May 2015 Home Of The Month – The Fashion District

Queen West

Welcome to's Home Of The Month. This feature provides a snap shot of what's Buyers have recently purchased in the City of Toronto.

For those who are actively seeking a two bedroom condominium in the downtown core, you know it's surprisingly challenging to find! While there is an over supply of one bedroom and one bedroom and den suites for sale in the downtown core (all those singles are getting attached and now trying to sell their swingles pads so they can cohabitate), finding a proper two bedroom condominium isn't easy. And I don't mean those ubiquitous point tower boxes-in-the-sky that cram and squeeze out every square inch to create a 'second bedroom' (often a windowless 'den'), but condominiums that actually have a second bedroom spacious enough to fit er, um….kids! Those are the ones which are in short supply. Especially when your budget is around and up to 500k. (Did you ever read the Toronto Life article called Stuck In Condoland on the new baby boom in the city?)

Like many Buyers reconciling what you can get for your money, our Buyers weighed out whether they would continue their urban walking life in the city (and be a hop, skip and a jump to work and all those urban village amenities we urbanites have become accustomed to), or take the leap – errr train – to Mimico / New Toronto where you can get a fixer upper bungalow which offers 'potential' and a 'short commute on the Go Train!'. As our Buyers learned, while the cute bungalows were within budget, by the time they added up the required household repairs and maintenance, and added their commute expenses, they would find themselves stretched both financially and for time. The question was “What is the value we attribute to a quality of life which includes walking to work rather than commuting by train?” Here's a Toronto Star article on Raising Kids In A Condo that nails that upside.

In the end, buying the condominium in the city won for our Buyers, in part because the suite of choice was located at 500 Richmond Street West which is located just west of Spadina in The Fashion District. If you're not terribly familiar with the downtown core, let us assure you this is a stellar location. It's just a quick streetcar ride to the financial core or University of Toronto, a short stroll to hip King and Queen West for shopping or dining, and moments to the Gardiner Expressway, providing speedy access to all points north, east and west. It's in proximity to the Theatre District, Scotiabank Cinema, Harbourfront, and the Rogers Centre, and around the corner from all the daily amenities one needs like a grocer, butcher and baker. Here's our Neighbourhood Page on Queen West including flavour video, census data and area amenities!

The building of choice for our Buyers is called Cityscape Terrace. And – given I'm an old salty dog now 25 years in the business – let it be known I have an intimate relationship with this complex because I was involved in the concept, sales and marketing of it back in the mid 1990s when it was being developed. Back then Cityscape Terrace was one of the first condominiums to arrive in The Fashion District. The site was a burnt out Salvation Army building which was crumbling with decay which, and this may surprise you, was one of many vacant sites (or empty parking lots) which were remnants of a bygone era when manufacturing and industry dominated the downtown core. In order to promote intensification during this time, the City changed the zoning to 'Live/Work' which allowed mixed uses on sites that were once exclusively 'Industrial'. This zoning change coincides with the arrival of the Information and Technology boom of the new 'post-industrial economy'. As Toronto's downtown core was poised to undergo the rebirth – which is now well-established almost two decades later – the concept for the site in the mid 1990s was to create 2-storey 'houses-in-the-sky' where everyone would get some outdoor space. The 100 unit project was well-received, in part because of the affordability and the unique design. In 1997 the sale prices for two bedroom suites started at $169,000! Wow!

This 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo – with a Walk Score of 98 – truly is not your typical condo. Being over 1000 square feet on two levels (this is one of the middle section of units as seen in the photo below), the entertainment level featured a well-proportioned open concept kitchen, 2-piece washroom and an ample balcony. On the upper level were two generous bedrooms and a full bath.

Here's some snaps of the building and suite which tell the tale:



Listed at $479,900, our Buyers snapped this property up for $2000 under list. On closing, they invested some capital to upgrade the original 90s washroom as well as a refresh on the kitchen. Here's a couple of snaps of the Before / During / After of the finished product. Amazing eh?



Serving first and next-time buyers, relocations, renovators and those building their long term property portfolios, our mandate is to help our clients choose property which will realize the highest future return on their investment while ensuring the property best serves their practical needs and their dream of “Home” during their ownership. At urbaneer, we identify a property's best qualities, features and insouciant charm in the context of your wishes and wants, plus your future target market. Although searching for the right property can be an intense and sometimes lengthy process it is, without fail, rewarding both to our clients and the urbaneer team. We are so grateful to be the realtor of choice for so many Torontonians, and new arrivals.

If you, or someone you love, has specific real estate needs, wishes and desires, and would enjoy the personalized service of a Top Producing boutique real estate team who subscribe to a pressure-free approach, please know we're here to help at


~ Steven and the urbaneer team

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