Toronto Loft Conversions

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Not just lofts, we can also help you find that perfect house. From the latest architectural marvel to a piece of our Victorian past, the best and most creative spaces abound.

Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

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Raising kids in condos a growing trend

Suite sizes are on the rise as families choose to stay downtown

Tracey Hanes – Toronto Star

After years of shrinking in size, condominium suites are getting larger and more families are opting to stay downtown and raise their children in condos, according to seven industry experts at the Star’s recent roundtable discussion.

Comment: They have no choice, they are being priced out of the freehold market. Or they just don’t want to live in Ajax or Brampton.

Jim Ritchie of Tridel said his company recently had success selling larger units at 101 Erskine, a project in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood. Peter Freed said Art Shoppe Lofts + Condos by Freed Developments and CD Capital offers units that can be scaled up and down for families.

Ritchie noted the condo construction industry has become very good at making suites more efficient and an 850-square-unit can now offer as much as an older 1,200 to 1,500-square-foot unit would have.

Kids in condos
But downtown living for families also requires improved city infrastructure.

Comment: All the new condos require improved infrastructure! From roads to bike lanes to transit to sewers and hydro. They city has take all of those development fees for 15+ years and done pretty much nothing. There will be a reckoning, mark my words.

“With the population moving to the core, the city has not looked at the school system,” said Riz Dhanji of Canderel. “We see a lot of families who want to live downtown and we need to accommodate that.”

Marco Filice of Liberty Development Corp. and Ritchie said developers can help provide creative solutions. Filice suggested classrooms could be included in mixed-use developments and grow or shrink as class sizes demand, unlike a bricks-and-mortar school. Ritchie pointed out that his company built a high school in conjunction with a condo project.

Comment: So drop a school in the bottom of a condo. How about a rec centre in the bottom of another? There is a library at Fort York, that is a good first step. But we need to build communities out of these condo, and that means adding in community building facilities. It also means putting public spaces into condos to make them part of the urban fabric, for everyone.

Anson Kwok of Pinnacle International said daycares have been added at some condos but school age children’s needs haven’t been addressed. “It’s a case of the chicken and the egg. Do you build a school first or wait for the kids to come?”

Chris Wein of Great Gulf, who is raising his family in a downtown condo, said homeowners used to think that once kids got through daycare they would move to a house in the suburb. But a shift is underway with more families choosing to not commute, and stay downtown in condos.

As a parent raising two small children in a condo, Jared Menkes, of Menkes Developments, says condo boards can also make life difficult for families, such as requiring carriages to be brought inside via loading docks instead of front doors. But he said change is coming as more condos tailor amenities to children, including kids’ activity rooms and some have already added video gaming rooms.

“Child-friendly amenities are not that expensive to establish or maintain,” noted Wein, who added that many amenities are provided by the neighbourhood. “You can have a multitude of activities in areas where density has come back, amazing pockets of cultural amenities.”

Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.


A sleek new condo tower is set to add another dimension to Toronto’s beautiful boulevard

Martha Uniacke Breen – National Post

Toronto’s University Avenue has a long and dignified history. While Jarvis Street on the east side of the city was the millionaire’s row of the 19th and early 20th centuries, with its enchanting Richardson Romanesque mansions, University was seen as the city’s most ceremonial, though primarily commercial, street: Once lined with chestnut trees from its start at Front Street all the way up to its terminus at (originally) University of Toronto, and by 1899, the Ontario Legislature buildings, it had always been a broad and rather formal promenade.

Comment: And imagine what it would look like today had the city gone ahead with the Vimy Circle / Cambrai Avenue plan

University has long been a thoroughfare, with its straight, unified built form meant for traffic. Insurance companies and office buildings populate its south end, while hospitals line its northern reaches. But it’s hardly an ugly street; in fact, it was and might still be called the city’s most beautiful, divided by a broad central boulevard decorated with landscaping, fountains and war memorials, its vista capped by Queen’s Park. Its urbanity is its greatest asset, comparing honourably with similar streetscapes in major cities around the world. Nice place to visit, as they say, but would you want to live there?

488 University
Amexon Developments’ latest project, The Residences at 488 University, indicates that the street may be ready for an increase in residential development. After all, like all of downtown, University’s cultural ethos has changed dramatically in recent years, with the Four Seasons Centre, Shangri-La Hotel and the theatre district all within walking distance. With these have come a growing number of good restaurants and, increasingly, retail. Where not so long ago they pretty much rolled up the sidewalks when the hospital and office workers went home at night, lower University has changed.

Comment: I find it odd that condos ar finally going in on University. It just seems so un-residential. But cool, why not, liven it up a bit.

Amexon’s resume includes the South Beach Condos and Lofts project in Etobicoke, one of the first in the city to feature six-foot wide balconies, a big hit with buyers when the building was completed in 2009, and copied by other developers since. There, as here, they collaborated with interior design firm II By IV Design, known for its sleek, high-end Modernist design. Core Architects, the authors of progressive residential projects such as Freed Developments’ Fashion House, is handling the architectural design.

While the new tower is being built on top of a circa-1970 Brutalist office building on the site, that building will be completely transformed into part of a slick glass-and-steel skyscraper that will rise 55 floors above the street. At street level, the building will feature a wide, brightly lit podium, where the main level will offer retail, a café and a fine restaurant, adding to the public life of the area.

488 University
The unabashed urbanness of 488 University’s surroundings is central to its expected appeal, in the spirit of addresses in such cities as New York and Chicago. It’s a connection the developers have capitalized on, with suite names and marketing designed to evoke the great streets of the world: Park Avenue, Champs Elysées, Broadway. But it’s very much a Toronto building: The lower level will connect directly to the St. Patrick subway station, and its clean design fits comfortably with both the traditional and newer buildings surrounding it.

The profile of the building itself feels urban as well. Where it rises out of the existing office tower, the structure steps in, giving it “shoulders,” and a pleasing sense of solidity. On the north and south sides, a little design event in the form of two X shapes break up the gridded expanse of the lower elevation; indeed, oblique lines repeat throughout the building in large and small ways, including herringbone-laid flooring in the suites.

Inside, two communal areas are planned. The vast, 50-foot-high grand lobby at ground level features an inlaid marble floor and pale panelled walls, lit by a row of huge chandeliers, and public areas and suites are finished in elegantly subdued neutrals of grey, white, black and taupe. “The lobby is designed to be quite majestic,” says II By IV principal Dan Menchions. “The design was inspired by New York buildings, both in the materials and the details.” Behind the concierge desk, the diamond/X motif is repeated in a mural inset with white panelling, marble and black glass.

The 18th and 19th floors, where the residential part begins (the lower floors will again be commercial space), offer an enviable array of amenities. SkyLobby is a private lobby for residents, with its own concierge, café and restaurant. Fitness and lifestyle amenities feature a fully equipped and staffed fitness centre, squash and movie-screening studios, indoor and outer pools, yoga and aerobics spaces, a private spa, and steam and sauna rooms. There’s even a private Zen garden. And the terrace on the top of the building offers its own range of comforts such as a fire pit and communal seating areas, and a spectacular view in all directions.

Comment: This I like. Mixed use buildings are the way to go. Incorporate the building into the street, make the lower levels public. Then use the remaining space for commercial and residential purposes. That is called highest and best use in my books.

The suites take full advantage of the views surrounding the tower as well, with glass curtain walls and II By IV’s disciplined, minimalist design. The kitchens can be outfitted in a dramatic macassar ebony finish; the marble-lined bathrooms, even in the smaller units, are large and luxurious.

With all the changes that the overall influx of residential in lower downtown has wrought, it seems natural that a fashionable residential building like this should come to Toronto’s most formal avenue. The new tower’s podium will add life to this stretch of University, and the addition of non-business attractions such as dining and retail will surely bring in more walking traffic, as well attracting people who work in the buildings nearby. As Mr. Menchions points out: “The building will definitely change the street presence; I think it’s going to become very active.”

Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.