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Culture key to new City of the Arts project

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by Lindsey Cole

The Guvernment nightclub venue at Toronto’s East Bayfront was home to many musical memories, where both famous and up-and-coming artists took to the stage.
The 48-storey Lighthouse Tower is just one component of a $700-million project that is being undertaken by The Daniels Corporation. Entitled, Daniels Waterfront – City of the Arts, the project is completely redoing the former Guvernment entertainment complex at Toronto’s East Bayfront, located at the corner of Lower Jarvis St. and Queens Quay East.
The 48-storey Lighthouse Tower is just one component of a $700-million project that is being undertaken by The Daniels Corporation. Entitled, Daniels Waterfront – City of the Arts, the project is completely redoing the former Guvernment entertainment complex at Toronto’s East Bayfront, located at the corner of Lower Jarvis St. and Queens Quay East. - Photo: THE DANIELS CORPORATION

And while Tom Dutton, senior vice-president of The Daniels Corporation, says he doesn't intend to recreate a nightclub where the old one once stood, the tradition of arts and culture will still resonate as part of the $700-million Daniels Waterfront — City of the Arts project.

"The Guvernment nightclub was a very iconic place. It has this huge vault of memories for people and I think that what we're trying to do is take that history and build upon it by creating these opportunities for people to collaborate and pursue artistic endeavours," he says, adding there will be various arts and cultural organizations that will "anchor" the community.

"There will be a fairly large component that I think will end up being in the music and recording and performance end of the spectrum. It's building on that tradition and it's taking it to another level."

Some of the organizations, states a release, include Artscape, which is a non-profit development organization; talent management firm Last Gang Entertainment; Manifesto, a non-profit organization responsible for one of Canada's largest celebrations of hip hop culture; The Remix Project, a non-profit that helps under privileged youth launch careers in the creative sector; and entertainment law firm Taylor Klein Oballa LLP.

"One of the things that we've learned, is that including a significant component of arts and kind of creative culture in our communities adds a lot of value to the community not only at the local level but also in the wider community in strengthening the arts," Dutton explains. "It seems to be a very good way to bring people together."

Recently, Dutton unveiled plans for the mixed-use project, which he says will become "the gateway to the whole East Bayfront."

Bordered by Lakeshore Boulevard to the north, Richardson Street to the east, Queens Quay to the south, and Lower Jarvis Street to the west, Daniels Waterfront — City of the Arts will consist of a "1,320,000 square foot 'live-work-play-learn-create' community that combines significant office, retail, residential, academic and cultural components within two phases on the site," states a release.

Plans for phase one of the project, known as the south parcel, include 280,000 square feet of commercial office space in two towers, which will be home to businesses, including The Daniels Corporation's headquarters. A "Creative Industries Hub" will be housed in a 150,000 square foot space where arts and cultural organizations will take up shop. There will also be 27,000 square feet of retail space, the release adds.

With demolition of the Guvernment nearing completion, construction on the south parcel is slated to start in May.

"We're commencing construction as soon as the existing building is taken away," adds Dutton.

"We'll be starting our excavation for the underground parking for the south component and we'll be looking to have people move in there around the first to second quarter of 2018."

Phase two, known as the north parcel, will include 650,000 square feet of residential space, with more than 900 suites in two towers. There will also be 240,000 square feet of post-secondary academic space.

"The Daniels Corporation is working with George Brown College and OCAD University, who are considering a potential collaboration on a centre for innovation and commercialization within this community," the release explains.

Dutton says the community contains so many different facets, creating a "truly mixed-use development."

"Once all of these different entities are there and rubbing shoulders with each other on a day-to-day basis, they'll be able to support each other and work on a collaborative basis to take that work that they do to the next level," he adds.

"That whole mix is going to bring tremendous energy to that site during the day time, because we'll have something like 7,800 people coming in and out of the site during the day. Then, on top of that, we have our two residential towers that will sit on the north podium. Between the two of those there'll be about 1,500 to 1,600 people residing on the site."

Toronto Mayor John Tory was also on hand for the unveiling and stated this project complements the future East Bayfront community, adding more diversity to the waterfront.

"The revitalization of our waterfront is one of Toronto's most exciting and challenging urban renewal projects," he said in a statement.

"The Daniels Corporation's vision for the former entertainment complex site is a groundbreaking project that will have a lasting cultural legacy. Not only will this site feature landmark residential and office towers, but it will also be home to student innovation and a hub for the creative industries."

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