Andrew la Fleur is downtown Toronto Realtor and a long-time friend of BuzzBuzzHome. He has been blogging about downtown condos for the last 5 years. You can find him at truecondos.com. In this two-part series, Andrew presents his list of the Top Ten Condos that Changed Toronto. These buildings were all highly significant and have had major impacts not only on the landscape of the city, but also on how condos are bought and sold in Toronto. Check out part one of Andrew’s post here!
X2 should be a very nice building when completed although that’s not why it’s famous. How the building was sold was what had such a big impact on the Toronto condo market. Until then, condos were sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and therefore you would have buyers and agents camping out for days or sometimes weeks at a time to secure the first spots in line. Somehow at X2, multiple lines were formed, all claiming to be the ‘official line’. Chaos ensued as many were shut out of being able to purchase suites because their line was deemed to be the incorrect line. The famous “X2 Line-up” fiasco from November 2009 was pretty much the end of the condo line-up, and nearly all developers now use the more civilized ‘worksheet’ system of selling.
Candy Factory Lofts
This project was the brain child of Toronto real estate legend Harry Stinson. You have to remember that in the late 90s in Toronto, loft-living was pretty much completely unheard of. Stinson pre-sold about 80% of the project but could not get the financing to actually build and thus the project was eventually taken over and completed by a group called Metrontario in 2000. Candy Factory started a loft revolution in Toronto and most of the hard lofts you see all over the city owe their success to this 121 unit building on Queen Street West.
When One Cole launched in May 2009, we were just coming out of the credit crisis, and there was still a lot of uncertainty in the air. This was the first condo to start selling in the Regent Park redevelopment and it represented years of hard work and planning. The stakes were high and no one knew exactly how it would turn out. One Cole was a smashing success of course and it set the bar for the rest of the Regent Park revitalization, and more importantly, the eyes of city planners across the world started paying close attention to Regent Park as an example of how to revitalize an entire urban neighbourhood that had been dominated by social housing for over 50 years.
Minto Midtown forced Yonge and Eglinton to literally grow up. The project faced fierce opposition from locals when it was proposed around 2005. The neighbourhood rallied against the development for fear that it would forever change their mostly low-rise area. They were right, as Yonge and Eglinton is nothing like it was 7 years ago. The corner is now a virtual downtown of its own, with about a dozen massive condo towers either finished, under construction, or proposed since Minto Midtown was completed.
66 Portland was Peter Freed’s first project and so much has changed since then it’s hard to remember a time in the Toronto condo market before ‘Freedville’. Completed in 2006, it started the revitalization of the King West neighbourhood, now the hippest ‘hood in the city, and it introduced the concept of a ‘soft-loft’. Countless Toronto developers have reaped the rewards of Freed’s vision for the neighbourhood as well as for the now ubiquitous soft-loft design.
What do you think of this list? Anything you’d add or subtract? Let us know in the comments section, tweet us, or start a discussion in the BuzzBuzzHome forums. Check out part one of the list here! All images courtesy of downtownphotos.ca except X2 rendering.