Toronto

'Why's the stupid crane up there?': L Tower construction delays finally coming to an end

The crane that's been sitting on top of one of Toronto's most distinctive condo buildings has finally been taken down, as construction on the L Tower appears to be coming to an end after years of delays. But it appears to have been replaced by something that looks like ... another crane.

'The buildings today are complicated,' the developer says, explaining why it's taken so long

The L Tower, known for its unusual shape and a construction crane that sat at the top of the building for years, now has a smaller crane-like device above it, with a construction platform set to be removed in the coming weeks. (Lorenda Reddekopp/CBC News)

The crane that's been sitting on top of one of Toronto's most distinctive condo buildings has finally been taken down, as construction on the L Tower appears to be coming to an end after years of delays.

However, there's now another strange-looking structure sitting on top of the tower at the corner of Front Street East and Yonge Street — something that looks a lot like ... another crane. 

"A couple of weeks, it'll be completely gone," said Sam Crignano, the president of Cityzen Development Corp.

The contraption he's referring to is actually called a Building Maintenance Unit (BMU), allowing for repairs and window-cleaning, something which has so far been impossible on the upper floors due to the swooping curve at the top of the tower.

Crignano says while BMUs can be "an eyesore" on top of some buildings, this one was specially-designed and will partially retract inside the rooftop once it's completed.

The crane-like device now at the top of the L Tower is designed to help with repairs and window washing and will partially retract inside the rooftop once it's completed. (Lorenda Reddekopp/CBC News)

Construction on the L Tower began in 2009 and was supposed to be finished in 2013.

Crignano says the delay in attaching the BMU started when a local company defaulted on a contract to help build the unusually-shaped high-rise, adding an extra year and a half to the construction schedule. 

During that time a standalone crane remained parked beside the building. 

Next, the developer hired a company based out of the Netherlands, XS Platforms. But because of the tower's unique shape, that firm also ran into work delays.

"The buildings today are complicated," Crigniano said. 

"We're hiring star architects who don't design anything simple," he added, referring to the famed Daniel Libeskind, who designed the L Tower with his signature angles and sweeping curves.

Famed architect Daniel Libeskind is no stranger to Toronto. He designed the L Tower, as well as the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum. ((Uwe Lein/Associated Press))

Mark Allen, a real estate agent who owns a condo in the L Tower, isn't bothered by the delays in spite of the years of negative headlines.

"People get angry about, 'Why's the stupid crane up there?' Allen said in a phone interview. "It's just a special building and needs special equipment on top."

'The design is phenonomenal'

The self-described "architecture nerd" says he comes across tourists from around the world taking photos of the building. 

"The design is phenomenal," he said.

The developer is looking forward to finally being able to replace broken windows and have the window washers clean the upper floors.

"It'll be a relief when it's all done and I can turn it over to the condo corporation," said Crignano, laughing. "That's when I'll have my scotch. But not before."