In August 2022, an agreement with the City of Toronto, reached through the Ontario Land Tribunal, approved the proposed Zoning By-law Amendment for 625 Church Street, a mixed-use community in the heart of the City on the border between Yorkville and Church Wellesley Village. Manulife Investment Management, a global real estate platform with a portfolio spanning over 63 million square feet of office, industrial, retail, and multifamily space, enlisted Colliers Strategy & Consulting’s Development Advisory team to lead the 625 Church Street development entitlement process, together with consultant partners including RAW Architects, ERA Architects, Bousfields Inc., Goodmans LLP, Sussex Strategy Group, and LEA Consulting Ltd.
Preserving heritage with an urban approach to development
Known as the Traders Building, the existing six-storey office building at 625 Church Street was designated by the City of Toronto as a heritage-protected structure as part of the development entitlement process and added to the Heritage Register in 2021. The building was one of the last designed by Robert Morris before he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Respecting this landmark structure’s history, Colliers led the project team through a lengthy and highly collaborative process that entailed numerous architectural design iterations, substantial heritage preservation expertise, and active community stakeholder engagement to advance design planning for the vertical expansion. The approved design for 625 Church Street will retain the entirety of the north, south, and west exterior walls. Plans also include a generous heritage step back above the sixth floor, in an effort to preserve not only the materiality of the nearly 70-year-old structure, but also its volume and character on the street. The existing building will be expanded to the east, with a modern addition that will increase the office space from 80,000 to nearly 100,000 square feet, and expanded vertically with a 56-storey (194-metre) RAW Architects-designed tower providing approximately 617 residential units (with a mix of “market” and “affordable” apartments).
A welcome opportunity for the Toronto community and beyond
“We are excited for our vision for 625 Church Street to come into fruition,” commented Philip Ristevski, Head of Canadian Real Estate Development at Manulife Investment Management. “Thanks to the continued support from each of the partners working on this project and active engagement from the community and stakeholders involved, the approved plans for this project meet both community and market needs. We look forward to proceeding to the next stages on this exciting new development.”
For more details on the 625 Church Street development, visit 625church.com.
All images by RAW Design Inc. except for header image provided by Baumberger Studio
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