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Etobicoke loft conversion suggests a new residential model

The Network Lofts started life in the 1950s as a Bell Telephone office building

Christopher Hume – Yourhome.ca

Fieldway Rd., which can be found southwest of the corner of Bloor and Islington, is one of those anonymous semi-suburban arteries lined with everything from houses and old office buildings to parks and parking lots. In other words, it includes the usual mix of uses, many of them car-based, that make up the city. The neighbourhood it skirts consists of lowrise housing, mostly post-war bungalows. Many of these pocket houses have been enlarged, and as property prices increase, that trend will likely continue.

It’s also worth noting that because the area has been around long enough for trees to mature, it has a nice leafy canopy. There’s no overestimating how trees enhance a neighbourhood such as this, let alone a street. Toronto has always liked to think of itself as a sort of urban arboretum, but outside established residential enclaves, that’s rarely the case. No matter what schemes planners and urban designers might devise, planting trees is a strategy that never fails.

The big changes soon to unfold in this part of Etobicoke will be driven by transit. The subway has already led to arrival of the highrise, especially on Bloor, Islington and areas close by. Though it dates from a different era, Etobicoke is now undergoing a transformation from suburb to city. Its underused lands will be remade in much greater densities than ever imagined. Getting that right will be one of the big challenges facing Toronto in the decades ahead. But for better or worse, the process has long since started.

CONDO CRITIC – Network Lofts, 2 Fieldway Road

Built in the early 1970s as a Bell Telephone office building, this midrise box has made the transition to lofts with apparent ease. The two-part structure, divided horizontally on the ninth floor, is concrete and glass below, all glass above. The massing has a simple elegance, though the finishes are less attractive. With its rigidly geometric lines and modernist directness, it does what it does without fuss.

The interesting thing is how well the building suits its new role as a place where people live. In a city whose main streets are lined with two- and three-storey buildings that have been reinvented over and over again, this project presents an important suburban variation on the theme. In Etobicoke, after all, the problem isn’t so much the buildings as the space between them.

Grade: B

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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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