Tag: slate asset management

Signs of Life: The Revitalization of Yonge + St. Clair

National Post’s Chris Selley said he ‘was downright astonished at the state of the joint.’ City Councillor Josh Matlow said it’s now just ‘a place between Yonge and Eglinton and Bloor.’ Vice President of the Deer Park Residents Association David Cameronsmith told the paper ‘it’s just gone to hell in a handcart.’

Yonge + St. Clair has been overlooked for decades, but it wasn’t always that way. It was once regarded as a vibrant and bustling place – it was a scene. It was the home of Glenn Gould; it was a fashion centre; it was fur coats and martini drinking. It has always been the gateway to some of Toronto’s most prominent neighbourhoods. It sits on top of an important transit hub. It is historically important. All of the ingredients are there to create a neighbourhood that is again a destination in and of itself.


As reported by Bisnow, Slate Asset Management has acquired 8 office towers in the heart of the neighbourhood, including those that occupy the 4 corners of its namesake intersection.

‘We have an opportunity’, Lucas Manuel of Slate Asset Management, told the National Post, ‘to make some big and fast and consolidated changes to the neighbourhood, which is our goal.’

And the changes are indeed coming fast.

The first phase of development at 2 St. Clair East has begun under the direction of award-winning, San Francisco-based architecture firm Gensler. An 8-storey mural by Sheffield’s renowned Phlegm now adorns the western wall of 1 St. Clair West. Vancouver-based independent coffee roasters JJ Bean are set to open one of their first Toronto retail outposts in a custom-built house in the lobby of 2 St. Clair West. And this is just the beginning.

Future plans include renovations to building lobbies and exteriors, modernizing every elevator in the neighbourhood, and bringing sweeping changes to the public realm and streetscape pedestrian experience. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life at Yonge + St. Clair. In attracting ‘the types of tenants who can support an improved retail base’ Slate hopes to breathe new life into the neighbourhood’s 9-to-5 rhythm and take the energy up to 24-7.


‘My wife and I live in the area’, David Hopkins of restaurant consultants The Fifteen Group tells National Post, ‘and we certainly don’t go to Yonge and St. Clair if we’re looking for somewhere to eat.’ This echoes a familiar sentiment. But through the reinvention of the 4 corners Slate is confident they can change that tune. And the newly proposed patio and restaurant space at 2 St. Clair West is a leap in the right direction.

Countless neighbourhoods across the city have successfully reinvented themselves with much more than a tired public sentiment working against them. Yonge + St. Clair is in a unique position to capitalize. Lucas is adamant that ‘[t]his is not a flipping strategy… It’s an own forever strategy.’ And with enough property to effectively act as their own business improvement area Slate not only has the passion but the means to make good on their promise.

Yonge + St. Clair’s Northeast Corner Reborn

Slate Asset Management is in a unique position of owning all four corners of the Yonge + St. Clair intersection. This is an unprecedented opportunity to bring a coordinated, holistic approach to transforming a major city intersection. Reimagining the various facades that frame the intersection is a natural starting point, the first of which is already well underway.

The current hoarding at 2 St. Clair East.

Hoarding currently surrounds the intersection’s northeast corner. Soon the hoarding will break away to unveil a brand new facade and streetscape. As it stands, 2 St. Clair East is a fifteen-storey commercial office building with two levels of retail and a connection to the St. Clair subway station. The Property shares the area’s only enclosed retail space with the neighbouring property, the Weston Centre. The building was originally constructed in 1976.

Below is a rendering of the future look of the building, with an updated exterior facade imagined by architectural firm Gensler. The sparkling new design will house an expanded and fully renovated TD Bank branch on the main level, and a new Rexall will be located on the concourse level. Greenhouse Juice Co. and Starbucks will be serving drinks at street level, and some old favourites will be returning with new looks downstairs. Slate also redesigned the public corridors to improve navigation and streamline TTC access and modernized the building’s elevators (so people can move up and down as well as sideways). When speaking with Bisnow, Slate Managing Director, Lucas Manuel, said he views this property as “the gateway to the neighbourhood, so it’s important to start [improvement] there.”


Completion of the new 2 St. Clair East is slated for December 2016.

Intelligent Design

Y+S_TWITTER_ProfilePicSomehow in the last 20 years, Yonge + St. Clair became a bit of a desert. It became a shell of its former self. The who’s who didn’t leave, but they stopped playing here. The tower cluster remains, reminding us that Toronto knew that transit-oriented development was well before it became a buzzword – but the energy is gone. It went to Yonge & Bloor and Yonge & Eglinton, as well as to other parts of the city. But Slate Asset Management hopes to change  this. Over the last few years they have acquired many of the towers in the area and have already begun to make some much needed investments.

One of those investments is a new brand and identity for the neighbourhood. They hired Toronto’s blackjet Inc. to imagine what this might be and how it could respond to the rich history and character of the neighbourhood.

The Yonge + St. Clair Blog spoke to Art Director Cameron Ward of blackjet about the new look.

Can you tell me a little about where the design came from?

The design came out of a single idea. Yonge and St. Clair is, in the simplest terms, an intersection. It’s where these 2 iconic streets meet. But at the same time, we wanted to embed the eclectic vibe of the area into this simplicity. There’s a lot of character and history in those 4 corners. Our design is a testament to that.

We also wanted to convey confidence. In our minds Yonge and St. Clair – what it was, what it is now, and what it’s becoming – is a confident neighbourhood.

And there’s an architectural relevance too. Our client owns 8 buildings at the intersection so the revitalization will obviously come through in the built form. Gensler [Architecture Firm] and IBI [Group] are already working away. The renderings look great. The designs are really clean and timeless. Like the branding. Hopefully.

It’s very bright.

[Laughing] Yeah they’re actually neon pantones. The colours were chosen to juxtapose the black and white photography we’re using in a few executions. And they definitely pop against the greys of the environment. These aren’t colours that occur often in the city. They’re confident colours.

You mentioned Gensler Architecture Firm. They’re working on the exterior of 1 St. Clair East and the exterior and lobby of 2 St. Clair East. IBI Group has already completed the new lobby of 2 St. Clair West. How do you see the branding living in these spaces?

I actually have a background in architecture so I know how important the details are. These projects are thoroughly designed from top to bottom so we need to be strategic in the way we incorporate the branding. It can’t be something we plaster all over the place, it has to be subtle.

An objective of any branding is to create cohesion. In this case it’s a little difficult because we’re not just looking to make street banners look like transit posters. We’re making sure 8 office towers have some of the same DNA. And we need to maintain the integrity of the architects’ designs. So it’s going to come through in the details. It would be easy to toss big plus signs on the walls and call it a day, but that’s not our approach.  And it wouldn’t look very good.

The branding will be present but it won’t be obvious. You might need to keep an eye out for it. We’re still working on some elements. I can’t say much more but it’s going to be really cool.



[Laughing] It’s going to be good. I’ll leave it at that.

Thanks Cam.