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Yorkville condo comes with a helping hand
Building caters to owners expecting the little things

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Friday, April 19, 2019 – Page H7

Anissa Bachir hasn't lived at 1166 Bay St. very long, but she already knows what she's going to miss: the concierge.

"One time I had forgotten some fish in the fridge, we were on a plane going away for three weeks, so I called the concierge," Ms. Bachir said. "They are so accommodating: they said 'We'll send someone upstairs ... to put [it] in the freezer for you.' And they did! It's going to be hard for us. I wish I could just take one of them with me."

Her listing agent, Paul Maranger, lived in the building until last year, and he can confirm the hotel-style services. "It feels very New York: they flag taxis for you, they pass you your mail (there's no mailboxes), they'll water your plants, they will unpack your trunk, they will take delivery of anything ... this [level of service] is brought right to your suite." He estimates there are 26 employees in the building, which only has 109 units (five a floor). The extent of staff support helps explain the condo fees, which - while hardly the most expensive in Yorkville - are a hefty $1,920.32 a month.

THE APARTMENT TODAY Ms. Bachir, a retired educator, and her husband, a retired civil servant, bought the apartment in the spring of 2017, impelled by a desire to downsize from their three-storey Forest Hill house. Ms.

Bachir also wanted a one-floor space for her husband to recuperate from a planned hip replacement.

The 2,035-square-foot unit, No.

1201, spans the north side of the building, so it has windows on three sides. The front door and foyer is in the middle of the long side of the rectangular floor plan.

Immediately on the right is the ensuite laundry room and closet.

There is maple hardwood flooring throughout most of the space and energy-efficient LED lighting has replaced almost all permanent fixtures. All told, the couple probably spent close to $300,000 gutting and redoing the apartment from scratch. "When I do a reno, I do it for myself," Ms.

Bachir said. "I never do a reno for someone else; I need it to be top quality. We thought we would be here, that we wouldn't be moving again."

To the left of the foyer is the new kitchen. The Carrara marble and subway-tile backsplash makes an impression, everything is white and grey, with stainless steel appliances and custom cabinets from Florentine. Walking through the galley-style space takes you to the den, which Ms.

Bachir has set up with a sofa for reading and an office desk under the west-facing bay window. A turn to the right and you're in the living room/dining room, a vast space (almost 35 feet long) with floor-to ceiling windows looking out over the Royal Ontario Museum in the near distance.

The walls are filled with art, but that's coming with Ms. Bachir. A number of the large art pieces were donated by her brother Salah Bachir, the entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded, sold, but still runs Cineplex Media. Some are by Salah's husband, artist Jacob Yerex.

Leaving the living room brings you back to the foyer, and on the eastern side of the unit are the two bedrooms. The first is a 15foot-by-14-foot room with its own north-facing window. Across the hall is a guest bathroom.

A set of double doors separate the apartment from the mastersuite, which has its own floor-toceiling windows looking east, a 17-foot-by-14-foot living space, a wall of closets and a five-piece ensuite bathroom.

The bathroom has Carrara marble floors, a free-standing Slik soaker tub on a raised podium, more custom Florentine cabinets, a two-basin sinks and a marbletiled walk-in shower with glass wall.

The design, Ms. Bachir says, fits with the prevailing aesthetic of most to the building's residents.

"I don't want to use the word wealthy," she says. "'Established,' retired couples."

Ms. Bachir says they are only moving because they find themselves out of the apartment for as much as half the year. They have a cottage on Georgian Bay, a place in St. Petersburg, Fla., and a new granddaughter in San Diego they are spending more and more time with.

THE MARKET As of this week, there are more than a dozen condos in Yorkville priced at more than $2-million, but on a per-square-foot basis, Ms. Bachir's suite is a "steal" Mr.

Maranger says. There are only 109 units in the building and, since 2017, more than 17 apartments have changed hands. According to, the building traded a little below the neighbourhood average as recently as 2015, with units selling for about $580 a square foot. By 2017 that figure shot up to $960 a square foot, peaking in 2018 at just more than $1,015 a square foot, before falling back to $956 again so far in 2019. rates it as the 77th most expensive building in downtown Toronto.

Unit 1201 is priced a little higher than some of the recent sales in the building and has been on the market since February with two price changes, but Mr. Maranger believes its an overlooked gem.

"There's been a bit of a renaissance in this kind of condo. The older buildings were sort of ignored five, six or seven years ago, compared to the newly built towers with modern amenities and more ritzy lobbies," agent Christian Vermast said. "The big shift is the size of the actual units became more important. As people moved from larger homes, they tend to not want to get rid of their larger furniture ... they are very few places that can accommodate that level of furnishings."

Associated Graphic

The current owners of this 2,035-square-foot condo unit in Toronto's Yorkville neighbourhood spent $300,000 renovating it from scratch. They added maple hardwood flooring throughout most of the space and replaced most of the fixtures with energy-efficient LED lighting. The redone kitchen has Carrara marble, subway-tile backsplash and custom cabinets from Florentine.


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