Tag Archives: candy factory
Buyers are paying big money for lofts, but are they the right fit for you?
David Fleming – TheGridTO.com
We could be talking about boiled eggs, water, or even your chest, but today we’re talking about lofts, and how some buyers prefer their lofts soft while others prefer them hard.
The term loft gets thrown around far too often in Toronto: It seems like the only prerequisites for a condo to be called a loft are a door, a roof, and (hopefully) four walls. Lofts are so popular that the mere use of the word will bring in more interest and more money, so buyers have to be savvy enough to know whether what they’re looking at is the real deal. Perhaps a loft is something different to everybody, but for me, it’s either a conversion from an old non-residential space, or a new-build condo that was made to look like a conversion. Each style has its pros and cons, and each has its fans and opponents.
A building that was converted from an industrial or commercial space, such as an old warehouse or a 100-year-old factory, is a true hard loft. Picture a space with exposed brick walls, timber beams spanning 14-foot ceilings, and majestic windows. On Queen Street West, Candy Factory is home to some of the most beautiful examples in the city, with more brick and beams than almost any loft in Toronto.
These buildings typically have more original character and always come with more history. Some of the best hard lofts in the city tell a story, such as Toy Factory in Liberty Village, which Irwin Toys constructed in the early 1900s. One thing to look out for if you’re considering a hard loft is that developers sometimes keep the historic windows, which can mean out-dated, inefficient thermal nightmares. (Just ask the residents at The Wrigley Lofts on Carlaw Avenue what their heating bills are like.)
Comment: And the Irwin factory was a paper mill before that! Irwin did not build it, they just took it over. And speaking of the Candy Factory, that used to be the Cede factory. Remember “Rockets”? That is where they were made. And the Wrigley Factory is where Double Mint and Big Red were made before they moved to a new facility on Leslie.
A soft loft is a building that was purposefully constructed as housing, but has been made to mimic a hard loft by having similar features like open-concept spaces, high ceilings, large windows, and some of that raw, industrial feel. The explosion of soft lofts began in the early 2000s when the city of Toronto was running out of old buildings to convert to residential condominiums. So developers began constructing lofts anew and marketing them as a more liveable version, with a clean, polished look.
Comment: Those of us in the biz, we call them “condos with high ceilings”…
Soft lofts often have a little more warmth than those converted from commercial space, and since they’re built new, they often have better finishes. A building constructed from scratch can take advantage of advances in plumbing, heating, electrical, and any other system that one erected 100 years ago might lack. East Lofts on Princess Street is a newer example of a soft loft, but the building next door, Abbey Lane Lofts, is one of the most striking soft-loft buildings in the city, as you”d swear the units were indeed hard lofts. It’s tough to get your hands on one, too—there are only 29 units in the building.
Comment: And new soft lofts are protected by Tarion, which conversion are not. Something that needs to be rectified IMMEDIATELY.
Then there are the lofts that are both hard and soft at the same time. This usually occurs where a developer converts an existing structure into lofts but also adds several new floors to the top. The Toy Factory features an original four-storey warehouse converted into hard lofts, with an additional three storeys of soft lofts. The lesser-known Robert Watson Lofts on Sorauren Avenue, near Roncesvalles, also features a combination of the two, as there is an original building fronting on Sorauren and a new red-brick soft loft behind it that looks like a shinier version of the first.
The most passionate loft enthusiasts will think that a true hard loft is the only way to go, and anything else is an imposter. I tend to agree from an aesthetic standpoint, but when it comes to things like sound-proofing, weather resistance, and wear-and-tear, hard lofts often fall far behind. Nevertheless, buyers are still paying big money for lofts, both hard and soft, and with all the cookie-cutter units flooding the market, I see lofts holding their value over the long run.
David Fleming is a Realtor with Bosley Real Estate in Toronto, and author of the best known real estate website in the city: www.torontorealtyblog.com. A constant thorn in the side of condominium developers, David”s sarcastic, opinionated, outlandish thoughts can be read daily, although for some people, that’s far too often.
Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information – 416-388-1960
Laurin & Natalie Jeffrey are Toronto Realtors with Century 21 Regal Realty.
They did not write these articles, they just reproduce them here for people
who are interested in Toronto real estate. They do not work for any builders.
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As the original home of the R&T Watson Co. confectioners, the address 363 Sorauren Avenue has been one of the sweetest in Toronto. Now this historic landmark is being transformed from sweet to suite as Rosebud Homes and Sky Development Group convert the former candy factory into fabulous loft residences.
The Robert Watson Lofts project, including the restoration of an existing vintage building and the construction of a new six-storey loft building, is well underway, with completion slated for early 2007.
With respect for heritage, Rosebud Homes and Sky Development Group have gone to great lengths to preserve the vintage building’s character by leaving the original painted lettering on the exterior, as well as the century-old brick, wood beams, columns, and soaring 10- to 16-foot ceilings inside the lofts.
The 1903 construction includes wooden ceilings, concrete floors and exposed spiral ductwork – providing an industrial aesthetic that begs dramatic decor. The four-storey original building will have a fifth floor added to it, with tremendous care being taken to reinforce the structure.
Both buildings include high ceilings and polished concrete floors. The new loft building will also feature expansive walls of windows offering stunning city views, gas ovens for cooking, and patios or balconies. The fusion of the new and vintage buildings is spectacular.
Amenity areas will add an air of distinction, and industrial-style elevator cabs will add to the vintage ambiance of the former factory. The buildings will surround a landscaped courtyard with a green roof garden recreation and barbecue area. Among the loft highlights are kitchens with granite countertops, ceramic tile backsplash, and stainless steel appliances.
The Robert Watson Lofts will add a coveted residential component to the burgeoning Roncesvalles Village area, which offers a diverse culture and quaint mix of trendy restaurants, coffee shops, convenient stores, and furniture shops.
Choose from one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus den, two-bedroom, and two-storey lofts and suites ranging in price from $182,900 to $419,900. The lofts are almost 100% sold, yet there are still a few exciting lofts and suites available.
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