Libeskind’s L Tower mixes business with pleasure

The sculptural 58-storey glass condominium set to rise beside the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts will serve as a bridge between the soaring skyscrapers of the financial district to the west and the historic character of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood to the east.

The uniquely shaped 58-storey L Tower, part of the redevelopment of the arts centre, has been designed by internationally renowned “starchitect” Daniel Libeskind, whose vision was to actively integrate inner city life with arts and culture.

“It’s going to be very visible. I hate to use the word iconic because it’s so overused, but this will become a symbol that will stand out. It will be a transition between the two districts, with residential use but with the height of buildings you find in the financial district,” says Sam Crignano, president of Cityzen Development Group. Cityzen is a development partner with Castlepoint Realty Partners and Fernbrook Homes in the Sony project.

The deal between the city-owned Sony Centre and the development group provided $28 million to carry out the restoration and renovation of the aging, and cash-strapped, arts facility.

While in discussions with Sony Centre representatives, Crignano says, it was clear they wanted something “extraordinary” for the site, which prompted the developers to handpick Libeskind, an American architect who also designed the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum, the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Denver Art Museum. Local architectural firm Page + Steele has also been involved, handling the production work and preparing the working drawings.

The condo is adjacent to the Sony Centre, on the southwest corner of Yonge St. and The Esplanade, in a separate building, says Crignano. A structure that held the Sony Centre mechanical systems was demolished to make way for the condo and the mechanicals relocated to another part of the structure. There will be no direct access between the condo and the arts centre, though some rooms under the tower will be used as rehearsal halls and change rooms.

After a delay due to the economic slowdown, construction got underway on the tower last spring and it will be ready for occupancy in late 2012 and early 2013. There will be 600 suites in all and the building is aiming for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification with features like energy-efficient faucets, low-flow toilets, thermal low-E windows, an energy-recovery unit and a system to capture storm water and use it in some of the amenity areas.

Initially, the Sony redevelopment was to include an arts lab in the foot of the “L” shaped tower but when that fell through, the space reverted to the residential component.
“Unfortunately for the city, it lost the arts lab but it freed up some ground level floor space, which allowed us to bring all the amenities to grade level, which will be a much nicer,” says Crignano.

A public plaza will be created along the west side of the redevelopment, which Crignano says the Sony Centre may use for outdoor theatre performances, “which could be very interesting.”
Amenities will include fitness and spa facilities, 24-hour concierge, lounge, cinema, library and catering kitchen.

The suites, designed by Munge Leung, will include custom-designed kitchen cabinetry, engineered hardwood flooring, stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops and nine-foot ceilings.
About 80 suites are still available for purchase, starting in the low $400,000s. For more information, go to

Related Project

L Tower

Now under construction in the heart of downtown Toronto, The L Tower is the evolution of 21st century living. An iconic landmark designed by celebrated architect Daniel Libeskind, the residential tower rises 57 storeys and is home to 593 suites, graced with high-end luxurious features and finishes.