Frank Gehry

Architect Frank Gehry discusses his plans for Toronto's arts and entertainment district. (Rob Gillies / Associated Press / October 1, 2012)

Frank Gehry was in his hometown of Toronto on Monday to reveal his conceptual designs for a multiyear transformation of the city's downtown arts and entertainment district. The architect is teaming with Canadian theater producer David Mirvish, whose sizable art collection will receive a new home as part of the massive endeavor.

The mixed-used project will include three high-rise residential towers soaring from 80 to 85 stories and a new facility for the Ontario College of Art & Design University. There will also be new and enhanced public spaces.

The new Mirvish Collection will be a 60,000-square-foot space that will allow people to view contemporary abstract art from the producer's collection. The space will be free and open to the public.

Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre, which is owned and operated by Mirvish Productions, will be replaced along with adjacent warehouses. Overall, the project will affect six properties owned by the Mirvish family. The Canada Walk of Fame will be preserved, according to organizers.

In a statement, Gehry said that "it is very special for me to be able to work in Toronto where I was born and to engage the neighborhoods where I grew up. It's especially interesting that this project involves the arts. That is always meaningful to me."

Gehry is involved with another downtown revitalization project in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles. Long in the works but so far unrealized, the Grand Avenue Project has been the subject of intense local debate and a number of delays.

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