Canada’s tallest wooden tower has just been proposed in Toronto

Toronto’s real estate scene may be dominated by towering concrete condo towers, but a developer is proposing to break the mold with a new plan to bring Canada’s tallest wooden tower to the heart of the city at 191 College St.

And here is the real kicker; instead of condos, developer Unix Housing wants to build hundreds of desperately needed affordable rental units.

A mid-May development proposal aims to bring a 31-story tower to the southwest corner of Henry Street and College Street, replacing a cluster of buildings at 191, via 199 College Street and 74 and 76 Henry Street.

The site is currently occupied by a group of four semi-detached three-storey ‘house-like’ buildings, with three commercial buildings on College Street and two residential buildings on Henry Street.

A number of businesses occupying these addresses would be displaced by the proposal, including the Prenup Pub, Katachi Coffee Bar and a Chatime location.

Although the shops along the College are being replaced, it is proposed to live outside the houses in the base of the approximately 21,300 square meter building designed by ICON Architects.

This would include approximately 1,380 square meters of retail space behind the retained facades.

Looking southeast toward 191 College Street. Rendered by ICON Architects.

The majority of the floor area – at over 19,900 square meters – is offered as residential space, with a total of 494 purpose-built residential rental units offered throughout the building.

Of the total number of units, 408 suites, or more than 80% of the total, will be provided and secured as affordable units for a minimum period of 40 years. The remaining units will be standard market rentals.

191 college street

Looking southeast towards the base of 191 College Street. Rendered by ICON Architects.

This massive injection of affordable housing into the extremely low supply of units is supported by non-monetary incentives under the city’s 2021 Open Door program, which the developer requested in February.

Along with much-needed affordable housing, the project aims to set a new standard for tall wood construction in Canada.

By using cross-laminated timber (“CLT”) construction in place of the traditional reinforced concrete method, the tower’s sustainable construction materials would allow it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3,300 metric tons. tight.

If that’s not green enough for you, the project also explores the use of geothermal heating/cooling to reduce emissions.

Its 31-story height would dwarf Canada’s current tallest wooden structure, Tallwood House, a University of British Columbia student residence that opened in 2017.

The 18-story building was the tallest timber frame building in the world at the time, although it was overtaken in 2019 by the 85.4-metre Mjøstårnetm, in Brumunddal, Norway.

At approximately 90 meters, 191 College would bring Canada the title of tallest wooden building in the world. However, the title may not last long, as much taller wooden structures have been proposed elsewhere in the world.

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