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Mixed-use condos let residents work from home
By Dianne Daniel Special to QMI Agency
The concept of a combined live/work space may be centuries old, but there’s nothing traditional about some of the newest mixed use condominiums to hit the urban market in Toronto. Bold designs, flexible floor plans and contemporary finishes are captivating a new group of consumers buoyed by the possibility of getting on with business right from the comfort of their own home.
“Truthfully, we’re not trying to sell it; I think it’s the way the world is going,” says Gary Silverberg, president, Triangle West Developments Inc., referring to the live/work concept in general. “We’re thinking about your lifestyle, your demographic, your needs in life and we’re trying to offer things that might make your quality of life more seamless.”
One of the newest – and most creative – buildings by Triangle West Developments is the 11-storey ART Condos at the northeast corner of Dovercourt Rd. and Sudbury St. in Toronto’s Queen West arts community. The ground floor features two-storey, two-bedroom homes that include an upscale storefront, ideal for entrepreneurs or artists who may lack the necessary capital to invest in a home and a separate business or gallery simultaneously. The upper floor suites range in size from studios to two bedrooms plus den, and include full use of the building amenities which are intended to support people who work from home.
“The amenities are designed to complement you if you have a live/work lifestyle,” says Silverberg, noting that the second floor houses a business centre with photocopier, fax and scanner, a fully-equipped meeting room and several intimate meeting spaces.
The ground floor storefront spaces in ART condos will be uniquely designed to fit the business or lifestyle of each owner. Of the three units released to date, the first one has been purchased by an artist, a complement to the guiding principle behind ART condos which is “a celebration of the creative spirit.”
Ashley Ross, president of Urban Works Development Inc. and developer of the Junction Triangle Lofts @ 229 Wallace on the site of the former D&M Building Supplies, is also seeing increased demand for mixed use spaces.
“There are definitely cost savings with having a home where you live and work in the same place as long as you have your privacy,” says Ross. “People really want to use their home as the hub.”
Recognizing the growing trend, the light-industrial retail units at Junction Triangle Lofts include a second floor studio/workshop loft area with three-piece finished bathroom that can easily be converted into residential spaces if zoning permits.
Even developments north of the 401 are leaning towards mixed use spaces. A prime example is South Unionville Square by Mady Development Corp. in Markham. Designed to meet the needs of Markham’s fast-growing Chinese population, the development boasts 550,000 square feet of retail, commercial and residential space, including a T&T, the traditional Chinese supermarket chain.
At the groundbreaking last fall, Mady president David Mady called the development “a traditional village with a 21st century face,” noting that residents can live, work, shop, eat and entertain all within walking distance. The 11-storey residential tower and 80,000 square feet of commercial office space are available as condominiums and are well suited for doctors, dentists, small local businesses and service providers.
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The Junction Triangle project encompasses 10 two-floor clear-span units.
Daily Commercial News
Construction is nearing completion in Toronto’s Junction Triangle district on a loft development designed to accommodate an eclectic mix of creative and professional uses.
Being spearheaded by developer Ashley Ross and designed by architect Victor Rosa, the Junction Triangle Lofts @ 229 Wallace project encompasses 10, two-floor, clear-span units.
The development is located on the site of the former D&M Building Supplies in the city’s Bloor-Lansdowne corridor. The contractor is Urban Works Developments Inc.
It was four years ago that Ross first explored this rapidly-changing section of the city and realized its potential.
“I had a vision for what this area would become,” Ross says, “and the gentrification is happening right in front of our eyes. There are new galleries on Bloor Street, Wallace Film Studios is just down the road and multi-billion-dollar video game giant Ubisoft Entertainment has now built its Toronto headquarters directly across the street.”
Ross sees owners/investors using the 2,850-square-foot units for such purposes as software design and development, artist and photography studios and workshops for sheet metal, carpentry and welding.
The first floor of each unit is 1,430 square feet with 14-foot, 8 –inch ceilings. The 1,250 square-foot studio/workshop loft is an open-concept space with a 10-foot ceiling. There is an open 180-square-foot rear roof terrace off this level.
“The front façade echoes Gothic architecture and blends well with the mixed built form of the surrounding properties,” Ross says. “It provides a fantastic addition to the cultural fabric of the neighbourhood.”
The plans also incorporate natural light coming in through large windows, especially at the back, which has a southern exposure. There are two skylights in each unit.
Ross says purchasers have “tremendous flexibility” to achieve what they want through upgrades and their own additions.
“They can install ceilings or keep the industrial look of the exposed steel beams and polished concrete floors,” he says. “We also offer the option of some interior red brick.”
Ross recently completed the Richmond Town Manors on Richmond Street near Trinity Bellwoods Park.
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Four years ago, when developer Ashley Ross first saw Toronto’s rapidly-changing Bloor and Lansdowne corridor, he realized the potential in the area.
Known by many names over the years, area residents voted earlier this year to “name the neighbourhood,” once and for all. Spearheaded by an organization called Fuzzy Boundaries, the oft-used Junction Triangle name won the vote in March 2010.
Ross’s project, initially known as 229 Wallace Lofts, on the site of the former D&M Building Supplies, became the first development to adopt the new neighbourhood name, Junction Triangle Lofts @ 229 Wallace.
Construction has begun on this collection of 10 exclusive two-floor clear span loft units designed to accommodate an eclectic mix of creative and professional uses.
“I had a vision for what this area would become,” says Ross, “and the gentrification is happening right in front of our eyes.” According to Ross, there are new galleries on Bloor, Wallace Film Studios is just down the road, and multi-billion dollar video game giant Ubisoft Entertainment is building its Toronto headquarters across the street from Junction Triangle, which has the potential to bring hundreds of highly-skilled new economy jobs to the area.
“In addition, TTC is right there which is an indicator that the area is poised for growth,” he says.
The neighbourhood already attracts entrepreneurs who can rent space or own their unit outright.
“What they can own is one of ten 2,850 square-foot units priced from $579,900, which is just $200 per square foot. Potential uses are vast allowing for retail, commercial, workshops, studios and more,” says Ross who sees potential owner/investors catering to software design and development, artists and photography studios, communications and broadcasting, publishing, custom workshops for sheet metal, carpentry, welder’s or contractor’s shops, performing arts studios and workshops, food wholesale/bakery/catering businesses, possible community service clinics or health centres, and even the option of brew on premises.
“The design echos Gothic architecture in the front façade, blends well with the mixed built form of the surrounding properties and will provide a fantastic addition to the cultural fabric of the neighbourhood. The plans also provide a a a lot of natural light coming in through large windows, especially at the back, which has a southern exposure,” Ross says. “We provide a space that’s ready for work with primed concrete block, separate heating systems and hot water tanks for each floor as well as finished bathrooms but purchasers have tremendous flexibility to what they want through upgrades and their own additions.”
“They can install ceilings or keep the industrial look of the exposed red steel beams and polished concrete floors. We also offer the option of some interior red brick and even have provided a rough in for a kitchen on the second floor,” he adds. Architecturally-controlled landscaped exteriors have a red brick front elevation and attractive split face architectural block at the rear and east elevation.
Unit features include 6″ reinforced smooth concrete slab-on-grade construction; oversized double-glazed insulated windows; 600-volt, 200-amp service with a main breaker; hanging pendant industrial lighting fixtures; and more.
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