The demolition last month of The Beach Motel, the final remnant of Etobicoke’s storied motel strip, marked the end of an era.
Speaking to the Toronto Star as the motel was being torn down, Empire Communities executive vice president Paul Golini acknowledged it was a “bittersweet day.”
“It’s sad to see one iconic landmark in Toronto come down,” he said, “but like all redevelopments, when something comes down, something goes up.”
That something will be Eau Du Soleil, Empire’s dazzling two-tower condo to be built along Marine Parade Dr. near Park Lawn Rd., representing the terminus of the Humber Bay master-planned development.
Billed as one of Canada’s tallest waterfront communities, Eau Du Soleil’s two towers — one 66 storeys, the other 45 — will be connected by a six-storey podium.
The project, designed by Zeidler Partnership Architects and E.I. Richmond Architects, will ultimately include more than 1,200 units. The tallest tower, the first one to be released for sale, will contain 750 units ranging from 504 square feet to 1,046 square feet, with the average suite size 750 square feet. The condos are priced from the mid $200,000s.
Sales on the project haven’t launched officially — the grand opening is slated for the New Year — but Golini notes that there has been substantial early interest during VIP preview sales events.
“We went to the brokers this fall and we were well received,” he says. “We had been out there for a while with ‘coming soon’ (advertisements), teasing the market, and we had brokers on our heels asking, ‘When can we get units?’ ”
Early demand for the project was so strong that Empire has had no concerns about sales at Eau Du Soleil suffering as a result of a cooling Toronto condo market. “We gauged the market and what we heard was that there was an appetite for this type of project in this community,” Golini says. “So we said, ‘Let’s get out there.’ ”
All suites at Eau Du Soleil will have balconies and nine-foot ceilings (with 10-foot ceilings on the 60th floor and above). Kitchens will have stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and glass-tile backsplashes. Bathrooms come with soaker tubs and glass shower stalls with rain showerheads.
There will be more than 40,000 square feet of amenity space.
A sixth-floor amenity area at the top of the podium will have a salt-water swimming pool and hot tub, fitness centre, yoga/Pilates studio and spinning room. On the floor above that will be a party room that extends onto a large rooftop terrace. There will also be a games room, theatre rooms and private dining rooms.
Residents living on the 50th level and above will enjoy exclusive use of a private “sky lounge” on the top floor of the 66-storey tower.
Eau Du Soleil will have outdoor community garden plots as well as basketball and tennis courts. The development also will incorporate a Toronto and Region Conservation Authoritypark, located just to the west of the property. A porte cochère in the condo’s podium will serve as an entryway into the building and allow for pedestrians to flow underneath and through to the park.
The striking design of Eau Du Soleil stems from a desire on the part of its architectural team to avoid “falling into the trap of creating a base with two sticks on top,” explains Tarek El-Khatib, a senior partner with Zeidler Partnership Architects.
This will be achieved by gradually terracing the lower floors of the towers down toward the podium, creating a cascading effect as the buildings transition into the base.
“As a result there will be beautiful terraces for all the units facing the water and facing the park,” El-Khatib says. “It will look almost like a cruise ship; it will feel like it’s floating over the water and the park. The (towers and podium) will appear to be all one piece.”
To accentuate this cascading effect, Eau Du Soleil will have a U-shaped line running from the sloped top of one tower, into the base, and curving back up to the top of the second tower. The line will be emphasized through the use of thicker white metal cladding along the bottom of the glass railings on one side, and thinner orange metal cladding on the other side of the line.
“And we’ve got a fibreoptic lights running along that shape,” El-Khatib notes, “so at night you’ll see very faint blue lights that will describe the shape.”
Eau Du Soleil will have more than 30,000 square feet of retail space, to be located at the base of the building along Marine Parade Dr.
El-Khatib wanted this space to resemble the organic, haphazard look of storefronts along Queen West. This will be achieved, he explains, by varying the look of the signs, storefront widths and the bands of colour used above them. “It won’t have a corporate feel,” he says. “It will be much more street-like and cozy.”
What’s in a name?
Eau Du Soleil will be a dramatic bookend for the condo cluster along the Etobicoke waterfront, an iconic project clearly visible to motorists entering the city via the Gardiner Expressway.
While the development’s dazzling design has got people buzzing, Golini acknowledges that the project’s peculiar name is also generating quite a bit of feedback. “We’ve gotten a lot of comments about that,” he says.
So what exactly is Eau Du Soleil — which literally translates into “water of the sun” — supposed to mean?
“It’s a whimsical name,” he says. “It’s meant to elicit emotions surrounding the connection of the height (of the towers) reaching toward the sun and the proximity of the project to the water.”
Were his consultants smoking something when they came up with the name?
“No,” Golini says with a chuckle. “But maybe there was a bottle of wine involved.”
Location: 2183 Lake Shore Blvd.
Developer: Empire Communities, empirecommunities.com
Interior design: Munge Leung, mungeleung.com
Size: Two towers: 66 and 44 storeys
Units: 1,200, from 504 sq. ft. to 1,046 sq. ft.
Price: From the mid-$200,000s
-Ryan Starr Special to the Star December 14th, 2012