Cityscape Development Corp
In 1997, four seasoned development professionals found themselves collaborating on an industrial loft conversion in Toronto’s Little Italy. Real estate lawyer John Berman, broker Mathew Rosenblatt, architect Jamie Goad and urban planner David Jackson transformed the former public movie house at Euclid Avenue and College Street – an ornate heritage building – into a collection of unique residential units, each featuring original brick and beam touches and airy layouts.
It was through this collaboration that the four industry experts decided to merge their diverse backgrounds and create Cityscape Development Corporation, which would later become a firm recognized for one of downtown Toronto’s most vibrant revitalizations, the historic Distillery District.
In 2001, after hearing through the grapevine that a former distillery at the foot of Toronto’s harbour might be for sale, the group toured the site at Trinity and Mill streets. It’s hard to imagine now, but in 2001 the Distillery District had been closed for a decade and sat mostly desolate, closed to the public except for a rare scene as a movie backdrop. The heart of the district, Gooderham and Worts, began as a flourmill in 1832, eventually becoming the headquarters of a global whisky business. In 1988 it was designated a historic site but it remained an overlooked and underutilized pocket of the city, surrounded by vacant and polluted land.
Still, the Cityscape team was encouraged by the collection of brick and limestone buildings, many of which were connected by cobblestone pathways and courtyards and featured oversized windows that let in an abundance of natural light. As a bonus, the site was a fifteen-minute walk from The Financial District. Despite it being a somewhat risky period for real estate – a couple years prior, the stock market crash had resulted in several buyers pulling out of one of Cityscape’s pre-construction developments elsewhere in the city – the firm made the decision to purchase the neglected site.
Today, the Distillery District is one of the city’s most desirable neighbourhoods to live and linger in, adored by tourists and residents alike. A stunningly successful revitalization, it boasts a mix of contemporary condominiums, gallery space and artisan restaurants.
Many of its heritage features have been preserved, including the cobblestone sidewalks, industrial structures and a vintage clock tower. Cityscape Development Group is dedicated to the art of creating unique residences, with the bulk of their work in conversions and historic restorations. Their buildings have won praise from city officials and heritage advocates alike. In 2004, the Canadian Urban Institute awarded them the Best Large Scale Project designation for their work in the Distillery, and Heritage Toronto presented them with an award for architectural conservation and craftsmanship.
After forays into other downtown neighbourhoods, where some of their successful projects include the Portland Park Village and the Wellington Worx lofts, today they are on the verge of returning to the site that that started it all, with 60 Mill Street and 34 Parliament Street, residential condominiums in the preconstruction phase.
60 Mill Street is slated to be a 12-storey midrise, containing either office or residential space. As part of the proposal, the midrise will preserve the façade of the 6-storey heritage building, known as “Rack House D,” an 1895-built structure that is part of the original community. 34 Parliament Street on the other hand, is slated to be a 45-storey condominium, with a more contemporary feel.
We love seeing what creative transformations this development firm pulls off. As the city continues to expand and push the boundaries of urban living, we expect Cityscape to play a significant part in shaping Toronto, Ontario into a city that’s even more livable, sustainable and unique. Stay tuned to see what they have in the works!
Pure Spirit Lofts and Condos, 33 Mill Street
This modern building stands 33 storeys and features 380 units. It has the distinction of being the first condominium built in the area and features a striking glass-and-brick design. With a variety of layouts, including airy loft-style units as well as traditional single-storey condominiums, it features a wealth of modern features, including open-concept designs and contemporary kitchens and bathrooms.
Gooderham Condominiums at the Distillery, 39 Cherry Street
Another strikingly modern addition to the historic neighbourhood, this condominium stands 36 storeys and includes 328 units. With efficiently-laid out suites ranging from 493 square-feet to 1,527, it features luxurious touches like wraparound glass balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows. Residents enjoy a fantastic roster of amenities, like a pool, sauna and dazzling rooftop patio.
Portland Park Village, 550 Front Street West
This condominium/townhome project stands five storeys and includes 188 residential units and retail space at grade. Steps from the trendy King Street West, layouts range from compact 500 square foot condominium units to two-level townhomes spanning over 1,000-square feet. Nine-foot ceilings, large windows, modern layouts and private, recessed balconies are some of the perks here.
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