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partybits
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is your comments on the new King West/Liberty Village community?
Great for the downtown or just a bunch of yuppies? (or both)

P.S. If anyone has any pics, would be greatly appreciated

Heres an article from the TorontoStar

May 14, 2005. 01:00 AM

King Street comes of age
Area once home to prisons, factories Affordability appeals to young buyersArea once home to prisons, factories Affordability appeals to young buyers


THERESA BOYLE
REAL ESTATE REPORTER

It wasn't that long ago that the corner of King and Dufferin was best known for being the west entrance into the Canadian National Exhibition.

"We used to only come down here to park at the Ex," recalls Danny Roth, president of the Liberty Village Business Improvement Area.

The once seedy and gritty neighbourhood, made up of old and abandoned industrial buildings, has seen a transformation in recent years and is now becoming known more for its trendy condos and hip offices.

Many of the century-old buildings have been retained and converted into condo lofts and creative commercial spaces.

"Nobody's mother will now ask, `You're going to live where? You're going to work where?'" remarks Roth, who also runs a communications firm with clients that include some of the condo developers in the area.

Liberty Village is located east of Dufferin St. and west of Strachan Ave. It's south of King St. and north of the Gardiner Expressway.

It's just west of Fort York on what was once part of the Garrison Common, a drill ground for soldiers, notes Toronto historian Stephen Otto, who sits on the board of the Friends of Fort York.

Liberty Village's name is associated with the Mercer Reformatory for women, which operated there a century ago. When women completed sentences for such crimes as "sexual precociousness," vagrancy or "incorrigibility," they set upon a path to freedom along Liberty St., which still runs through the village.

Beside the women's reformatory was the Central Prison for Men, which was built in the 1870s by the prisoners themselves. The prison's two-storey chapel still stands.

"The Central Prison provided a population that, in the context of the times, they thought should be employed in useful work. So you got some industries growing up around the prison, which were partly staffed by prisoners," Otto says.

Those industries took advantage of the adjacent railway lines and included the John Inglis and Sons Manufacturing Co., which made, in turn, wartime artillery, boilers and then washing machines.

At what is now 915 King St. W. was the headquarters of the Massey-Harris firm, the largest manufacturer of farm equipment in the British Empire.

The Georgian-style building has been converted into penthouse condominiums by the Canderel Stoneridge Equity Group Inc.

"We have gone to great lengths to ensure that it exceeds the needs of a 21st-century home buyer, while remaining true to the integrity of the building's 19th Century charms," says Riz Dhanji, vice president of sales and marketing for Canderel.

Canderel is also in the midst of constructing two more condominium buildings next door — DNA I and DNA II.

The Hinde and Dauche paper manufacturers operated in the area between 1912 and 1940, when they sold their building to the Irwin Toy company. This building today is being converted into the Toy Factory Lofts.

"This area is undergoing a phenomenal transformation," says area realtor Gigi Von Anrep.

"When I bought here in '98, it was pretty desolate. It was a no-man's land," adds Von Anrep, who lives in a townhouse development in the area known as King West Village, around King and Sudbury streets.

It was built by Urbancorp, which is now embarking on a new development, known as Kingtowns, in the area.

Von Anrep says there are a lot of first-time buyers in the area because the prices are affordable.

That means there are a lot of young people. They like the fact that downtown is only 10 minutes away, she says.

"You don't feel like you're living downtown, but it's still so close," she adds.

Monarch Construction is building a 23-storey condominium tower, south of King, off Strachan, known as Battery Park at Liberty Village.

"A great downtown location in the heart of King West Village, you can walk to work, or explore the eclectic mix of cool shops, galleries, parks and restaurants," boasts Monarch's website.

Also under construction near King and Strachan are 466 stacked, four-storey condo townhouses by Can Alfa Liberty Village Homes Inc.

"At the moment, the area is still under a lot of construction. I can see it being even more amazing once all the landscaping is done, and the people move in and all the construction vehicles are gone," Von Anrep says.

"There's a condominium boom," remarks local councillor Joe Pantalone.

"What has been happening in that area is that a lot of unproductive land has been transformed into a place where people live and work," he adds.

Employers that have moved to the area include Sony-BMG, Corus Entertainment and designers Ciccone Simone.

Van Anrep says the west-end metamorphosis is spreading north.

Indeed, art galleries have left Yorkville to set up shop in what's now known as the West Queen West Art and Design District.

This gentrified strip is also home to the Drake Hotel and film director Atom Egoyan's Camera Bar.

"It's a very cool spot. There are lots of openings happening," Von Anrep says.

The nearby Queen St. campus of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is also scheduled to be redeveloped.

"The area is just exploding. There's just no stopping it. It's kind of like the Distillery District," Von Anrep says, referring to the historic appeal of both areas.

Other hot spots in the area include the restaurants Susur, Lee, Brant House and the Century Room.

In a city where large tracts of land so close to downtown are quickly disappearing, Roth says it was only a matter of time that that this part of the west end was redeveloped.

But he says it's no thanks to the city that the area has been revitalized and expressed disappointment that the long-sought Front St. extension has been sidelined.

"A lot of the development that's occurred here has happened only because of the property owners and business owners. It's grown in spite of the city in some ways. It's the kind of growth the city should support and embrace," Roth says.

Prior to new housing being constructed, the old buildings were home to many artists.

Soil had to undergo some remediation before it was deemed fit for housing. Dhanji says it wasn't that long ago that he wouldn't set foot in the area, which had a bad reputation for crime.

"I would never have gone to Dufferin. I went as far as Bathurst and got scared," he remarks.

But as a sign of the changing times, Dhanji, himself, now lives near King St. W.
 

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KW/Liberty Village IMO is a great up and coming neighbourhood. The old factory buildings no longer look like eyesores and actually look pretty nice now. I'm glad that all the old abondoned wasteland is now being converted into nice residential areas and parks. To be honest, I felt pretty surprised when I saw all the new developments there last year since I haven't even bothered to take the King west street car in a few years. I think the area around Strachan and King west and other parts of LV will become very dense in the future with all these new developments.
 

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I'm afraid it might just end up being a dense, but otherwise suburban in nature area. The Dominion/blockbuster complex south of King at atlantic ave does not inspire confidence...

hopefully I'm wrong :sleepy:
 

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partybits
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm more optimistic than that. The Dominion "strip mall" may not be the most urban, but it was much needed in getting the area developed. You have to keep in mind that the only grocery stores in West downtown are at Bloor/Spadina and Queen/Dufferin (mind you there is one proposed for Cityplace & Lakeshore/Bathurst). It was much needed.

Needless to say, most future retail developement in the King West will be completely opposite to the suburban concept. There are multiple historic buildings that will be converted for commercial use as opposed to condo's. One building (the former women's prison mentioned in the article). This building is intended to be "the heart of the new village". It will have new restaurants, cafe's, & resources for the community. Unfortunatly I don't have to much information on it as of yet. It used to be on the libertyvillage website but now the site is registering a new condo developement. Too bad, because they showed a master plan of what they intended to do with the whole area including a 3d scaled model. Hopefully they will put it back on the site some day

There is another larger commercial developement called Liberty Market. This will have many unique retail stores (ie Vespa Scooters are there) & hi-tech commercial. check out the sight at www.libertymarket.ca

So, things are looking good on the retail side, and I doubt we'll see too much more in the way of strip malls & boring franchises
 
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partybits said:
I'm more optimistic than that. The Dominion "strip mall" may not be the most urban, but it was much needed in getting the area developed. You have to keep in mind that the only grocery stores in West downtown are at Bloor/Spadina and Queen/Dufferin (mind you there is one proposed for Cityplace & Lakeshore/Bathurst). It was much needed.

Needless to say, most future retail developement in the King West will be completely opposite to the suburban concept. There are multiple historic buildings that will be converted for commercial use as opposed to condo's. One building (the former women's prison mentioned in the article). This building is intended to be "the heart of the new village". It will have new restaurants, cafe's, & resources for the community. Unfortunatly I don't have to much information on it as of yet. It used to be on the libertyvillage website but now the site is registering a new condo developement. Too bad, because they showed a master plan of what they intended to do with the whole area including a 3d scaled model. Hopefully they will put it back on the site some day

There is another larger commercial developement called Liberty Market. This will have many unique retail stores (ie Vespa Scooters are there) & hi-tech commercial. check out the sight at www.libertymarket.ca

So, things are looking good on the retail side, and I doubt we'll see too much more in the way of strip malls & boring franchises

I would have to agree with Hogtown. This is going to be a nice neighbourhood, but the stripmall really ruins it. They could've added a grocery store without it being attached to an ugly strip mall and massive parking lot.
 

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I work in Liberty, and live nearby (South parkdale).

It's definetely going to be an interesting new nabe. Good combination of size, new and old buildings. It'll take a little while for it to finish, given the scope. But when it does, it will be pretty great. One thing they have to do, is demolish those two "bleachers" they call Lamport Stadium, and take that whole site to build a great neighbourhood park...cause right now there is nothing...and with the amount of people that are going to live there, will be a glaring missing element of any great neighbourhood.





KGB
 

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Rebuilt Lamport Stadium. This is the perfect opportunity to remake Lamport Stadium.

Fix it up, put in some field turf, and there you have it a nice soccer stadium.
 

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partybits
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
SD said:
I would have to agree with Hogtown. This is going to be a nice neighbourhood, but the stripmall really ruins it. They could've added a grocery store without it being attached to an ugly strip mall and massive parking lot.

While I still believe the strip mall was much needed, you are absolutely right about the parking. There was absolutely no need for that much. Or, alternatively, what they could've done is build the parking lot along the Rail Line, and have the Dominion and strip mall right up front along Liberty Street. It would've given it more of a street scape & hide the parking from public view.
 

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partybits
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
KGB said:
I work in Liberty, and live nearby (South parkdale).

It's definetely going to be an interesting new nabe. Good combination of size, new and old buildings. It'll take a little while for it to finish, given the scope. But when it does, it will be pretty great. One thing they have to do, is demolish those two "bleachers" they call Lamport Stadium, and take that whole site to build a great neighbourhood park...cause right now there is nothing...and with the amount of people that are going to live there, will be a glaring missing element of any great neighbourhood.





KGB
Only thing is that Lamport is a bit further west of where most of the residents will be living (Strachan to Hanna Ave). Irregardless of the fate of Lamport (demolish, repair, etc), maybe the park could be in a more central location. Maybe just east of Dominion where currently the land is being developed for Battery Park.

On Allen Lamport, something definatly needs to be done with that stadium. It's never being utilzied. Either tear it down for development, or find a better use for it (beats me what for though)
 

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The Dominion is built on contaminated lands. This explains the low commercial density and abundant parking. Residentail uses on the land is forbidden.

Personally, I think the city should have forced them to clean it up or even donate a small amount of funds to make it more economically viable for clean up and development.

I guess the rational is it can always be redeveloped in the future? (?)
 
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partybits said:
While I still believe the strip mall was much needed, you are absolutely right about the parking. There was absolutely no need for that much. Or, alternatively, what they could've done is build the parking lot along the Rail Line, and have the Dominion and strip mall right up front along Liberty Street. It would've given it more of a street scape & hide the parking from public view.

Exactly...I have no problem with the businesses in the strip mall...they're needed...but the execution was/is terrible.
 
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Mr Man said:
The Dominion is built on contaminated lands. This explains the low commercial density and abundant parking. Residentail uses on the land is forbidden.

Personally, I think the city should have forced them to clean it up or even donate a small amount of funds to make it more economically viable for clean up and development.

I guess the rational is it can always be redeveloped in the future? (?)
They definitely should've been forced to clean it up...it's a prime spot.

Even if no residential uses were allowed, I don't think it would've been too difficult to have these stores fronting the street. The whole design of it seems like a total afterthought.
 

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I was hoping that someone would revamp Lamport Stadium and use it to host football and soccer matches. Just a pipe dream. It'll probably rot away untill it's torn down.

I really dig the warehouse grill. That's some good lunchtime grub.

As everyone said before, that strip mall belongs in the burbs.

Does anyone know if a pedestrian bridge will be built over the railroad tracks? I recall someone mentioning that to me.
 

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"Rebuilt Lamport Stadium. This is the perfect opportunity to remake Lamport Stadium. Fix it up, put in some field turf, and there you have it a nice soccer stadium."


Well, if they can make a going concern of it, then fine...but I don't see it. Besides, what the nabe needs is a park more than it needs a sports venue, so the best thing is to locate a soccer field in the many other places it can go.







"Build the park somewhere else."


Like where??? City already owns the land...it's in the perfect spot, and requires very little effort to convert it. I can't think of a better scenario.







"While I still believe the strip mall was much needed, you are absolutely right about the parking. There was absolutely no need for that much."


Well, I'd hardly call that much of a strip mall...it's only 5 stores...a Blockbuster, a cleaners, a pet food store, a Select Sandwich and a convenience store (next door to a 24hr Dominion...how stupid...look for something new very soon).

It was built strip mall fashion, as there is a line of parking between the sidewalk and the store entrances...a no-no if you ask me...but nothing fatal. There's an office building u/c directly west of it at the moment. Directly across the street from it, is another small line of stores, right on the sidewalk.






"what they could've done is build the parking lot along the Rail Line, and have the Dominion and strip mall right up front along Liberty Street. It would've given it more of a street scape & hide the parking from public view."


As for the parking lot between Liberty Street and the Dominion, I'm quite sure that will eventually be developed, when the need arises. You do realize the Dominion is right on a new street running north of Liberty?

Keep in mind folks...this place is still at the begining of it's development...lots of streetscape stuff will be going in....I predict a very strong BIA will emerge to make this a distinctive new nabe.








"Only thing is that Lamport is a bit further west of where most of the residents will be living (Strachan to Hanna Ave). Irregardless of the fate of Lamport (demolish, repair, etc), maybe the park could be in a more central location. Maybe just east of Dominion where currently the land is being developed for Battery Park."


Lamport is a good spot, and quite central to the "old" Liberty nabe. It's quite central to everything from Dufferin to almost Strachan. The people living closer to Strachan have two parks a couple of blocks from them...Trinity Bellwoods is just north a short walk, as is Stanely Park a block east. Anybody between the area just east of Dominion to Dufferein would be a couple of blocks walk form the new lamport location park. The Lamport location is great because it also fronts on King. As well as there already being a lot of people working in the "old" Liberty, don't think there won't be significant residential filling in the many gaps in that area as well.








KGB
 

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I think a lot of people are jumping to conclusions - the Dominions is only phase one of a multi-phased, retail and office complex. I'm optimistic the parking lot is anything but temporary to eventually be replaced with the 2 or 3 remaining proposed office buildings (as KGB has mentioned, one is already under construction at the northwestern corner of the property)
 

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Remember, there's really three components to the Liberty-King West area....the King Street corridor, which is basically the huge area once home to the Massey Harris manufactuing empire...the Battery Park area, from Strachan west to the "old" Liberty area, which is start-from-scratch new stuff (reasonably boring highriss and stacked townhouses), whcih is being masterplanned by only a couple of developers....and the origional Liberty, which has all the old buildings, and is all individually owned.

It's the old area that will be the most interesting, as it isn't being completely developed by just a couple of developers...and will eventually have some new stuff mixed in with the old. It also has the best old-fashioned street grid that feels much better.

And hopefully a really cool little nabe park...we'll call it Allen Lamport Park if ya like. he he



Hey...I really think that sorry excuse for a mini stadium has got to go....not just because it would better serve a great new nabe as a park, but because it's such a loser. The city spends $280,000 a year to keep the place up (considering it is a dump, that doesn't get much)...and it has to blow another $3+ million to upgrade it, cause it's falling apart and pretty useless.






KGB
 

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partybits
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
"As for the parking lot between Liberty Street and the Dominion, I'm quite sure that will eventually be developed, when the need arises. You do realize the Dominion is right on a new street running north of Liberty?"

Are you referring to the street running off Hanna Ave & along Dominion, before turning south to Liberty?

"It was built strip mall fashion, as there is a line of parking between the sidewalk and the store entrances...a no-no if you ask me...but nothing fatal. There's an office building u/c directly west of it at the moment. Directly across the street from it, is another small line of stores, right on the sidewalk."

Do you know anything about this office building by chance. I have searched the internet and can't find any information on it. All I know is that its run by First Capital, but there website does'nt even mention the construction.

"Lamport is a good spot, and quite central to the "old" Liberty nabe. It's quite central to everything from Dufferin to almost Strachan. The people living closer to Strachan have two parks a couple of blocks from them...Trinity Bellwoods is just north a short walk, as is Stanely Park a block east. Anybody between the area just east of Dominion to Dufferein would be a couple of blocks walk form the new lamport location park. The Lamport location is great because it also fronts on King. As well as there already being a lot of people working in the "old" Liberty, don't think there won't be significant residential filling in the many gaps in that area as well."

You know what, I completely forgot about Stanley Park, so I'm flip flopping and going to agree with you on Lamport...lol.
 

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partybits
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
As per my above comment "Do you know anything about this office building by chance...".
Well I finally found out about it. It's part of an overrall commercial developement in which the strip mall was phase one. Here is a summary of the article:

TORONTO, June 9 /CNW/ - First Capital Realty Inc. ("First Capital
Realty") (TSX:FCR) an owner and developer of neighbourhood and community
shopping centres located predominantly in growing metropolitan areas in
Canada, announced today that it acquired King Liberty Village and the
Merchandise Building's retail component, both anchored by supermarkets and
located in the downtown area of the City of Toronto.
King Liberty Village is a mixed-use property, currently under
development, that will include retail, service retail, professional and office
space. The property is located southwest of King Street West and Strachan
Avenue, surrounded by Liberty Village, a new and growing high density
residential community. This well located property on 8.3 acres of land is
being developed in three phases:

- Phase One, is comprised of a 73,000 square foot unenclosed retail
centre anchored by a 50,000 square foot Dominion (A&P) supermarket
that recently opened, and other tenants already open or scheduled
to open in the third quarter of this year. In addition, there are
292 parking spaces at grade.

- Phase Two will be comprised of a four-storey building with 50,000
square feet on the first and second floor for retail, service retail
and professional use. An additional 41,000 square feet on the third
and fourth floors is planned for professional and office use.
The building will also include an underground parking garage with
282 parking spaces to serve phases two and three. The Company has
entered into an agreement for the construction on a turn-key fixed
price basis for this phase expected to be complete by Fall 2005.

- Phase Three is an existing building that totals approximately 70,000
square feet including 20,000 square feet of ground floor retail.
The other 50,000 square feet on two floors is expected to be service
retail, office or residential. This building will be purchased by
the fourth quarter of 2005.

The total cost of the project including all expected construction and
closing costs will be approximately $44 million of which approximately $20
million was paid to the vendor on closing of Phase One and the land for Phase
Two. The total gross leasable area of the property on completion is expected
to be approximately 234,000 square feet with total parking for 574 cars.
Merchandise Building is 52,200 square feet of urban retail consisting of
the ground floor in a residential building that is located in the high-density
area of Dundas Street East and Church Street. It is anchored by a 28,000
square foot Dominion (A&P) supermarket, with 70% occupancy and includes an
underground parking garage for 60 cars. The purchase price of $8.0 million,
including closing costs, was funded through the assumption of $4.2 million of
debt at a rate of 8.4% due in December 2006, with the balance paid in cash.
The property is surrounded by high-density residential units as well as a
large building of Ryerson University that is currently under construction and
is scheduled to open Fall 2004. The new Computing & Engineering facility will
accommodate 2,300 students.
"We are excited to own these two well located retail properties in the
heart of Toronto with a strong base of tenants that include Dominion
supermarket, TD Canada Trust and Blockbuster. The additional space to be
developed and leased will further enhance the income of these properties and
achieve accretive returns for the Company," said Dori J. Segal, First Capital
Realty Inc. "These acquisitions, although not immediately financially
accretive, are consistent with our strategy of owning and developing
properties in growing urban markets with an initial going-in return and
substantial upside."


Source: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2004/09/c2881.html

The building is now currently finished excavation and my guess will be complete by early 2006.
 

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partybits
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Another interesting albeit very out of date article talking about the growth of King West in General: http://www.alliedproperties.ca/documents/TorontoStarNewspaperWrite-UpMay24-03_000.pdf

Talks about just how much developement is going on From Spadina to Dufferin.

Speaking of which, does anyone have accurate information to the exact number of buildings being built by both Battery Park (I have heard 3 & 5) and the new LVTO towers (I've heard 4-6?). Seems that there will be a fair number of highrises in the 20-30 floor range, but it's hard to get a specific amount
 
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