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Studio on Richmond, exterior lobby. Aspen Ridge Homes

STUDIO ON RICHMOND

LOCATION: Entertainment District, Downtown Toronto

BUILDER/DEVELOPER: Aspen Ridge Homes

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SIZE: 625- to 1,298-square-feet

PRICE: $382,990 to $838,990

SALES CENTRE: 32 Nelson St., east of Duncan Street. Open daily, except Friday, from noon to 6 p.m.

CONTACT: Phone (647) 352-7736 or visit www.studiocondos.ca

Last year, Aspen Ridge Homes unveiled its vision for an infill project on a 1½-acre site downtown that combined residential homes with gallery space for the expanded Ontario College of Art and Design.

The first phase of development, called Studio on Richmond, seems to have caught on with buyers.

"We're already about 70 per cent sold out, so the response has been great," says director of marketing Christene DeGasperis. "[Buyers]like the fact they're going to be part of something that makes Toronto great - and OCAD is one of the great institutions of Toronto."

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OCAD, which has been granted university status and is expanding to three sites on Richmond Street - will have an 8,000-square-foot space in the building that it can use as a public art gallery and eatery.

The rest of this contemporary structure will house 850 units between two towers - 31 and 41storeys each - on a nine-storey podium on Richmond Street, just east of Duncan Street.

To pay homage to the tabletop structure and multicoloured legs of OCAD's McCaul Street campus building designed by architect Will Alsop, Quadrangle Architects designed the Studio towers to resemble a series of stacked cubes with colourful stripes at its crown and base.

Moving inside, most amenities will be located on the ninth floor, including a yoga studio, saunas and party zone with a lounge area, bar and dining, billiards and media rooms.

Many of these spaces will also connect to outdoor terraces with a barbecue station, kitchen and lounging and dining areas, as well as a hot tub.

For all other entertainment, residents will be steps from boutique shops, theatres and comedy clubs, not to mention the subway, hospitals and financial district.

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"[Residents]don't have to drive and can be close to great art destinations, as well as restaurants and cafes," adds Ms. DeGasperis.

Countless new attractions, such as the TIFF Bell Lightbox, will also take shape throughout the neighbourhood before first phase is completed in the fall of 2014.

"Everyone seems to be excited about the transformation of the area with the club district moving a little bit westward," says Ms. DeGasperis. "And everyone is excited that the city is concentrating efforts on this area being the cultural corridor for Toronto."

Interested buyers can still select from several plans in the first phase, which contains about 330 units, including one- to three-bedroom models with open principal rooms and terraces and balconies in many cases.

Various models will have dens and bedrooms with frosted glass sliding doors.

Mike Niven Interior Design Inc. will oversee the design of the interiors, which will have nine-foot ceilings, walls of windows and engineered wood floors, plus European kitchens with granite or CaesarStone counters, ceramic backsplashes and Miele appliances.

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Monthly fees will be 52 cents per square feet, plus separately metered hydro.

Units with at least one bedroom and a den will have parking. Lockers are priced from $5,000.

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