Lake views aren’t the only thing this Toronto waterfront community has going for it.
By converting an under-developed stretch of Queens Quay into four blocks of new condominium, office and retail space, Menkes Developments promises to bring new life to an 11.5-acre site just a 15-minute walk from the Harbourfront Centre. And best of all? Residents can choose whether or not they want to go outside to get to the rest of the city — or travel beyond.
Sugar Wharf master-planned community is an ambitious undertaking in the city’s evolving waterfront neighbourhood. And now condo buyers are getting a glimpse of what’s available to them with the release of the first residential phase.
“It’s a mini-city that we’re building, and we’re really excited about that,” says Jared Menkes, executive vice president of Menkes’ high-rise residential division. “A lot of people build condos, a lot of people build office and retail. But not everyone can do it all under one roof, which is what we’re capable of doing.”
Located at Queens Quay East and Freeland Street, the project, with five condo towers and one office building, will take over the current sites of the LCBO’s Queens Quay store, warehouse and headquarters, adding 4,500 residential units and 690,000 square feet of office space. The LCBO’s new headquarters and flagship retail outlet will relocate into the project. The plans also call for a two-and-a-half-acre park, a mid-rise rental building, a daycare, and a new Toronto public school located on the first three floors of a future-phase building.
With Harbour Street extending to intersect the site, the development will connect to the city’s expanded PATH system — allowing indoor access to further reaches of the city. (The 30-kilometre indoor route goes to about 80 buildings, six subway stops, the Air Canada Centre and the CN Tower.)
“In the dead of winter you can come out in shorts and a T-shirt, and go grocery shopping or to a restaurant,” Menkes says. “Or you could go to Florida, you could go to the Caribbean, because you can get to the UP Express all indoors, right into the airport, and never go outside.”
To help bring their vision for Block Two — the first phase of residential — to fruition, Menkes assembled an award-winning team already familiar to Toronto condo buyers. Interior design firm Cecconi Simone joined architectsAlliance — both of whom worked with Menkes before, on Harbour Plaza Residences, which is a few blocks west by York and Harbour streets. For Sugar Wharf, they’re creating a design that reflects the waterfront location while standing out in the skyline and encouraging street-level engagement in what is now an under-used pocket.
In pre-construction, with registration underway, the new phase features two towers of 64 and 65 storeys, and approximately 1,600 units in total. One- to three-bedroom-plus-den layouts are currently available, ranging from 518 to 1,273 square feet and priced from the high $500,000s. With the site’s waterfront location and proximity to downtown proving strong draws, Menkes expects the release will appeal to a mix of buyers, from young professionals to downsizers. But when it came to designing the site’s amenities, there was a growing market that the developer wanted to keep in mind.
“One thing that was really important to Menkes was to start creating developments that speak to families,” explains interior designer Anna Simone, principal with Cecconi Simone. “They really are taking a whole different direction with this particular development, in that it is truly about the family.”
The design team created a soft neutral aesthetic throughout the buildings’ common spaces, to complement the lakeside setting. Keeping the family focus in mind, they’ll incorporate wider elevator lobbies to accommodate strollers, as well as designated stroller parking. But what really stands out are a collection of unique amenities geared especially to the family market — including a kids’ party room; a play area; an arts, crafts and Lego room; and outdoor kids’ play spaces.
“You can live in a smaller environment when you have these wonderful amenity spaces that your children can go off to,” Simone says. “That was part of what informed the whole amenity process.”
Of course, some of the site’s amenities are likely to be just as appealing to buyers without kids — including an adult party room, a music room, an indoor hammock room, a games lounge, three theatre rooms, two guest suites and two co-working/meeting spaces. A commercial gym with an indoor lap pool will also be located in the podium of the site — residents will receive memberships with the purchase of their suite, the number of which will be determined by their unit type.
While the interior design team was focused on creating a new style of amenity offering, outside the architects hoped to add to the amenities already there — connecting the site further to a neighbourhood known for pedestrian-friendly draws like Sugar Beach and the Toronto Harbourfront.
“The approach here was to open up the ground to the public, so there are very active, vibrant street conditions all around these blocks,” says Sanja Janjanin, associate with architectsAlliance and design architect on the project. “We are creating a complete community here with lots of different users.”
The podium at the base of the two towers will create a hub for retail, commercial and residential space, while a multi-tonal pattern on the balconies above will give the towers a presence in the local skyline. The entire project promises to stand out, Menkes adds, while also offering residents an environment that can meet their lifestyle needs.
“It needed to be something that was iconic, because it is a landmark,” the developer says. “But it couldn’t just be something that looked great that you couldn’t live in either.”
Occupancy for the first release at Sugar Wharf is slated for early 2022. To register, call 416-730-1600 or visit menkes.com.