Toronto Loft Conversions

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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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Medland Lofts – 235 Medland Street

Medland Lofts is a conversion of an early 20th-century Art Deco style building into ten creative urban living spaces. Nine of the lofts are two storey spaces on the second floor. These lofts all open onto private roof terraces – perfect for outdoor entertaining and summer BBQs. One main floor loft offers street level access and a private entrance, and is great for someone seeking a live/work space.

Medland Lofts - 235 Medland Street

The Medland Lofts at the corner of Medland Street and Dundas West

The Medland Lofts are located in the west Toronto neighborhood of The Junction, what has been named one of the top ten places to live by a number of different media. Home to artists, galleries, small businesses and restaurants, the neighborhood enjoys a strong sense of urban community.

Medland Lofts - 235 Medland Street

Some of the Medland Lofts have exposed brick, but not all

In the early 1980s the Malta Band Club moved into to the property at 235 Medland Street in the heart of the Junction. Support for the band and the club had increased to a point where they outgrew their previous facilities at the YWCA. A short time later the Malta Band Club purchased the Medland Street property and completed extensive renovations that culminated in the official opening of the newly revitalized premises in 1984.

Medland Lofts - 235 Medland Street

I have no idea when the addition as added to the Medland Lofts

It was then converted to lofts by 235 Medland St. Inc. in 2005, not in 1998 as everyone seems to think. It appears from old listings that the person behind the conversion was a Realtor, as the sales all note that the seller is a Realtor. Since Fred Dyer of Sutton Group was the listing agent, I have a sneaky suspicion it was him. And since his name as listed as seller on a lot of the land registry files, it seems a safe assumption. But there is nothing showing prior to 2005. Not sure if Mr. Dyer bought the building from the band or how it went from them in 1984 to lofts in 2005. And there is just a huge blank from 1984 back.

Medland Lofts - 235 Medland Street

Most of the Medland Lofts are more like townhouses

1924 Goad’s map shows something on the corner, but I cannot tell what it is. There are a ton of Toronto Archives photos from the 1920s that show the general area, but there is nothing that definitively shows the corner and what was there. The 1913 Goad’s map also shows something on the corner, something that looks the same as the 1924 and matches the shape of the building today. Going back to 1910 and we see something different, something that looks like rowhouses. Thus, I would like to think that 235 Medland was built sometime back between 1910 and 1913, but there is just no way to know for sure.

Medland Lofts - 235 Medland Street

The Medland Lofts do have lovely outdoor space

The Junction is one of the hottest neighbourhoods in Toronto and hasn’t reached its peak yet. The revitalization continues as the coolest shops and services continue to open. Even The New York Times loves it! 235 Medland is in the heart of it. Walk out your door to all the action.

Medland Lofts - 235 Medland Street

The Medland Lofts are in The Junction, one of Toronto’s trendiest neighbourhoods

Dubbed the “next West Queen West,” this area is well known for its enduring sense of urban community, its popularity among artists, its growing number of restaurants, and its position near the West Toronto Rail Path, a multi-use path that seeks to connect Parkdale, Roncesvalles, The Junction, High Park, Brockton, Beaconsfield, Liberty Village, Trinity-Niagara and Dundas West.

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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 every article, some are reproduced here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

—————————————————————————————————–

Massey Harris Lofts – 915 King Street West

The Massey Harris Lofts, constructed in 1885, were converted from the red brick office building that was designed by Edward James Lennox, one of Toronto’s leading architects (who would go on to design Old City Hall). The red brick office building was designated a heritage property by the City of Toronto in 2008 (after being listed in 1983). When the company that would eventually evolve into Varity Corp. vacated the lands in 1986, the majority of the industrial buildings were demolished with the exception of 915 King Street West. The area was rezoned as residential 10 years later.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

Massey Harris Lofts at 915 King Street West is one of the last remaining examples of Victorian industrial architecture once so prevalent in this area of Toronto

The building was constructed as the administrative offices for the Massey Manufacturing Company, with additions after the firm became known as Massey-Harris Limited. Historical records indicate that a two-storey building was completed at the north end of the site in 1885, with the third floor and a three-storey south wing added in two stages before World War I.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

The Massey Ferguson office building, a composite I made from 3 images taken sometime between 1977 and 1998. Probably in the late 1980s, as it appears to be empty the cars are quite dated.

The Massey-Harris Office Building is a representative example of a late 19th century commercial building that was constructed in stages, with the different sections united stylistically by the application of Classical details. You can really see the different stages of construction these days, now that the building stands alone and you can clearly side the sides. Of particular importance are the series of bay windows on the original building, and the sculptural detailing above the main entrance and on the large pediment on the north side.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

The Massey Harris office building on King Street West probably in the early 1980s

The Massey-Harris history starts the wilds of southern Ontario, just before the middle of the 19th century. Daniel Massey was 49 in 1847 when he turned over operation of his successful farm to his 21-year-old son, Hart. To thresh his wheat, Massey visited Watertown, N.Y., and brought back a crude threshing machine and a horse power. It was likely the acquisition of this thresher that spurred the elder Massey’s interest in labor-saving farm machinery (some accounts characterize it as more of an obsession). Determined to become a manufacturer, he took a partner, R.F. Vaughan, who owned a small foundry and machine shop, but who was starving for capital. The two men began to manufacture simple implements such as plows, harrows, cultivators and rollers using iron castings and wood. The new company prospered, with Massey buying out his partner after only a year. In 1849, he moved the plant to larger quarters in nearby Newcastle, Ontario, on the main road into Toronto.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

King Street West, looking towards Strachan, lined with Massey-Harris buildings. The office that became the Massey Harris Lofts is at left, in front of the CN Tower.

By 1851, business was so brisk that Massey brought his son, Hart, into the business as factory superintendent. The Massey company was already building a reaper and Hart obtained rights to build the Ketchum mower as well. The business continued to grow. In 1855, Daniel Massey retired and Hart became the boss.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

The Massey Harris Lofts are a great example of a heritage brick-and-beam loft conversion

John Harris moved to western Ontario, not far from Brantford, in 1816. Mechanically inclined, Alanson ran a sawmill for 15 years before moving to Beamsville, a small town near the southwestern shore of Lake Ontario just east of Hamilton. In 1857, Harris bought a small factory to manufacture a wooden revolving hay rake that had been invented by his father, plus a few other simple farm implements. Soon Harris was able to buy a steam engine for the shop. He took his son, John, into the business in 1863. John Harris acquired the rights to the Kirby mower and reaper and before long the Harris firm was a strong competitor to Massey.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

While none of the Massey Harris Lofts are terribly large, they all have tons of character

Both the Harris and Massey enterprises expanded rapidly and soon each made its presence felt. Incorporated as the Massey Manufacturing Company in 1870, nine years later the firm moved to a six-acre site in Toronto. Hundreds of workers were employed to produce agricultural implements that were shipped worldwide. Then Harris introduced a new design for a binder, which saw Harris begin to overtake Massey in the lucrative export market. That got Hart Massey’s attention and he made overtures to the Harris family. In spring 1891, after lengthy and very secret negotiations, the North American public and the implement industry were astonished by the announcement that Massey and Harris would henceforth be known as the Massey-Harris Co., Ltd.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

You will find high ceilings and raised kitchens in the Massey Harris Lofts

Toronto was a major city back in those days. Not only was Gooderham the largest distiller in the world, but Massey-Harris was the largest producer and exporter of its type in the British Empire in the late 19th century. It was known as Massey-Ferguson (a name well-known to those of us who grew up in small towns) from 1958 until 1987 when the company was taken over by the Varity Corporation.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

Inside the old Massey-Harris office building. Probably sometime after they went under in 1986. Deterioration is pretty bad, so it is likely even as late as the early to mid-1990s.

The original portion of the Massey-Harris Office Building facing onto King Street was designed by famed Toronto architect E. J. Lennox. Following an apprenticeship with architect William Irving and a short-lived partnership with Frederick McCaw, Lennox embarked on a solo career in 1881. His association with the Massey family began immediately, as Lennox prepared the plans for this office building and a residence for Hart Massey’s son, Charles, on Jarvis Street, as well as supervising the alterations to Hart Massey’s neighbouring house, Euclid Hall (which is now the Keg Mansion). Growing to become one of the largest practices in Canada, Lennox was selected to design Toronto’s third City Hall (now known as Old City Hall) in 1886. While this civic project lasted over a decade, during the 1890s Lennox accepted additional commissions from the Massey family, including the Fred Victor Mission (named for Hart Massey’s youngest son) and the Massey Mausoleum in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

Cecconi Simone-designed kitchens in the boutique Massey Harris Lofts at 915 King Street West

The south additions to the building were undertaken by George M. Miller, who established his architectural practice in Toronto in 1885. Like Lennox, Miller was known for his association with the Massey family, beginning with his work as a consultant on Massey Hall (originally known as Massey Music Hall) in 1894. During the next decade, Miller designed the City Dairy and Stables (1900 and 1909) on Spadina Crescent for Walter Massey, oversaw further modifications to Euclid Hall in 1900, and prepared plans for the Lillian Massey Household Sciences Building at Victoria College (1908-1912).

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

Walls from 1885 speak to west Toronto’s Victorian industrial heritage

The Massey-Harris Office Building is the last surviving example from the complex of industrial buildings that the company developed on both sides of King Street West, west of Strachan Avenue. With its sculptural detailing, the building is local landmark and a reminder of the historical development of the area. Rather than try to reproduce it all here, check out this page at blogTO for a new photo essay on what King Street West used to look like not that long ago.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

The Massey Harris Lofts offer loft living with a boutique atmosphere like no other in Toronto.

Located at 915 King Street West, the Massey Harris Lofts managed to retain more than 90% of the significant building’s traditional Georgian exterior. Preserved and restored, the interior contains 46 one-of-a-kind loft residences with ceilings ranging up to 17’6″. That total includes eight two-level penthouses on top of the building in an addition whose contemporary glass and aluminum façade elegantly blends the old and new. The lofts feature baths with all glass showers and radiant floor heating. A true loft conversion that is always highly desired.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

The Massey Harris Lofts at 915 King Street West are known for their large windows

In 2002 Canderel-Stoneridge started this massive project, including the redevelopment of acres of old Massey-Harris industrial lands surrounding the office building. From this we got more than just the Massey Harris Lofts – the DNA 1 & 2 buildings are part of the project, as well as the aptly-named Massey Harris Park.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

Inside the Massey Harris Lofts at 915 King Street West

While much of the original building’s interior had been gutted, key architectural and design elements were retained wherever possible. Some of these features include: exposed brick walls; wood beams; over-sized bay windows; and pillars with cornice trim. The company’s vaults with barrel-shaped ceilings will be converted to washrooms in the seven units in which they are located. Those have to be seen to be believed!

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

Detail of the frame for the old vault door, now turned into a bathroom

NB: The only other loft with such a feature is the old ball-bearing factory at 347 Sorauren. One of the lofts at the front of the building is the old office for the owner of the company. The bathroom in that unit is the old vault, complete with big metal door and all! And then there is the Boiler Factory Lofts at 189 Queen, where a big old wall-safe was turned into a closet. This is the beauty of converting old buildings, they are full of cool little surprises like this.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

Some of the Massey Harris Lofts have lovely views out over Massey Harris Park

Many of the lofts that have been converted in Toronto in the past decade or two have been conversions of industrial factories and warehouses possessing little historical significance (as I well understand when I do my research and find that some have nothing, no history, no record). In contrast, 915 King Street West was the corporate headquarters of one of Canada’s most well-known companies (with history stretching from King Street West to Jarvis Street). This 1885 office building designed with classic detailing and styling (by E. J. Lennox no less, one of Toronto most famous architects!) that set it far above the surrounding factory buildings.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

Kitchens are small but stylish in the Massey Harris Lofts

Unfortunately, as with many large manufacturing companies, the end was not a pleasant one. In the 1980s Massey-Ferguson and its new chairman and chief executive officer, Victor Rice, fought off collapse while the firm underwent three restructurings between 1981 and 1986. Renamed Varity Corporation in 1986, in surfaced from the remains of Massey-Ferguson. In 1991, the company officially moved to Buffalo (Williams-Butler House at 672 Delaware Avenue in the Millionaire Row area of Buffalo) and ceased to be a Canadian corporation. In 1994, in a deal worth $310-million in cash and stock, the farm equipment divisions of Varity were sold to the US-based AGCO Corporation who continue to use Massey-Ferguson as a product line today.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

One of the original vintage staircases inside the Massey Harris Lofts

The Massey Harris Lofts offer residents loft living with an exclusive boutique atmosphere like no other in Toronto. The lofts range in size from 450 to 1,000 square feet and used award-winning interior design firm Cecconi Simone to design the building’s interiors.

Massey Harris Lofts - 915 King Street West

Massey Harris Park, right next door to the Massey Harris Lofts

The lofts are located right beside Massey Harris Park, constructed by landscape architects to reflect a rural oasis in an urban setting. The park has natural grasses, a variety of intersecting pathways and boardwalks, a bocce pitch, a small water park for kids, drinking fountain for dogs plus artistic features. Liberty Village with all its amenities is located directly to the south of the Massey Harris lofts and the location makes it easy to access shopping along West Queen West. The King streetcar runs in front of the building providing easy access to the Financial and Entertainment Districts.

They don’t come up for sale often, and when they do they sure sell fast!

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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 every article, some are reproduced here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

—————————————————————————————————–

Masonic Hall Lofts – 2 Gloucester Street

The Masonic Hall Lofts are Toronto’s most central hard lofts. Converted in 2007, the lofts feature original brick walls, 20-foot ceilings and massive skylights. There aren’t many units here, and they don’t come up for sale. Ever. The heritage Masonic Hall Lofts are right between Bloor and Wellesley – you can’t get much more downtown than this. Literally steps the subway, all that Yonge and Church Streets have to offer, restaurants, shopping and more.

Masonic Hall Lofts - 2 Gloucester Street

The Masonic Hall Lofts at 2 Gloucester Street in 2014

Was for sale in 1997 for $849,000 – for the ENTIRE building! That would buy one of the lofts these days… Then in 2001 Puffin Developments Ltd. listed it for $2,195,000. The building was 21,570 square feet of all commercial leases at that point. The penthouse had 22-foot ceilings! They dropped the price to $1,750,000 but still found no takers. Then there is nothing on MLS until the only unit ever listed was listed 4 times with no sale. Land registry shows 7 units on the 3rd floor and 6 on the 4th floor. But they all seem to be owned by the same people… as if they owned them all and rented them out. I have heard that this is more of a rental building than somewhere you can buy. Maybe this is the case. Yet the building is Toronto Condo Corp #1894, so it is certainly a condo according to the city. And I showed unit 403 to clients back in 2008 – the only unit ever listed for sale. The developer is a numbered company, so there is nothing further down that path. The names associated with the property on land registry are also dead ends, thus I will not mention them, as they do not seem to be public figures. But it appears that the same buyer bought from the same seller every time. They are not developer-owned, as we all thought. So there’s that.

Masonic Hall Lofts - 2 Gloucester Street

Modern finishes in an amazing heritage shell at the Masonic Hall Lofts

But there is a long and storied history we can talk about! The gorgeous Romanesque Revival Masonic Hall Buildings are one of the few surviving commercial blocks in Toronto that originally incorporated a Masonic Hall, reflecting the prominent role of freemasonry in the development of the city. Its design blends architectural features from a number of stylistic influences popularized during the Victorian period, which are executed with a high degree of detailing and capped by a landmark tower on the southwest corner. It was the tallest building on Yonge Street for years.

Masonic Hall Lofts - 2 Gloucester Street

Multiple levels and skylights can be found at the Masonic Hall Lofts

The façade is also characterized by its decorative cornices and brackets, as well as the especially fine woodwork and metal detail of the shop fronts. The facade of brick masonry with stone trim, and the variety of fenestration are good examples of later Victorian architectural style. Also of note are the cast iron and metal work of the shop fronts; the inscribed stone tablet on the façade reading “Masonic Hall Buildings 1888”; and the association of the building with the Masonic Order of Scottish Rite.

Masonic Hall Lofts - 2 Gloucester Street

Masonic Hall Lofts at 2 Gloucester Street in 1936

The history of the site dates back to June of 1853, when Plan 81 is registered on the lands along the north side of Gloucester Street, east of Yonge Street. The 1858 Boulton’s Atlas shows the site still vacant. In the fall of 1867 Charles Levey acquires Lots 2-4 on the northeast corner of Yonge and Gloucester Streets and then commissions the pair of houses presently located at 8 & 12 Gloucester Street in 1868. Levey occupied one of the houses and rented the other to dry goods merchant Timothy Eaton, who resided there for nearly a decade while he established the forerunner to his famous department store. Alexander Patterson, who operated a grocery business at 287 Yonge Street, acquired the entire site with the open space on Yonge Street and Levey’s houses in 1874. The 1878 City Directory first records Patterson as the occupant of 10 Gloucester and the 1880 Goad’s Atlas illustrates Patterson’s property prior to the construction of present-day 2 Gloucester.

Masonic Hall Lofts - 2 Gloucester Street

The Masonic Hall Lofts at 2 Gloucester Street in 1955

In 1888, Alexander Patterson received tenders as well as a building permit (City Building Permit #123) for “seven detached three storey brick stores” on the northeast corner of Yonge and Gloucester. That same month sees Patterson’s new stores referenced in an issue of The Canadian Architect and Builder. A couple of months later, Patterson gets a mortgage on the property for $17,000. Patterson’s unfinished buildings are recorded in the City Directory in 1889, and in 1890 the new complex is listed in the City Directory and first illustrated on Goad’s Atlas.

Masonic Hall Lofts - 2 Gloucester Street

The Masonic Hall Lofts at 2 Gloucester Street in 1975

Patterson reserved the upper floor of the complex for the Scottish Rite Freemasons, an arrangement later confirmed in land records and announced on the building in a nameplate reading “Masonic Hall Buildings 1888”. As a branch of the semi-secret fraternal order that originated in English medieval stonemason guilds, this group was specifically formed to teach the first three of the 33 degrees of freemasonry. The Scottish Rite Freemasons used the premises in the Masonic Hall Buildings until 1918 when the branch relocated to the custom-built Masonic Temple at Yonge Street and Davenport Road.

Masonic Hall Lofts - 2 Gloucester Street

The Masonic Hall Lofts at 2 Gloucester Street in the mid-1990s

The Masonic Hall Buildings at 2 Gloucester Street were designed by architect Richard Ough. Little is known about Ough’s early life and training, although he resided and practiced in California for nearly twenty years before opening a solo office in Toronto in 1885. His initial work comprised a hotel, summer pavilion, railway station and residences for the Long Branch Grove summer resort in Etobicoke. In the city, Ough accepted a commission for the British Hotel (1887) at King Street West and Simcoe Street before undertaking the Masonic Hall Buildings. By 1892, Ough was working in the United States again, where “Glen Hurst”, one of the original houses he designed in the Palisades neighbourhood of Washington, D. C. is a recognized heritage property.

Masonic Hall Lofts - 2 Gloucester Street

The kitchen of one of the 4th-floor units at the Masonic Hall Lofts

Patterson resided in the westerly semi-detached house at 10 Gloucester Street until 1908. The property stayed in the family until 1958, when Patterson’s estate sells the property. It had declined severely by the time the Masonic Hall Buildings were thoroughly rehabilitated by Adamson Associates as Gloucester Mews in 1972. The following year, in 1973, Toronto City Council lists the property at 2 Gloucester Street on the City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties. And then in 1982 the property is designated under Ontario Heritage Act. Finally, in 2007, the building becomes Masonic Hall Lofts.

Masonic Hall Lofts - 2 Gloucester Street

The only unit at the Masonic Hall Lofts that most of us have ever seen

Directly north of the Masonic Hall Buildings, a six-storey commercial block was commissioned by land developer Robert Bustard and completed in 1915. Behind (east of) the Robert Bustard Building and now numbered as 18 Gloucester Lane, the Lionel Rawlinson Building stands. The Masonic Hall Buildings and its neighbours create a unique heritage enclave of surviving 19th and 20th century structures.

—————————————————————————————————–
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 every article, some are reproduced here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

—————————————————————————————————–