Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

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Modern Toronto Lofts

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Unique Toronto Homes

More than just lofts, I can also help you find that perfect house. From the latest architectural marvel to a piece of our Victorian past, the best and most creative spaces abound.

Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

For all of your Toronto real estate needs, contact Laurin. I am dedicated to helping you find that perfect and unique new home to call your own.

 

Network Lofts – 2 Fieldway Road

The Network Lofts started life in 1971 as a Bell Canada office and was reborn as a loft conversion. It was built originally for hundreds of employees and visitors, and included many elevators, a parking garage, as well as industrial heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. While the character of the structure was maintained – from its original thick, industrial floors to columns with a foot bigger around that normal – it was modernized inside and out.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

The current Network Lofts building on Fieldway Road is SO much more attractive than the old Bell building that it used to be

 

The Network Lofts range in size from one bedroom to two bedrooms and a den. Ceilings are 10-1/2 feet in standard units and up to 17 feet in the two-storey suites on the 8th floor where the building’s mechanical room was originally located.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

Massive wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceilings windows on the 8th floor of the Network Lofts

The all-concrete structure provides for extremely thick 14 inch floor slabs for exceptional low noise transition, high load bearing capabilities and unsurpassed fire resistance. The new panoramic window system provides maximum light and unobstructed views of Bloor West Village, Lake Ontario and the city skyline.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

The views from the Network Lofts at 2 Fieldway Road are amazing

Unfortunately, most of the lofts have no outdoor space. Some units on top of the original 1971 building have balconies and the PH lofts have private terraces. There is also a common rooftop with incredible views. Most of the Network Lofts are single level, though the 8th floor units have second levels.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

The lack of private outdoor space in most of the Network Lofts is made up for with a lovely common rooftop area

The finished project now has 13 storeys, and was converted by Finer Space Construction and The Alterra Group. Sales started in 2005, but the lofts were not fully completed and registered until 2010. Originally, Bell built the structure with only 8 storeys, and another four floors were added in 1978. The lucky 13th floor was added during the conversion.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

Units below the 8th floor are in the original 1971 building and thus can have some odd windows

The Network Lofts is one of the only conversions in Etobicoke. The Skyy Lofts on Manitoba Street is the other one I can think of. 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.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

You can clearly see the different stages of construction in this shot of the Network Lofts

As lofts go, this one does not have a ton of history, seeing as it was only built in 1971. But back in 1971, Bell Canada sure overdid it. That year, Bell built a combined office building and switching station near the intersection of Islington Avenue and Bloor Street West.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

The original building, with 1978 addition, as it looked before conversion to the Network Lofts

In the 1970s, Bell had a monopoly in the phone business and it appeared it wasn’t as concerned with achieving the same operating efficiencies as a purely market-driven firm, something reflected in its building programs. At the time, their standard modus operandi was to have a giant capital base, a big investment in infrastructure. And by increasing their investment in infrastructure, they could argue with the CRTC to raise their rates.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

The Network Lofts during conversion, with most of the original building envelope removed. Note the extra large 8th floor, the old mechanical floor.

Located across the street from the Islington subway station and just west of the Kingsway Village, the building sat empty for about a year after Bell moved out and put it up for sale.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

One of the old employee washrooms (note the old tile) during demolition

The building is so over-designed and over-built, it was a unique project. You don’t often see a building like this. Bell built the structure with concrete floors 10 inches thick, where 7-8 inches is more standard in residential construction today. Concrete columns that normally would have a radius of 17-24 inches are instead 30 inches round. And at the top of each column, a 4 inch thick capital beefs the floors up to a total thickness of 14 inches.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

Inside one of the Network Lofts at 2 Fieldway Road

The building certainly suited a loft conversion, with ceiling heights averaging 10-1/2 feet and the extra structural strength of the thick floors allowing for wide spans between columns and load-bearing concrete walls. The Network Lofts have 30-foot spans, as compared to traditional spans of 20 feet – or less.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

Those thick floors and strong columns allow for such long expanses of windows

One of the building’s few faults were the small windows that allow little natural light in. The developers removed the existing building envelope (the bricks and windows on the lower storeys and aluminum panels and windows on the top four storeys) and installed a completely new wall system of floor-to-ceiling glass. This allowed for windows 10-1/2 feet high, almost like being outside.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

A lot of the Network Lofts remind me of the Merchandise Building downtown

The conversion was long and complicated. The work involved removing all of the old mechanical and electrical systems and replacing them with systems that meet current building-code standards. Removing the old mechanical equipment was a bigger challenge because it was on the eighth floor. And the super-sized theme of the building extended to the mechanical systems as well. The mechanical room was full of large and heavy equipment, some had been anchored into concrete pads. They literally had to lift some of the pieces up, roll them to the edge of the floor and use a crane to get them down.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

Inside another one of the Network Lofts

But, this massive equipment meant that the mechanical floor was higher than the others and could be converted into two-storey lofts with ceiling heights reaching up to 17 feet.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

The Network Lofts at 2 Fieldway Road

Amenities include a whirlpool, spa, steam rooms, lockers, change rooms, fully equipped exercise room, party room with kitchen, media lounge with home theatre system, yoga studio, and a fully furnished guest suite. Situated near esteemed Islington Village with its renowned restaurants and boutiques, and just footsteps from the Islington Subway station, these lofts make the perfect home for commuters and connoisseurs alike.

Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road

The lobby of the Network Lofts at 2 Fieldway Road

Fieldway Road, which is just 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 low-rise housing, mostly post-war bungalows. Many of these pocket houses have been enlarged, and as property prices increase, that trend will likely continue.

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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 every article, some are reproduced here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

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Summary
Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road
Article Name
Network Lofts - 2 Fieldway Road
Description
The Network Lofts started life in 1971 as a Bell Canada office and was reborn as a loft conversion, one of the only lofts in Etobicoke.
Author
Laurin Jeffrey - Century 21 Regal Realty

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