Mid-rise additions to historically low-rise avenues are coming to Toronto. While some worry about encroachment on low-rise neighbourhoods, six-to-eight-storey buildings lining our main streets is the aim of the City's Avenues plan to bring intensfication and renewal where transit service is already plentiful.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc.’s six-storey condo at 799 College Street is now seeing its first wave of residents move in. With design by Quadrangle Architects Ltd, and construction documents and construction review by Raw Design, the building brings an unapologetically contemporary presence to the heritage-rich strip of College just east of Ossington, at the convergence of two thriving cultural enclaves - Little Italy and Little Portugal.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoCube Lofts, on College Street just east of Ossington, image by Jack Landau

Aside from its eye-catching shifted boxes design, Cube is interesting in that it foregoes the common bells and whistles found in many new build,mostly larger, condominium projects. The need for common amenity spaces is almost non-existent in neighbourhoods like Little Italy and Little Portugal, as the ample cafés, restaurants and patios of College Street draw residents outside to enjoy the bustling street life of the area. In place of a fancy lobby and expansive amenity spaces, space is saved here to maximize the interiors of the 21 units. Practical features like stackable vehicle parking have been employed to reduce space requirements below ground too.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoCube Lofts' sheltered entry points, image by Jack Landau

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoStackable vehicle parking - platforms are on elevators effectively transforming 10 spots into 20, image by Jack Landau

The efficient use of space seen in the photo above allowed for the installation of a small yet meaningful manicured garden centred around a mature tree directly adjacent to the ground level parking area.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoSmall landscaped area next to the stackable parking spaces, image by Jack Landau

Cyclists are being treated with increasingly importance in Toronto, and Cube's parking area makes bicycle parking convenient as well.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoBicycle parking at Cube Lofts, image by Jack Landau

The units at Cube Lofts, vary in size from 778 square feet to over 2,000, and all share a clean modern aesthetic. 

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoCompleted unit awaiting PDI, image by Jack Landau

Courtesy of interior design firm Seven Haus Design, kitchen appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers have been hidden behind the cabinetry, reducing the feeling of clutter and maintaining the modern theme.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoKitchen appliances seamlessly integrated with cabinetry, image by Jack Landau

Cube contains a few large 2-storey suites. Since a blank canvas is harder for some to interpret, Houndstooth Interior Design has staged a couple of impressive suites, to provide viewers with a better understanding of what these spaces are truly capable of.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoOne of Cube Lofts' suites staged by Houndstooth Design, image by Jack Landau

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoCollege Street view in one of Cube Lofts' suites staged by Houndstooth Design, image by Jack Landau

The massive windows in this unit stretch from floor to ceiling across both floors, affording dramatic views of College Street from both floors. (Blinds are coming! 24-hour a day exhibitionism is not a requirement of those who will live here!) These two-storey windows are clearly visible from the building's exterior (see the lead photo above) but high reflectivity on the exterior already provides a degree of privacy for those behind them.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoBedroom on the upper floor of staged 2-storey suite, image by Jack Landau

A look at a few other undecorated units awaiting their Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) reveals a recurring bright, open concept feel, found even in the building’s more compact suites.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoCompleted unit awaiting PDI, image by Jack Landau

Before finishing up top, we glimpse another bright and sunny unit, this one with south and west views, also staged by Houndstooth Design.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoAnother suite staged by Houndstooth Design, image by Jack Landau

Up top, the two penthouse units are accessible via direct elevator entry. By using a keyless fob device, the double-sided elevator recognizes whether the passenger is travelling to the north or south penthouse and opens the respective door. The penthouses themselves are still having their finishing touches applied, so we will only tease you for now with one shot from these gorgeous spaces.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoUnfinished southern penthouse at Cube Lofts, image by Jack Landau

While we hold out on the penthouses for a future story, we are happy to take you to their roof terraces for the impressive views of the surrounding neighbourhood and distant skylines.

Looking north, the historic built form of College Street stands against a linear backdrop of new townhouses which leads to Central Commerce Collegiate Institute.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoLooking north from the top of Cube Lofts, image by Jack Landau

To the west, College Street bisects a view dominated by established low-rise neighbourhoods. On the distant horizon, the large residential towers of the Humber Bay Shores area can be seen peeking above the treetop canopy.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoWestern view from Cube Lofts, image by Jack Landau

Zooming in a bit, the distant skyline of Mississauga is silhouetted against the summer haze.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoMississauga off in the distance, image by Jack Landau

The views to the south are more intimate, mostly trees, but where you can see around them, neighbouring rooftops.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoCube Lofts' southern views have a much quieter neighbourhood feel, image by Jack Landau

To the east, looking from south to north, the views take in our sprawling spine of high-rise development which stretches almost uninterrupted from the lake all the way to the midtown area.

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoPanoramic view from the southeast up to the north, image by Jack Landau

A closer look at the downtown peak reveals several under-construction and recently completed condominium developments. I wonder which one we will tour next…

Cube Lofts, Neilas Inc., RAW Design, Quadrangle Architects, TorontoDowntown Toronto seen from Cube Lofts, image by Jack Landau

For additional information including renderings and floorplans, please visit our dataBase listing, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out one of the associated forum threads, or voice your opinion in the comments section provided on this page.