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New in Toronto real estate: The Brant Park

Posted by Robyn Urback / July 12, 2012

Brant Park Condo TorontoThe Brant Park is the newest Lamb Development condo brainchild. (You all know Brad, right?) Slated for Adelaide and Brant street, this to-be-constructed nod to 1960's architecture will offer a range of suites, from one-bedrooms to two-level penthouses, with the area acting as the condo's main amenity. The structure itself is certainly a divergence from those glass-shedding towers of Toronto's downtown (so too are the standard glass stoves in each suite), but a closer look should reveal if this ode to the past presents a promising future for would-be condo owners.

SPECS

Exterior: Glass/Concrete

Number of units: 200

Number of floors: 11

Unit sizes (in square feet): 368 - 1,466

Starting price: 238,900

Parking: $39,900 (for suites 533 sq.ft. or more)

Storage locker: $4,000

Maintenance: $0.54/sq.ft.

Hydro included?: No

Amenities: Party room, gym, 24/hr concierge

Expected occupancy: August 2014

Brant Park Condo TorontoTHE GOOD

I don't have a "Wavering" heading, so I'll just put this here. While it's nice to see a change from the big glass towers that are taking over Toronto's downtown, I suspect armchair urban planners (myself included) will be torn when it comes to judging the aesthetic of this new structure. Supposedly inspired by 1960's modernist architecture, The Brant Park is intended to complement other mid-century structures in the area. Personally, I'm not a fan of it. While retro can work, I think Brant just looks dated; more a forgotten 1970s-era apartment complex at Lawrence and Keele (no hate, Lawrence West, I swear), than a new urban condo in the hear of the Fashion District. But that's just me.

On to the clear Brant Park boons. If you like bustle, the location is a great one. You're far enough west to avoid the bulk of the neon mini dresses and excessive hair styling of the Entertainment District, while not too far over as to remove yourself from the action. The Brant Part is right between some great cafes and bars up on Queen, as well as super eats down on King (and if you must, clubs over on Richmond). Best of all, the building will be directly across the street from St. Andrew's Playground park, which is a definite plus for condo pet parents who want an off-leash area close to home.

Brant Park CondosAs for the units themselves, while size might be an issue for some (but more about that later), many Brant Park units boast a most redeeming quality: function kitchen layouts! I've been waiting for this one. While there are still a few suites with the much-loathed wall of appliances (the "kitchen"), there are many others with more practical designs.

Some kitchens are designed as corridors with breakfast bars, other come with islands, and others, still, are somewhat of lineup of appliances, but arranged on a corner as to offer more counter space. This is progress! (Or a regression back to a time when condos were designed with actual cooking in mind. I'm not sure.) Combine that with a barbeque-ready terrace or balcony, and The Brant Park has certainly got something on.

And a note about maintenance. While we all know monthly rates start out artificially low, The Brant Park seems to have kept extra amenities to a minimum. So unless builders spring for a last-minute infinity pool or spa rooftop terrace, buyers probably won't see their rates rise with the same ferocity as their condo-owning neighbours.

Brant Park CondosTHE BAD

Is wide over tall necessarily a good thing? This project has swallowed up a whole block of Adelaide, with renderings showing the building a full 20 bays long. So back to my armchair urban planner analysis: when a single structure absorbs a complete city block, it doesn't offer a whole lot in the way of character to the sidewalk. Even if the building includes varied at-grade retail. The block will look uniform and in my opinion, uninspired.

Now, back to unit sizes. The smallest units at The Brant Park, dubbed "One Bedrooms," scantly measure in at 400 square feet. Call me old-fashioned, but I like my bedroom to have four complete walls. And my one-bedroom suite to fit more than one person, on occasion. These teensy units seem to offer neither. The "bedrooms" on these floor plans appear more sleeping "nooks," and 400 square feet seems more typical of sizing for a Bachelor apartment.

So, while I certainly can't call myself an expert on the rules that regulate suite classifications, it's clear to me that these "One Bedrooms" are "Junior One Bedrooms" at best, or "Studio" suites when you cut through the semantics. Nice try, Brad Lamb. Call them what you want, but for a semi-comfortable one bedroom unit at The Brant Park (i.e. more than 500 square feet) you're looking at paying in the mid 300's. So don't let that starting price fool you..

Brant Park CondosTHE VERDICT

If you can spring for an appropriately sized unit (or drop a cool $900k for a two-level penthouse, whatever), The Brant Park might offer a good option for downtown condo-seekers. The layouts are livable, the location is close to everything, and the limited amenities suggest that maintenance fees may remain (somewhat) manageable. That's all good, of course, as long as you can live in a building without its own yoga studio, as well as stand its exterior facade.

What do you think? Would you live here? Add your comments to the thread below.

Discussion

55 Comments

Joseph S. / July 12, 2012 at 10:43 am
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Looks like something you'd see in a communist style apartment block over in Mother Russia.
Sniderscion / July 12, 2012 at 10:45 am
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Thunderbirds are go!
Tony / July 12, 2012 at 10:47 am
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Brad Lamb is a douche. Who does this guy think he is!? I've dealt with him once a few years back when he was actually an agent. They guy was SO rude to me because I was just looking to buy my first place and didn't have a lot of money. Treated me like a child and wouldn't even return my phone calls. I swore to never invest in anything that had the Lamb name to it. He's a grade A douche who is turning this into a city of over priced condos that have little to no value. The units get smaller while the price gets higher. When will it stop!? How much money do you need to make Lamb!? Greed and power corrupt his mind. Stay away from Lamb, he is not a good person.
Marco replying to a comment from Tony / July 12, 2012 at 11:05 am
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Agreed.
In 2000, as a 20 year old I was looking to buy my first property, I spoke to Brad as his ads were everywhere and he was very rude and not helpful or insightful at all. Ended up buying a 600 square foot loft at King/Shaw for a great price instead and selling it several years later. Screw Brad in his ear.
Eddie / July 12, 2012 at 11:08 am
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Agreed. Brad Lamb is a douche. As an architect I worked with him once on a condo and his vision was so limited and uninspiring. More concerened with maximizing sellable space (not to be confused with useable space), than with good livable space. Most of his buildings look good on the surface but are really built on the cheap. Not expecting anything different with this Brant building.

Best developer in the city hands down is Context; they actually care about blending good architecture with the surrounding neighbourhood.
MJ / July 12, 2012 at 11:08 am
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Good review. I had the same impressions when I went to the grand opening. Prior to the release of the floorplans I thought this development had lots of potential. Tiny units and an ugly facade is how I'd sum it up too.
jen / July 12, 2012 at 11:10 am
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I am going to miss the Blue Bird Building. I really hate that they keep tearing down low rise office buildings to put up condo residences. This area is a draw because it is full of artists and media types working in the old warehouses. Once you tear them all down for the condo dwellers, where are the artists going to work? This neighbourhood has changed significantly since I first started working here in 1999, and while it's nice that the sketchiness has gone, I worry for the future.
Roy Murray / July 12, 2012 at 11:15 am
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"...with the area acting as the condo's main amenity".

That says it all. This is a scheme to make Brad Lamb more money by sucking some value from a viable area. The building will not be an asset for the neighbourhood or provide decent living space to residents.
Jacob / July 12, 2012 at 11:17 am
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All I can say is this: At least it's not another slab of glass or ugly yellow brick.
Joseph S. replying to a comment from jen / July 12, 2012 at 11:23 am
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You should have bought the block yourself if you're so worried about the poor starving artists.
Anry / July 12, 2012 at 11:23 am
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Brad Lamb is terrible. I worked with him a few years ago, I was trying to buy my second condo and he was a total jerk about it to me, and said he wasn't going to take me to a showing unless I was going to buy the unit. Like actually said word for word "Are you going to buy this unit, because I'm not going to show it to you if you don't want to buy it"...
Alex / July 12, 2012 at 11:28 am
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What the...? That is the weirdest bedroom I have ever seen. The whole wall is a window, and the window isn't even a uniform shape, it's a got a chunk missing in the top left so putting drapes or any sort of covering on it is going to be very difficult.
Ratpick replying to a comment from Alex / July 12, 2012 at 11:41 am
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"...it's a got a chunk missing in the top left so putting drapes or any sort of covering on it is going to be very difficult."

Yep, rather than route the ducts through a thicker wall, which would cut back on profitability, they route the ducts through the unit itself, like in a basement apartment. You'll see such corners cut throughout these buildings. The builders drive away in their Rolls Royces leaving the buyers to discover the shortcomings over time.

These condo developments are not my cup of tea, thanks.
Nicolas / July 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm
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Terrible design, looks worse than Toronto housing, I think the city needs more European style buildings, more Glamour, no more cheap construction that cost $400.000
Nicolas replying to a comment from Marco / July 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm
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Agree! this guy dont care..... is all about the money!
Brock / July 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm
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60s inspired... yeah more like Soviet era inspired. Can't even take the leap to say it's blokhaus inspired... it is a blokhaus!
barf / July 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm
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no green roof
tiny suites
no families wanted

go f yourself
opensource / July 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm
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While the idea of making profit is not in and of itself a bad thing, combining this goal with the goal of adding value to the surrounding community is even better. Nothing forces Brad Lamb to do this (other than development levies imposed by the city), but those developers who actually include an element of thoughtful social planning into their projects are more likely to thrive in the end. Really, the question of how much wealth is enough is relevant. Brad can't take it with him when he dies. What he will leave behind is a legacy, which at this rate is going to be a negative one.
Travis / July 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm
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I have had the bad fortune of working with Brad - or within his sphere of influence - on several occasions. As noted several times here already, he is TRULY a first class douche whose in so tight with the big developer/real estate board types you could shove coal up his pompous ass and have gold within an hour. Avoid anything he has a hand in. I wish we could rid this City of him. I really do. We'd all be better off.
Condo Hater / July 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm
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Really, these condos are not meant to be bought by people living in Toronto, just as tax havens for foreign investors. It's a poorly designed white elephant...
RT2020 / July 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm
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Looks like a Scarborough rental apartment. I am not sure it is possible for this design this to look any cheaper. We need a real estate crash to these developers stop raping our city.
Jack / July 12, 2012 at 01:12 pm
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Looks like the Greenwin buildings in the gay Village except that the units are probably half the size of those 1960s era buildings.
Tony replying to a comment from Travis / July 12, 2012 at 01:34 pm
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Well said!
Hey / July 12, 2012 at 01:48 pm
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Thought it was a parking garage
jameson / July 12, 2012 at 01:49 pm
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There's a building at Queensway and Islington that has exactly the same facade as this except it has a step back for the top.

I'm actually surprised the city would allow something straight up from the street like this. It's pretty imposing. It could be a very nice departure from the glass towers that have become so ubiquitous in Toronto, but it's really not...
Loftlife / July 12, 2012 at 02:13 pm
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Boring F@CKN condos man. So many missed opportunities. Brad Lamb prides himself on design but I have yet to see a design from him that makes me want to buy into his developments. Yawn.
tired replying to a comment from Nicolas / July 12, 2012 at 03:16 pm
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You must have no idea of what's going on in Europe.

Please don't try to be an architecture critic if you have no idea what your talking about. This applies to everyone commenting here. Just because it's not a spectacle doesn't mean it's poor design (though, as everyone's seen, even spectacle is complained about).
Za-Moon-Da / July 12, 2012 at 03:22 pm
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Here's to a real estate crash. Cheers!
Yawn replying to a comment from tired / July 12, 2012 at 03:38 pm
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Hush little baby, don't say a word...
Za-Moon-Da / July 12, 2012 at 03:40 pm
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P.S. The facade resembles that U of T monstrosity on College with the coloured windows. Except that building looks nicer than this shitbox.
TJ / July 12, 2012 at 03:43 pm
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Story about Lamb.
My Aunt put a deposit down on a condo unit at his building on King St (and Simcoe) a couple years back. It didn't have full approval from City at the time due to height and density issues. However, several months later, the City and Lamb negotiated a deal and the prices at the proposed condo shot up about 30-35% overnight. My aunt had put down a deposit on a $350,000 unit and once the building got full approvals, she was told the price was now $469,900 for exact same unit. If she wanted to continue buying the unit, that was the new price and they needed more deposit. Needless to say, my aunt complained, ended up speaking to Lamb himself about a week later and he told her the price went up again and it was now $499,990. If she didn't want it, he had 5 people lined up to buy her unit right now and gave her an ultimatum of paying up that day because the price would go up to $509,990 the next day. Contract my aunt signed apparently included provisions for the developer to change the price at their discretion at anytime even after the deposit. Long story short, my aunt pulled out of deal.
will / July 12, 2012 at 08:42 pm
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It would look pretty nice I think if they turned it 90 degrees (making a short tower) and had a nicer relationship to the ground. Nothing about the length of this building is human-scaled. It definitely belongs next to the 401, or a ravine, not in a walkable city with fine-grain urban fabric.
Kara / July 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm
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It's all true about Brad, and holds true for his agents too.

I used to be a real estate agent and had the misfortune of working with his agents on a deal. Not only do they (this is a few years back) try to ride the fine line of regulations by offering exclusive deals, and discounted commission to push out other brokers, but they also delay paying out commission on deals. They are crooks!

I believe the city would be a lot better off with out this, and the other hideous shoebox condos he has built.
vp / July 12, 2012 at 11:51 pm
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How did the city approve such a hideous structure? I can't believe this guy is putting his name behind such a disgusting project. And to be honest I don't think any smart investor would pay a dime for one of these shoe boxes. Hopefully the general public doesn't either.
Aliengoo / July 13, 2012 at 01:22 am
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I have dealt with Brad Lam twice,and on both occasions he was professional. First encounter,I was a new university graduate,not a lot of money,or knowledge on my part. Brad returned my voice mail,plus answered ALL my questions without being abrupt! Second encounter was about two years ago,I wanted his thought with an aspect of the Condominium Act. Despite NOT liking his response,the guy took MY call when an assistant was screening. So,NO sales in either case,but I wouldn't hesitate to use him,or his team when I look for the next property. Lam's gotten very busy,and may not be able to take ALL calls,but I was happy we spoke. Brad Lam's brokerage is aggressive,and if his agents cut their commission,better for the client.
mike in parkdale / July 13, 2012 at 09:31 am
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all talk of Mr. Lamb aside....

I absolutely LOVE that park, and have been around it since my early years. I hope that the condo doesn't destroy the area... but I've kinda given up home on condos not destroying things.
jay / July 13, 2012 at 09:50 am
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Brad Lamb is a creeper. I rented from him a few years ago and after my first year lease, he decided to sell the place - consequently I was forced to move. Fortunately, I purchased a condo on my own. But it was a terrible experience because I wanted ideally to go monthly, which would never fly with a sleaze bucket like Lamb. Even though I think, I'm in the legal right to do so. So I had the urgency to buy a place prior to the end my of lease.

In any case, I found him to be a miserable landlord. I had to suffer through a month of viewings. It was time consuming, violated my privacy and I should have gotten rent reduction for putting up with that kind of shitty interruptions to my day to day life.

So don't rent from Lamb either - because your last month of your lease will be putting up
with viewings. He does not hold onto the condos that he owns because you end up paying and he reeps all the profits after the condo registers.

Today, I see his shitty constructions made of steel beams, meaning there will be no concrete walls between apartments. You'll hear everything your neighbors will be doing (poor soundproofing), like taking a leak, their music, their sneezing and worse their banging.

Yuck - I hate Brad Lamb, his rentals, his condos. He's a crook and Toronto's "Freddie Cruger"!!! He should be in JAIL.
jay / July 13, 2012 at 09:56 am
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I'll say it again - "Brad Lamb is a crook and a creeper who should be in JAIL".
jay / July 13, 2012 at 10:07 am
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OMG - what a scam - I took a look at the floor plans and for sure at 368 feet it's the smallest one bedroom apartments in Toronto. It should not be LEGAL to call that a one-bedroom (and I don't think it is).

SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

ROB replying to a comment from jay / July 13, 2012 at 10:11 am
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Quoted For Truth.
Chris on Brant St / July 13, 2012 at 06:20 pm
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I live nextdoor on Camden. Fortunately I'm renting so I can get out of here before they get started on this monster!
Ming / July 13, 2012 at 08:15 pm
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Vegas!
Brad Dbag / July 15, 2012 at 10:47 am
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Do not buy any condos affiliated with lamb. He instructs his builders to cheap out on important building materials!
Brad Dbag / July 15, 2012 at 10:49 am
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Especially 330 king east. That one is by far the worst I've seen out of all of them!
Rick / July 17, 2012 at 11:25 am
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When did Ikea start building condo's?
Arthur / August 12, 2012 at 07:29 pm
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it is worse than Joe from Mississauga...
jacspade replying to a comment from Tony / October 18, 2012 at 03:01 pm
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Tony, I agree with your comment. I once worked for Lamb and he is nothing but a greedy,greedy man. He constantly whines about money and the cost of his projects. Then you see him driving around town in his expensive cars and weating his expensive suits. This guy is nothing but a cheap asshole who treats his staff like crap and has no respect for his buyers.
jacspade replying to a comment from Eddie / October 18, 2012 at 03:04 pm
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Eddie, it seems you and I might have worked on the same project and I share your sentiments exactly.
TO_Blog_TRASH / October 25, 2012 at 08:47 pm
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Wait, so this was better than Noir???? This is easily one of the UGLIEST condos I've ever seen and ill-informed Robyn gives it a better mark? Check yourself before you wreck yourself, beeotch!
TO_Blog_TRASH replying to a comment from Aliengoo / October 25, 2012 at 08:49 pm
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Brad Lamb plant!!!!! #fake
Richard / October 27, 2013 at 04:09 pm
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DO NOT BUY A LAMB CONDO -- EVER!!!!!

We're living in one right now and over the last year, there has been problem after problem, including: a flood, late interior installations, poor customer service, shoddy construction, and more.

AND to top it off, Brad's brother is on the condo board. If you want to buy a place that will depreciate so fast in value, Lamb's the way to go.


Brosky / February 21, 2014 at 05:04 pm
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Unfortunately I have had the displeasure of living in a Lamb built condo. Terrible. The soundproofing is non-existent. Worst I've ever experienced You've been warned!

Ruby replying to a comment from Richard / March 31, 2014 at 03:12 pm
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BRAD LAMB IS A SNOTTY DRUNK....AND HIS SIDEKICK AGENTS ARE TOTALLY OBNOXIOUS FIGHTING TO KISS HIS ARSE.IF YOU BUY FROM THIS GUY YOU WILL BE SO SORRY ASK PEOPLE THAT HAVE....HIS NEVER FOLLOWS UP ON HIS PROPERTIES YOU ARE STUCK WITH A LEMON........I WANT TO SEE HIM FALL MAKE MY DAY
Kat replying to a comment from Richard / March 31, 2014 at 03:22 pm
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Brad Lamb is full of himself he will say anything to get you to buy in his Development, the prices are way too high for the quality you get, go look at some of his developments they are still half empty he cant sell them.....WHY cause he has burned one too many people that will NEVER BUY FROM HIM AGAIN.
Lynn / June 18, 2014 at 11:38 pm
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Count me in as someone who will never buy from this developer again. I'd rather live in a basement apartment than buy anything built by him. It was such a terrible experience from beginning to end. The worst build quality you will ever find. There was so much wrong that I had to cut my losses and sell.

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