MOD Developments Inc. to revitalize historic Yonge Street landmark

Toronto-based MOD Developments Inc. has purchased 197-201 Yonge Street in the Theatre Block in downtown Toronto. The 20,000 square foot site contains the historically designated Canadian Bank of Commerce Building, designed by Darling & Pearson Architects in 1905, and vacant since 1987. MOD plans to completely restore the four-storey portion of the bank and erect a 60-storey mixed-used development behind the historic landmark.

“We’re very excited about the restoration of the heritage landmark at 197 Yonge Street by MOD Developments. This section of Yonge Street is such an important destination for theatre, music and retail – to see this historic property revitalized will continue to add to the vibrancy of Yonge Street,” said James Robinson, executive director of the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Association.

MOD will further contribute to the enhancement of the neighbourhood by donating a portion of their site fronting on Victoria Street to Massey Hall. “The proposed gift of this key portion of land at the south of Massey Hall by MOD Developments is an incredibly exciting development for the Hall and for the city of Toronto,” said Charles Cutts, president and CEO of the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall. “It presents us with multiple options to revitalize Massey Hall and we’ll be studying them closely in the coming months. We will begin the process with our board meeting later in January.”

“This is a win-win situation for everyone,” says Gary Switzer, president and CEO of MOD. “Massey Hall will expand their facility, MOD will breathe new life into a downtown landmark, and the purchasers in this exciting new tower will experience the energy and excitement of downtown living within one of the most architecturally innovative complexes to grace the skyline in recent years.”

In honour of the Massey family, MOD will appropriately name the new building Massey Tower. “The Massey Foundation is grateful to have the Massey name recognized in this new development,” said Raymond Massey, chairman of The Massey Foundation.

Designed by Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects, the Massey Tower will feature retail, residential and non-residential uses. The location is ideal for a residential development, with the Queen Street subway station steps away, world class shopping at the Eaton Centre across the street and the Financial District and Ryerson University nearby.

The plans for 197-201 Yonge continue MOD’s tradition of restoring heritage buildings and incorporating them into new developments. MOD’s most recent project, FIVE Condos at 5 St. Joseph, (developed in conjunction with Graywood Developments Ltd.) is now under construction and will see the restoration of almost half a block of the nineteenth century Yonge Street stores and the retention of the façade of the massive, four-storey gothic-revival Rawlinson warehouse on St. Joseph Street.  FIVE garnered four top awards at the 2011 BILD Awards, including Project of the Year and Highrise Design of the Year.

MOD has assembled the same team that collaborated on the successful FIVE Condos: Tricon Capital Group Inc. as financial partners; Hariri Pontarini Architects  as project architects; ERA Architects will focus on heritage; Cecconi Simone Interiors will provide interior design direction; and Janet Rosenberg and Associates  as landscape architects.  Sales for the proposed development will be managed by MarketVision Real Estate Corporation.

“When you’re working on an intricate site such as this one, flanked by some of Toronto’s finest heritage buildings, such as Massey Hall, the Elgin/Wintergarden Theatres, E.J. Lennox’s Bank of Toronto and the Heintzman Building, you need the best team of consultants to create a development worthy of its surroundings,” says Switzer. “We, at MOD, are confident that this team will deliver a building that the entire city will applaud.”

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