A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘condos

[PHOTO] Looking northwest, Church and Wellesley

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Looking northwest, Church and Wellesley

In the afternoon light, the condo towers of the Yonge and Bloor area loom over Church and Wellesley. The northwest corner of this intersection is likewise set for a massive transformation, a condoization. This scene will not be here for much longer.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 7, 2017 at 11:14 am

[URBAN NOTE] “Condo dwellers fight the short-term rental boom in highrise neighbourhoods”

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The Toronto Star‘s Tess Kalinowski looks at how condo neighbourhoods are starting to engage with the various troubles associated with short-term rentals, through services like Airbnb.

Kahile Gondo has lived in her downtown condo for about five years. But even though it neighbours two of the busiest, most eclectic places in the city — the Eaton Centre and Yonge-Dundas Square — Gondo only recently began locking her unit door when she’s at home.

“There’s 44 floors in this building with about 10 units on each and I’ve never had a sense something was wrong,” she said.

But when she returned from her Christmas holiday, Gondo, 26, noticed a couple she had never seen before in the hallway. As the days passed, more strangers appeared on her floor. She also smelled smoke, something she had never noticed in the past.

“I didn’t get a good feeling in the pit of my stomach. I told my brother (who lives with her), ‘We should lock our doors because I don’t feel safe,’ ” she said.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 4, 2017 at 5:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “High Park residents concerned about influx of high rises”

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blogTO’s Derek Flack reports on how High Park North is facing the prospect of significant change, with proposals to densify sharply an area that already has plenty of high towers.

A number of Toronto’s neighbourhoods are in the midst of major transformations thanks to the onslaught of high rise construction that continues to reshape the city’s skyline.

Areas like Yorkville, Lower Yonge Street, and the waterfront get a lot of attention, but they’re far from alone.

Development pressure has, for instance, ramped up in High Park. In addition to a completed development on Bloor Street, directly across from the park, a slew of other proposals would see the residential neighbourhood to the north fill up with high rises.

With numerous apartment blocks dating back to the late 1960s and 70s, tall buildings are not foreign to these residential streets.

But after an initial surge of activity in conjunction with the arrival of the Bloor-Danforth subway line, the area between Bloor and Dupont streets has been mostly unchanged.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 3, 2017 at 7:15 pm

[PHOTO] 422-424 Wellington Street West, Toronto

422-424 Wellington Street West

The recent sale of the MacLeish and Powell houses, at 422 and 424 Wellington Street West, was a prelude to their transformation into the base of the new Wellington House condo development. The official documents at the website of the City of Toronto go into more detail about the project.

This application proposes the development of a 23-storey mixed-use building that would integrate the existing listed heritage building into the base of the proposed building. The overall height would be approximately 79.7 metres, including the mechanical penthouse. The proposal consists of 12,095 square metres of gross floor area, of which 1,428 square metres would be non-residential uses and 10,667 square metres would be residential uses.

The proposal includes the relocation of the existing listed heritage three-storey semidetached houseform building to the south and east of its current location, resulting in a minimum setback of 0.4 metres from both the south (Wellington Street West) and east lot lines. A four-storey base building (plus mezzanine) with a height of approximately 18.9 metres would connect to the rear of the listed heritage building at the first, mezzanine and second floors of the new building. The new base building would be set back approximately 0.3 metres from both the east and north (rear) lot lines.

Floors five through 17 would cantilever over the listed heritage building by approximately 11 metres, supported by columns that would extend down through the relocated heritage building. This portion of the new building would be set back a minimum of approximately 5.9 metres from the south (Wellington Street West) lot line.

Floors 18 through 23 would be set back a minimum of approximately 16.4 metres from the south lot line. The portion of the building above the fourth storey would be set back approximately 5.4 metres from the north lot line, 5.6 metres from the east lot line and 5.5 metres from the west lot line. The side walls of the building facing east and west would include windows for the residential units.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “New Toronto condo a marvel of engineering”

blogTO reports on the remarkable retrofitting of 488 University Avenue, once an office tower, into a condo.

If there’s a common criticism of Toronto condos, it’s that they’re accused of being bland glass boxes with little regard to the nuances of architecture and design.

There are plenty of exceptions, of course, but few projects have quite the technical appeal of the one rising at Dundas and University right now.

Once a 1968 office tower, 480 University Ave. has been reinforced and given a new shell, which paves the way for the construction of a 37 storey condo atop the existing structure. When complete, its new address will be 488 University.

When we last checked in on the site, the exterior of the old building was being stripped and bolstered with a new steel frame. Now, just over a year later, the building has been almost entirely remade as the base of the condo to come.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 19, 2017 at 6:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Why renting makes more sense than buying in Toronto’s real estate market”

NOW Toronto‘s Lucy Mazzuoco argues that, in Toronto at least in current conditions, renting makes more financial sense than buying property.

I’m sure many of us grew up with the mentality that buying is always the best option when moving out on your own. The argument has remained consistent: renting means throwing away money, while purchasing is investing.

In Toronto’s real estate market, people often assume the value of their houses and condos will inevitably go up in value. Although many factors contribute to the flux and flow of condo prices, including a building’s location, age and condition, the reality is that the value of many condos either remains the same or drops by a small percentage over time. This can make the real estate market a roulette game for aspiring young buyers and first-time home owners.

“I recently sold my condo in the downtown core after about three years of ownership. My overall profit was negligible given the condo market saturation,” says Toronto native Josie Sorelli. “In retrospect, I wish I had crunched the numbers more accurately before buying. If I’d had a more conservative estimate of my return on investment, and given all the additional costs I incurred, I would definitely have opted to rent. Closing costs, real estate fees, property taxes and condo fees put me in the red. Hindsight is 20/20!”

Brand new condos are coming onto the market every day, so some condo owners hoping to buy bigger homes may face difficulties when attempting to sell their condos for a price comparable to a house. Those who do successfully sell their condos and choose to purchase again often have to look outside of the city for houses they can afford.

So why has renting been stigmatized as not a smart option?

Written by Randy McDonald

February 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “High-end rental towers are on the rise”

The National Post features Suzanne Wintrob’s article describing the emergence of high-end rental units in Toronto, as an alternative to condos.

Gary Spira spent his entire life living in houses in or around Toronto’s tony Forest Hill Village.

Six months ago, with his two children off to university, the computer consultant decided it was high time he traded in his snow shovel and lawnmower for a more carefree lifestyle. But rather than pour his money into a condo, Spira banked the cash from the sale of his house and moved into a two-bedroom, 1,500-sq.-ft. unit on the 27th floor of the neighbourhood’s brand new rental tower.

He’s not alone. As Toronto’s population grows and condo vacancies decline, there’s a growing demand for purpose-built rentals, according to condo research firm Urbanation Inc. The number of proposed purpose-built rentals in the city increased to 27,812 in 2016, up from 10,513 in the year-earlier period. And it’s a trend the organization expects to continue, said Pauline Lierman, director of market research.

Spira’s new address is The Heathview, comprising two 30-storey towers by Morguard Corp. with 586 units ranging from 450 sq. ft. to two-storey, 2,070-sq.-ft. townhouses. He liked the fact that it was a new building because “I didn’t have to go in and clean up someone else’s mess.”

“I wanted to get out of the market,” says Spira, 60. “I didn’t want to own. I wanted to just put the money away and enjoy myself.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 14, 2017 at 7:45 pm

Posted in Economics, Toronto, Urban Note

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