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The 'hard' loft with a soft spot for nature Add to ...

24 Noble St., Unit 302

Asking price: $339,000

Taxes: $2,057.75 (2010)

Agents: Chantal Vaillancourt and Kerri-Ann Brownlee (Bosley Real Estate Ltd.)

The building

The old red-brick mill at 24 Noble St. is the type of "hard" loft that Parkdalians appreciate for its authentic past.

During a recent open house, artists and musicians were treading the dark-stained wood floors, says real estate agent Chantal Vaillancourt of Bosley Real Estate Ltd.

"The edginess of it really seemed to appeal to this crowd," Ms. Vaillancourt says.

One young carpenter and furniture-maker, for example, said he would love to set up a studio beneath the sturdy wooden timbers. The ability to pursue a craft or trade in one of the bright and open spaces is a big draw for many potential buyers, Ms. Vaillancourt says.

The building, which sits in a triangle of land between the railroad tracks and Queen Street West., was refurbished and turned into offices in the late 1980s, then underwent another transformation into live-work condos in the mid-1990s.

The fact that the units are so different from each other also draws the individualistic and creative types, Ms. Vaillancourt adds: "The units are not all alike."

What the units do share is large windows, 10-foot ceilings and exposed brick walls. The heavy wooden posts and beams have been left standing throughout the building while the pipes lining the ceiling add to the industrial feel.

The building has no pool, gym or common areas, which is just fine with many of the potential buyers that Ms. Vaillancourt met at the open house. It does offer a very aggressive recycling program, however, the agent says.

"They're very down to earth here," she adds.

For those with cars, the building has 20 non-reserved parking spots available. Most of the residents, however, appear to favour bicycling because finding vehicle parking is rarely a problem, says Ms. Vaillancourt.

"There are more bikes than cars here," she says.

Unit 302

The corner unit offers approximately 800 square feet of living space with windows facing north and west.

The large, open space provides lots of room for living and dining, with a small kitchen tucked in behind. The owner was able to add a built-in dishwasher, stove and slim fridge to the slender space, Ms. Vaillancourt says. She explains that many of the units in the building have minimalist kitchens and small appliances.

"That was a bit of a selling feature for us," she says of the renovated kitchen.

The owner also added an electric heat pump and air conditioner, which keeps the loft warm in winter and cool in summer.

The small bedroom is hidden behind a sliding barn door with a built-in platform for the bed.

The best feature

The north-facing windows offer views over a vast urban landscape.

Because the unit sits at the western end of the building, it is at the farther end from the railroad tracks. Still, many loft dwellers don't mind the occasional passing train and some welcome the railway as a reminder of the building's industrial history, Ms. Vaillancourt says.

North of College Street, the land running along the railway line has been converted to the West Toronto Railpath Park. The view from 302 offers a green canopy in the warmer months, Ms. Vaillancourt says: "In the summer, it's quite lovely with the trees."

Even before the busy open house, the owner received an offer for unit 302 and struck a conditional deal, says Ms. Vaillancourt.

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