Excavation Advances at Site of Portland Commons

While COVID-19 is having an effect on Downtown Toronto office vacancy rates, Carttera Private Equities are pushing forward with work on Portland Commons, an office complex at Front Street West and Portland Street for which ground was broken in November. Bullish on a recovery in the office market post-pandemic, the building is being constructed on speculative demand. Approximately five months since ceremonial shovels went into the ground, work at the site of the 15-storey, Sweeny &Co Architects-designed building is making quick progress.

Portland Commons, Carttera Private Equities, Sweeny &Co Architects, TorontoLooking north across site of Portland Commons, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

Drilling to create the shoring walls continued into mid-January, with excavation having begun as shoring work was wrapping up. The dig is preceding 13.9 metres deep to create space for the building’s foundations and four underground levels.

Portland Commons, Carttera Private Equities, Sweeny &Co Architects, TorontoExcavation for Portland Commons, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

As excavation progresses, the shoring walls are being revealed, with the site utilizing both the watertight caisson wall type system, alongside a permeable pile and lagging system where groundwater conditions are negligible. Below, pile and lagging can be seen on the left while the concrete caisson wall is on the right. The shoring walls are secured through the installation of tiebacks, anchors driven horizontally through the walls into the surrounding earth to stabilize them. 

Portland Commons, Carttera Private Equities, Sweeny &Co Architects, TorontoExcavation for Portland Commons, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

The next steps for the site include the installation of a tower crane at the base of the pit, and the start of forming for the underground levels, with three parking levels below a servicing level. Once the concrete reaches the surface, work can begin on the Portland Commons’ dramatic structural engineering elements, a series of canted columns extending up to the base of the fifth floor to support a prominent cantilever above. 

Portland Commons, Carttera Private Equities, Sweeny &Co Architects, TorontoCourtyard at Portland Commons, image courtesy of Carttera Private Equities

The building is set to rise almost 73 metres and contain 560,000 ft² of space, primarily for offices with some retail and restaurant space at ground level. Carttera anticipates the first tenant occupancies for 2023. Upon completion, the building is expected to receive LEED Platinum Core & Shell, Wired-Score Platinum, and WELL Certification, and will be connected to the Enwave Deep Lake Water Cooling network via The Well, a seven-building mixed-use complex now under construction a block east of the Portland Commons site.

Portland Commons, Carttera Private Equities, Sweeny &Co Architects, TorontoPortland Commons, image courtesy of Carttera Private Equities

You can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you’d like to, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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