Tag Archives: industrial warehouse
Riverdale is a large neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located directly east of the Don River Valley, south of The Danforth (Greektown) and north of Lake Ontario. The neighbourhood is characterized by two large recreational parks, Riverdale Park adjacent to the Don River and Withrow Park to the north east of Riverdale, as well as smaller parks. Riverdale is also home to Bridgepoint Health (formerly Riverdale Hospital), and the Don Jail, both at the corner of Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street East.
Riverdale is known by many Torontonians as a thriving residential neighbourhood represented by a strong arts community that cater to independent galleries on Queen St. to the large corporate film studios along the waterfront.
There remains a strong working class element to the neigbourhood as well. The tree-lined side-streets are complemented by the various styles of Victorian and Georgian residential architecture, primarily built between the 1880s and the Depression.
The Riverdale Zoo was Toronto’s zoological park before the opening of the Toronto Zoo in the early 1970s. Now called Riverdale Farm, it continues as an educational farm for school children and the general public. Ironically Riverdale Farm is not actually in the Riverdale neighbourhood but is located west of the Don River in the Cabbagetown neighbourhood. The two neigbourhoods are closely linked even though separated by the Don River.
While Riverdale itself is usually said to refer to the stretch of Toronto east of the Don Valley Parkway and west of Pape, between Danforth Avenue (North) and Gerrard (South), these boundaries are arbitrary and many people on either side of these borders often claim to live in Riverdale (or not, as the case may be).
The area’s high real estate prices have encouraged many residents to call adjacent areas Riverdale too. Names such as South Riverdale (which stretches north from Lakeshore to Gerrard and east from the Don Valley Parkway to Carlaw) are a construct of real estate agents.
Just east of Riverdale is Leslieville, which encompasses a few quaint blocks of late 19th century storefronts lined with antique shops, galleries and cafes. Toronto’s second largest chinatown, also known as Chinatown East, is found at Broadview & Gerrard.
A few kilometers east, between Greenwood and Coxwell, you’ll find Little India that is a popular meeting place for the Toronto South Asian communities. South of Leslieville, just north of the waterfront, is what’s called the Studio District.
Industrial warehouses along Lakeshore avenue house production studies and many people working in film and television live in the old Victorians found along the area’s side streets. Carlaw and Queen has become an arts hub, with many artists choosing to run their studios from the various work-live lofts.
Some Riverdale residents differentiate between “upper” and “lower” Riverdale. “Upper Riverdale” is characterized is the part of the neighborhood north of Riverdale Ave., and “Lower Riverdale” is the area south of Riverdale Ave.
Generally, real estate prices are reflected in this divide. The closer the house is to Danforth Ave. the higher the sale price. Also, in terms of the quality of the housing supply, homes built in “upper Riverdale” are more likely to have better architectural features, and are more likely to be rennovated. However, there are some exceptions. There are a number of remarkable century-old homes built on Simpson and Langley Avenues, the latter street named after Toronto’s well-known early 20th century architect.
The neighbourhood has seen the rise and fall of prosperity over the past century. The grand homes built on some streets are testimony to prosperous times. Despite this rich housing stock, the area was considered to be down-and-out in the 1970s. These days though it’s ripe with yuppies, young and old. Withrow Park is full of well-dressed babies in Bugaboo strollers and the Baby Boomers who’ve lived in the area for decades often have a Volvo or a Saab parked out front.
The popular teenage drama TV series Degrassi Junior High is named after the Riverdale street of the same name (although the only school on Degrassi street is Eastdale Collegiate Institute at Gerrard street east)
Riverdale Collegiate Institute is the neighbourhood’s local high-school.
Incoming search terms
Mary Teresa Bitti, Financial Post
Peter Menkes thinks a lot about the future and the next generation. It is a mind set that has taken his family’s 50-year-old-plus business, Toronto-based Menkes Developments Ltd., from a developer of single-family homes to a fully integrated real estate company involved in construction, ownership and management of office, industrial and residential properties, and to its recent accomplishment: a new, state-of-the-art office tower built to the highest of sustainable and environmental standards at 25 York St. in downtown Toronto.
“For me, sustainability is about building something that will run itself through its lifetime in a very efficient way,” says Mr. Menkes, president of the commercial/industrial division of Menkes Developments. “It will work with the environment, not against it. Companies are always mindful of their employees and keeping their people happy and healthy, of providing a comfortable, safe work environment. To know you are working in a healthy building gives everyone good peace of mind and lets them know they are doing their part for the next generation.”
That is what 25 York St. is all about. The 30-storey tower features 780,000 square feet of premium office space next door to Union Station, the transportation hub of the city, where some 60 million commuters walk through its doors each year. That location, Mr. Menkes says, made it ideal to build it to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
LEED is a building rating system originally developed by the U.S. Green Building Council and adapted by the Canadian Green Building Council to set a recognized standard for the construction industry around environmental sustainability and design. It is not a building code; rather, it is aspirational. Based on a series of 70 points that are earned for going above and beyond code and building requirements with the environment emphasis, there are four performance levels: certified, silver, gold and platinum.
LEED is divided into six areas: sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design. The hallmark of LEED is that there is a third-party certification. Twenty-five York Street is awaiting LEED Gold certification – one of the first office buildings in Toronto built to this standard.
“It’s quite an achievement to build a LEED Gold building,” Mr. Menkes says. “It makes a great statement about what you are creating in the city and what you can do when your focus is on environmental sustainability.”
This is Menkes Developments’ first LEED building but it has long been focused on energy conservation in its existing buildings. It has been instituting recycling initiatives and energy and equipment retrofit initiatives since the 1990s.
“We are always trying to be leading-edge, to create an efficient work space – be it an office building, industrial warehouse building, or residence,” Mr. Menkes says. “We recognize that buildings are part of the environment and that being energy-efficient is important.”
So, when the opportunity arose to purchase the site at 25 York St. and build a new office tower downtown – the first since the 1990s – he knew he would take advantage of all the sustainable building materials and technologies available to create a showpiece that was leading-edge and sensitive to the environment. From the design through to the final finishes, Menkes Developments took a holistic approach to construction.
“When you build a building there is a lot of construction waste that typically gets put into landfill sites,” Mr. Menkes says. “In this case, 95% of all the construction waste from our site has been recycled, which is to say it was diverted from landfill. At peak times, we were generating 100 tonnes of waste a month and we were able to recycle 95% of it.”
The building was also designed to allow for an optimal amount of natural light. Each floor has 11-foot floor-to-ceiling glass.
“As a complement to the natural light, we have indirect lighting that lights up and down and creates a nice ambient light throughout the floor,” Mr. Menkes says. “Our light fixtures take their cue from the natural light flowing into the space at any given time and dim automatically, reducing energy consumption by 25%.”
25 York St. also features an 18-inch raised-floor distribution network that houses advanced heating, ventilating and cooling systems that will reduce the cost of energy to heat and cool the building by up to 60%. “It allows the tenants to have optimal control of their heating and cooling because each tenant controls the air flow and temperature in their space,” Mr. Menkes says.
“We also have a stormwater management system that allows us to collect and recycle rainwater for non-drinking water systems. When it rains, the water is collected on the roof and the terrace and stored in a cistern in the garage. That water gets filtered and is used in the flush toilets and urinals as well as for outdoor irrigation, reducing demands on municipal water and waste treatment facilities.”
The building is part of EnWave, the City of Toronto’s chilled-water system, where cold water from Lake Ontario is used to cool buildings in the downtown core. “As a result, we don’t have big chillers on the rooftop releasing CFCs into the air,” Mr. Menkes says.
Perhaps the greatest green aspect of 25 York Street is its downtown waterfront location. Its direct connection to Union Station offers tenants easy access to public transit. “It lessens the demand for automobile use, and, from a LEED perspective, that means less traffic congestion and pollution,” Mr. Menkes says.
Equally important was strong public interest and demand for green buildings. “You read about increasing vacancy rates but in our case, we had great demand from tenants wanting to be in this building,” Mr. Menkes says. “When we opened the doors last month, we were 85% leased. For a brand new building, that is quite an accomplishment.”
Telus occupies just under 60% of the building and Kinross Gold moved from King and Bay to lease 85,000 sq. ft. within the building. “They bought into all the attributes of what a LEED building is,” Mr. Menkes says. “Like-minded companies see a product like this coming up, and that’s where they want to be. I think going forward, everyone in the downtown core will be building LEED buildings. The technology is here.”
And so is the business case. Menkes Developments anticipates a 25% to 30% energy savings compared with traditional buildings. “It’s huge,” Mr. Menkes says. “This is a competitive advantage we can pass on to tenants. We are $5 to $8 a square foot more economic than traditional downtown core office buildings. And we are providing them the latest and greatest of the new thing. Telus is in the process of moving in and they are hearing from staff excited to come work there because they love the building.
“We were very sensitive when it came to design, because it is such a landmark location. That view is the post card of Toronto, so we wanted to design something that would be elegant and enhance that postcard view of the city. I take a fair bit of pride in the design of the building that is timeless and really adds to the beauty of the downtown core. I wish I had another site next door to do another one.”
Incoming search terms