Interview with Sam Mizrahi, Builder of 'The One' Tower at Bloor and Yonge

  Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

On Friday we interviewed developer Sam Mizrahi of Mizrahi Developments about his proposed super-tall Toronto tower, called 'The One'. Located at One Bloor Street West (intersecting Yonge Street), the 80-story, 1043 foot tall Foster + Partners/Core Architects-designed tower will feature a nine-level retail podium with 72 floors of luxury condominiums above. We'll discuss both the retail and residential components of The One, as revealed by Mr. Mizrahi in our interview. 

Mr. Mizrahi revealed that the retail base of One Bloor West will span about 140,000 square feet. The nine-levels of retail will include eight levels above-ground, as well as a lower-level concourse connecting to Toronto's underground PATH system, with access to the Yonge and Bloor subway lines. The ground level up to and including level five, as well as the concourse, will be dedicated to large retail stores. Levels six through eight will be occupied by restaurants and 'food services', according to Mr. Mizrahi. 

  Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

  The retail podium looking east along Bloor Street, as seen from the rooftop of Holt Renfrew. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

The retail podium looking east along Bloor Street, as seen from the rooftop of Holt Renfrew. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

The lowest six levels of the retail podium will be occupied by only five or so large retailers, each occupying at least two levels. The ground floor will host three retailers, including one unnamed international brand which will occupy the corner retail space, spanning four levels and over 30,000 square feet. 

Mr. Mizrahi says that if a retailer wanted, it could have as much as 50,000 square feet within the complex, as space is customizable. 

  The tower looking northward along Yonge Street, as viewed from the intersection of Yonge Street and Hayden Street. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

The tower looking northward along Yonge Street, as viewed from the intersection of Yonge Street and Hayden Street. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

What's remarkable about One Bloor's retail component is its ceiling heights and lack of interior columns. Each of the nine levels will feature 22-foot ceilings, including the concourse level. The building's exoskeleton design allows for column-free interiors, providing retailers with customizable spaces providing clean, 'uncontaminated' sight lines and better opportunities for pedestrian visibility. Prior to this space becoming available, a number of retailers complained that they were unable to find appropriate “brand experience” retail spaces in Toronto as much of Bloor Street's existing retail space is older, smaller, and lacks dramatic ceiling heights. 

  Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

  Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

Mr. Mizrahi said that the five or so large retailers will be “international brand experience stores” found on streets such as Fifth Avenue in New York City and North Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Mr. Mizrahi would not discuss these retailers as he is bound by confidentiality, and he says that they may be revealed to the public as early as this summer. 

  Looking south. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

Looking south. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

  Looking south. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

Looking south. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

Mr. Mizrahi revealed that he paid about $207 million for the 27,640 square foot property, combining several land parcels. The largest parcel, located on the southwest corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets, recently housed storied menswear retailer Stollerys. Besides the Stollerys property at 1 Bloor Street west, Mr. Mizrahi owns the neighbouring 11 Bloor Street West building (formerly housing a French Connection store) as well as all of the retail buildings south of Stollerys up to 768 Yonge Street. Mr Mizrahi said that his new one-million square foot tower will cost a further $1 billion to construct. 

  Ground floor of One Bloor's Atrium. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

Ground floor of One Bloor's Atrium. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

The project's retail podium will be intersected by a 196 foot high atrium which will act as a public space. Mr. Mizrahi said that this space will be somewhat similar to New York City's Rockefeller Center Plaza. During the winter holiday season, for example, a Christmas tree will be installed and at other times of the year, various festivities may occur. A living wall will adorn the new atrium, helping to create a warm and inviting space for guests. The atrium will also provide an access point to residents of the luxury condominiums to be located upstairs. 

  3rd floor atrium. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

3rd floor atrium. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

  Looking south on the 4th floor. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

Looking south on the 4th floor. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

  Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

Rendering: Mizrahi Developments

We asked Mr. Mizrahi specifically about the tower's residential component, spanning 72 floors above its retail podium. Mr. Mizrahi indicated that the residences will be luxurious, boasting 10 foot clear ceilings with no bulkheads – something unusual among even Toronto's best luxury towers. These high, bulkhead-free ceilings will be obtained by creating floor-to-slab heights of about 12 feet. Penthouses and sub-penthouses will have even higher ceilings, likely spanning 12 feet -- also without bulkheads. There will be approximately five penthouse floors with these extra-high ceiling heights, according to Mr. Mizrahi, depending on final tower design. Suite floor plans will be customizable, as there will be no interior columns because of the building's exoskeleton design. Mr. Mizrahi noted that floorplan customization was also available at his two most recent projects in Yorkville, 133 Hazelton Avenue and the neighbouring 181 Davenport Road, both of which have sold out. 

A 10-level, 600-space parking garage will be operated by a valet service. Residents will therefore not own a particular space in the garage. 

Mr. Mizrahi revealed that prices for these residences could average in the $975 to $1,000 per square foot range, depending on market demand, though some units will be priced at over $2,000 per square foot. Unit prices could start somewhere in the $600,000 range according to Mr. Mizrahi, and could go to over $30 million for a penthouse spanning 1.5 floors or even two full floors. Each floor plate in the building will span about 9,000 square feet and given that 15% of this will be devoted to common areas (hallways, stairs, elevators, utilities), each floor will feature about 7,650 square feet of residential living space. A two-level penthouse, if built, could therefore span an impressive 15,300 square feet, being among the largest in North America. 

  Units will feature 'winter gardens' which may open to the elements or close as weather permits.   Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

Units will feature 'winter gardens' which may open to the elements or close as weather permits. Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

  Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

About a thousand feet back down to the ground, Bloor Street's recently installed granite sidewalks and landscaping will be extended southward down Yonge Street alongside The One. Current 8.5 foot wide sidewalks on Yonge Street will be extended to a width of almost 17 feet while Bloor Street's 14 foot sidewalks will widen to over 27 feet. Remarkably, for those unfamiliar, similar granite sidewalks and landscaping will also be installed on neighbouring Hayden and Charles Streets between Yonge Street and Church Street, helping transform the entire neighbourhood into something iconic and more upscale. 

  Wide granite sidewalks will adorn the street around The One, as well as the adjacent neighbourhood. Photo: www.bloor-yorkville.com

Wide granite sidewalks will adorn the street around The One, as well as the adjacent neighbourhood. Photo: www.bloor-yorkville.com

  Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

Rendering: Mizrahi Developments via Urban Toronto

We'll update this article when we're permitted to reveal the identities of The One's retail tenants, as well as discuss any interesting new developments. A public consultation on the project in scheduled in May, and considerably more information on the project will be revealed this summer, according to Mr. Mizrahi. 

Today's Retail News From Around The Web: March 23, 2015