New in Toronto real estate: Lighthaus
Lighthaus is not your cookie-cutter Toronto build. This luxury townhouse complex (can I say "luxury" again?) features 20 sprawling, natural light-optimized spaces, complete with private underground parking and all the finest finishes. And for a million bucks plus, you better expect a soaker tub. Planned for Brockton Village just northwest of Dufferin and Queen, Lighthaus is sure to bring a little green (of course, I'm referring to the landscape design work) to Toronto's west-end downtown.
Address: 51 Florence St.
Project type: Townhouses
Total number of units: 20
Types of units: Three-storey three-plus-den, three-storey three-bedroom
Unit sizes (in square feet): 2,195 - 3,380
Unit widths (feet): 13 - 20.5
Prices from: $1,149,990
Parking: Most units include two parking spaces. Some units include one
Maintenance fees: $0.13/sf
Maintenance fees exclude: Hydro, gas
Developer: Great Gulf
Architect: STAMP Architecture
Interior Designer: Cecconi Simone
Expected occupancy: November 2014
A CLOSER LOOK AT LIGHTHAUS
What with the extra, oh, 2,500 square feet as compared to typical condos featured in the series, it only makes sense to dedicate an extra few words to Lighthaus' description. These townhomes, simply, have it all. Starting from the ground up, each unit has room for one or two parked cars, plus bike parking, a basement storage area, a basement bathroom, and a laundry room.
The main floor is open-concept and optimized for natural light, with built-in cabinetry, integrated Miele appliances, a double under-mounted sink, and a standard kitchen island. Up one floor you'll find two bedrooms and, where applicable, a den, with a balcony and a washroom complete with a full bath. The third floor hosts the master bedroom, master ensuite, and "dressing area," which is somewhat like a walk-in closet but equivalent in square footage to most downtown bachelor condos.
Each townhome features a so-called "lightwell," which is essentially a skylight that feeds from the third-level roof all the way down to the main floor. The complex will have two visitor parking spots, a shared courtyard, and gas hookups on each terrace. Buyers can also choose from a variety of finishes and features, and are advised to pay no attention to the envious, curious blogger peering through their back windows after the occupancy date.
AND A LITTLE ANALYSIS
Um. I've been analyzing 475-square-foot pint-sized condos for the past few months. Forgive me while I try to find the proper perspective. Yes, Lighthaus is wonderful in the way that master dressing rooms and 140-square-foot ensuite bathrooms can't help but be, but of course, a million-dollars-plus certainly pays for such perks. So, lets all put on our "Engaged to a venture capitalist" caps (pft... as if I ever take mine off) and look at Lighthaus from a value perspective.
Is Brockton Village a million-dollar area? Maybe. But I suspect Lighthaus is more the catalyst than the benefactor of the area's great leap forward. (Related: What would Mao do?) Brockton Village has become a target area for first-time homeowners and young families in part because of its (relative) affordability. It's also enticingly accessible with easy access to several main drags, and ripe with lingering Little Portugal culture on Dundas and Parkdale's trendy haunts to its south. Last month, (October) the average price for a home sold in Brockton Village was around $630,000 and change, which is certainly a few pennies short of $1.2 million (and up).
But there are a few key characteristics that help explain the discrepancy. First off, a Lighthaus town will inevitably be larger than most of the potential sale properties in the area, which, of course, merits a higher price tag. Lighthaus is also entirely new, compared to the Victorian rows, semis, or renovated properties that, while charming, never bring in as much money as a new construction.
On the flip side, however, if a fully detached, updated, freehold Brockton Village home has trouble breaking, say, $850,000 or $900,000, to be generous, why should a single property in a 20-home complex — one that also demands hundreds of dollars in monthly maintenance fees — cost an additional $400,000 or more?
The obvious conclusion is that you're paying a premium for new, luxury, cutting-edge, and that fancy skylight lightwell. Are Lighthaus buyers getting a steal? No. Will they be moving into an up-and-coming area? Perhaps. But most likely, they'll be the ones pushing Brockton Village from "up-and-coming" to "there" — leaving the real win to the smart (lucky?) cookies who bought in the area before Lighthaus opened its sales centre.
Any investment banker types looking for a roommate? I'll be generous; you can have the master.
What do you think? Would you live here? Add your comments to the thread below.