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In the interim, Castlepoint has repurposed the site, formerly a Baptist church, into a community space at a cost of $120,000. Filipino artist Bianca Roco – a protégé of Canadian symbolist painter Kent Monkman, who was recently commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to produce two epic paintings – mounted an exhibit there this month.
Hines Canada, meanwhile, is developing three commercial buildings with 420,000 square feet of capacity to the south. They’re positioned between MOCA and the refurbished factories occupied by the Drake Commissary and Henderson Brewing, who followed Castlepoint into the Junction Triangle. Their minimalist design relies on heavy timber to create a grid of oversized fenestrations encasing glass.
None of the new structures will eclipse the Castlepoint Auto Building, officially renamed Auto BLDG, by exceeding its height. In addition to MOCA, the anchor property’s other prominent occupants include ad agency Junction59, who invested $1.5 million in a workspace created by Junction designers and artisans; Folks VFX, a visual effects company whose Hollywood clients include Marvel, Disney and Netflix; Zeidler Partnership Architects; and arts group The Toronto Biennial.
The Akin Collective maintains studio space for 20 working artists above MOCA, and Pride Toronto is moving in from Church-Wellesley. “We’re very happy with the constellation of people occupying the Castlepoint Auto Building,” says Romano, who secured the tenants with the precision of a curator at the Getty in Los Angeles. “It’s an exciting and eclectic group covering a wide spectrum of the arts and digital media.”
It’s possible that the Castlepoint Auto Building will have more creative fire power per square foot than any other building in Toronto. “I’m energized by this community every day,” says Marc Cooper, president of Junction59, who moved his company from Davisville two years ago and occupies one and a half floors. “Our creative directors can do their job anywhere, but being surrounded by other creative people is an advantage. There’s a convergence of subways, streetcars, trains and communication paths here that’s palpable. It’s what the Junction is about.”