Ariel Benaich has deep affection for St. Clair Ave. West where he and sister Stephanie Marer have operated Parpar women’s clothing boutique since 2005.
“We have always loved the neighbourhood,” he says. “When we first opened, it was more a mature, older money area. Now there’s a mix of everybody and far more strollers and young families.”
Benaich’s store is just north of the community cultural hub, Wychwood Barns Park. “It’s one of the best attractions in summer. It brings out a lot of families, there’s an organic market on weekends and lots of events.” While Benaich also has stores in Leaside and Bedford Park neighbourhoods, St. Clair West “is definitely more eclectic than the other two. There’s more electricity on the street. There’re a lot of mom-and-pop businesses and everyone knows everyone. It’s a very, very cool area.”
Camrost Felcorp’s Raglan House, a 28-storey condo at 77 Raglan Ave., part of the future master-planned Bathurst-St. Clair community, will be in the midst of the neighbourhood Benaich calls one of the greatest hidden gems in Toronto.
Raglan Ave., itself, is undergoing major change. Rows of mostly single-family homes on the street are slowly disappearing to make room for highrises. And this is displacing residents, just as developers are marketing their projects based on the desirable characteristics of the area.
“There are incredible shops, parks, libraries, municipal and outdoor amenities,” says Christopher Castellano, vice-president, sales and marketing at Camrost Felcorp. “With the subway, you’re three stops from the University of Toronto, five from the University Health Network and 15-minute from the downtown core.” In other areas, condo buyers have to wait on infrastructure, such as the LRT, new schools or libraries, but these are in place here, he adds.
Established urban neighbourhoods are becoming hotbeds for new condo development. Market research firm Urbanation examined new condo activity in neighbourhood-based locations in Toronto’s core (south of Eglinton Ave., between Bathurst St. and the Etobicoke Creek in the west, and between Bayview Ave./Don Valley Parkway and Victoria Park in the east).
At of the end of 2022, there were a record 52 new condo projects with 9,360 units in development, representing a record high 12 per cent of the total share of new condos in development across the city. (New condos are units in projects that are actively marketing in pre-construction, are under construction or have recently finished construction.) There were 2,536 new condo sales in 2022, also a record high, and a 48 per cent increase over 2021’s 1,717, while new condo sales across the entire city were down 19 per cent.
“These projects have been performing relatively well compared to more investor-focused projects. As interest rates have risen and the market has become more uncertain, investors have been reluctant to buy new condos,” says Shaun Hildebrand, president of Urbanation, which tracks the condo market. “Meanwhile, end-users (people who will live there themselves), many of whom have become shut out of the housing market within these neighbourhoods due to the combination of high prices and high interest rates, are looking at these projects as an opportunity to break into their desired area at a relatively more affordable cost.”
Says Castellano: “At Raglan House, we have a lot more end-users as well as family investors. They are looking at it as an investment for their child to have a foothold in real estate or as an investment they can move into when they’re ready to downsize.”
Raglan House’s architect IBI Group designed a contemporary glass tower to sit on a nine-storey limestone and brick podium inspired by neighbourhood vernacular. Camrost Felcorp acquired a property on Bathurst St. to convert to a parkette (to convey to the city) that will create a midblock connection on from the middle of Raglan Ave. through to Bathurst St., cutting a 17-minute walk to the subway to three minutes.
Frank Pronesti has owned neighbourhood bistro The Rushton for 16 years, and opened his first restaurant in St. Clair West 30 years ago. He’s witnessed a lot of change and says most has been positive. He says he welcomes condo projects, such as Raglan House, as they help to revitalize the neighbourhood and support local business. He believes St. Clair West is equipped to handle more residents.
“It’s a well-developed community with plenty of schools, great shopping, great restaurants and room for more people,” he says. “It’s centrally located, but you don’t have to leave the neighbourhood to get anything you need.”
Location: 77 Raglan Ave.
Size: 28-storey tower, with 320 units, first of two towers development
Price: From the high $700,000s
Planned occupancy: 2027
Layouts, floor plans: One and two bedrooms, with or without dens
Units: 440 sq. ft. to more than 1,000 sq. ft.
Building features: Geothermal heating, co-working spaces, library and billiards room, covered outdoor space with seating and garden, fitness auditorium, massage and meditation room, social gathering spaces, outdoor rooftop barbecues and seating areas and pet run
Developer: Camrost Felcorp
Architect: IBI Group
Interior designer: MAED Collective
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