May 2, 2023

3 mins read

55 Mercer Rising Rapidly Into Dense Entertainment District Skies

Published by Matias Bessai

Back in 2021, pedestrians leaving the Rogers Centre or the CN Tower and walking north on Spadina Avenue or Blue Jays Way could peer through gaps in the grid of buildings to take in views spanning as far as they could see; but in a City that sees new buildings start construction every week, a period of less than 24 months was all it took to seal those sightlines with a fresh crop of towers. One of the front lines of this quick intensification process is on Mercer Street, where the both 55 Mercer and Nobu Residences have sprouted up to form a dramatic canyon above the once quiet Downtown sidestreet. The former project, from CentreCourt, has enjoyed a particularly efficient construction process, and is well positioned to top off in the coming months. 

Designed by IBI Group, 55 Mercer is currently in the process of climbing towards a final count of 47 storeys on the site previously home to Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant and Second City. Looking back at how the construction of the project has progressed, work picked up in January of 2021, beginning with the demolition of the existing three-storey building. Working quickly to remove the structure from the site, the crew moved onto shoring by mid-March, and followed up shortly after with excavation a month later. By July of 2021, the pit was bottomed out and a crane was installed, demonstrating the speed and efficiency which CentreCourt has earned a reputation for. 

With the crane installed, work transitioned into the forming process, bringing the project to life steadily from below grade, on its way to a completed height of 156 metres. Returning to the site a year later, we can see that by July of 2022 the project had not only emerged above grade, but the forming of the entire podium section had been completed, with the process of forming the repeating residential levels of the tower just beginning. 

As the forming of the tower set into a consistent rhythm, focus also came to the application of the exterior finishes to the podium. The image below pictures the project’s primary (west) elevation in November of last year, with the cladding mostly complete, aside from the grade level space. The red brick treatment coupled with the area’s warehouse heritage-inspired windows have been well received thus far, giving the building a simple and contextually appropriate streetwall condition to the increasingly densely built-up area. 

Jumping ahead to the most recent updates on the project, forming work remains ongoing, with the tower now standing at roughly 90% of its final height. What is most impressive though is the progress of the tower’s exterior envelope, which was pictured in late April only seven floors shy of covering the entirety of the current tower. The effect of the contrasting cladding materials can now be fully experienced, with the white frame treatment of the southeast and northwest corners adding a welcome deviation to what would otherwise be four undifferentiated elevations (possibly best seen in the first image in this story). 

he project is in the home stretch of its forming process, and with cladding following closely behind, interior finishing work is already underway to bring 55 Mercer to completion, delivering 534 new units in the Downtown Core.

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