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.

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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.

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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.

 

Tag Archives: toronto condominium building

Time out for One Bloor – and time to reflect

John Bentley Mays – Globe and Mail

As the wrangling over ownership continues, the interval should be used to explore a better way to develop a unique building site

The announcement earlier this week that a mystery buyer had stepped in to take over One Bloor Street – a project once billed as Canada’s tallest residential structure, at 80 storeys – did little to clarify the eventual fate of the huge empty lot on the southeast corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets.

In a terse press release, the developer, Kazakhstan-based Bazis International Inc., said an unnamed “well-established Toronto developer” had entered into a binding agreement to buy the property, but that confidentiality agreements barred them from discussing future development plans or any other details prior to the deal closing in mid-September.

Comment: We now know it is Great Gulf Homes who purchased the property. Now, we have to wait and see whether or not they are going to honour the existing sales contracts.

So, we are left to wait and speculate about what’s to become of Toronto’s most famous intersection. A couple of weeks ago, I argued in this column that the happiest outcome would be an excellent, tall condominium building, which would provide much-needed human density to an otherwise desolate downtown corner. In the same column, I opposed the proposal that the vacant lot be turned into a public piazza. What Toronto needs, I said then and still believe, is more population in its downtown core, not another empty space, windy and cold and wet during much of the year.

Given Toronto’s official and popular suspicion of tall buildings, it didn’t surprise me that my remarks attracted a little heap of e-mails, almost all running strongly against my wish for Yonge and Bloor. One of the messages, however, stood out from the rest. It came from Larry Wayne Richards, former dean of architecture at the University of Toronto.

“A couple of days ago, [I] paused at Bloor-Yonge and tried to imagine a piazza there,” Mr. Richards wrote. “It’s a huge site. If the piazza was really spectacular, I think it could be convincing. But of course you are ultimately right that Toronto simply needs a lot more people living downtown – eating, shopping, mixing, connecting. This leads me to believe that it would be possible to do both at the south-east corner of Bloor-Yonge – to construct a skinny 80-storey condo tower and a low volume that, together, helped give definition and dynamism to a public square.”

This engaging idea deserves a close look by the prospective developers of the lot, and also by citizens concerned about the design of our city.

With imagination, the three elements in Mr. Richards’s scheme – a very slender tower, a low structure and a plaza – could almost certainly be fitted on the spacious corner lot. These could be arranged in various ways. The skyscraper, for example, could be raised near the corner of Bloor and Yonge, in order to emphasize the intersection, while the low building could front on to Yonge Street, reinforcing Yonge’s traditionally low-rise streetscape. This short, street-side building might be the home of a multiscreen cinema complex, a use proposed by Bazis International for the lower levels of their tower in an early iteration.

The “piazza” feature could then be provided by a broad street, amply supplied with cafes and restaurants and stores, running across the site between the tower’s base and the cinema, from Bloor Street east to Hayden Street on the south. This little intra-block street would serve two purposes: to break up the mass of building on the lot with a somewhat sheltered, busy pedestrian walkway, and to recall Roy’s Square, the tiny laneway (one of the few remaining in uptown inner-city Toronto) that was erased when the corner property was assembled.

Another possible arrangement: the tower and the low building pushed to the east side of the lot, with the piazza opening on to Yonge Street. The appearance of such an ensemble would at least be familiar to Torontonians: We’ve seen it all before on King Street, where tall banking towers step down toward the sidewalk. In this layout, the low structure (or laterally extended base of the tower) would have the job of giving what Mr. Richards calls “definition and dynamism” to the piazza. I am not clear about how the building would do so. By presenting to the piazza a gala cinema façade, as the palatial movie houses of the 1930s did? By inviting pedestrians into an enclosed shopping mall? By featuring cafes and restaurants that would spill out into the piazza during good weather?

For the public space to work, whether it’s an internal street, a plaza running down Yonge Street or whatever – someone, somewhere, must be responsible for its continuing, year-round activation. We can’t depend on cash-strapped city hall to take on the task. So what about the landlords? They have something to gain by seeing that their part of the city is vibrantly alive. Whether they have (or can get) the creative talent necessary to inject new life into Bloor and Yonge is a question only they can answer.

We should be asking this and many other hard questions, just as soon as the future of that acreage at Bloor and Yonge is decided.

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

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