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The Globe and Mail’s great idea

March 16th, 2012 · No Comments

NEWSPAPER ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR NEW BUILDING

The site of future development of the expansion for the Globe and Mail offices is now a Toyota car dealership. Perry King/Gleaner News

By Alexa Huffman

The Globe and Mail office plans were received with applause on Jan. 30 after a community meeting unveiled the new design.

The new building (444 Front St. W.), lies just west of Spadina Avenue. It will replace the Toyota dealership currently on the site.

The local community meeting was held to discuss the 480,000 square foot proposal.  About 120 people showed up for the discussion. Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) described the project as moving very quickly.

“The building got applause at the end of the presentation, and at the end of the question and answer section so the neighbourhood is actually quite happy with it,” said Vaughan.

Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB) Architects and the Globe and Mail started planning in late December, working with Vaughan to create a proposal to submit to the city.

The building is an interesting piece of architecture that Vaughan describes as a rolled up newspaper shape.  “It looks like the Saturday morning paper when it gets dropped on your front step. It really captures the imagination of the neighbourhood.”

The office complex will include a large podium with a large multimedia event space and a restaurant. The podium will house the Globe and Mail’s newsroom and a mixed-use tower for tenancy. The architectural design invites people in with an open lobby. Visitors can also walk through the building from east to west. There is also a 300-seat venue in the front lobby. All this will allow the Globe and Mail to expand or shrink, depending the industry’s requirements.

“This is a real gift to the city. It’s ready to go forward”—Marianne McKenna, KPMB partner

This part of the city was chosen because the Globe and Mail owns a large portion of land near Draper, Front, and Wellington streets and Spadina Avenue. “They were looking to stay in the same area,” said Vaughan. “They just wanted to redevelop their property.”

Not only do the offices open doors for the newspaper, other tenants will contribute to the Liberty Village neighbourhood, combining residential redevelopment and workspace. Vaughan said this is key to building a strong city.

The building will boast green technology, that lowers energy consumption, and there is talk of a miniature park area with network of small streets and walkways.

Liberty Village also benefits because the development will pull commercial development along Front Street, allowing the space to become more integrated with the city in the future. Right now there are condominiums in the area but Vaughan’s says the street life can be improved.

“With a strong tenant at Spadina and with major transportation at Union Station, the opportunity for some revitalization for some storefronts and building sites that are still in that part of the city is there,” said Vaughan. “The Globe and Mail may just be the catalyst to build a downtown west in this part of the city.”

As it stands now, the architecture provides no challenges, so it’s just a matter of getting the application approved and the building started. “There have only been a couple of buildings that have received this type of reception in this neighbourhood,” said Vaughan, who plans to help facilitate the development process.

Marianne McKenna, the partner in charge of the project from KPMB, also speaks highly about how the building will benefit the direct community of newspaper readers. “The news business is changing. The vision of the building is going to reflect so there is openness,” said McKenna. “The Globe and Mail can connect with the readers and customers.” “There are no challenging issues present,” said McKenna. “This is a real gift to the city. It’s ready to go forward.”

 

Tags: Liberty · News