11A Gilead Place, Toronto
Asking price: $1.05-million (ed: $1,050,000)
Agent: Robin Pope (Brad J. Lamb Realty)
The back story
The urban laneway known as Gilead Place was occupied by some pretty derelict old buildings when architect Brian Kucharski decided in 2006 to build the Corktown Lofthouses.
For a while there was an operation repairing citizens band radios for taxi drivers in the former one-storey warehouse that occupied the land, says real estate agent Robin Pope of Brad J. Lamb Realty.
"Terrible things were happening in the laneway," he says of the criminal activity that the abandoned area attracted.
In the Victorian era, the lane was lined with tiny "shanty town" workers' cottages that were likely occupied by employees at the nearby Gooderham and Worts distillery, says Mr. Pope.
When Mr. Kucharski came along with his idea to build new townhouses, the plan inspired some opposition from the neighbours who didn't want to see more dwellings in an area that had become gritty and commercial at the time, says Mr. Pope.
Since then, however, there's been a surge in building all around the district known as Corktown and the area has become extremely popular with homeowners who want to live close to downtown and the area now known as the Distillery District.
Working with only a slim plot of land, Mr. Kucharski emphasized the vertical when he designed and built the eight freehold townhouses.
At 11A, homeowners George Argyropoulos and Katerina Barouma have 1,900 square feet of living space with three bedrooms, a den and three bathrooms.
The first floor is occupied by the kitchen with apple green cabinets by Scavolini. Stairs lead up to the living room.
The open staircase serves as an atrium that brings light down to each level.
"The stair has a more industrial feel – kind of borrowing from the history of the neighbourhood," says Mr. Pope.
Mr. Pope points out that ceiling heights vary by room, with a range from nine feet to 13.
"It has a different volume of space when you go from room to room."
The master bedroom on the third floor has a 10-foot high ceiling and an ensuite bathroom with a walk-in glass shower enclosure.
On the lower level, a room facing the street has an above-grade window. Behind that, a garage is meant to hold one car but Mr. Argyropoulos and Ms. Barouma have been known to also squeeze in a Smart Car beside their regular-sized vehicle.
Mr. Pope points out that rapid revitalization is taking place in the surrounding area in preparation for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
The West Don Lands, the Distillery District and Corktown will all be linked by the new streetscape within a few years, he adds.
"The Distillery will no longer be this little island."
Ms. Barouma says she loves the location for its proximity to restaurants and Queen Street.
Across the laneway, celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy has set up his Gilead Cafe. People who live in the lane often run across for their coffee, breakfast and lunch, says Mr. Pope.
Residents of the lane receive another perk when they order take out from the cafe: "If you live here, they'll give it to you on a plate," says Mr. Pope.
The best feature
The uppermost level is a rooftop terrace with a portion occupied by a green roof.
"You have a view 360 degrees," says Mr. Pope of the vistas towards the CN Tower in one direction and the newly created Don River Park in the other.
Mr. Pope had a sneak preview of the 18-acre park, which is not yet open to the public.
"It's really, really beautiful."