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New in Toronto real estate: Origami Lofts

Posted by Robyn Urback / November 15, 2012

origami lofts torontoOrigami Lofts is a condo development inspired — I think — by little paper cranes. Or, to borrow directly from marketing-speak, it is a "beautiful series of angular folds and sleek cutouts that hide and reveal, soothe and provoke." I'm not entirely sure how a building serves to "soothe and provoke," but I think I'll leave that statement unexamined. A Symmetry project at Bathurst and Queen, Origami will be modest in height, ostentatious with angles, and is already being snatched up by buyers. Maybe low-rise is the way to go? Here's a closer look at Origami.


Address: 202 Bathurst Street

Exterior: Glass, metal cladding

Number of floors: 7

Total number of units: 23 (incl. four 2-storey penthouses)

Type of units: Studio, one-bedroom + den, two-bedroom + den

Unit sizes (in square feet): 387 - 983

Ceiling height: 9'

Prices from: $229,900

Parking: $35,000

Maintenance: $0.50/sf

Locker: $4,000

Architect: Teeple Architects

Interior design: DK Studio

Expected occupancy: November 2014

origami lofts torontoTHE GOOD

Let the sardines live in their 34th floor, seventh unit, 500-square foot income-drains. With just 23 units, Origami offers a bit of exclusivity in a market saturated with homogenous, cookie-cutter condos. Yeah, I'm taking about you guys. While there are some drawbacks to living in a smaller building (few amenities, most notably), I'd say the benefits far outweigh the limitations. There's less wear and tear on common spaces and elements, for one, plus greater familiarity with neighbours, better cohesion when something goes wrong, and (generally speaking) less noise. Personally, I'm glad to see that Bathurst and Queen will not be taken over by some giant mega-structure (like some other forlorn intersections we all know) and that developers here have opted for a little architectural ingenuity. Origami looks like it will complement the area without overpowering it.

And speaking of the area, the stretch of Bathurst north of Queen has the good fortune of being just at the cusp of some serious upgrades. Or at the very least, it certainly looks that way. For now, there are a still a few vacant and boarded-up retail spaces nearby, but the west side does have a relatively new Starbucks in its corner (sorry Starbucks-haters, but that's a good thing if you're investing in real estate) and a couple new shops that might add to its edge. For now, would-be Origami residents can get in somewhere around $600-$650 per square foot range, which isn't an outstanding deal, but not a half-bad price either. In fact, it's probably right where it should be for a condo by two streetcar lines and near endless cafes, shops, and restaurants, but with an immediate vicinity that could use a touch of work.

origami lofts torontoTHE BAD

In an ideal condo-living world, you'd be able to have a concierge/front door security and as few as 23 units in your building. Unfortunately, this is real life (someone should tell Donald Trump) and a person at the door is far too expensive for a building with so few suites. So I understand why Origami is without concierge, but it doesn't change the fact that Queen and Bathurst can sometimes get quite... animated. And before I'm accosted with accusations of "spoiled little suburban girl" (which is untrue — I'm not little), let me just say that I realize that there are plenty of other residences in the area without anyone guarding the entrance. And that's fine, both for living and renting. But when it's time to appraise the value of a condo unit for purchase, security issues — either real or perceived — can certainly affect your overall bottom line. Especially when it comes time for resale; something to keep in mind as an inevitable drawback of purchasing in a low-rise.

Can I ask a serious question? What ever happened to the double-bowl inset sink? Did all of Toronto's developers get together about five years ago and decide that two basins was a needless frivolity? If so, I'd like to invite them over to do my dishes after cooking for more than two guests. While I must say that the majority of Origami's suites do look pretty fine — many with plenty of windows, interesting angles, some with semi-ensuite bathrooms and multiple closets — the kitchens, as is often the case, are lacking. These "appliance walls" as I prefer to call them, typically offer little by way of pantry or other cupboard space, nevermind counters that would be overwhelmed by the presence of a simple coffeemaker, and the aforementioned sorry single-bowl sinks. What's a buyer gotta do for a little counter space? (Ante-up for customization, I know.)

origami lofts torontoTHE VERDICT

It is good looking. Invest in a heavy-duty bike lock.

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



R.C. Harris / November 15, 2012 at 09:42 am
This shall attract haters, for it is different and this is Toronto; land of the safe. But in the name of boldness and creativity, I proclaim Origami Lofts to be true and good. Amen.
mezimeen / November 15, 2012 at 10:01 am
Is a Penthouse a Penthouse under 1000sf? Good on the developer for doing something different instead of just cheap.
Poopdawg / November 15, 2012 at 10:25 am
Sick 7 disc CD player, bro!
condo hater / November 15, 2012 at 10:27 am
Nice looking building, but lol if you sincerely believe need a doorman anywhere in toronto.
Sanjay / November 15, 2012 at 10:30 am
a penthouse just means it's on the top floor - it could be 2300 sq feet or 230 sq feet.

also a doorman while unfeasible in a 23 unit building - is very nice to have. Even when you dont need one.
Ben / November 15, 2012 at 10:48 am
Robyn - Really like this series of articles. Calling this a 'low-rise' project is misleading, however. Typically, anything four storeys or less is considered to be low-rise. You're right that this is a small scale project, though... Appropriate given the way the investor market appears to be backing off.
D-Runk. / November 15, 2012 at 10:50 am
Just get that bunch of drunkards who squat at Queen/Bathurst to be your doormen.

They'll do it for a bottle of wine.
jameson / November 15, 2012 at 11:05 am
This is a mid-rise building...

These articles really need to be written more dispassionately. It's really poor journalism. No one cares about your desire for a doorman.
Lee Zamparo / November 15, 2012 at 11:15 am
At 387 square feet, that's going to be a tight squeeze. How low can the size of studio apartments go?

Also, y u always build glass? Have we not learned that it's not a sustainable building material? How many fallen balcony enclosures and insulation related horror stories will it take?
skeeter / November 15, 2012 at 11:21 am
Is it weird that I get turned on by drawings of women?
meme replying to a comment from Lee Zamparo / November 15, 2012 at 11:24 am
This is one of the least uses of glass i've seen recently..
Big Fuckin Mega Boat replying to a comment from Sanjay / November 15, 2012 at 11:26 am
Indeed. I love seeing the disappointment on people’s faces when I tell them I have a penthouse suite...and then they come over and realize it's the exact same shitty little suite as every floor below me, but just happens to be on the top floor.
Sayf replying to a comment from Big Fuckin Mega Boat / November 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm
Big Fucking Mega Boat: the Penthouses are very different than the suites on the floors below.
They're 2 storeys, with full floor to ceiling glass exteriors while the typical suites are single-storeyed, with a healthy glazing to metal cladding ratio.
The first render within the article is a typical PH suite (that render is of an actual penthouse floorplan), while the second render is representative of the typical suites (and represents an actual typical floorplan.

n / November 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm
Not having concierge is a big plus - 4 people a year - at minimum $200,000 just for having those guys sitting at a desk 24/7.
The maintenance fees are still high (without any sort of amenities). say 885 sq ft would be 442/month and you know that can only go up, up and up. The floor plans are leaving a lot to be desired and seriously all those dens are just a tiny left-over spaces.
My rental bachelor apartment is 470 sf., so 387 is really tiny. If I add another room for bedroom to my apartment I get 160sf more, so 1 bedroom for me should start at 630-670 (to accommodate walk-in closet). So for that I would probably be looking at around 500,000 (with parking, locker). At that point may start looking at buying a house.
Big Fuckin Mega Boat replying to a comment from Sayf / November 15, 2012 at 01:04 pm
Ahhh, I didn't word my last comment very clearly - I was talking about my condo I currently own being a "penthouse" strictly in the sense that it happens to be on the top floor. :)
Sayf replying to a comment from n / November 15, 2012 at 01:14 pm
n, A one + den would cost you about $350k. Check out the Eagle floorplan. At 600 sf, it has a dedicated den area, generous closet space, outdoor space and a large living area. Maintenance would cost you $300/month. Street parking permit is really inexpensive, locker would be $4k and you're all set.
Sayf replying to a comment from Big Fuckin Mega Boat / November 15, 2012 at 01:14 pm
Ah, that changes everything! :)
moi / November 15, 2012 at 01:44 pm
I like Pie :)
Botch / November 15, 2012 at 02:31 pm
For better or worse, the outside looks like a toned down version of the ROM...for me, it's a 'worse'
Yay! / November 15, 2012 at 03:56 pm
Hey they got the same shit aluminum siding that's on the ROM!

PL replying to a comment from jameson / November 15, 2012 at 11:09 pm
I just want to point out that this is not an article, it is a blog post (hence the name of the site). If you're looking for hard-hitting journalism don't come here.
mjb replying to a comment from PL / November 16, 2012 at 07:44 am
I'm guessing more than a few people read this site because they are genuinely interested in learning more about these development projects. The running snarky commentary in some of the posts are really unnecessary and, frankly, tiresome. Go somewhere else you say? I'd love to - do you know of another site? In the meantime, perhaps Ms. Urback could try to be a little more objective. Yes, it is a blog, but we can still have higher expectations as readers.
Eric26 / November 18, 2012 at 02:59 pm
Go to the forums. It has more than you can ever want to know about Toronto development projects, but since it's on this place called the Interwebz it's still full of snarky comments.
Leo Smith / April 3, 2013 at 11:34 am
For a realistic assessment of this proposed building's impact, read through the blog at

Pity the poor residents on Wolseley St, and surrounding residential area.
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