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New in Toronto real estate: Union Lofts

Posted by Robyn Urback / January 10, 2013

union lofts torontoUnion Lofts is the former Perth Avenue Methodist Church turned residential; because youngins don't go to church anymore, and other modern tragedies. Situated at the corner of Perth and Wallace avenues and dating back to 1913, this George Miller-designed structure will maintain its exterior facade (save for a few stained glass windows) and welcome an adjacent "Vestry annex" with room for an additional 14 suites. Atheists (with a $5,000 deposit) welcome. Here's a closer look at Union Lofts.


Address: 243 Perth Avenue

Exterior: Church & Vestry building

Total number of units: 40 (26 in the church, 14 in the vestry)

Types of units: One bedroom, one bedroom + den, two bedroom, two bedroom + den

Unit sizes (in square feet): 552 - 1,202

Ceiling heights: 9'

Prices from: $249,900

Parking: $25,000 (For select suites)

Locker: $2,500

Maintenance fees: $0.54

Developer: Windmill Development, One Development

Architect: Caricari Lee Architects

Interior Design: Andrea Kantleberg

Expected occupancy: November 2014

union lofts torontoTHE GOOD

I imagine downloading naughty material whilst inebriated and cursing is just that much more enjoyable from inside a church, for those who like their dwelling spaces to come with a healthy helping of irony. The condo-by-way-of-church is, apparently, the latest "it" loft du jour, with similar projects slated for Leslieville and over just east on Dufferin. And like both other projects, Union has been designed with maximum tenancy (read: monies) in mind, with adjacent "new" buildings to house additional condo units. But Union is unique in that its supplementary structure isn't a glass-clad fright (I'm looking at you, St. Clements), and has actually been designed to complement the aesthetic of the church, rather than starkly juxtapose. Granted, the "Vestry" doesn't exactly carry the same charm as the shell of the former Perth Avenue Methodist Church, but it doesn't present with ostentatious modernity à la ROM Crystal (no, not over it yet) and other Toronto attempts at heritage restoration.

Back to Union; it's not just the outside that presents impressively well. These suites, on the whole, are smartly laid out, with kitchen islands standard in each unit and upgraded gas cook tops. Where applicable (i.e. larger, two-storey units) stairs are out of the way as to not impede the flow of floor space, and walk-in closets and semi-ensuite bathrooms have been integrated wherever appropriate. Consider the specs of one of the mid-range Union units: currently priced at about $400,000, this 741-square foot unit in the church structure is a two-storey, one-bedroom unit characterized by a lower-level terrace and upper-level balcony (totaling 212 s.f.), one upstairs bathroom, his and her closets, and defined kitchen and living spaces. Perfect for a couple, and totally reasonable at about $540 per square foot. And no, I am not on the Windmill Development payroll (but would welcome a bonus cheque).

There are a few exceptions, of course (such as the one-bedroom with the window-less bedroom and Juliette balcony), but Union's layouts certainly impress.

union lofts torontoTHE BAD

The suites are one thing, the area is another, and the two are sort of hard to reconcile. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with Perth and Wallace — quite the contrary, actually, what with its heavy presence of families and a school just down the street. But it leads me to wonder; who is going to buy Union's 852 square foot one bedroom unit, with its ideal-for-entertaining 1,102 square foot terrace and direct elevator access? A King West bachelor hotshot? A Financial District power couple? Will they really abandon the wine bars of the downtown west for the Graco Quattro Tours of Perth Avenue? The incongruence is not necessarily a Union Lofts drawback overall, mind you, but it is a point to consider.

What might be an actual drawback, however, is proximity to train tracks. Ask a longtime Junction Triangle resident and they'll tell you the noise becomes background, but a sound-sensitive new resident might find the distraction intolerable. Especially if and when another project akin to the Diamond Grade Separation pops up. And while there are a few nearby gems to sweeten the potentially noisy deal, this area (especially Dupont to the north) is long overdue for a restaurant and bar reinvigoration. There are only so many broken bread sandwiches one can eat without feeling as though they've exhausted neighbourhood options. Maybe by the time November 2014 rolls around?

union lofts torontoTHE VERDICT

Gotta say, I like it. (And if anyone from Windmill has that cheque ready, I'll send you my mailing address.)

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



Driving Miss Daisy / January 10, 2013 at 08:54 am
Another winner from Robyn Urback, whose vast real estate knowledge and experience make her wiser than even the great Master Yoda--NOT!
Alison / January 10, 2013 at 09:30 am
First off this is a great neighbourhood. There is a reason it has had the largest property value increase in the city this year. There are many new restaurants and coffee shops such as The Farmhouse and Cafe Con Leche that had opened in the last year. Secondly, you might have wanted to look into why the church sold in the first place. It certainly had nothing to do with a decline in attendance. They had out grown the physical building and parking had become a serious issue. They in fact moved to larger building.
comments replying to a comment from Driving Miss Daisy / January 10, 2013 at 09:40 am
Blog TO needs to implement an up-vote / down-vote system to weed out nonsensical comments like this. So many of the comments on this blog are so insulting that I actually don't want to read the blog anymore.
Alex / January 10, 2013 at 10:00 am
You're living in a church. That's just too creepy. Unless you're worried about witches and vampires, then I guess you've got the safest place around.
Aaron / January 10, 2013 at 10:03 am
Tthis was my old Seventh Day Adventist church. and reading this honestly hurts my heart
Aaron / January 10, 2013 at 10:05 am
Seventh Day Adventist... not Methodist.
Michelle / January 10, 2013 at 10:16 am
This building isn't very close to the tracks at all. I live literally beside the tracks on Wallace and I promise you the train is not noisy. I only hear it when they blow the horn and that is once a day, maximum.

I had never lived as far North or West as this hood and was nervous about moving here, but I'm so glad I did. Why not talk about more of the positives? Hop the bridge at the end of Wallace and you're 5 minutes from the Bloor Danforth subway, King Streetcar and Dundas streetcar.

Hamish Grant / January 10, 2013 at 10:37 am
Good to see this project finally happening.

Used to live up the street from the church. Parking was definitely an issue. Almost none of the members of the Seventh Day Adventist congregation actually lived in the area so most of them drove in. It was definitely time to move. It could've worked, actually, if they WERE a methodist group 'cuz the catholics in the neighbourhood would've taken THEIR cars to church elsewhere on Sunday and parking would be simpler. But the Seventh Day folks met on Saturdays, which made it a big problem for the 'hood.

The variety store across the street is pretty run down, maybe having some more upscale neighbours will encourage them to sell and/or renovate.
Stephen / January 10, 2013 at 11:30 am
I think the people that are going to buy the expensive one bedroom suites would be the six figure video game developers working down the street at Ubisoft...
Rick / January 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm
Nice to see they removed the power lines. If only Photoshop's clone tool worked in real life.
Brian Gilham / January 10, 2013 at 01:56 pm
As a nearby resident, I've mostly been amused by the slogans they're using. "Praise the Loft"? "Prepare to be Converted"? Tongue-in-cheek, but a little weird.
Haha replying to a comment from Driving Miss Daisy / January 10, 2013 at 09:23 pm
Yes, she is laughable, but it IS entertaining.
jameson / January 11, 2013 at 07:10 am
I would love to live in a church. It has such great heritage value. I would really take joy in telling people that.

This area has a lot of great amenities, with the subway/GO train a two minute walk, the rail-path right next door, and easy access to High Park, Dundas West, and Roncesvalles. This is a much better location then 1540 Bloor or the development pitched thats right behind the Crossroads. This project is incredible, it would make a great investment.
Jeremy / January 12, 2013 at 11:17 am
Where'd you get access to the floor plans? Their website doesn't really have any useful information.
Gabe / January 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm
She's right how many people want to commute 30-40 minutes downtown to work to live in this area when you can just get a downtown condo instead?
Miami cheap real estate / January 15, 2013 at 07:07 am
Good to see.
Paul Johnston / January 15, 2013 at 08:51 pm
check paul johnston's website for floor plans
Serena / January 18, 2013 at 04:46 am
Such properties will definitely have the potential to attract customers. The building structure gives a vintage look and is amazingly designed.
hugh jazz / May 15, 2015 at 07:07 pm
this site will not be completed this year someone at the top has run off with the money
wally / July 29, 2015 at 03:20 pm
I run by this site everyday... and haven't seen anyone working on it since around May. Any intel?
reader2 / August 4, 2015 at 10:21 am

The construction management team was let go. A new one is brought in (Ledcor) and now construction again should resume. Disconcerting nonetheless.

You can see further comments here
reader2 replying to a comment from hugh jazz / August 4, 2015 at 10:22 am
Are you hypothesizing or do you have some legit info as I am extremely interested in anything you have to say about this.
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