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New in Toronto real estate: Sanctuary Lofts

Posted by Robyn Urback / December 27, 2012

sanctuary lofts torontoSanctuary Lofts just might be that real estate "haven" you've looking for (see what I did there?) if you don't mind stairs and covet direct unit access. A collection of 14 two- and three-storey lofts, this project involves the restoration and conversion of the near century-old Dufferin Street Presbyterian Church, which was constructed in the early 1900's by venerable architect William R. Gregg. Though the interior will be overhauled with smooth ceilings (shame, but better than popcorn) and your choice of cabinetry finishes, the exterior will retain its stone detailing, red brick, and ability to incite feelings of guilt in innocent (seemingly) passersby. Here's a closer look at Sanctuary Lofts.


Address: 1183 Dufferin Street

Exterior: Heritage church, east addition

Total number of units: 14 (Four units in addition, 10 in church)

Type of units: One bedroom plus den, two bedroom plus den, three bedroom plus den

Unit sizes (in square feet): 600 - 1,765

Ceiling height: 9'

Prices from (available suites): $349,000

Number of parking spaces: 11

Parking cost: $34,000

Parking maintenance: $50/mo

General maintenance: Approx $0.48/sf

Developer: Concept Loft Developments

Expected occupancy: December 2013

sanctuary lofts torontoTHE GOOD

Church conversions, apparently, are the latest Toronto real estate craze, and it's good to see at least one that tries to maintain the integrity (literally and figuratively) of the space. While some other church conversion projects might try to cram in as many units as possible and/or plop an eyesore of a structural "accompaniment" alongside (yeah, I'm talking about you, St. Clements), Sanctuary has kept it relatively modest. Granted, the addition planned for the back of the Sanctuary church isn't exactly charming, but it does demonstrate a little restraint on the part of the developer since it only incorporates an extra four units. Or do we just expect such insatiable greed on the parts of developers nowadays that a modest add-on is seen as worthy of praise? In any case, fewer units means Sanctuary Loft suites actually come with a real living room, and at about $550 to $600 per square foot, you'll certainly get more bang for your buck than in most new downtown builds.

But the big Sanctuary Loft boon speaks directly to my Socially Awkward Penguin side. (For the layman and lazy reader: that means I have trouble relating to others.) While Sanctuary is, technically, a loft build, its units present pretty much as townhomes. With the exception of the two upper-level lofts situated in the church add-on, each unit has its own direct access to outside. That means no awkward elevator chitchat, no neighbours letting their cats roam the hallways, and no vapid weather discussion as you fumble for your keys. Hermits, prevail! And for those, say, two times per year when you actually invite over guests, it's nice to have them arrive at your very own front (or side) doors. Big balconies and patios are added bonuses, with gas barbeque connections provided for summertime cookouts.

Honorable mention to the skylights that come standard in each three-storey lofts situated inside the church. A win for natural light and the feeling of living in an actual home, rather than a box.

sanctuary lofts torontoTHE BAD

Sanctuary Lofts is right by one of the saddest little malls in all of Toronto. The Eeyore of Toronto retail, if you will. Sorry, Galleria, that's you. But who knows? Maybe Zellers' ultimate departure will have catalyzed a rejuvenation that is long, long overdue? Or maybe not. Regardless, it's clear that the Wallace Emerson area has still yet to achieve "hip" status, meaning you're in for a bit of a walk (or more likely, a drive) if you want to find some good shopping, coffee, or restaurants to explore. Living in a heavily residential area does have its perks (namely, far fewer incidences of street side vomiting as compared to a condo on Richmond Street) but the retail component of this area is certainly lacking. Time to invest in a stovetop espresso maker and a bread machine, I guess.

So, when did separate fees for parking spaces officially become a "thing?" Silly me, I always figured that general monthly maintenance fees went into a communal pot to cover communal expenses such as a shared parking garage. Separate fees are, perhaps, a little more justifiable in a condo where only a small percentage of residents actually own parking spaces, but Sanctuary has 11 parking spaces for 14 units. That's hardly a small minority. You have to wonder, then, how fees are being handled, especially since this project has no superfluous shared amenities. Residents already have to fork over a hefty chunk of change to purchase (I use that term loosely) a parking space, so why should they hand over an additional $50 per month in maintenance?

The units themselves seem not half bad, though the units' tall and lean frames leave buyers little room for layout customization. Stairs can be wonderful, especially when it comes to the monotony of cookie-cutter new Toronto condos, but they do take up an awful lot of room.

sanctuary lofts torontoTHE VERDICT

Do not purchase if you have bad knees.

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



wow / December 27, 2012 at 10:19 am
Wow, something that isn't a glass box in the sky...
mike / December 27, 2012 at 10:24 am
Parking Mait fee of 50 a month? WTF is that? What an absolute cash grab
Buttplug Andy / December 27, 2012 at 10:51 am
Thanks, BlogTO, for deleting my other post.

As I originally wrote, I don't understand why BlogTO's doing these condo "articles". Your readership--poor, tree-hugging, entitled kids--can't even afford the down payment on a mortgage, let alone any monthly payments for 25 years. Your readers probably don't even understand what or how a mortgage works.
alan / December 27, 2012 at 11:13 am
maintenance fees are paid on any part of the condo that you own, so if you have storage you pay on a square foot basis, same for parking spots...but in this case instead of a square foot basis, it's a flat fee of $50/mo....
haha replying to a comment from Buttplug Andy / December 27, 2012 at 11:39 am
True. They're to busy living in their OCCUPY parks whining about the condo owners and something called "905'rs". Finding things to whine ("protest") about is way too important than getting jobs, paying rent/mortgages/etc.
Poor in Toronto replying to a comment from Buttplug Andy / December 27, 2012 at 11:44 am
Poor kids in Toronto mean we only have half a mil to spend.
skyj / December 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm
A "drive" to find coffee? Maybe you should do a little research before summarily dismissing a neighbourhood. You might have come across some gems like, oh I dunno, the Common, Holy Oak, Toronto Coffee Company, Intergalactic Travel Authority, Haven (see what *I* did there?).
s replying to a comment from Buttplug Andy / December 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm
Some of us tree hugging hipsters work in tech and make $109K/year
Todd replying to a comment from skyj / December 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm
Maybe some of us have jobs and don't have twenty minutes to walk to The Common while talking about things that are cute or lovely.
skyj replying to a comment from Todd / December 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm
So let me get this straight: me talking about some great aspects of my neighbourhood somehow equates to being an unemployed dreamer? Right. Got it.
Loose Change / December 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm
I read this site every day and could buy and sell your face. Also - this church conversion thing is fun - especially when it's by a dumpy mall. Good things keep happening.
Tzv / December 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm
Am I the only one that finds living in a church a little bit creepy and sacrilegious? That may be because I am Christian but at the same time I would not want to live inside of a mosque either should they ever start experiencing a drop in attendance...
Todd replying to a comment from skyj / December 27, 2012 at 01:21 pm
No, my comment was about walking distance.

For those of us who have jobs, walking twenty minutes is an inconvenience. This neighbourhood is not conducive to those of us who have jobs and want amenities nearby.
Buttplug Andy replying to a comment from s / December 27, 2012 at 01:31 pm
s replying to a comment from Buttplug Andy / DECEMBER 27, 2012 AT 12:14 PM
"Some of us tree hugging hipsters work in tech and make $109K/year"

LOL. First, calling yourself a "hipster" proves you're part of the entitled generation (aka "generation ME"). Second, even if you earn a decent salary, I bet you have nothing to show for it--except for unpaid credit card debts/consumer loans.

All ppl like you do is spend, spend, spend. Sucks to have to live your life forced to work your shitty job just to pay down your debts.

Enough said.
McRib / December 27, 2012 at 01:32 pm
so nobody that has a job has time to walk 20 minutes.

ObviousTroll replying to a comment from Buttplug Andy / December 27, 2012 at 01:32 pm
Here's an idea, if you don't like what's here - go back to the Toronto Sun comments section
Sean / December 27, 2012 at 02:11 pm
Here in the Merchandise Building, our parking space is separately owned (i.e. we can keep it if we sell our unit, or we can sell it separately from our unit), and so it has its own maintenance fee. People who don't own a parking space aren't paying for its upkeep, which seems fair.
Martin replying to a comment from skyj / December 27, 2012 at 03:04 pm
True, and this building is also a 5 minute walk from one grocery store (FreshCo) and 10-15 minutes by foot from No Frills. I guess that's too far to walk?
n / December 27, 2012 at 10:33 pm
what is there upkeep to parking space for $50 a month? change a lightbulb or two and pay the electricity.
justjarl / December 27, 2012 at 11:22 pm
The lofts will be a very unique piece of Toronto real estate. I am anxious to see some pictures of the finished lofts.
real estate assistant jobs / December 28, 2012 at 12:45 am
All snaps are looking beautiful and unique. Nice description shared by you of Sanctuary Lofts
alan / December 28, 2012 at 08:11 am
upkeep on a parking about power washing once or twice a year...sweeping at other times...
alan / December 28, 2012 at 08:15 am
parking spots...let's say it's 10 x 20 (roughly) and at $0.48 sq ft for maintenance it's $ the $50 is a great deal...1/2 price...
JLL / December 28, 2012 at 09:08 am
I'm kind of in love with that 3 bedroom plus den. I'm not a huge fan of the neighborhood, but that place and that amount of space, feels worth it.
SMAN / December 28, 2012 at 09:13 am
"The Eeyore of Toronto retail". When is the last time you've been to dufferin mall? Ignorant.
Ronnie replying to a comment from SMAN / December 28, 2012 at 09:31 am
The writer was clearly talking about the Galleria Mall... it's right there in the article! If they did to the Galleria what they've done to Dufferin Mall, maybe it wouldn't be such an eyesore! But I do have to agree, at it's current state, that mall is horrible!
ashleigh / December 29, 2012 at 05:33 am
Some of the critique of the neighbourhood is unwarranted tending to mild ignorance. Yes, the immediate environment outside on the sidewalk and across the street is somewhat lacking, however:

Dufferin street is surprisingly quick up to and back down from the 401 if you time it to miss the Yorkdale AM opening rush. There is adequate shopping further east on Dupont, and from the map this loft conversion appears quite close to Dufferin station, alternately fairly close to St.Clair where at Dufferin there is alot.

About 12 years ago there was a proposed loft conversion of an old furniture factory around the corner from this one called Murphy or Mcmurphy; it was competing with Merchandise, Gotham, Candy Factory and Wrigley. It was by far superior to all of the above, the lost units were all very different, most real "loft" like, beautiful and livable. I don't think it actually ever got built? A bit expensive however, and even back then the Galleria mall was an abandoned dump.
Jules / January 1, 2013 at 09:43 pm
Are the Sanctuary lofts targeted at goths?

I vant to suck your blood!
mike in parkdale / January 2, 2013 at 01:49 pm
haha... yeah.. I was expecting to hear that this building was going up at Queen West and Claremont, above the starbucks.
Chris replying to a comment from Buttplug Andy / January 2, 2013 at 07:00 pm
Sorry to break your fantasy, Andy, but I am in my 40s, own a successful software company and am looking for something more unique than a box of drywall downtown. Of course that doesn't fit into your narrative, so feel free to insult my success, education and/or political views.
mike / January 3, 2013 at 03:52 pm
I dont know what everyone is talking about driving or 20 minute walks for; bloor is 700m from this church, google maps says thats an 8min walk. for those of you who do not know, bloor is where the subway and this coffee you speak of is located. this is clearly a very good location!
Steven / February 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm
The maintenance fee's need are not correct. They are around $0.32 per Sq. Ft. and it is very inexpensive (Not $0.42 as above)

Floor plans and pricing can be seen here:
Jake / January 29, 2014 at 06:52 pm
Be very careful with this builder - do your research..
Glorpnak / January 31, 2014 at 03:57 pm
Uhhhhh, its on fire now....nevermind
Sacha / January 31, 2014 at 04:00 pm
This just burned down today. Kaput.
Shab / January 31, 2014 at 04:21 pm
The project will start quickly now with the 10M they will collect from insurance
Steven Silva / February 1, 2014 at 04:46 pm
While it is still too soon to say how the fire is going to affect the project, The builder and the sales team would like everyone to know that it is still our intention to build the project as planned.
Jack Gibney / February 7, 2014 at 10:17 am
I feel the loss of another beautiful old building. I own a house and rent 4 apartments a block away. The units rent fast and are always popular. Musicians and artists were most of my tenants over 10 years but recently they are being replaced by twenty something professionals. As the years go by beautiful old buildings will stand out more and more. Now they are just old enough to look old. Look with eyes to the future. Galaria mall still has a rare circle of benches where the old men sit. Have a look before it is gone.
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