Toronto Star: What makes this downtown Art Deco landmark into a vibrant community?

For more information, please contact:
Andrea Chin, Communications Director

Don Schmitt, Principal

December 4, 2023

Waterworks is featured in an article by Carola Vyhnak for the Toronto Star.

Waterworks works — and then some. Just ask the people who live at the redeveloped industrial site named for its former life as a water treatment facility. In an unusual mix of uses, the structure built in 1932 has been transformed into a thriving community hub that combines housing with food, health and social facilities. “It breathed new life into the area,” says Zvonimir Cicvaric, who bought an 11th-floor condo in the midrise residence added to the original heritage building.

He regularly meets up with colleagues at Beatrice Society café, located in one end of the restored two-storey structure on Richmond St. W. And he takes full advantage of the amenities, from the expanded park to the “fantastic rooftop space,” where he meets up with other residents for barbecues or summer movie nights.

Further proof the whole thing works? The project won this year’s GTA best-built community award given out by the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

Waterworks serves diverse purposes and needs: 288 condos, including 15 affordable units; a big Food Hall, to be opened in the spring; a YMCA community space, also coming in the spring; a shelter for homeless youth; and an upscale restaurant and coffee shop.

With ground-level entrances on all sides as well as many pedestrian passages, Waterworks is a welcoming neighbourhood resource.

“We thought it was important to make the whole block more porous,” explains Don Schmitt, project lead and principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects.

“It’s worked out super well,” he concludes, speaking about the project to adapt and revitalize an Art Deco landmark that once served as a garage where city trucks were fixed.

Schmitt says feedback indicates Waterworks succeeded in tapping into the community’s needs and wishes: “People love the mix of uses.”

Read the full article here.