A Vintage Gotham Loft

offered at $549,000

If you’ve been looking for an authentic ‘hard’ loft with a brick and beam aesthetic, you know how challenging it is to find. Despite Toronto’s turn-of-the-century industrial core being home to a number of century-old four and five storey warehouses  – which were all but abandoned until they were rezoned ‘live/work’ in the 90s – very few of them became residential lofts for two reasons. The first reason was that the demand for loft living was in its infancy when the City embarked on revitalizing either side of the central business district – making it risky for developers to take the leap of faith. After all, were the buying public truly ready to live in marginalized ‘industrial’ areas with limited amenities and a lot of grit? The answer was a trepedatious “Yes”.

The second reason was –  just as development teams were gaining the confidence to embrace the live/work loft market – the economy began rebounding with the Information and Technology boom of the mid to late 90s. As creative companies began seeking commercial offices that were hip and loft like, commercial developers snapped up the old warehouses to serve start ups willing to pony up the high rents. With the costs to convert to old warehouses into commercial spaces less expensive – because the buildings didn’t need to meet our more stringent residential building code for higher sound attenuation systems – along with the high construction costs to reconfigure a dilapidated vintage building into have multiple units with washrooms and kitchens – the residential conversion market was effectively shut out. I speak from experience as I launched my Innovative Space career during this era spearheading a dozen of these conversions – including The Button Factory, The Movie House, and The Monarch Building to name a few.

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Since then, the area now known as King West – once Toronto’s garment district – has been transformed in its own branding makeover. Many of those warehouses which could have been live/work lofts 20 years ago are fully-established offices catering to – yup – the advertising, technology and design industries. King Street is now brimming with chic, high-end restaurants like Crush, Blowfish, and Buca; lounges and clubs like the Spoke, Cheval and Footwork; plus a cornucopia of tasty bakeries, brunch destinations and pubs. If you crave comfort food and signature cocktails, you’re just a short walk from the hip Thompson Diner at Bathurst and Wellington, and steps to the amazing drinking and food emporium Gusto 101. Also, be sure to check out Bar Chef, and explore colourful cafes like Sadie’s Diner, Zoe’s Cafe, Jimmy’s Coffee, Marben, 416 Snack Bar. And don’t forget the new The Burger’s Priest which opened in the ‘hood not too long ago! If you’re an amateur chef or simply a fan of eating in, you’ll love the nearby Loblaws on Queen!

Along with all that commercial rejuvenation, through the 2000s condo developers have reigned supreme building new ‘soft’ concrete ‘n cool lofts. To some King and Bathurst is known as Freedland – after the area’s largest developer – who also built The Thompson Hotel. Spanning Spadina west as far as Strachan, ‘King West Village’ is one of Toronto’s fastest growing neighbourhoods. Best described as Toronto’s answer to New York’s SoHo, this neighbourhood is especially popular with young urban professionals – both singles and couples – who want an urbane lifestyle in proximity to their downtown offices and within walking distance of their after-dark entertainment. With the entertainment district just east, Trinity Bellwoods & Stanley Parks just west, and directly on the King streetcar for easy transportation, this vibrant happening area offers a rich amenity experience. In proximity to the Theatre District, Paramount Cinema, Harbourfront and Rogers Centre, this is truly living in the centre of it all.

Welcome to 781 King West, Loft 501

One of the area’s well-regarded loft conversions – where this property is located – is “The Gotham Lofts” at 781 King Street West. This vintage building started out as a harness factory back in 1917 and was reborn into true mill-style hard lofts in 1997 by the Canadian Equity and Development Corporation. The handsome New York styled building houses only 47 suites on six levels and maintains an intimate feel. The original entry door leads to a beautiful lobby with marble and brass accents that was originally installed in the early 90s when it was slated to become commercial space. The lofts – which range in size from 1 bedroom, 1 plus den to 2 bedrooms anywhere from 600 square feet to approximately 1400 square feet – feature modern kitchens that marry a contemporary design with the salvaged vintage character of the lofts. Boasting exposed brick, timber columns and joists, wood flooring and oversized windows, the developer successfully retained the original spirit of the building while elevating the spaces into refined loft living. Building amenities include an exercise room, meeting room and bike storage. The indoor parking – located underground next door at 801 King Street – serves the building. This complex also shares security services with 801 King West.

We love Loft 501. Having 891 square feet, this loft boasts all the patina and character of a ‘movie set loft’ that most of us dream about. With its three generous windows, soft yellow brick walls and near 10 foot high wood plank ceilings, it not only boasts great proportions that lends itself to swish parties – or gathering people around the island for the wine tastings we fancy folk like to indulge in now and then – but it has a thoughtful space plan that doesn’t make you feel like you’re in one giant room. With a 2-piece tucked up by the entry, the bedroom ensuite bath becomes essentially private. Plus we love how the bedroom wrapped in yellow brick is well-situated away from the entertainment space and snazzy kitchen with its stainless steel appliances. After all, you can cook your lover breakfast without disturbing your sleeping beauty. What’s not to like about that?

Having one car parking (amazing for we boys who like our toys), this sizzle and spice loft has all the right ingredients to be the perfect urbane pad.

Want to learn more about this unique urban home? Contact steve@urbaneer.com for more info!

Are you familiar with the King West/Niagara locale? Have a look at our King West / Niagara Neighbourhood Page featuring our flavour video, city census data on the area plus past amenity blogs! And for more, here are our other Neighbourhood Pages in the City of Toronto! We love Toronto real estate!