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New in Toronto real estate: Picasso on Richmond

Posted by Robyn Urback / June 21, 2012

2012621-picasso-night.jpgPicasso on Richmond has made itself conspicuous with a showroom right amidst the action on Queen West. While many of us know the space as that of the former Pages Bookstore, the Monarch Group has overhauled the space in the essence of its four-year-away Richmond Street masterpiece. I'll insert a line break to allow for dramatic pause.

The new tower is set to soar at 39 storeys, complete with a "Sky Suite" collection of units more recently added to the design. This will be one fully-stocked structure featuring plenty of amenities and good-sized units, with prices starting in the high $200's and climbing up past $800,000 (for the penthouse suites, of course). And though the Entertainment District is nowhere near the AGO, we'll see if this art-inspired project lives up to its venerable name.


Number of units: 402

Number of floors: 39

Unit sizes (in square feet): 398 - 1231

Starting price: $288,990

Parking: $45,000 (for suites 661 sq. ft. and larger)

Storage locker: Not released yet

Maintenance: $0.52/ sq. ft.

Hydro/heat included?: No

Amenities: Green roof(s), 24/7 concierge, party room, fitness centre/spa, hot tub

Expected occupancy: December 2016

2012621-picasso-kitchen.jpgTHE GOOD

Real, livable spaces at last! Well, some of them, at least. Almost all of the units with bedrooms (read: not the studios) come equipped with actual bedroom doors, which unfortunately is actually a cause for celebration. Whereas too many new structures in Toronto come with closet-sized bedrooms where sliding panels act as doors, Monarch seems to understand the importance of the hinge. Good on them. Many of the units, too, offer kitchens that turn a corner, allowing for a bit more counter space.

Architecturally, it's nice to see a diversion from the standard glass tower. Whether you like the aesthetics of the design or not, the Picasso structure does allow for more than one green "roof," which is a plus however you look at it. And on the green topic, Picasso also plans to host a car sharing program for its residents, which purportedly cuts down on the number of cars on the road. Balconies and/or terraces on almost all units are also a plus, and so too is the range of suite styles. With studios right up to three-bedroom units, you're bound to get a good mix of different types of people.

2012621-picasso-pool.jpgTHE BAD

Can I legitimately call out poor SEO as a project drawback? I'm not sure. But it is interesting that an independent realtor named Ryan Abbassi managed to snag the first Google result for Picasso Condos and "Toronto." Good planning, Ryan.

Now, let's talk about location. For some, living next door to a wide array of Toronto clubs (and a bowling alley, and movie theatre, and bars) is a boon. Your barefoot, heels-in-hand walk home from the club is much safer based on limited concrete exposure alone, and you're guaranteed to never be too far from the action. For me, however, the Entertainment District seems an awful, awful place to live. Don't get me wrong — I enjoy me some sidewalk entertainment in the form of neon spandex and mascara tear stains as much as the next person, but I don't think I could deal with it every weekend, especially in my backyard. There's just something about a lineup of Hummer limos that doesn't really give me that "homey" feel, I suppose...

And for those who are keen on a parking spot, $45,000 is a little steep compared to the $25,000 or $35,000 you may pay for a less central location. Of course, with a unit right so close to Osgoode Station and steps to the Queen Streetcar, a car becomes of very little use.


My decision begins and ends with the area —I could never do it. Rent, maybe (and there probably will be plenty of renters in the building based on the location and unit sizes), but I could never tie myself down to a neighbourhood where piggyback rides are a legitimate form of weekend transportation. Picasso would likely offer an ideal pied-a-terre for downtown business people and/or OCAD students looking to rent during the year, but it doesn't inspire images of white picket fences.

2012621-picasso-washroom.jpgWhat do you think? Would you live here? Add your comments to the thread below.



Red Light / June 21, 2012 at 03:29 pm
Obviously the designer of this building never saw the episode of Seinfeld where the Kenny Rogers Roasters opened up across from Kramer's. The red lighting will absolutely not be a part of this building once it is up.
JP / June 21, 2012 at 03:34 pm
You would have done well to show more renderings of the exterior of the building. I've seen some on the Urban Toronto forums. It really looks quite cool. Very different from the typical 'glass box' we've been seeing so much of.
Pk replying to a comment from Red Light / June 21, 2012 at 03:47 pm
Lol!! A building full of frantic Kramers. Just what Toronto needs.
horrid / June 21, 2012 at 03:57 pm
Quite possibly the worst vicinity in the city to want to live.
haha / June 21, 2012 at 04:26 pm
Quite possibly the worst use of the english language to want to be speaked.
Alex / June 21, 2012 at 04:28 pm
That shower has a stool! Awesome!

But it also is raised above floor level? Won't it flood the bathroom?

The kitchen does have a great amount of cupboard space. Still, I don't think I would want to live in that area either. I don't remember any grocery stores being there either, but maybe I just don't know the area well.
Something missing / June 21, 2012 at 04:29 pm
There is something wrong with a discussion of a major new building that does not mention the architect - developers are important, but they can't do it on their own!
K. / June 21, 2012 at 07:21 pm
$288k for 398 sq.ft.! Yikes.
Emma / June 21, 2012 at 08:18 pm
It wouldn't be that bad of a place to live if there was a grocery store in the district.
Josh / June 21, 2012 at 09:12 pm
THIS place looks pretty awesome. I love design, architecture, and would love to come home to this building everynight!!!
Scott / June 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm
$45k for a parking spot? Is that insane for Queen W or am I out of the loop?
Gabe / June 21, 2012 at 11:19 pm
Nobody ever called Pblo Picasso an asshole
Trish replying to a comment from Scott / June 21, 2012 at 11:21 pm
Thats not bad really. I know the condo's in Liberty Village the parking goes for about 35K-40K for a spot.
Suli / June 22, 2012 at 12:10 am
Sounds good! I'll take two! Are there any agents on here? Let's do this, let's transact!
Ian / June 22, 2012 at 12:26 am
YOu guys are clowns this place is balls out cheese!
s / June 22, 2012 at 12:41 am
Bad area. No grocery stores around, not even a 24 hour convenience store.
milo / June 22, 2012 at 08:11 am
yes - maybe there is no variety store or grocer now -- but they will come in time.
tariq / June 22, 2012 at 09:20 am
there's a loblaws at queen and portland, 7min walk away.
seanm replying to a comment from Something missing / June 22, 2012 at 06:23 pm
The architect is Teeple Architects, who also designed the TCH building at 60 Richmond St E. They're one of the better Toronto firms by far. With regards to the red lighting, the building itself will actually have red accents (which is also a cause for minor celebration: colour!) so no need to worry about losing that aspect of the design.
Julian / June 23, 2012 at 08:27 am
Hinge doors? Really? How could one live in a 700sq ft condo with doors? The point is to maximize space, not cramp it with doors that makes the design aesthetically DULL.

If you're looking for a WHITE PICKET FENCE vibe, then obviously you shouldn't be looking at condos in general.

Neville / December 27, 2012 at 10:35 am
Condo is located on Richmond. Pages Bookstore was never located anywhere other than Queen St.

The SALES CENTRE is located in the old Pages.
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