Toronto is dominating the Canadian construction market in a big way. Today, there are 120 cranes in operation across the city — the highest number of construction cranes in North America and more than double that of the second-highest city (Seattle), which has only 49.
Amongst this frenzied building spree, there’s one megadevelopment that has the potential to truly transform the downtown skyline: Union Park. With a staggering budget of $3.5 billion, the project is being helmed by real estate giant Oxford Properties Group, a partner in New York City’s Hudson Yards. If approved, it will be the largest development of its kind in Canadian history.
Here, we break down this massive megaproject by the numbers.
2-acre public park
The Union Park development would transform Toronto’s downtown core in a number of ways, including fresh new green space. The project would create a 2-acre public park that sits atop the Union Rail corridor. Renderings by OJB Landscape Architecture depict a concept for this public space that would include a mix of softscaping and hardscaping.
Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (which also designed San Francisco’s Salesforce Tower and Hong Kong’s International Finance Center), the initial phase would include the construction of four towers: two commercial towers reaching 48 and 58 stories, along with two residential towers reaching 44 and 54 stories.
2023 construction start
The concept plan stands as Oxford’s largest complex after the massive Hudson Yards development in Manhattan. Oxford is targeting construction start in 2023, pending the proposal’s trip through the City of Toronto’s planning and approvals process.
22,000 construction jobs
Union Park is expected to bring 22,000 construction jobs and 18,000 direct jobs into the city. “This development will bring tens of thousands of jobs to Toronto and will create a progressive new workplace and community for working and living,” said Oxford’s North American EVP Eric Plesman in a statement.
4.3 million square feet of mixed-use space
A total of 800 rental apartments are proposed, while the complex would be anchored to the street with 200,000 square feet of retail space. The office component is set to include multiple 100,000-square-foot spaces split between the office towers and linked via an atrium, with a hope to attract global tenants who require large, modular spaces.
Oxford also plans to extend Toronto’s PATH system west from the Skywalk to Peter Street as part of the development and build a “winter garden” for citizens to enjoy during the cold winter months.
Though it’s certainly the the largest, Union Park Toronto is only one of the megadevelopments reshaping Toronto. There’s also a 12-acre smart city project being planned by Google subsidiary Sidewalk Labs, seven-building development “The Well,” and CIBQ square, to name just a few.
The growing tech industry and expanded immigration seem to be fueling this construction boom; there are 400 proposed high-rise projects in the pipeline, according to Rider Levett Bucknall a global construction firm. With all of these exciting new builds, Toronto has marked itself a city to watch in 2019.