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

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Toronto Real Estate

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Tag Archives: glass curtain wall

Luxury Living: Pick your palace

Suzanne Wintrob, National Post

As a busy criminal defence lawyer, Patrick Ducharme is used to spending months at a time at Toronto’s courthouses. But it was one of his current cases that prompted the Windsor resident to reconsider his lifestyle.

Mr. Ducharme had taken on a case that was expected to last a year, which meant eight straight months living in a downtown Toronto hotel room. His wife, Janice, visited him often and together they basked in the upscale action along Bloor Street, but they had no intention of selling their 7,000-square-foot, 1920s Tudor-style home in Windsor and moving here. Still, Mr. Ducharme was tired of hotel living and longed for a downtown pied-à-terre.

Then one day Ms. Ducharme called him at work and said she was in love. She had just found out about the Regency Yorkville, a 19-storey, condominium building under construction, and urged him to meet her there. They toured the lobby, reviewed the plans and chatted with the developer’s wife. Soon Mr. Ducharme was hooked, too.

Today, the Ducharmes are the proud owners of a 2,000-sq.-ft., two-bedroom, two-balcony suite on the second floor of the elegant Regency Yorkville. They chose it for the exquisite architecture, the opulent fixtures and furnishings, and the fitness area that overlooks the chic ‘hood. It’s spacious enough to comfortably accommodate visits from their two grown sons, who live in Panama City.

While Mr. Ducharme won’t reveal what they paid, the five remaining suites in the 58-unit building range from a $2-million, 1,900-sq.-ft., two-bedroom with corner balcony to a $6.8-million, 5,200-sq.-ft. panoramic penthouse with four balconies, four parking spaces and an elevator into the suite.

“When I’m in Windsor, I’m seven or eight minutes away from downtown,” says Mr. Ducharme. “But it’s not like Toronto, where you can have 50 restaurants and boutique-y places where you can go for a drink or lunch – all within walking distance. There’s nothing like Yorkville. It’s exquisite for people who want to be where it’s vibrant but yet be able to get away in a quiet condominium steps away.”

The Regency Yorkville is but one of countless condominiums, townhouses and single-family homes in the Greater Toronto Area catering to those with discerning tastes. Even at the luxury level, cranes and construction workers are busier than ever and buyers have an ample selection from which to choose.

Mark Cohen has followed the luxury boom for two decades and is wowed by its evolution. Back in the 1980s, he was selling residential suites at Yonge and Bloor’s Renaissance Plaza, one of the city’s first exclusive condo buildings. In the ’90s, he was intrigued when the Windsor Arms Hotel had the radical idea of letting hotel guests share upscale amenities with those who owned residences there. Today, Mr. Cohen is busier than ever selling new condominium and new home projects for builders.

“There continues to be a healthy appetite for bigger, better, newer,” says the founding partner and senior vice-president of Toronto’s Condo Store Marketing Systems. “Hotel-connected condos have become a staple that people pay attention to and they command a certain value.”

The hotel residence business is certainly thriving, with construction well underway at projects sporting such names as Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Trump and Shangri-La.

“As people see it coming out of the ground, they feel the excitement and we’re getting more walk-in traffic,” says Janice Fox, director of sales for Four Seasons Private Residences.

The Four Seasons is now at the 14th floor, with framing going in for a 24,000-sq.-ft. spa, glass-encased pool and 3,500-sq.-ft. gym. The complete project comprises two buildings – a 55-floor West Tower housing the hotel plus residences beginning on Floor 24, and the 26-storey East Tower of residences only. Occupancy begins mid-2012.

More than 80% of the Four Seasons residences are sold, though the ones remaining are worth the wait. For instance, the East Tower’s 6,400-sq.-ft. penthouse takes up the entire floor and boasts 10-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, four terraces, direct elevator access and three parking spaces. Price tag: $16-million. Smaller two-bedroom residences in the tower have many of the same deluxe features and are priced from $1.9-million to $3.5-million.

Not to be outdone, the West Tower is awaiting a buyer for its $10.4-million, 3,850-sq.-ft. unit on the 24th floor – the only unit in the building with a wraparound terrace. The West tower’s 9,038-sq.-ft. penthouse is also for sale. It features an 800-bottle wine “cellar,” four terraces, four fireplaces and four elevators (two opening to a formal glass foyer, one to the private family area, and a service elevator allowing the hotel to deliver services discreetly). Plus, it comes with a separate 680-sq.-ft. staff residence in the East Tower, allowing for the convenience of private quarters for staff on-site but not in suite. Cost of ownership: $30-million.

At the 53-storey Ritz-Carlton, developed by Graywood Developments, only 26 of 159 residences remain unsold. Of particular note: a 6,000-sq.-ft. sub-penthouse with 12-foot ceilings and a true floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall (no step, sill or baseboard at the bottom of the window). Price is $9.6-million. Smaller units are also available at the Ritz, with one-bedrooms boasting a not-so-small 1,400 sq. ft. of living space.

Barbara Lawlor, president of Baker Real Estate, says salespeople have been touting the project in Moscow, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, so it’s not surprising 60% of the units have been bought by international investors.

“Every one of our buyers has stayed at many Ritz hotels all over the world,” she says. “That’s the one thing they have in common.”

Graywood is also behind 8 Mercer, launched last month with Beaverhall Homes. The 33-storey building in Toronto’s Theatre District has all the trappings of urban living but with a classic contemporary look that does its darndest to fit with the surroundings.

“We’re always looking at how we can fit into the community, not only as a participant but architecturally, too,” says Irma Stanic, director of sales and marketing at Beaverhall Homes, whose most recent residential project was Europa Condominiums in Little Italy. “BBB Architects have done a terrific job taking the red-brick existing streetscape on Mercer and made it part of the building façade to help it blend in with the streetscape.”

Ms. Stanic is excited about the “07” stack of suites on floors seven through 28. All are 1,100-sq.-ft., two-bedroom plus dens, with floor-to-ceiling windows on two walls and European gourmet kitchens. Prices range from $793,900 to $843,900. The top three floors are devoted to penthouses (four per floor), with an airy three-bedroom, 1,786-sq.-ft. space with 1,200-sq.-ft. balcony terrace listed at $1.6-million.

Nearby at the 12-storey Victory Condos on King, five penthouses remain – from 800 to 1,300 sq. ft. and $706,900 to $1.2-million. All have floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed concrete ceilings, chef-worthy kitchens and private rooftop terraces matching unit size. And, of course, they’re perched above one of the city’s coolest ‘hoods.

“I was out there on a Thursday night and it was amazing to see how much activity and life and vibrancy was on King Street,” says Brian Brown, principal of BLVD Developments. “It’s where people want to be, and Victory is positioned right in the centre of it.”

If 12 storeys isn’t high enough, then look up. Way up. Well, soon. Canderel Stoneridge’s 75-storey Aura at College Park – touted as the highest condo tower in Canada – will feature 14 sub-penthouses on five levels. The 11,370-sq.-ft. top-floor unit will have five bedrooms, six bathrooms, direct elevator access into a grand arrival hall, gourmet kitchen, two master ensuites and dressing rooms, a palatial great room and dining area, whirlpool/hot tub in an enclosed terrace, sunroom, 14-ft. ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows with 360 degree vistas. Cost: $17.5-million.

Still, not all luxury is in downtown. Those looking for something more scenic have plenty to choose from in both high-rise and low-rise varieties. In midtown, Camrost-Felcorp will unveil The Avenue’s new on-site sales office and model suite on May 29 to push the 18 remaining suites at the 19-storey, 73-unit project. Of note are a $4-million, 3,200-sq.-ft. two-bedroom-plus-den-and-family-room that takes up half a floor, and a three-bedroom, 3,750-sq.-ft. unit (the building’s largest unit) with den and library for $4.5-million. Each has direct elevator access and tremendous views. And the windows are fully operable (read: they open!), even on high floors.

“[Our buyers] are coming from large homes and want grand entertaining spaces but that easier lifestyle”,” says Daniela Palmieri, Camrost-Felcorp’s marketing director.

A bit farther north is Lytton Park Townhomes, where six 3,500-sq.-ft., four-bedroom freehold townhomes are attracting attention. Built by Glenbourne Nexxt Developments and Mizrahi Design/Build, each boasts a rooftop terrace gardens, elevator, library, two-storey glass conservatory and two-car garage. Price tag: $1.8-million. President Sam Mizrahi says response has been “unbelievable” with more than 200 people registering or contacting the company since the mid-April sales launch.

The Daniels Corp. has two unique projects outside the core. Daniels is excited about The Bayview, comprising two high-end condo buildings connected to an Amica Mature Lifestyle residential building with hotel-inspired amenities such as spa, restaurant and pub. The Bayview’s main nine-storey building has 70 units, including The Henley – an 800-sq.-ft. one-bedroom-plus-den with top-notch finishes – yet affordable at $475,000. The more intimate Manor House is a four-storey, 30-suite building overlooking a park.

“This has the ability to attract somebody who is more mature, who can see themselves in five, 10 or 15 years needing the services of an attached rental retirement and all that comes along with that,” says Mr. Haggart. “When they’re older, people don’t want to pick up from their community and move somewhere else.”

Also in the city’s western reaches, Dunpar Homes’ seven-storey high-end boutique Kingsway Terrace has just 20 of 80 units left, ranging from $400,000 to $2.4-million. Spokesman Taylor Szucs says each suite has a unique floor plan, “so there is something in this building for everyone.” He raves about the two remaining penthouses – both three-bedrooms with den, two terraces and spectacular Lake Ontario views.

Nearby, Lanterra Developments has opened the doors of its new presentation centre to tout Riverhouse at the Old Mill, a 11-storey luxury condo project with 84 suites ranging from 800 to 3,000 sq. ft. and up to $2-million. Suites overlook the Humber River, parkland and the Old Mill Inn & Spa. The setting is so picturesque, says Barry Fenton, Lanterra’s president and CEO, likens it to living in Scotland.

“Every time I go out there I want to put my boots on and go fishing,” he says. “That’s the feel of it.”

And this week, Kylemore Communities is releasing an enclave of 20 new homes as part of the Angus Glen West Village’s Glenbourne Custom Estate Collection. The five-bedroom, three-car garage homes sit on one-third acre “on a little special street in Unionville,” says Kylemore president Patrick O’Hanlon. The customizable homes range from 3,000 to 6,000 sq. ft. and start at $1.5-million. They’re geared at 40- to 60-year-old executives, he adds, and some have main floor bedrooms to appeal to “empty nesters who still want grand homes.”

Will luxury living keep growing? With so much interest, especially in condominiums, it sure looks that way.

“The luxury market is not immune to the realities of the world, the mood of the world, the pulse of the world, [yet] real estate remains a wise place [for the wealthy] to park some of their money,” says Mark Cohen. “Condos will continue to represent a larger percentage of people’s homes in Toronto… They will continue to choose condos as a permanent choice.”

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Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information  –  416-388-1960

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