Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

I know classic brick and beam lofts! From warehouses to factories to churches, Laurin will help you find your perfect new loft.

Modern Toronto Lofts

Modern Toronto Lofts

Not just converted lofts, I can help you find the latest cool and modern space. There are tons of new urban spaces across the city.

Unique Toronto Homes

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.


Tag Archives: central toronto

Toronto’s density plan is working, so keep it going

Marcus Gee – The Globe and Mail

A spectre is haunting Toronto – the spectre of hyperdensity. Jennifer Keesmaat, the city’s dynamic chief planner, worries about it. So does one of Toronto’s smartest local politicians, city councillor Adam Vaughan.

Comment: Uh… the same guy who wants all sorts of 3-bedroom condos downtown that people aren’t buying?

What is this thing and why are they so frightened of it? For years, after all, city planners have been preaching the virtues of density. After decades of seeing cities sprawl, creating vast, car-dependent, expensive-to-maintain suburbs, they came to see that dense, bustling cities work better.

Transit becomes more efficient when there are enough riders to justify frequent service. Streets are safer with lots of people on them day and night. The environment wins when people can walk instead of drive and don’t need to heat big suburban houses.

Comment: Which is why condos downtown are a good idea. Have a look at many major US cities, whose downtowns are empty shells. Heck, you could go bowling at King & Bay at 6pm on a Friday night only 10 years ago. Now, it is busy, there are people, the city has life. How is that a bad thing?

With all that in mind, the city’s Official Plan seeks to direct new development – office buildings, condo towers and so on – to key areas of the city, fostering the process known in planners’ jargon as intensification. The aim is to put new buildings on about a quarter of the city’s geographical area, keeping the three-quarters that is left – residential neighbourhoods, quiet, smaller streets – free from runaway growth.

Comment: Yeah, because there are so many condos on side streets.

As anyone can see from the thickets of development around nodes like Union Station or Yonge and Eglinton, it has been remarkably successful – too successful for some. “We have reached this exciting and terrifying tipping point where we are starting to question whether it could be there is something called too much density,” Ms. Keesmaat said. “There are some areas of the city where we are seeing too much density – hyperdensity – and there are other areas of the city where we are seeing no growth at all.”

She worries that transit, parks and other necessities of city living won’t keep up with the growth. Mr. Vaughan, who represents a downtown district where new buildings are rising left and right, says he shares the concern. He drops another word for it: vertical sprawl.

In a little-noticed move in October with potential to change the future shape of the city, he persuaded city council’s planning and growth-management committee to ask city staff to find a way of sounding the alarm when an area approaches hyperdensity. At that point, the city could tell developers, “This neighbourhood is at capacity. Go somewhere else,” Mr. Vaughan said at the time.

Comment: Such as the areas where there is no land to build on? Developers can only go where there is land to build on. And in locations where people want to build. City plans cannot change either of those facts.

“Take a look at the bones of a neighbourhood. What’s the body mass it can support?” he said. “If you just add people for the sake of people or buildings for the sake of buildings, are you in fact building a livable city?”

Worries about hyperdensity may strike a chord in a city where condo hatred and fear of height is on the rise. But, as both Mr. Vaughan and Ms. Keesmaat readily concede, this is a nice problem to have. Many other cities would kill for the downtown building boom that Toronto has enjoyed.

In the second quarter of this year, 92% of the office construction in Greater Toronto was in downtown Toronto – a sharp turnaround from the days when businesses fled to the cheaper rents and lower taxes of the suburbs. City planners report that downtown is living through an office-construction rush reminiscent of the late 1980s. People are thronging to live downtown, too, attracting new businesses to serve them and bringing new vitality to the streets.

Comment: And that is what makes a liveable city.

This should be cause for celebration. The city’s plans for smart density are working. Since the Official Plan took effect in 2006, 82% of proposed residential units have been going just where planners want them: in the downtown; in other designated growth nodes such as Yonge-Eglinton and North York Centre; in mixed-use areas; and along the so-called Avenues – big, main streets such as Bay or Queen that can absorb growth.

If you fear that Toronto is overbuilt, just ride the elevator to the top of the CN Tower and look down. The dense, high-rise parts of the city are only small woodlots in the vast plain of low-density and small buildings that is modern Toronto. Even downtown, seen from this height, still has lots of gaps – underused space taken up by parking lots or small buildings.

Comment: And those spots will be next for development. Highest and best use, that is the mantra for all real estate. Over time, everything heads to that ideal.

If the hyperdensity tag catches on, it could become a useful tool for downtown councillors who want to appease their constituents by blocking new development or for suburban councillors who want to steer more development to their wards even if there is no call for it there. It could also help kill exciting projects like the Frank Gehry-designed proposal by David Mirvish for King Street West. Ms. Keesmaat’s planning staff oppose the plan for three towers of more than 80 storeys each – too tall, too dense – and city council backed her up in a vote on Dec. 18.

Comment: But we all have to be sure that “hyperdensity” does just become a tool for NIMBYism.

It is reasonable to worry that new development will cause overcrowding on transit or overtax other city infrastructure. But if that is the concern, let’s build better transit to keep up with the growth, not halt the growth for fear of the future. Central Toronto is still far less dense than it could or should be. Hyperdensity should be a goal, not a thing to fear.

Comment: Amen!

Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto Realtor 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.