Tag Archives: Toronto Hydro
Sydnia Yu – Globe and Mail
DEVELOPMENT: South Hill On Madison
LOCATION: Casa Loma
BUILDER/DEVELOPER: Burnac Holdings Ltd.
SIZE: 440 to 1,300 square feet
PRICE: from the mid $200,000s
Burnac Holdings Inc.’s bold move to convert and expand a former Toronto Hydro building into raw lofts with 10– to 14-foot ceilings, exposed duct work and pillars found ready buyers. With that project sold out, the developer has unveiled plans for a seven-storey sister structure composed of smaller, refined suites with nine-foot ceilings, high-end appointments and a secluded setting further north of the nearby railway tracks.
“It’s important to note it’s not a high rise, glass enclosure with every unit being the same” says president Ted Burnett. “There are 159 units here, so people will be able to know their neighbours.
“So it’s more of a nice neighbourhood building that’s got a bit of intimacy to it and a lovely area with tree-lined streets throughout. A lot of buildings we have built are like that.”
Previews are under way for this midrise project, which was named South Hill on Madison to highlight its locale at 377 Madison Ave., just east of Spadina Road between Davenport Road and Dupont Street.
“It’s at the foot of Casa Loma in a wonderful location,” Mr. Burnett says. “It was an area that was underdeveloped for many years. It was a little diamond in the rough, which we’ve hopefully made into a diamond.”
The infill site is close to many urban attractions, from upscale restaurants, such as Mistura and Sotto Sotto, to essential amenities, such as Dupont and Spadina subway stations.
“You get a lot of bang for your buck because you’re in a nice, edgy area of Dupont,” Mr. Burnett says. “If you head west of Dupont, there are a lot of funky shops along there and along Davenport, and Bloor is another 10 minutes away, so you’re really centrally located.”
Similar to the first building, Northgrave Architects designed this Art Deco inspired residence to complement local landmarks in the low-rise community, such as the historic castle and high-end homes on Austin Terrace and the distinguished Castle Hill townhouse development.
Inside, there will be several one– to two-bedroom plus den models between 440 and 1,300 square feet, plus 10 two-storey townhouses on a private road at the north end of the site with up to three bedrooms, separate entrances and garages.
Prices will average $600 a square feet.
“What’s happened over the years is that people want to move south into the core of the city or to the south part of midtown,” Mr. Burnett says. “The size of the place used to be very important, but now people just want to fit within their price range, so units have gotten smaller over the years.”
However, many units will have French balconies, patios or rooftop terraces. “As units got smaller – we’re down to 800 square feet on average – people want a little more space to spread out to,” Mr. Burnett says.
When residents need more space, there will be a lobby with 24-hour concierge and a party room with a kitchen, seating and outdoor amenity space with WiFi access, plus a screening room, gym, yoga studio, pet spa and courtyard.
In consultation with Boychuk + Fuller, suite interiors will be contemporary with engineered wood laminate, quartz, porcelain and ceramic tile finishes, as well as master suites with private bathrooms and walk-in closets with built-in organizers, and kitchens with European-style cabinetry and optional islands with open shelving, storage and seating.
Monthly fees will be in the range of 50 to 60 cents a square foot. A parking spot can be had for $30,000 and a locker for $5,000.
Occupancy will be spring 2015.
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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by Laryssa Stolarskyj
Are you caught in a quandary choosing the ideal condo because you’re enthralled by historic buildings but aspire to owning new? Two Toronto-based developments – The Benvenuto and Madison Avenue Lofts - combine the finest in historic and modern.
Mitchell Abrahams, president of Malen Capital, said the renovation of The Benvenuto at St. Clair and Avenue Road made for an ideal conversion project. The heritage-protected building was originally constructed in the 1950s as luxury apartments. The generous suite sizes, convenient location, views, and amenities made it “the perfect candidate to be renovated; it has the cachet of being the best luxury address in town,” says Abrahams.
The Benvenuto is an important site historically. The original Benvenuto mansion dates back over 150 years, when the builder of the Annex, Simeon James, constructed it to overlook his sprawling new neighbourhood. Its ravine marked the shore of Lake Iroquois (now Lake Ontario), and William Lyon Mackenzie lived in it before it was demolished in the 1950s. Peter Dickinson, architect of the current building, brought an innovative clean-line approach to the city and “left a mark on Toronto in terms of modernist architecture,” says Abrahams, with features such as balconies and banded windows that let in more light than standard windows.
The Benvenuto was built with no structural walls, only columns, so Malen was free to move walls around to create seamless suites. The ability to add big, modern bathrooms and closets gives residents “the best of heritage architecture and space planning to make sure that each suite in the building is redesigned with the best layout,” explains Abrahams.
Tony Barry, vice-president of development, explains that Burnac wasn’t looking to renovate an existing structure. But when the building – which also had the advantage of a superb location – came on the market, Barry was convinced that the company had to acquire it. He says when he first walked into it, he felt its atmosphere was akin to that of an ancient European cathedral. “It was a magnificent structure and we were able to retain that structure.”
Barry explains that although it would have likely cost less to demolish the building and start anew, there were particular features, for instance the high ceilings (which are 12 to 14 feet), that warranted modernizing it into livable, useable space. He notes, “the building is solid, lending itself to a loft product. It was crying out to be renovated; it’s unique.” Barry additionally cites the columns as another feature that adds substance, allowing Burnac to offer a one-of-a-kind condominium.
The process of conversion, however, is significantly more difficult than building new. Malen redeveloped throughout existing occupancy, so details were planned with tremendous coordination to ensure that residents were impacted as little as possible. Abrahams says this meticulousness is worthwhile “only in a building that merits the effort.”
Barry explains that there are more unknowns with a 50-year-old building than with a brand new one, including the major obstacle of not being able to get to know it until actually being in it. Adding parking is another hurdle for Burnac. The original building had no underground parking and adding a new garage beneath the existing structure would be too expensive, if not impossible. Fortunately, the area adjacent to the building can accommodate underground parking, and the top of the garage will host a landscaped courtyard and new wing. Other obstacles that will increase time and cost factors include removing the cladding to add soaring windows that will let in lots of light, creating a new art deco-inspired exterior, and working slowly to preserve the mature trees that border the site.
But the advantages are numerous. Conversions protect buildings with architectural heritage, of which there are few in Toronto. And residents can live in a place with history and enjoy top-quality location and views that simply wouldn’t exist in a new construction in a midtown neighbourhood.
Although conversions offer distinctive features and advantages that new buildings lack, they’re not likely to become the norm. Legislation makes conversions difficult, so only top buildings and locations even make the short list. But Abrahams says it provides an opportunity to reposition luxury buildings and give them “new life in a loft with fantastic locations that are irreplaceable.” Barry concurs, noting “there are fewer and fewer buildings that lend themselves to it in the right locations, but where opportunities present themselves, we’ll carry on taking them.”
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The Lexington at 45 Carlton Street could be the backdrop in an-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it movie
Christopher Hume – Toronto Star
There was a time, in the early decades of the last century, when the leaders of this city decided it would be a good idea to move downtown uptown. The most obvious result of that short-lived campaign is the old Eaton’s College Street, a spectacular Art Deco building that to this day remains unsurpassed as an example of retail architecture. Even in its current incarnation, filled with a food court and discount clothing outlet, it retains much of its former elegance.
Originally, Eaton’s College Street was meant to be part of much larger complex that would have extended south and west to fill an entire city block. The Great Depression put an end to that and, it seems, to whatever hopes Carlton might have had of also becoming desirable. Things started well with the Toronto Hydro Building, (1933) another Art Deco beauty, and to a lesser extent, Maple Leaf Gardens (1931), but then along came the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s and, well, there went the neighbourhood. Architecture became little more than an economic exercise, a process of maximizing profits while minimizing cost. That has always been the case, of course, but at a certain point, it becomes self-defeating. Buildings grew so nasty and ugly, they sucked the life out of large areas of the city. Carlton St. suffered as much as any in Toronto. To this day, it remains scruffy, the kind of area where the monuments of yesterday only serve to highlight the dreariness of today.
Condo Critic – The Lexington, 45 Carlton Street
Despite its fantastic location, across the road from Maple Leaf Gardens, now undergoing renovations, and steps from the subway, this is a building that could be anywhere. Generic barely begins to describe it; this is a condo slab so utterly devoid of architecture, it hurts the eye and offends the senses. Indeed, it has a sort post-apocalyptic urban feel to it that would makes it great backdrop to an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it movie.
Standing 22 floors tall, it sits atop a two-storey base that helps a bit at ground level. But the fact is the building has aged poorly and has no obvious redeeming features. It dates from a time when form followed function and that meant one thing, utility. No relationship with the city was contemplated, let alone a contribution. Big, boxy and banal, The Lexington is one of those mistakes that stay with us seemingly forever.
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