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Future plans for the Guvernment/Kool Haus site unveiled

Posted on Apr 4, 2015 by in Scarborough | 0 comments

Plans have now been unveiled for the three-acre site that was once home to one of Toronto’s biggest and most iconic nightclubs/event venues, The Guvernment/Kool Haus.

Located in the emerging East Bayfront neighbourhood, the northeast corner of Lower Jarvis Street and Queens Quay East is set to be re-imaged as Daniels Waterfront – City of the Arts, a 1,320,000-square-feet ‘live-work-play-learn-create’ community with office, retail, residential, academic and cultural components.

Mayor John Tory spoke at the announcement, which was held in a large tent on the site.

During the press conference, Tory said this new mixed-used development, which will include two office towers and two condominium buildings with space at the bottom for a post-secondary institution as well as a 150,000-square-foot ‘Creative Industries Hub’, is part of what “makes Toronto special.”

“It’s going to send a message to the rest of the world that this is what Toronto is,” he said, noting he doesn’t attend announcements for every development.

“I wanted to be here today because it is such a special place where people will work, live, study and care. It’s a model for people to replicate.”

John Campbell, Waterfront Toronto’s president and CEO, called the two-phase development “a great addition to the East Bayfront community.”

“The Daniels’ design fits with the vision and provides great value to the community,” he said, crediting the excellent planning as a key reason why private sector investors are attracted to the waterfront.

Local architecture firms Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. and RAW Design were selected to design the project, while the expertise of renowned urban design expert Ken Greenberg of Greenberg Consultants Inc. has also been tapped for the urban design and public realm aspects of the multi-faceted development, which is one of the first private sector developments in East Bayfront.

Greenberg, who previously worked on Regent Park’s Daniels Spectrum project, said City of the Arts is a collaborative effort between Daniels Corporation, the City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto that is succeeding in “truly building a neighbourhood.”

To illustrate this, he pointed to a Sugar Beach extension to the north of Queens Quay and ‘The Yard’, an east-west pedestrian link between Lower Jarvis and Richardson streets, as key aspects of the $700-million development.

Greenberg also spoke about the project’s contribution to the East Bayfront as a real 24/7 neighbourhood.

“I think for many reasons this project has truly broken ground in our city and will truly be a great addition to our waterfront,” he concluded.

Tom Dutton, Daniels Corporation’s senior vice-president, said the thread that ties the project together is art, adding a number of notable arts and cultural organizations, including Artscape, have already signed on to call City of the Arts home.

Celia Smith, the not-for-profit urban development organization’s president, lauded Daniels Corp. for its partnership on the Daniels Spectrum project in Regent Park.

“(Daniels) is so clever, so visionary, so stubborn, so attentive to the granular details of how you do city building,” she said at the March 27 event.

Smith said because of the success of that project, Artscape was “naturally” interested in Daniels Waterfront – City of the Arts.

“It really emblemizes what we’re trying to do in terms of building a stronger city,” she said.

“We’re delighted we get to live with you guys down here and we’re really proud of what you’re building.”

The development has also resulted in a new partnership between The Remix Project, a youth-led, urban arts organization focused on the individual while building a strong and healthy community, and Manifesto, a non-profit, youth-powered platform designed to put local artists on the map and unite, inspire and empower diverse communities of young people through arts and culture, year-round. The organization also runs the Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture, one of Canada’s biggest celebrations of hip hop culture and beyond.

Together, both organizations have launched The Convergence Project and will be sharing a new permanent home at the development.

“It’s an exciting time to be living in the city of Toronto,” said Drex Jancer, co-founder of The Remix Project, who called City of the Arts an investment in youth following their dreams. “We look forward to bringing this to life.”

Entertainment law firm Taylor Klein Oballa LLP, as well as talent management firm Last Gang Entertainment are also set to occupy space at the City of the Arts.

Further, Dutton pointed to agreements close to being finalized with George Brown College and OCAD University on a new centre for innovation and commercialization.

Daniels Corporation is also set to relocate its headquarters to City of the Arts from its current home at Yonge and Queen streets.

Arrangements have also been made with the Carpenters Union Local 27 to bring an apprenticeship program and employment initiatives like those pioneered in Regent Park with Toronto Employment and Social Services and Dixon Hall to Daniels Waterfront – City of the Arts.

“We’ve been working very hard for the last few years,” Dutton said following the press conference.

“It’s an extension of the entertainment at this site, but the next level. I think it’ll become a big magnet for the city.”

The demolition of the former The Guvernment/Kool Haus entertainment complex is almost complete. Construction is set to begin in May with occupancy of the first commercial office tenants planned for early 2018.

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