Bazis International, a Kazakhstani developer, is turning a seedy, under-built commercial site at one of Toronto’s most prominent commercial intersections, Bloor and Yonge Streets, into an 80-story, mixed-use skyscraper. The $424-million project, called 1 Bloor, is being designed by Bazis’ in-house architecture team. Construction is set to begin this year and, upon completion in 2011, the tower will be one of the country’s tallest buildings.
Michael Gold, the developer’s director of acquisitions and finance, says 1 Bloor will incorporate a three-level, 100,000-square-foot retail podium under a 120-room hotel, topped by 500 condominium units and at least two, 10,000-square-foot penthouses. Below grade, the tower will accommodate parking for 700 cars and direct access to two subway lines.
The steel-framed tower’s shaft will be clad in a porcelain enamel and glass curtain wall. Its balconies are framed in translucent blue-white and spandrel glass. “We have created a tension and aesthetic dialogue in the massing between the playful, retail character of Bloor, and the more conservative office and condo buildings of Yonge,” explains Roy Varacalli, a Toronto-based architect who is Bazis’ director of design and construction.
Toronto’s city council approved a similar project at the one-acre site four years ago. This allowed Bazis, which bought the land after the initial developer sold most of its Canadian real estate, to proceed with little delay on 1 Bloor. Bazis is based in Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan. It has projects under way in 12 cities throughout central Europe, Gold says, and it is negotiating its first U.S. projects in New York City and Charlotte.
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