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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: historic houses

Getting on the ground with condo townhouses

Townhouses in podiums offer the low-maintenance convenience of highrise living

Excerpt from an article by Tracy Hanes – Toronto Star

With her oldest daughter grown and on her own and her youngest about to start university, Rosemarie Directo started contemplating the transition from single mother to empty nester. Her search for housing took her to One Park Tower, a new condo project by the Daniels Corp.

“I was about to walk out of the sales office, but my mother was curious to see what the small buildings were on the scale model. They were townhouses and only four were left for sale. I bought one of the last ones.”

Although she was willing to live in a condo tower, Directo liked that the 1,300-square-foot townhouse, built into the base of the highrise, was larger than the suites.

One Park Tower is among several projects underway in the Greater Toronto area that incorporate townhouses into highrise projects. While some offer free-standing townhouses, most are built into the podiums of the condo towers.

“Some of these developments are driven by the city’s zoning requirements, some by developers who see the opportunity to widen the market appeal of a project.” says Jeanhy Shim, president and editor of Urbanation, a company that tracks the GTA condo market.

Shim says one challenge for developers is sales. Because the townhouses are larger (“you can’t do 500-square-foot townhouse,” Shim points out), they have higher ticket prices, so they take longer to sell.

At such developments, townhouse owners have use of the same amenities that their highrise neighbours do, such as party rooms, fitness facilities, lounges, etc. and pay monthly fees based on the square footage of their units, just as in tower suites.

Many developments traditionally have had townhouses at their base.

“But what’s happened as urban trends have changed over the years and highrises gained a bit more acceptability is that people started looking at what was happening in Vancouver,” says David Pontarini of Hariri Pontarini Architects, which designed Vu, a downtown Toronto project by Aspen Ridge Homes that will incorporate townhouses with its towers.

“It’s more pleasant to walk along the base of a tower with a series of setbacks. When you are walking along the street by the townhouses, you don’t register the upper part of the tower.”

There are 13 two-storey townhouses available at Vu, which will encompass an entire city block along the north side of Adelaide St. between Jarvis and George Sts.

The Vu townhomes range from 1,300 to 1,650 square feet. They have 10-foot ceilings on the main floors, nine-foot on the upper floors. They are priced from the $500,000s to the $600,000s.

Pontarini says the townhouses‘ brick detailing and decorative elements complement the surrounding historic houses and commercial buildings. The townhouses have deep recessed windows, echoing the style of nearby industrial warehouses, and some have stone façades to blend with a historic stone building at the corner of Adelaide and George Sts.

The townhouses form a two-storey base, which then steps back to six storeys, then eight.

The townhouses at Cresford Developments’ Windermere by the Lake on a 4.9-hectare site create a sense of community by mixing densities. The 104 stacked townhouses in Phase 1 are sold out and more than 80 per cent of the 120 conventional townhouses in Phase 2 are sold. Those models start in the low $400,000s for 1,600 to 1,900 square feet.

Peter Freed is another developer who has two condo projects underway that will incorporate townhouses. In the fashion district is 550 Wellington, a 95-room boutique hotel and 327-unit condominium that will have 25 townhouses with access to the hotel’s services and condo amenities.

Freed has also incorporated 10 modern townhouses along with 93 lofts at 455 Adelaide, another fashion district condo. That project is 80 per cent sold and is under construction.

The Daniels Corp. started including townhouses at its NY Towers site at Bayview and Sheppard several years ago as a way of joining two towers and to make it a more welcoming place for people to walk. Daniels has offered both conventional two- or three-storey townhouses at the Capitol building at Mississauga’s City Centre.

At the opposite of the spectrum is Kilgour Estates, a Daniels project on Bayview Ave. offering high-end luxury condos and townhouses. The townhouses are free-standing, and are selling to a lot of move-down buyers who want to stay in the community, but don’t want to live in apartments, says Haggart.

“The townhouses are a great intermediate step and people love the sense of having their own space,” he says. The townhouses are three storeys and half of them have elevators, “which is a great solution for people worried about stairs,” Haggart says.

The project started almost two years ago, and only two townhouses of the 22 in its second phase are still available, priced from $900,000 and ranging from 1,600 to 2,200 square feet.

Another ultraluxurious project is 100 Yorkville at Bellair, which includes six townhouses on Scollard St. designed by Richard Wangle Architects.This development, on the former Mount Sinai Hospital site, has two residential towers, six townhouses, retail stores and an interior courtyard.

Shim says other examples include The Met on Granby St., which has maisonette-type townhouses, West Harbour City on Lake Shore Blvd. and the luxurious $1 million-plus townhouses at College Park, overlooking the park and courtyard.

Read the full story


Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information