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New in Toronto real estate: Noir

Posted by Robyn Urback / October 25, 2012

toronto real estate noirNoir Condos, in all seriousness, calls itself the "New Black." Forgive me — my mind jumped to a racial conclusion. But no, the "New Black" is indeed a fashion phrase. Phew. We're off to a good start, no? A Menkes Development project slated for the Entertainment District, Noir is all about sleekness and style, with 49 storeys and a whole glut of amenities. So, once you go Noir you never go back? That sounds just awful. Here's a closer look at Noir Condos.

noir condos torontoSPECS

Address: 87 Peter Street

Exterior: Glass

Number of floors: 49

Number of units: 550

Type of units: Studio, one-bedroom, one-plus-den, two-bedroom, two-plus-den, three bedroom

Unit sizes (in square feet): 382 - 782

Ceiling height: 9'

Price range: Around $300,000 to $500,000+

Parking: $48,000 (for two- and three-bedroom suites)

Locker: $5,000

Maintenance: $0.53/s.f.

Maintenance fees exclude: Hydro, parking maintenance (if applicable)

Architect: Core Architects

Interior design: Mike Niven

Amenities: Gym, theatre, water spa, billiards room, outdoor terrace, bar, guest suites (2), concierge

Expected occupancy: November 2016

toronto real estate noirTHE GOOD

A little full disclosure to start: I've written 20 of these Toronto condo reviews so far, and I try to be fair, I really do. Just as I remind myself whenever I take the TTC during rush hour — there's a little good in everyone, so try not to let loose on the guy who's saving the seat for his knapsack. And there's a little good in every condo too, right?

Usually, I try to give equal(ish) words to the good and bad, but suffice to say that Noir is not my favourite project (more about that later, of course). I'll give a few words to its boons, but you'll have to excuse my brevity.

The intersection of Peter and Adelaide will not go out of style. So close to King and Spadina transit, and perpetually neighboured by clubs, restaurants, and of course, the Hilton Garden, this address will not suddenly become a barren land of forgotten real estate. It's not a neighbourhood with the sort of character you might ascribe to Leslieville or Roncesvalles, but there will always be people who want to live in Toronto's downtown core. In that way, Noir has a superb address.

The building also offers great amenities for those who are keen on entertaining. While I'm forced to resort to homemade banana bread and my wit (pfft) to entertain guests, Noir residents will have some pretty spectacular-looking outdoor terraces, a theatre room, a water spa, and more. While these amenities are not my personal make-or-break condo factors, they will certainly attract some potential Noir buyers.

noir condos torontoTHE BAD

Gag me, please. While I often brush off condo brochure text as mere marketing babble, this one was just too terrible to ignore. The entire Noir brochure is written as diary entries in the first person perspective (complete with illegible "handwriting" font, no less), ostensibly to give the reader a glimpse inside the mind of a leather-leggings-clad bleach-blonde would-be Noir resident. Here's just one awful excerpt:

"When I told Grace I was moving into Noir she grilled me. Is there a gym, movie theatre, billiards table? YES. Water spa with massage? YES. Co-ed steam room? OH YES. Then she smiled one of her secret, knowing smiles. I wouldn't have thought it was possible but her twinkling aquamarine eyes seemed to shine even brighter. "

Fuck you, Grace. Who specifically asks about a "water spa with massage?" As if that's standard? Take a whiff of the air out in there the real world, Grace, and open those pretty little aquamarine eyes to fixed-rate financing. It's your type that's ruining the reputation of our entire generation.

noir condos torontoThe big problem with Noir — and frankly, the problem with too many new condo developments in Toronto — is that it's selling a "lifestyle" with little attention to day-to-day livability. Sure, that water massage might feel awesome the odd time you get around to using it, but the rest of the time you'll be living in a tiny suite (one-bedrooms under 500 square feet, three-bedrooms at 780 square feet), with a burdening mortgage, no nearby green space, in an area with ever-increasing (and arguably, crippling) density, and a parking spot that costs twice as much as your car.

If Noir really wants to sell its suites, it needs to convince me that this tower, as opposed to the seemingly identical three others for sale nearby, will offer the best investment and most comfortable lifestyle. I don't need a co-ed steam room or a billiards table — I'd much rather the assurance that my maintenance fees won't skyrocket once the bills for those amenities add up. And a little square footage for my dollar. The rest, as some notable municipal politicians like to say, is just gravy.


It's all yours, Grace.

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

Read other posts in this series via our Toronto Condos and Lofts Pinterest board

toronto real estate noir



peanut / October 25, 2012 at 09:34 am
Jesus Christ. Her "twinkling aquamarine eyes"? Thank you for calling them out on this bullshit. It's completely irrelevant to the product being sold, which isn't even that great.
TJ / October 25, 2012 at 10:01 am
Excellent work as always Robyn! thank you for calling them on their B.S.
Word of warning for those thinking about buildings by Menkes, yes you get a nice building but they are a builder known to have high condo fees only a few years after the building is done. For comparison purposes, in many of their buildings, after about 5 years, their condo fee rates are at about $0.65-0.70/sq ft not including hydro or parking. You compare that to a more general average of $0.57-.60 and its expensive.
Cyril Sneer / October 25, 2012 at 10:16 am
Ahahaha. Not even a single shot of the suites. Really says all you need to know about this place.
Rob / October 25, 2012 at 10:17 am
It must be exciting to live in a suite with an art gallery rather than a hallway.

skazzers / October 25, 2012 at 10:20 am
It looks just like every single other condo downtown.
yep / October 25, 2012 at 10:38 am
christ, can't we get some INTERESTING looking architecture in this damn city? enough with the glass/steel square towers. so boring.

Also, I guess the only people they want to attract are douchebags. And actually, I'm all for collecting the douchebags all in one place though - not to ostracize them or anything - just so I know if I avoid one particular area, I'll be safe to roam douche-free elsewhere.
hendrix / October 25, 2012 at 10:46 am
3 bedrooms in 782 square feet? How is that possible? Sliding doors and 2 ft wide closets? What are the bedroom sizes?

I live in a 2-bedroom 1054 square foot condo (33 Bay -- Pinnacle) and fitting in a third bedroom into this would be difficult. It would be nothing more than a child size 8x8 ft room with a tiny closet if they had tried. Thankfully mine has a huge living room, a big open den, and 2 decent size bedrooms with a walk-in closet in one and a good-size closet in the other.

McRib / October 25, 2012 at 10:59 am
yeah, fuck off Grace.
Jesse / October 25, 2012 at 11:10 am
I think from a marketing standpoint, it'd be worthwhile to try and do a condo that caters to basic living. Every condo is trying to position themselves as super high end, luxury etc etc, I think a condo would really do well if it positioned itself as basic, affordable, good location, and livable. That would make it stand out from the sea of bullshit, such as the condo "noir"
Rob replying to a comment from yep / October 25, 2012 at 11:26 am
Agreed. Someone at City Hall either has no business approving designs or is getting their pockets nicely lined (or more likely a combination of both).

Whoever approves these condos (and the 100 or so that look exactly the same before them) has literally ruined the look of this City.

If you want to see what Toronto could look like, visit Chicago.
jeffrey / October 25, 2012 at 11:29 am
I may be looking into this too much, but Grace is a sex addict. I mean, you go girl, but you know.
Chris replying to a comment from Rob / October 25, 2012 at 11:45 am
While I don't disagree that the recent proliferation of condos has resulted in a certain "sameness" to our skyline, I think comparisons to Chicago or New York's skyline are at best, misleading.

The fact is that both of those cities embraced tall buildings, WELL before Toronto did - some of their skyscrapers are pushing 100 years old. Their skylines are a reflection of multiple periods of architectural history, and let's face it, many of the more "inconic" buildings in those cities were not built recently. In fact, I suspect that the condo buildings or office tower you would cite as "inconic" or an example of excellent design were all built more than 20 years ago.

I also suspect that if you were to single out the condos and office towers in those cities that are of similar vintage to Toronto's condo boom (which remember, is less than 10 years old), you'd probably find a similar look to them as we have here.

That's not to say we can't and shouldn't do better - I just think that the comparison needs to be apples to apples and not apples to organges.

At the end of the day, expecting the city to deal with design issues is ludicrous - the City is primarily concerned that building are built to code, and within existing City by-laws and the official City plan. The look of the building is on the developer - if a glass box sells they'll build it. Buyers have to be more demanding.
Ford4ever replying to a comment from Jesse / October 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm
"...from a marketing standpoint, it'd be worthwhile to try and do a condo that caters to basic living ... I think a condo would really do well if it positioned itself as basic, affordable, good location, and livable."

Jesse, your admirable honesty would lessen profit margins. Condo marketing is all about making people think that they're entering a luxury "lifestyle", when in reality, they are getting an apartment in a concrete building. Lipstick on a pig.
foo replying to a comment from TJ / October 25, 2012 at 12:11 pm
Setting the rate of condo fees after construction is complete has nothing to do with the developer. Condo fees are determined solely by the board of directors in consultation with property management based on the corporation budget and what folks have determined they want their standard of condo living to be.

What the developer can be accused of is determining a fee rate that is too low to begin with in order to attract buyers. But, ALL new condos (with or without spectacular amenities) are victim to this. To make the statement that Menkes is the only developer that has condo fees rise significantly is false.

Conversely, one of the more common reasons that fees may go up is pressure on the board from the property management company. Their fee for service is tied to revenue from condo fees. I know for a fact that property managers tend not to get raises unless they can secure a fee increase from the board.

The most important factor in condo living is having a sane and conscientious board of directors and property manager. This will be THE #1 factor in problem free condo living with reasonable fees.
Chris on Brant St replying to a comment from Rob / October 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm
Why is nobody mentioning the elephant in the room which is that most of these p.o.s. projects are being approved in ADAM VAUGHAN's ward?
Rob replying to a comment from Chris / October 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm
Agree with you - Chicago's most interesting skyscrapers are art-deco. We probably have one tower of note from that era - the CIBC Commerce Court.
Chris replying to a comment from Chris on Brant St / October 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm
How is that the "elephant in the room"? What are you implying since its COUNCIL that approves these projects, not the Ward councillors and while many of these condo projects are in his Ward, it certainly isn't all of them, so what's your point exactly?

Not defending Vaughan or anything, just trying to understand the relevance of your comment.
Midnight Star / October 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm
Is this article about NOIR or is about Robyn not being able to afford to be Grace?
Midnight Star / October 25, 2012 at 12:46 pm
Show some Grace Robyn.
Sarah / October 25, 2012 at 01:13 pm
You make me laught :

Frankly I'm happy they build places like this - keeps the kind of people I detest far away from the sanctity of my East End neighbourhood :)
Statto / October 25, 2012 at 01:23 pm
Noir is an interesting condo for sure but how is it priced compared to the surrounding buildings??? Or the neighbourhood in general for that matter? Check out this interesting neighbourhood stat:
e82 / October 25, 2012 at 01:53 pm
Is that 782sq feet for a 3br right? That seems so ... small. I recently bought a 2br condo that is just under 900sq feet - and that feels a little cozy for me and my partner. I couldn't imagine trying to squeeze 3 bedrooms into an even smaller space.

Marc / October 25, 2012 at 01:53 pm
"Fuck you, Grace. Who specifically asks about a "water spa with massage?" As if that's standard? Take a whiff of the air out in there the real world, Grace, and open those pretty little aquamarine eyes to fixed-rate financing. It's your type that's ruining the reputation of our entire generation."

This is the best thing ever.
Shoeboxes / October 25, 2012 at 02:07 pm
Largest suite size is 782sqft? Please tell me how large the living area will be with three windowless bedrooms crammed into that shoebox. That's just bloody insanity and whoever would pay this much money for a shoebox like that clearly isn't of sound mind.
Ezzzzsiss replying to a comment from Sarah / October 25, 2012 at 02:39 pm
Agreed. It's just devine to pass Yonge St going east and feeling the fresh air as the traffic disapates and the Douchery subsides.

Stay out of the East!!
Mike replying to a comment from Chris on Brant St / October 25, 2012 at 03:37 pm
Good point Chris. Adam Vaughan promotes glass cubes in the sky and lines city coffers pockets with short term thinking. Concessions are granted by neighbourhood councilors to developers when they want to intensify higher than legally allowed. But AV bangs his chest and touts "10% of all new units have to be 3-bedroom in my ward"! Yeah 782 sq ft at Noir and 744 sq ft at Peter Street Condos just up from Noir. 3 prison sized bedrooms maybe.

TO_Blog_TRASH replying to a comment from Chris on Brant St / October 25, 2012 at 03:59 pm
Chris, how the hell is this related to Adam Vaughan? Menkes and other builders are building all over the place in the city so this has nothing to do with him. Neo-con much?
Amanda Simmons / October 25, 2012 at 04:12 pm

There is nothing wrong with the "New Black"...I'm a white woman and married to a tall black man for over 5 years :-)

Did you just say 'three-bedrooms at 780 square feet'?
Oh, I really can't imagine owning such flats...no matter how beautiful it looks.
TO_Blog_TRASH / October 25, 2012 at 04:14 pm
Funny how the bulk of Robyn's "reviews" try so hard to be "edgy" but really descend into a self-conscious mess of whining and wannabe cool statements. Instead of focusing on the building she trashes the materials. What's likely happening here is that she's bitter (for reasons only known to her), and writes the bulk of her reviews from her illegal basement apartment with 2, maybe 3, cats and a Cathy comic taped to her fridge. I wouldn't normally comment but after reading a few of them, the tone remains the same. Come to think of it, after reading my comments here I've realized they're almost as mean as hers. I guess I can be that mean... ACK!!!!
seanm / October 25, 2012 at 06:53 pm
Condo architecture isn't much better, at least at the highrise scale, in most other North American cities. In fact, I'd wager to say most of our proposals are on par with New York or Chicago. Bland point towers aimed towards 905er type douchebags will continue to be launched because they sell; you can't blame the developers for the stupidity of someone who buys a 3br 742 sq ft condo for a ludicrous amount of money (looks like we're up over $600 psf here).

It's not all bad though. Once you get out of the King W/Cityplace/Southcore condo clusters, there are some beautiful midrise "avenue" style proposals that are filling in the gaps along our old commercial streets.

That said, our skyline is far from littered with new condos. Take a trip up the CN Tower, and you'll notice that by and far our skyline is still dominated by the major banks towers and '60s/'70s commercial and apartment blocks.
not Robyn / October 25, 2012 at 07:14 pm
Please tell us more about this banana bread of yours. Thanks.

That is all.
WTF / October 25, 2012 at 09:38 pm
Hey BlogTO, why are you deleting people's comments?
Afraid of people speaking the truth? Jackasses
Marc replying to a comment from WTF / October 25, 2012 at 09:43 pm
Oooooo got a little "freedom of speech" activist here

ooo big lefty liberals are blogTO oppressing your freedom?

Real Estate / October 26, 2012 at 01:39 am
Such a nice buildings,I have never seen such a nice sculpture. Adam Vaughan promotes glass cubes in the sky and lines city coffers pockets with short term thinking..
opensource1111 / October 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm
I have never paid attention to anything Robyn has written before, but I will now.

Fuck you, Midight Star.
Midnight Star / October 29, 2012 at 10:57 am
Opensource. You're so well spoken. Pay attention to your this. Oh sorry you can't you're broke.
Nictock / October 29, 2012 at 11:06 am
Sounds like Fifty Shades is building a condo. Is anyone else all hot and bothered?
opensource1111 / October 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm
Midnight Star, that made no sense. I'm broke? Robyn can't afford to be Grace? Your references to financial means is like elementary school name-calling. Maybe you are a minor, which would explain this.
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