The tower was the last of a series of construction projects in downtown Toronto launched in the boom years of the 1980s, when a number of massive towers were built nearby, such as Scotia Plaza. It was a joint project by Markborough Properties and TrizecHahn; a 57-storey office tower to be constructed at the corner of Bay and Adelaide in the heart of Toronto's financial district. It was to have cost almost a billion dollars.
The building caused considerable controversy among those opposed to the erection of such massive structures. The tower would've stood far higher than was allowed by the city's official plan. To gain city hall's approval the developers committed some $80 million towards new social housing and other projects. A portion of the site was turned over to the city for use as a park that is now Cloud Gardens. Both of these deals went ahead, despite the tower never having been completed.
Construction began in 1990, but the developers soon ran into problems. The economy went into recession and office vacancy rates in Toronto rose to 20%. Construction was halted, and in 1993, with over $500 million already invested, the project was permanently put on hold. All that was completed was the underground parking garage and several storeys of the concrete service shaft that stood from 1991 onwards, as a monument to the failed project in downtown Toronto. The stump of the service shaft was known to security and the locals as "the bunker" or simply "the stump".
There have been several attempts to revive the project. In 1998 TrizecHahn briefly revived it, but another shift in the economy caused them to again pause. In 2000 there was again talk of reviving the project, but the next year TrizecHahn sold its 50% share to Brookfield Properties for $49 million. Brookfield was committed to completing the structure to a smaller height of either 40 or 50 storeys, but later that year the economy again soured and the project remained on hiatus.
In June 2006, both buildings on Bay St. attached to this property were emptied of tenants and by December 11, 2006, both buildings had been taken down, with the north and west facades of the National Building (347 Bay) being removed for incorporation into the new buildings. Brookfield Properties has signed KPMG as a long lease tenant to occupy 250,000 square feet in the first tower . The National Building had only recently been designated a heritage building under the Ontario Heritage Act (Part IV). By December 2006, dismantling of the service shaft stump was complete. As of November 2007 construction is underway again. The core is approximately 33 storeys high and rising in a continuous pour process. Construction of the PATH tunnel, north from Scotia Plaza through the Bay Adelaide Centre started in fall 2007.
Brookfield Properties Launches Bay Adelaide Centre Development in Toronto's Financial Core KPMG to Anchor First Tower of 2.6 Million Square Foot Project
Jul 19, 2006; TORONTO, ONTARIOCCNMatthews - July 19, 2006) - Brookfield Properties Corporation (NYSE:BPO)(TSX:BPO) and its Canadian-based...