There’s no nice way of putting this: the Globe and Mail’s office building, at 444 Front Street West, is an eyesore. From the road, it looks like a brick shelter, built strictly to keep rain off reporters’ heads.
A newspaper as stylish as the Globe deserves better—and it will, in fact, be getting more up-to-date digs when it relocates to the top floors of a new tower on King Street East in a couple years. Figuring out what to do with the Globe’s lands once the paper is done with them has been a long process with some false starts, but today we found out that developers Diamond Corp., RioCan and Allied Properties have worked out an ambitious plan to create a mini-neighbourhood in the parcel of land wedged between Spadina, Wellington and the railway tracks.
As described by the Star, the developers’ proposal calls for the Globe building and an adjoining site to be replaced by seven buildings, one of them a 34-storey office tower at Front and Spadina. The buildings would house approximately two million square feet of residences, offices and retail spaces. The northern side of the plot, which faces Wellington Street West, would get some green space and a plaza. A rendering of the proposed design, by Hariri Pontarini Architects, is above.
The plan is sure to face tough questions at city hall, where it will have to run the usual gauntlet of planning approvals—but, unlike other major development proposals, like the Mirvish/Gehry towers, this one is not burdened by heritage concerns. A few journalists may be sad to see a newspapering landmark go (444 Front Street was home to the now-defunct Toronto Telegram before the Globe moved in), but it’s hard to imagine a pitchfork mob of angry residents assembling in the place’s defence.
Here are more architectural renderings of the proposal.