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Sale of the Week: the $1.6-million loft that shows what Toronto’s willing to pay to escape cookie-cutter condos

Hanna Ave. LISTED-tl

Address: 43 Hanna Ave., Unit 442
Neighbourhood: Liberty Village
Agent: Colleen Doiron, Royal LePage Your Community Realty, Brokerage

The Property: This yet-to-be-built Liberty Village loft is an impressive size (2,580 square feet), and marries modern flourishes—such as a European kitchen and pot lights—with the existing features of its heritage-factory locale: exposed bricks and beams, 21-foot ceilings and 15-foot windows. A rare, 630-square-foot private rooftop terrace adds to the appeal, offering a partial southward view of the harbour and BMO Field.

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Toronto’s building permit system is confusing even for the people who administer it

Anyone who has ever tried to renovate a home has probably come in contact with Toronto’s building-permit system. It’s a complex thing, with applications, fees and inspections intended to make sure that new construction meets legal standards. As difficult as the process can be for builders, a report from the city’s auditor general implies that it’s sometimes confounding even for the people who make it run. The report says that, in 2012, over 98,000 open permits—67 per cent of all open permits on the books—hadn’t been touched by city inspectors for a year or more. Some of these permits date back to 1975.

In other words, some permits have just been sitting there for nearly 40 years, with nobody at the city knowing whether the proposed structures actually got built—or, if they did, whether they complied with the law.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $1 million for a window-lined penthouse at Yonge and Carlton

Condo of the Week: 21 Carlton Street Unit 4101

Address: 21 Carlton Street, PH 4101
Neighbourhood: Church-Yonge Corridor
Agent: Adam Locke, Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage
Price: $998,000

The Place: A two-bedroom penthouse in the Met Condos, a two-tower complex at Yonge and Carlton.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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This new Front Street office tower could change Toronto’s skyline for the better

(Image: Courtesy of Cadillac Fairview)

(Image: Courtesy of Cadillac Fairview)

Toronto has a fraught relationship with tall buildings. The general consensus is that we need more of them, but when it’s time to talk specifics—location, height, design—the discussion tends to go off the rails. NIMBYism, stringent city planning, and developer parsimony have saddled downtown with more than a few near-identical glass boxes. The architects shoot for Mies van der Rohe; Toronto ends up with the architectural equivalent of James Van Der Beek.

Though it’s important to approach any new architectural renderings with skepticism, we’re cautiously optimistic about this 54-storey office tower, proposed for 156 Front Street West by developer Cadillac Fairview and designed by Chicago’s Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. Its curved, slightly bulging profile sets it apart from some of the more rectangular buildings in that part of town. Those enormous, mouth-like openings in the facade add some welcome variety. And the podium incorporates a century-old heritage building, which should give the project some political cover.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $1.3 million for a classic Cabbagetown semi

House of the Week: 441 Sumach Street

Address: 441 Sumach Street
Neighbourhood: Cabbagetown-South St. Jamestown
Agent: Richard Silver and Kimberley Faye Ezeard, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada
Price: $1,299,000

The Place: An updated Victorian-style semi on one of the prettiest streets in Cabbagetown.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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The financial district loses another big-name company to the south core

So long, financial district? (Image: Tyler. Chris Tyler)

So long, financial district? (Image: Tyler. Chris Tyler)

The Globe has dug up a little more evidence that the financial district’s centre of gravity is slowly shifting south. The paper reports that Sun Life Financial is moving out of the King Street West skyscraper that has been its head office for three decades in favour of a new building on York Street, near the waterfront.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: the $2.85-million Lawrence Park home that shows just how hot ravine lots can be

Intro

LISTED-tl

Address: 355 Blythwood Rd.
Neighbourhood: Lawrence Park
Agent: Robert Greenberg, Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage

The Property: Homes in tony Lawrence Park are known for their deep and narrow lots, but only so many of them back onto a ravine, like this brick-and-stone new build. Luxury finishes include extra-high coffered ceilings, an Irpinia custom kitchen with Thermador-panelled fridge and oak hardwood floors. The master bedroom features a floor-to-ceiling marble wall, designer ensuite and massive walk-in closet.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $2.2 million for a Distillery District suite with (at least) two of everything

Condo of the Week: 33 Mill Street Unit 3105-3106

Address: 33 Mill Street, Unit 3105-3106
Neighbourhood: Waterfront Communities-The Island
Agent: Michael Mackie, Insite Realty Corp., Brokerage
Price: $2,199,900

The Place: A sub-penthouse on the 31st floor of the first condo tower ever built in the Distillery District. We featured the two-bedroom penthouse back in 2012.

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RioCan CEO Edward Sonshine says rental housing is the future

(Image: Building: spDuchamp)

(Image: Building: spDuchamp)

RioCan recently abandoned its unpopular years-long effort to install a Walmart on Kensington Market’s western border, but now Edward Sonshine, CEO of the real-estate development firm, is back with an idea that seems more likely to win support among downtown dwellers: purpose-built rental housing, and lots of it.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $4.3 million for a well-appointed house in Moore Park, complete with flight simulator

House of the Week: 46 Old Bridle Path

Address: 46 Old Bridle Path
Neighbourhood: Rosedale-Moore Park
Agent: James Warren, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage
Price: $4,300,000

The Place: A Georgian-style three-storey home, newly listed and completely renovated.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Your condo’s window walls could cost six figures to maintain

(Image: Jim Crocker)

(Image: Jim Crocker)

It’s already common knowledge that window walls—those enormous floor-to-ceiling windows that are so ubiquitous in new Toronto condos—have a relatively short lifespan. The windows have internal seals that degrade over time, meaning they have to be replaced periodically. Experts have estimated the lifespan of the average window wall at between 20 and 35 years.

Condo sales remain brisk, and so it would seem that many Toronto buyers consider eventual window failure to be a small price to pay. Except, it turns out the price may not be so small, after all.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: a $1.7M Mount Pleasant home that shows a large lot goes a long way

Intro LISTED-tl

Address: 97 Sherwood Ave.
Neighbourhood: Mount Pleasant
Agent: Celine Hunter, Keller Williams Advantage Realty, Brokerage 

The Property: The lot is the main attraction here. At 179 feet deep, the home’s 44-foot frontage is much wider than the street average (25-30 feet). A driveway with room for five cars and a detached double garage take advantage of the space, with room to spare for a massive backyard. There are five bedrooms and two washrooms, although a second-storey billiard room could be converted into a master retreat.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Real Estate Cheat Sheet: change is coming to the Toronto market, but nobody knows when

Toronto Real Estate

A month and a half into 2014, the experts are still expecting this to be a good  year for real estate in Toronto—for sellers, that is, who continue to benefit from exceptionally high average sale prices. Looking further ahead, though, the fate of the market is still uncertain. At least one group of analysts thinks 2015 will see home values take a modest dive. Here’s what else is being said about the Toronto’s housing market.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $2.5 million for a spacious west-end new build surrounded by three golf courses

Address: 28 Twyford Rd.
Neighbourhood: Princess-Rosethorn
Agent: Pauline Saliba, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage
Price: $2,499,000

The Place: A brand-new, four-bedroom home sandwiched between Islington, St. George’s and Lambton golf and country clubs in Etobicoke.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: this $1.5-million home in Playter Estates reveals the value of micro-neighbourhoods

Intro

Address: 1 Hurndale Ave.
Neighbourhood: North Riverdale
Agent: Don and Susan McHardy, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage

The Property: A three-storey detached home in the pocket neighbourhood of Playter Estates. The renovated space extends over 2,254 square feet, which includes sawn oak floors, quartz counters in the Aya kitchen and designer lighting by Foscarini, Jonathan Adler, Tom Dixon and Artemide. The entire third storey was converted into a 628-square-foot master bedroom retreat with walk-in closet and spa-inspired, marble ensuite washroom.

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