a total of 318 sq. m of indoor amenity space and 265 sq. m of outdoor, along with 15 residential vehicle parking spaces, two guest spots, and 165 bicycle spaces.
Just steps from some of the most popular restaurants and bars along the King West strip, residents will live right in the thick of Toronto’s nightlife scene. In fact, those craving a pint need only walk next door to The Wheatsheaf Tavern, hailed as the city’s oldest bar; built in 1849, it’s rumoured to have been the watering hole for the troops stationed at the Fort York barracks, just a stone’s throw down Bathurst.
Given the tower’s proximity, it will block the skyline behind the bar’s iconic steepled mansard roof. However, as the planning rationale states, “Notwithstanding, the Proposed Development provides for an appropriate, complimentary design, sympathetic to the existing heritage context and forms of the Wheat Sheaf Tavern, as well as employing additional design strategies, such as setbacks and articulation, to ensure that the Wheat Sheaf Tavern remains prominent in the streetscape.”
It also points out that, given the plethora of tall buildings going up in the area, and the site’s proximity to transit, adding height and density at the intersection is warranted. Part of Toronto’s historic -- and extremely walkable -- Niagara neighbourhood, a number of the city’s entertainment hotspots can be reached on foot, including the Rogers Centre, Scotiabank Centre, and the Queen Street shopping district.