Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

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Modern Toronto Lofts

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Unique Toronto Homes

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Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

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Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

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Category Archives: Family Real Estate

Upper Beach condo designed with the kids in mind

From storing the stroller to generous outdoor space, Upper Beach suites by Streetcar Developments cater to young urbanites with kids.

Tracy Hanes – Toronto Star

A new midrise condo in the Upper Beach neighbourhood is putting family living at the forefront.

The six-storey Southwood by Streetcar Developments, at Kingston Road and Southwood Drive, is one of the first condos in Toronto targeted specifically to families, and has been designed with their needs in mind. The 45-unit building opened February 22 and offers a variety of suites, from one to three bedrooms. The building will also appeal to buyers downsizing from houses.

“We are catering to two kinds of buyers — the empty nester who lives in the Beach or Upper Beach and doesn’t want a house anymore but wants to stay in the neighbourhood, and the other group is downtown young couples with babies or young children,” says Jeanhy Shim, president of research and consulting firm Housing Lab Toronto and a consultant on the Streetcar project.

Comment: And this is what we need more of. While mega-towers will continue downtown, we need some smaller and more interesting boutique-y buildings further out from the core. In established neighbourhoods, that contribute to neighbourhoods. Not all condos need to be small and cater to first-timers, investors and pied-a-terrers.

Southwood by Streetcar
“There are a lot of young, downtown buyers living in shoebox-sized units whose life circumstances have changed. They may have one small child or are thinking of having kids and thinking ahead to where their child will go to school.

“Its the first building I can think of that’s actively gone after the family downtown demographic,” says Shim, who has been raising her own young daughter in a condo and is about to embark on an in-depth study of downtown urban family housing needs.

At a recent roundtable discussion held at the Star, several major condo developers identified condo family living as an emerging trend and saw a need for larger units and more amenities to accommodate them. The developers see an increasing number of people staying in the downtown rather than moving to the suburbs after they have kids, as they don’t want to spend a lot of time commuting.

For the Southwood, Streetcar held focus groups to hear what features were most important to potential buyers, and when people preregistered, a salesperson called them within 48 hours and gained useful feedback from those phone conversations.

“We looked at what features of a (lowrise) home people love so much and translated that into a condo,” says Shim. “One thing people love about a house is the outdoor space, and we have balconies that are livable and usable, a minimum of 200 square feet, where people can entertain or kids can play.”

Shim says the young families and empty nesters wish lists were surprisingly similar: as well as generous outdoor space, they both wanted indoor spaces large enough for entertaining as well as decent storage. And though they don’t have kids at home, empty nesters want space to have their grandchildren visit.

Southwood balcony
“What both groups wanted is large entertaining spaces as they want to spend their time together,” says Shim. “We tried to create living and dining spaces that are functional, and kitchens with gas cooktops, as well as French-door fridges and full-size dishwashers in large suites, and islands you can sit at on stools. We tried to make really functional spaces, such as a living room wall where you can put furniture or a TV. We thought about how normal people live.”

Empty nesters love dining rooms, says Shim, so the larger suites include these with enough room for eight chairs. Master bedrooms can accommodate a king-sized bed and two end tables, and closets are walk-in. Ensuites are larger than typically found in condos, with water closets and his-and-her sinks. Secondary bedrooms are a minimum 10 by 12 feet, most with walk-in closets.

Shim says powder rooms aren’t a necessity for family condo dwellers, but storage is, and that space has been used to create space to store strollers, tricycles and vacuum cleaners.

“I think people will respond quite positively, as the layouts are quite distinct and unique. We really nitpicked at the plans,” she says.

One-bedroom suites start at 655 square feet (priced from the $300,000s) while three-bedroom units start from the $600,000s. There are also some large two-bedroom-plus-den suites of 1,200 to 1,300 square feet, and two-level penthouses with 1,500 to 1,600 square feet plus large rooftop terraces.

The neighbourhood is well-suited to family living with excellent daycares, schools, parks and amenities, and the Main St. GO station is within walking distance. The streetcar to downtown is at the doorstep.

Streetcar Developments specializes mainly in stylish midrise projects in east- or west-end downtown neighbourhoods within walking distance of shopping, transit, cultural amenities and parks. The company was founded in 2001 by former chartered accountant Les Mallins, who identified a development opportunity in the Beach and converted a former bowling alley into Academy Lane Lofts, a condo loft project.

“Streetcar initially catered to the young, urban demographic, but sees this (family-friendly projects) as a natural extension of their brand as their buyers have grown,” says Shim. “Its evolving along with its buyers. Just because you have a family doesn’t mean you cant still be cool and hip.”

The Southwood will feature the type of warm, modern style Streetcar is known for, with features such as nine-foot ceilings, quarter countertops, engineered hardwood or laminate floors, and barbecue hookups on balconies. “Green” features such as VOC-free paints, heat recovery ventilators (that provide a constant source of fresh air to suites) and low-flow faucets are standard.

The lobby, designed by Seven Haus, will be “very beautiful” says Shim, and the building will feature a multi-purpose room that can be rented out for parties or serve as a meeting space for mothers and children.

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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 these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

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