Most people are familiar with Riverside these days, the small but mighty pocket of so-hip-it-hurts residential streets hugging the commercial stretch of Queen East (it starts just east of the DVP and runs east, roughly to Degrassi Street). But for a long time, this gem of a 'hood was overshadowed by its popular neighbours to the north and east.
We’ve written before about the value of lofts in South Riverdale / Leslieville in a comparison to their comps in the west end. In that article, we rolled Riverside into the mix for the sake of a fulsome east versus west side showdown but that was a little unfair. Thinking of Riverside as an extension of Leslieville or Riverdale doesn’t do the area justice. And it’s a misnomer anyway. Riverside as a community actually has a longer history than most east side neighbourhoods; it can trace its roots back to 1882.
The renaissance of Riverside, blossoming into the vibrant and trendy neighbourhood it is today, started about 10 years ago with the development of a number of Toronto loft buildings that offered incredibly stylish spaces at some of the best square footage values found anywhere in the city. And they still offer incredible value today, even with the surge in popularity of the area.
Many of us here at MrLOFT have lived in Riverside and so we mean it when we say this is one of our favourite Toronto neighbourhoods, particularly for singles and young couples. It's a great place to start your loft search if you’re looking for an active lifestyle just minutes to downtown. Here are some of the best value Riverside lofts that prove this little pocket of east side charms packs a powerful real estate punch compared to the larger area average which is $599/sqft.
Keep in mind that these prices are based on the 2015 average for each building and that they’ve all crept up a little so far in 2016. But these prices will give you a guideline for the budget you’ll need to search here and the value that these featured buildings offer in comparison to their neighbours.
The Broadview Lofts offer some of the nicest loft spaces you can find in the city, all for well under $600/sqft. To understand how great a value units in this building are (providing they're priced right of course), the neighbouring soft loft at 90 Broadview Avenue is selling at around $622/sqft on average and although it’s also a great building, The Ninety can’t hold a torch to the Broadview Lofts in terms of character features and charm in our opinion.
The features that have become iconic here are the massive, black-trim factory windows, the heavy use of warm wood that you’ll find in the beams, floors and ceilings (creating a much cozier feel than concrete-heavy soft lofts) and the massive, interior steel sliding doors in many of the units.
You can read more about why we love the Broadview Lofts on our blog.
Our CEO Carl Langschmidt and his wife once called the Riverside Lofts their home. This is an awesome, boutique building right on Queen, above base level commercial. We sold a Unit 302 for a client last summer, pictured here, that fellow Realtor David Fleming praised as condo of the week in his popular Pick Five video blog (skip ahead to 17:55 to see our listing), recognizing just how incredible the value is here. Yet, it’s a building that still seems to fly under the radar of most buyers and Realtors.
We think values could skyrocket here in the coming years with new build condos at a much higher price cropping up all along Queen East from Riverside through Leslieville, all the way down to The Beach. Listings don’t hit the market often though with only 12 units here. If you’re interested in the Riverside Lofts, reach out to one of our Toronto Loft Experts who can inform you as soon as a listing hits the market.
Hands-down one of the best loft values in Riverside from a cost per square foot perspective is the Wrigley Lofts that offer a true, hard loft aesthetic with soaring ceilings, original factory windows and a sort of rawness and grit that many Toronto loft lovers crave.
With 88 units starting at a miniature 288 sqft studio space all the way up to expansive spaces, this is one east end hard loft building that first time buyers on a tight budget actually stand a chance of buying into. It’s a live/work loft and so you’ll find a lot of artists, designers and photographers living here.
The downsides – because there are some at this price point – include the fact that it’s hit and miss in terms of finishes. The original units were sold for a song and left raw with the degree of renovations and upgrades left in the hands of individual owners. That’s also part of the charm, however. Your unit probably won’t look like your neighbours and if you prefer a blank canvas, there are still plain, studio-esque spaces that you can make your own. As an alternative, buying a swank, higher priced recent build likely wouldn’t leave you with enough money for a renovation and no one likes to rip out new finishes anyway.
As you can see from the pictures below of Unit 210A, a past MrLOFT sale, some units are, in fact, already finished off minimally but still beautifully. So it depends on what you’re looking for – the Wrigley lofts offer a little something for everyone.
The other great thing is the number of baths – many two bedroom spaces here have two bathrooms which is a rarity in any Toronto condo, let alone a hard loft.