Welcome to my blog on housing, culture, and design! I’m Steve Fudge and I’m celebrating my 31st year as a realtor and property consultant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
I’ve written a lot about how Toronto – the City of Neighbourhoods – has been undergoing a massive change since the 1990s, evolving from a gritty industrial port city into a glittering global post-modern metropolis. I’ve explored the dynamics of gentrification and densification, how a booming technology economy has fueled demand, and how existing archaic residential zoning policies contribute to a lack of affordable ownership options while ensuring property owners in yellow belt neighbourhoods will garner huge financial rewards at the point of resale in the years to come.
As the City’s population has boomed and high-earning households covet a short efficient commute to work (Go to Walk Score to see a property’s accessibility by foot, bike, or public transit), I’ve illustrated how the values of freehold housing in formerly working-class neighbourhoods close to the financial and entertainment districts are starting to garner higher prices than dwellings located in still middle-class neighbourhoods historically accorded higher status.
I’ve also focused on issues surrounding housing, affordability, and politics including exploring What’s Being Done To Create Affordable Housing In Toronto, whether Canada Has A History Of Building Affordable Economical Housing, and what I felt were Shades Of Duplicity In The Foreign Buyer Tax For Canadian Housing.
A year ago I fired some warning shots about market conditions in Turning A Blind Eye To The Real Costs Of Toronto Real Estate Investment Properties, including recounting my own personal experience When Dreams Of Domesticity Became Nightmares: My Recollection Of The 1989 Toronto Housing Market Crash. More recently I’ve told it like it is in Topsy Turvy: Insights From The Toronto Real Estate Trenches
Given my career-path began with my first house in South Riverdale aka Leslieville aka Riverside (depending on the decade) and pioneering Toronto’s Innovative Space Market in the 1990s – including the adaptive reuse conversion of former factories, cinemas, and banquet halls – that I write about in my Dear Urbaneer Series: What Is The Difference Between A Hard Loft And A Soft Loft? – today I’m sharing a follow-up post to one first published in 2019 on the sales of freehold adaptive reuse conversions across the central core – including smaller freestanding warehouses, corner stores, and coach houses – which have been adapted for residential or live/work use.
Typically, the adaptive reuse of a structure – usually constructed in the past 150 years previously used for commercial use, industrial production, or as horse stables – often built of brick and sometimes poured concrete – reflects the demand and growth for residential or live/work lofty living since the 1970s. Favoured by creative types for their size, open floor plates, and utility as idea incubators, these non-residential buildings often feature high ceilings and large windows, doors and skylights. Their expansive volumes often provide excellent natural light and good airflow too. The properties I’m showcasing today are independent freehold properties, and not the loft condominiums which began appearing in Toronto in the 1980s which I’m intimately familiar, given my own education focused on those projects, which served as the foundation for my Graduate Thesis and subsequent early career in the concept, sales & marketing of several adaptive reuse conversions including The Movie House on Euclid Avenue, The Button Factory on Clinton Street and The Banquet Hall on Claremont Street, amongst others. Here they are originally:
The properties below are a dwelling type that rarely comes to market, which is partly why it’s taken some time to follow this blog’s predecessor posted in 2019: 12 Recent Adaptive Reuse, Live/Work, Storefront & Coach House Conversion Sales In Toronto, I’ve also included some I missed in that post. Two weeks ago, we posted a similar piece made up exclusively of corner stores: A Conversation About Corner Store Conversions In Toronto. Love!!
You’ll see these domestic jewels tend to sell for big bucks, not only because these places are centrally located in coveted neighbourhoods that have gentrified over the past 3 decades, but because they’re prized for their uniqueness, size, style, and flexible space plans.
A Slice Of A Former Baptist Church On College Street In Little Italy
From MLS: Toronto’s Greatest Historical Restoration. The Epic Ambition Of This Architectural Achievement Is Limitless. A Triumph Of Space In An Urban Villa With A Walled Garden And Ceilings Up To 18 Ft. This Masterpiece Of Generous Volume Is Peerless In Its Realisation. This Residence Is A Once In A Lifetime Creation.
Here are articles about it in Better Dwelling, BlogTO, and MASH.
List $11,000,000 • Sold $9,950,000
Sold: July 2016
Another Slice In The Same Converted Church In Little Italy
From MLS: Within The Former Rectory Of The 19th Century Converted Church, You Have Discovered One Of The Rarest & Most Exceptional Contemporary Townhomes In The City. A 1500 Sq Ft Rooftop Terrace Entertaining Space That Would Rival That Of A Resort Hotel, Reachable Via The Private Passenger Elevator. This Showpiece 6735 Sq Ft Space Jumps Out Of The Pages Of Designer Magazines-Simply Breathtaking. Soaring Ceilings, Massive Windows, Marble Clad Baths, Showstopper Kitchen.
Here are articles in HGTV & National Post
List $5,600,000 • Sold $5,995,000
Sold: October 2016
A Converted Coach House In Little Italy
From MLS: One-Of-A-Kind Detached Century Home On An Extra-Wide Lot. With Picturesque Exterior And Classic Landscaping, This Once-Upon-A-Time Coach House Offers Big-City Privacy And Allure, With A Short Walk To Kensington Market And World-Class Dining On College/Harbord Streets. Fully Renovated, Contemporary Interior Respects The Home’s Historic Character; Plus Private Courtyard Oasis For Summer Gatherings. All The Nuts And Bolts Of This Home Are In Superb Condition.
List $1,189,000 • Sold $1,500,000
Sold: April 2019
A Garage Conversion in Corktown
From MLS: One Of A Kind! Loft-Style Living At Ground Level In Downtown Toronto With Parking! An Artists Dream Come True! *Open Concept Lr.Dr.Kit Space (32.8′ X 17.34′) *Huge (26.8′ X 10.37′) Sky Lit Middle Room (Currently Bedroom) Could Be That Perfect Studio Space That You’ve Been Looking For. *Large Light & Airy Master Bdrm. Close To Schools, Shops, Parks, Ttc & Work, If You Work Downtown.
List $990,000 • Sold $1,175,000
Sold: August 2020
A Converted Milling Factory In Summerhill
From MLS: One Of The Original Mews Of Toronto! A Cereal-Milling Factory Converted Into An Elegant Residence In Coveted Summerhill. This Unique 5 Level, Three Bedroom Home With Generous Master Retreat Includes Cathedral Ceilings, Seating Area With Fireplace, Topped Off With An Atrium With Private Views And Garden! This Urban Oasis Offers Parking For 2 Vehicles.
List: $2,795,000 • Sold: $2,750,000
Sold: April 2021
A Converted Cider Mill In The Upper Beaches
From MLS: A Property Rich W/ History Starting Its Life As A Cider Mill In The Early 1800s . The Property Includes A 3 Unit Main Bldg + A Sprawling 3000 Sqft Rear Studio/Warehouse Conversion. All Accessed By A Private Driveway! A Perfect Space For The 2021 Professional! Live/Work All On The Same Property! The Rear Building Is Completely Updated Open Concept Kitchen,4 Or 5 Bed/Offices, 2 Baths, Polished Concrete W/Cozy In-Floor Radiant Heat.
List: $2,389,800 • Sold: $2,250,000
Sold: June 2021
A 2 Building Live/Work Laneway Complex Near Trinity Bellwoods Park
From MLS: An Utterly Unexpected Laneway Complex Surrounding A Tranquil Urban Courtyard Of Quaking Aspen, Japanese Maple And Pear Trees. Dynamic, Meticulously Designed And Adaptable To Endless Uses, This Property Offers Over 5,500 Sq Ft Of Creative Space: A Sun-Filled 2 Storey Residence And A Double Height, Column-Free Studio. A One-Of-A-Kind Lot With Perfect West Exposure, Castor Garden Sauna And Parking For 5 Cars. Offered For The First Time In 25 Years.
List: $4,985,000 • Sold: $4,985,000
Sold: August 2021
A Converted Auto Garage Built In 1960 Near MOCA Toronto
From MLS: Loft Style Live/Work Building With Commercial & Residential Permitted Uses, Great Junction Triangle Location. Bright Open Plan Suitable For Creative/Studio Uses, Polished Concrete Floor, 16 Foot Exposed Wood Ceiling, Modern Kitchen And Bathroom, Mezzanine Bedroom Suite. Enclosed Courtyard, Green Roof, Detached, 3600 Sq Ft, Totally Renovated In 2009. Parking.
Listed: $2,675,000 • Sold: $2,625,000
Sold: November 2021
A Tucked Away King West Warehouse Conversion
From MLS: A Rare Investment & Lifestyle Opportunity Awaits! Equally Suited For End-Users As An Impressive Residence Or Investors Looking For A Unique Space In The Heart Of King West On A Quiet Residential Street. Open Concept, 2-Storey Converted Warehouse, Extensively & Stylishly Renovated W/Soaring Ceilings, Exposed Brick, Wall Of Sliding Glass Doors, Skylight, Polished Concrete Flrs, Bucolic Gdn Off Living Rm & Expansive Roof Terrace & Gdn W/360 Degree Views. Truly An Exceptional, One-Of-A-Kind Space With Almost 4000 Sq Ft, 3 + 1 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, 2 Full Kitchens.
List: $3,995,000 • Sold: $3,995,000
Sold: November 2021
A Former Com/Res Collection Of Buildings Become A Multi-Residential Property Near Gerrard & Jones
From MLS: Artful Urban Multi-Residential Living At Its Very Best. 2 Large Detached Structures Located On A Large Irregular Lot, 5 Unique Living Spaces W/ 1 Luxury 2100Sqft Suite And A 6th Space Waiting To Be Transformed By The Next Creative Mind. 5 Kitchens, 8 Baths, 6+2 Beds, 2 Large Outdoor Spaces All Spread Out Over 5000Sqft. Rarely Does An Investment Property Come Around That Blends Architecture, Creative Spaces, & Inspired Living Into One Fantastic Property.
Listed: $2,999,990 • Sold: $2,928,800
Sold: February 2022
A Converted 1890 Dairy In Little Italy
From MLS: Reside In The Former 1890 Building Of Coopers Canadian Dairy, Where Horse And Carriage Once Trotted Milk Bottles. In 2015, This Laneway House Was Converted Into To 2 Sensational Legal Residential Units, Under The Careful Expertise Of the Architectural Firm ‘Sustainable’. The Main Floor 1 Bedroom Suite Has Exposed Brick Walls. The Upper 2 Bedroom Loft Has A Killer Rooftop Deck, Ground Floor Home Office, Skylights And Serious Cook’s Kitchen.
List: $1,289,000 • $1,690,000
Sold: February 2022
A Trinity Bellwoods Dairy Converted Into Multi-Unit Industrial Loft Building
From MLS: One Of The Last Remaining Small-Scale Former Industrial Buildings Residentially Situated In The Toronto Downtown Core. Pull Into Your Private Parking Space (1 Of 5), Sit Back & Sigh. That Was Easy. It Is Comforting To Know That You Are Close To Everything, Including Highways Leading To And From Toronto. You Are Home, Your Own Cool, Ny-Style Loft Building, One Of A Vanishing Breed In Toronto.
List: $7,750,000 • Sold: $7,250,000
Sold: March 2022
A Converted Laneway Factory On Davenport
From MLS: First Time On The Market In 40 Yrs. Create Your Dream Home In This Converted Factory Steps From Yorkville. This Laneway Home Is Authentic, Unique And Cool As They Come. Spanning 4500 Sq Ft On Two Levels With A Massive 1400′ Roof Deck Overlooking Ramsden Park. Currently 3 Bed/2 Bath, Soaring Ceilings And Built-Ins Galore. Bright, Well Proportioned Open Concept Provides A Blank Slate To Create Something Spectacular.
List: $3,973,000 • Sold: $3,950,000
Sold: July 2022
A Live/Work Former Photographer’s Studio Near Christie Pits In Little Korea
From MLS: Boutique Detached Building In West Annex. Approx. 4,600 Square Feet On Two Floors. Incredible One Of A Kind Live/Work Opportunity. Unique Style With High Ceilings And Exposed Brick Walls. Entire Property Is Vacant. Property Being Sold Under Power Of Sale.
Listed: $2,725,000 • Sold: $2,490,000
Sold: November 2022
PLUS Three Conversions Once Listed For Sale But Taken Off The Market:
A Former Factory With Converted Stables In Leslieville
From MLS: One Property Two Detached Homes You Simply Have To See This Leslieville Oasis! It Can’t Be Described! A 3,000 Sq. Ft. Hard Loft. Industrial Yet Modern! Think 30′ Atrium, Walls Of Windows, And A Catwalk Over-Looking The City. Then Add A 1,000 Sq. Ft. Private Studio With A Stunning Private Yard. Two Separate Living Spaces – One Property! Parking For 6 This Is Truly For The Discerning Buyer That Appreciates The Best! Private Offices, Coach House Were Stables.
Here’s a property tour!
Terminated April 2020
A Corner Store Multi-Unit Conversion In Seaton Village
From MLS: Newly Renovated, Rare Corner Annex Property With 4 Self-Contained Units! Great For Investors Or Those Looking To Live & Rent Out The Other Units. Includes 3X One-Beds, 1X Two-Bed Units, Each With Sep Entrances, Kitchens And Laundry. Vacant (No Old Leases With Low Rents!). Set As You’d Like It! Detached 2 Car Garage Has Laneway-Home Potential As Well As Unfinished Basement With A Sep Entrance! Driveway 2-Car Permit Parking!
Here’s a property tour!
Terminated April 2021
A Converted Movie Props Warehouse In Leslieville
From MLS: “This Unbelievable Detached Building Is A Converted Movie Props Warehouse And Feels Like A Hybrid Between A Loft And Freehold Home. The Sun Filled Space Features High-End Contemporary Design Mixed With Industrial Heritage, Truly A Design Masterpiece.”
(National Post Article – April 2016)
As these sales demonstrate, there’s no question that responding to the original architectural features of a non-residential building while adapting it to the wishes, wants, and needs of domesticity can result in a very unique property. Having personally lived in several adaptive reuse conversions, been engaged in the concept, sales & marketing of several vintage and newly constructed complexes, and sold hundreds of lofty dwellings over my career, I can attest that there’s a lightness of being that accompanies living in a unique urban space.
If you covet a place where daily life feels more elevated, my team and I welcome assisting you. Consider emailing email@example.com or calling me at 416-845-9905.
*All images are courtesy of the Multiple Listing Service, with thanks!
Did you enjoy this? If you did, these other Urbaneer.com posts offer more insight into Toronto property conversions and other unique urban real estate:
A Conversation About Corner Store Conversions In Toronto
Trending In Toronto: Single Family Houses Replaced By Boutique Condo Townhomes
12 Recent Adaptive Reuse, Live/Work, Storefront & Coach House Conversion Sales In Toronto
Exploring Vintage Brick & Beam Factory Conversions & Concrete ‘N Cool Contemporary Lofts In Toronto
Edwardian Architecture At Printers Row Lofts In Riverdale, Toronto
Before & After: A Builder Grade Toronto Condo Goes Back To Its Factory Roots
Dear Urbaneer: What Architectural Design Features Elevate The Value Of Toronto Real Estate?
Toronto Real Estate, Yellowbelt Zoning & The Missing Middle: Part One – and – Part Two
About Laneway Housing In Toronto, By Sustainable And Urbaneer
On Garden Suites In Toronto, By The Architect Builders Collaborative, Sustainable, & Urbaneer
Did any of these homes speak to you?
Serving first- and second-time buyers, relocations, renovators and those building their long-term property portfolios, my mandate is to help clients choose the 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, my team and I 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. Now in our 30th year, we are grateful to be the realtor of choice for both established Torontonians, and the newly arrived.
Are you property hunting? Consider letting Urbaneer guide you through your purchase process, without pressure, or hassle.
We are here to help!
With three decades of experience navigating the ever-changing Toronto real estate market, a commitment to promote the sale of properties like yours with interesting and relevant information, and the ability to guide Buyers with credible insights and well-informed guidance, the Urbaneer Team help without pressure or hassle.
Thanks for reading!
-The Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-800
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Celebrating Twenty-Eight Years As A Top-Producing Toronto Realtor
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