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Condo Watch: The Heritage Home

The first in our series on new developments keeping the city’s building boom interesting

By Paige Magarrey

Blue Diamond at Imperial Plaza
129 St Clair Ave W, starting in the mid-$300,000s

Quick Take A passion for former warehouses, century-old churches and elderly storefronts has lead condo developers to preserve and convert these historic typologies into livable structures. By inserting towers and riffing on the antiquity inside, builders allow residents to enjoy the original models – but with that new car smell.

This project at St. Clair and Avenue Road is a true melange of old and new. Built in 1913, the Deer Park United Church was deconsecrated in 2008, when costs to maintain the structure proved too much for the congregation. Diamond Schmitt Architects‘ design removes the neo-Gothic structure’s roof, and Camrost-Felcorp’s glass, stone and precast 26-storey condo incorporates the original facade as a dramatic entryway (lovingly restored by heritage specialists ERA Architects). The church itself will be transformed into an open-air courtyard and a heavenly respite from the nearby six-lane traffic.

Living Space While the entrance will maintain most of the divine elements of the original building, the suites inside will have more of an architectural-chic vibe. Diamond Schmitt blessed the 242 units with 2.6-metre ceilings and balconies that overlook the downtown core from the site’s perch on the Forest Hill escarpment. The open concept spaces will be contemporary, but brushed chrome on the door handles, bathroom fixtures and cabinetry add touches of old-world style, and stone kitchen countertops nod to the church’s masonry.

Extras The courtyard will lead to a double-height lobby, devised as a kind of great hall with a library and lounge area. Outside, local patron saint of landscaping, Janet Rosenberg, of HTO Park and Royal Botanical Gardens fame, designed a sculpture garden set to run along the exterior church walls.

Originally published in our Fall 2015 issue as Live Here: The Heritage Home.

For more developments we love, read about The One, The Tree House and King Portland Centre.