Welcome to my blog on housing, culture, and design, where I explore all the facets of real estate, housing, and home. I’m Steve Fudge, and I’ve been a realtor and housing conceptualist in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for 30 years. Today I’m going to offer an update and some insights on the intensification of The Danforth, including which condominium sites are currently in development or under construction along this major avenue in the City of Toronto.
But first, a primer.
I LOVE Toronto, The City Of Neighbourhoods
The pace and process of a neighbourhood’s life cycle has been a topic of fascination for Canadian urban academics for over 60 years. I know this through my own contribution to the research in the early 1990s when I wrote an Urban Studies Thesis funded by The Ministry of Municipal Affairs called “Gentrification: Yuppie Porn In South Riverdale”. The thesis, which included a comprehensive review of past research on the movement of middle-class households into working-class neighbourhoods (here’s my blog on the subject –> Gentrification, Densification, And The History Of Toronto Real Estate) also explored my early fascination with Housing As A Symbol Of Self.
My undergraduate schooling served as the foundation for my Graduate Degree in Environmental Studies from York University in 1993 called “Planning Housing Environments”, where I focused specifically on the conversion and adaptive reuse of former industrial and commercial buildings into loft condominiums, and more broadly on diasporic settlement patterns, how intentional urban design supports community building, and how changes in land-use policy can reshape the urban fabric. It was from this research that I would launch my career in the sales, marketing and concept of Innovative Spaces through the 90s and 00s, and it was during these early days that I saw first hand how a former factory being converted into loft condominiums could rejuvenate its surrounding streetscapes (Here’s my post called Dear Urbaneer: What Is The Difference Between A Hard Loft And A Soft Loft?) and how the City’s forward-thinking urban planning policies successfully revitalized the downtown core.
Case in point. In the 1970s through to the 1990s, a lot of industry and commerce in the downtown core moved to suburban industrial parks. New modern factories were constructed on one level for greater efficiency in production, located on highway systems so goods could be transported more easily by trucks rather than rail, and a growing labour pool living in nearby suburbs could commute to work by car. This prompted a significant period of decline in the manufacturing markets in the downtown core, where a high vacancy rate became common because zoning regulations forbid property owners from leasing properties to non-industrial tenants. In fact, many property owners demolished their buildings and created parking lots in order to reduce their property taxes. Fortunately, in 1996 the City of Toronto responded by rezoning a large portion of the downtown core (basically the geography surrounding the CN Tower and the central business district) to ‘Live/Work’ zoning in order to encourage redevelopment that could accommodate the emerging post-industrial economies of finance, information, technology, and services. The creation of The Entertainment District, and the reinvention of The Fashion District are two examples of once new neighbourhood designations in the downtown core targeting these new economies, while CityPlace was redeveloped from industrial brownfields to provide shelter for young urban professionals. Fortunately for me, I was engaged by some amazing development teams who created some fantastic loft conversions and new condominiums across the central core – including the Fashion District, Little Italy, West Queen West, Roncesvalles Village, and the Distillery District amongst others.
Seeing Toronto transition from an industrial port city to a global centre of finance, commerce and technology not only fascinates me, but it’s been a major driver of Toronto’s success as well as my 30 year real estate career. In my opinion, how it’s evolved and where it’s going plays an important consideration in how Buyers and Sellers should assess the future value of any area, neighbourhood, or property in Toronto.
This Includes The Danforth
Toronto is not the same city from one year to the next. It is constantly evolving, or better put the only constant in Toronto is its state of flux. Lately, with the sheer volume of real estate sales I’ve been doing on the central east side, including the neighbourhoods lining The Danforth, it’s prompted today’s follow-up post to my original blog a few years ago called ‘A Brief History On The Intensification Of The Danforth In Toronto’. It explores how the City of Toronto engaged the surrounding communities to help shape increasing the height and density for new construction along this main street.
These neighbourhoods – which include Playter Estates, Riverdale, The Pocket & Danforth Village – were originally developed as “early suburbs”, initially starting at Broadview Avenue going east to Coxwell Avenue, and then beyond. In the City of Toronto’s Danforth Study it shares that “Between 1912 and 1922, the Globe Toronto observed that the population bordering Danforth Avenue increased sixfold, and from 1910 and 1929, most of the buildings existing today – the majority of which are two- and three-storey mixed-use, commercial and residential brick buildings – were constructed”. Is it amazing that for over 100 years Danforth Avenue has been an avenue of commerce?
In 1918, the Bloor Viaduct opened which brought more vehicular traffic, and in 1923 the TTC (established 1921) introduced a direct, single-fare, crosstown streetcar along Bloor and Danforth from Lansdowne Avenue to the eastern city limits at Luttrell Avenue. Danforth Avenue became more busy when the Bloor–Danforth Subway Line 2 was opened in 1966 (with extensions completed in 1968 and 1980). Today, this major east west transit route has 31 stations located along 26.2 kilometres of track.
Over the decades, Danforth Avenue has been home to many different ethnicities. Although Greek Town is perhaps the most recognizable, it’s also home to Gujarati, Moroccan, Afghani, Caribbean, Pakistani and Ethiopian cultures. This is reflected in the array of retail businesses, services, and purveyors of food – whether that be grocers, bakeries, restaurants or cafes – that span The Danforth. However, because of the lack of housing density along Danforth Avenue it has often been challenging for small businesses to succeed. Despite being so centrally located, The Danforth has long been underutilized.
Since the early 2000s, City of Toronto urban planners and the development industry have agreed that increasing the population along arterial roads was key to the city’s future growth. If Main Street Urban Planning Policies increased the size of new buildings for higher density, continued its mix of residential and commercial uses including encouraging smaller storefronts for local entrepreneurs, and allowed as-of-right new construction consistent in scale, setback and height, the community would eventually have a sufficient population size to support its immediate local services and businesses.
Check out my post called A Brief History On The Intensification Of The Danforth In Toronto to understand how a plea turned into a plan which turned into action – and the start of The Danforth’s rebirth!
In fact, as you walk, cycle or drive along The Danforth, you’ll see several recently completed mid-rise condos and apartments with ground level commercial retail spaces standing tall, particularly from Greenwood east to Main Street. And, given The Danforth is approved pretty much as-of-right to become a Main Street corridor of 8 storey mixed use buildings, there are several new developments currently in the approvals process or preconstruction sales stage. The end result will be transformative because it’s creating more housing options for both the existing surrounding community and new arrivals, including one level low-maintenance living for those who are downsizing and efficient smartly-designed apartments for singles, first time buyers and those seeking a pied a terre on the subway line. These mid-rise developments will inject these well-established century-old neighbourhoods with more housing options, creating a more vibrant community.
Here are some of the new developments – proposed, planned, or already under construction totalling over 4000 units – that will be completed in the near future:
Danny On The Danforth (2359 Danforth Avenue)
10 Storeys – 139 Units
Situated at Danforth & Westlake Avenue, this 10-storey building was developed by Gala Developments and Onespace Unlimited is the Architect.
Verve Danforth (2494 Danforth)
10 Storeys – 140 Retirement Home Units + 4 Storey – 20 Unit Rental Portion
Situated at Danforth and Chisholm avenues in Toronto’s East End. Designed by Sweeny & Co Architects for Tawse Realco Inc.
Linx (286 Main Street)
27 Storeys – 371 Units
This is a 27-storey mixed-use condominium building designed by Turner Fleischer Architects for Tribute Communities and Greybrook Realty Partners on the west block of Main Street between Danforth Avenue and Stephenson Avenue.
1111 Danforth (1111 Danforth Avenue)
9 Storeys – 228 Units
This stack of sexy stone and glass will be a 9-storey mixed-use rental building designed by Studio JCI for Core Development Group on the southeast corner of Danforth Avenue and Byron Avenue.
1795 Danforth (1795 Danforth Avenue)
7 Storeys – 16 Units (Just 16! This will be BOUTIQUE!)
This unique, tiered building will sit snugly between the existing storefronts. It’s currently an empty lot but will become a 7-storey rental development, designed by CS&P Architects for 2531540 Ontario Corp.
2156 Danforth (2156 Danforth Avenue)
5 Storeys – 12 Units
A minor variance application proposed a 5-storey mixed-use residential building designed by Tony Valentin Design for 1858311 Ontario Limited on the northeast corner on Danforth Avenue and Cedarvale Avenue.
2720 Danforth (2720 Danforth Avenue)
9 Storeys – 81 Units
A proposed nine-storey rental building in Toronto, with long linear forms and protrusions reminiscent of stairs. Designed by BNKC for Katalyst Real Estate Corp.
2721 Danforth (2720 Danforth Avenue)
55 / 35 Storeys – 673 / 466 Units
RAW Design for Tri-Metro Investments Inc. has proposed 55 and 35-storey mixed-use condominium buildings on the southeast corner of Danforth Avenue and Guest Avenue, in East Danforth.
6 Dawes (6 Dawes Road)
39, 38, 30 Storeys – 673 / 466 Units
A proposed 39-storey, 38-storey and 30-storey building designed by bKL Architecture for Fitzrovia Real Estate Inc on the east side of Main Street south of Danforth Avenue, in Toronto’s Danforth Village. Ground floor access to GO Station.
The Dawes (10 Dawes Road)
38 Storeys / 24 Storeys – 631 Units
This complex consists of two buildings: a 38-storey condo and a 24-storey mixed-use condo designed by IBI Group for Marlin Spring and Osmington Inc on the south side of Danforth Avenue west of Dawes Road.
In the case of The Danforth strip between Jones and Victoria Park, many of the retailers and merchants have long existed, but are having trouble turning a lifestyle-supporting profit without the foot traffic to bring in customers. Despite being in proximity to the subway and it being a busy road for vehicular traffic, the existing neighbourhoods are low-density single-family dwellings that lack the population to support what could be a vibrant retail corridor. By approving the mid-rise and point tower residential developments, the intensification will create the population necessary to sustain and fuel positive growth in the community. Why is this so exciting? As the process has been so carefully curated, The Danforth neighbourhood is going to end up with a great range of rentals, condos, and townhomes that it’s currently lacking.
I think it’s pretty fair to say that higher population densities and land-use intensification will sustain and grow the existing infrastructure and amenities, with a transit line ready to serve.
Keep an eye on Danforth Avenue – it’s exploding with fresh new beginnings!
Wouldn’t you love to live near the Danforth?
We have a sweet solution to improve your work/life balance. Think of how quick and easy your commute could be (not to mention daily errands and recreation!) if you lived in a smartly connected community like East York – steps to the Danforth!
Built in 1920 and encompassing 1348 square feet (plus 763 square feet below grade) of premium living space, this classic detached 3+1 bed, 1+1 bath Edwardian has a well-proportioned traditional space plan that offers several well-designed ‘zones for living’. Lovingly tended by the current owners since 1991, their pride of ownership is evident throughout the home! For those seeking a stellar convenient location, this well-loved, freshly-painted, solid brick residence nestled on a 28.58 x 100 foot fenced lot with a private gated drive deserves a closer look! –> Family-Friendly Wonderful On Woodmount Near Danforth & Woodbine – NOW SOLD!
Having quick and easy access to transit is essential. The fewer minutes spent walking to a transit stop means more time for you! This property has an excellent Walk Score of 87, a Transit Score of 81, and a bike score of 91!!! This means that navigating through the surrounding ‘hoods – and all corners of the city – is a breeze from this property! (After all, it’s just a 10-minute stroll to arrive at Woodbine Station! Or just a short 5-minute bus ride down Woodbine!)
Want to learn more about Toronto’s East Side? Check out these blogs:
Thanks For Reading!
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000
– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –
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