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Liberty Village

Yes, it is a bit of a destination area, but I emphasize "bit". I'd go there for Mildred's, and when I lived closer I'd go there for the grocery store, and luckily parking around there is reasonable. However, I see it more as serving the local new residential area, which fortunately for retailers in the area, is pretty popular.

I had no idea it was pr0n production central. Interesting.
If your business is an attraction in itself, or could be paired with visiting one of the restaurants for dinner, then Liberty Village could work for you.

If your business is a variety store, or something that depends on traffic exposure, this isn't the place.
Slightly off topic...

How would you guys compare Liberty Village and The Distillery District?... in terms of demographics, potential on investments, etc...
I've lived in both areas (Liberty Village ca 2004-2006) and now in the Distillery area for a year. My main observation is that the Distillery is a slightly older population. Not dramatically older, but slightly. IMHO Liberty Village tended to skew more in the 25-35 range whereas the Distillery Area seems more the 30-45 bracket, with lots of kids, families, and seniors. I find the Liberty Village area quite homogeneously young couples with the odd baby thrown in here and there.

Liberty Village has a lot more businesses and shops than the Distillery, but the Distillery has more restaurants, although they're pretty evenly matched now, I'd say. The Distillery area will change dramatically over the next 5 years as the West Don Lands are completed.

Also, and I'm just assuming that based on your avatar that this may be important, Liberty Village is more car-oriented, though they both have good road links. I don't own a car and find the Distillery area far more pedestrian friendly, and I don't just mean the Distillery itself but along the Esplanade as well.

My personal preference is the Distillery, mostly because of better transit options - the King streetcar is far, far less crowded on the east end than it is on the west (mostly due to all of the development in the Liberty Village and West King West areas) and you've got the added bonus of St Lawrence Market nearby. Also it's a fairly easy walk to the subway, whereas it's a big hike from Liberty Village to the nearest station.
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I haven't lived in either but from visiting my observations are that the Distillery District is far more interesting and has an exciting future ahead whereas my limited exposure to walking around Liberty Village recently is that it's somewhat sterile with some nice mid-rises and some not so great mid-rises. I'd personally also prefer the Distillery location as opposed to King West, but that's just a preference. Liberty Village does have the advantage of a quick walk to the rapidly changing Queen West area which is funky and has a great vibe, yet it's not too close to the late night riff-raff and noise of the clubs.
I'm in this area pretty much everyday. My personal thoughts are;

-great for eye candy
-nice old industrial architecture/history
-changing quickly
-influx of new population once the condos are complete

-no soul!

Something is off with regards to the feel of the neighborhood, and I'm aware its all about young professionals, but rarely seeing families, or seniors, there's just something off about the atmosphere if I were to live there.
Liberty vs. Distillery has always been an interesting comparison to me. Though they mirror each other in the general sense, they both appear to be moving forward in different ways.

I feel as though Liberty Village was exploited by developers before we saw it's real potential. Though is has some of the cities most charming factories and old lofts, it sadly lacked an early re-development vision which has now created a mish-mash of some of the ugliest residential projects (I'm looking at you Vibe). I think West Don Lands has certainly taken note of this. Though WDL has a master plan for its development, Waterfront Toronto is still interested in having the community help evolve its surroundings.

Distillery District itself has sort of peaked. Besides the current high-rise project, it is essentially finished. It's surroundings now have such amazing potential to echo some of it's characteristics. From King East and Corktown to it's North and the Waterfront revitalization to its south (not to mention WDL and St. Lawrence) this without question it Toronto's up-and-coming hotbed for culture and community.

Now hopefully in return, Liberty Village can take a few notes from what WDL and Distillery are doing right.
I walked through Liberty Village on my way home from Caribana and all I could think of is what a shame it turned out this way. I think this area had fantastic potential to become a great district but I don't like what I see there now. The newer buildings are completely wrong, especially that strip mall. Strip malls are still going up in central Toronto? Unbelievable!!! I really don't have any desire to go back there again, it's too depressing. The city should have had a plan for the area and forced developers to do the right thing. It's such a shame. I hope this doesn't happen in West Don Lands and The Portlands. (but I wouldn't be surprised at all)

The Distillery is so much better, in every way.
One thing that no one seems to be mentioning is that Liberty Village is full of people day and night and will be gaining another roughly 2000 citizens within the next 6 months followed by another 10000 over the coming years. Yes, there is much left to be desired with the current state of the architecture and the strip malls are hideous beyond belief and they're building another one - which shouldn't be allowed, but new bars are opening - Locus 144, the best cupcakes in the city are here, great sushi, etc. etc., while the distillery is full of overpriced, mediocre food and is empty 80% of the time. I go, on occasion, but with the exception of Soulpepper (tremendous) and chocolate, there's nothing there of interest. Way more interesting galleries are either in or very close to LV - LV even has a Balzacs.

Of course, I do agree that the Distillery is in a great up and coming area and will only benefit from all the development going on all around it and in 15 years might be incredible, but if the market slows, all of that redevelopment will too and it could take a long time for that to come to fruition. In the meantime, LV almost already has a built in community that is about 4 times larger than the distillery's and in 5 years will be almost 10 times larger. It will be very interesting to see how these people shape the community. I'm hoping for the best.

One last thing. The distillery, while many floors high in some buildings has 90% of it's stuff on the first floor - just like a strip mall. Granted, there aren't any nail salons, blockbusters or pet stores - those are 500m away on the Esplanade. Not everybody can stumble into heritage buildings.
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I don't think having "stuff on the first floor" makes it a strip mall. It's the massive parking lot that's to blame. At a minimum they could have put the storefronts directly to the sidewalks and put the parking in the back facing the rail tracks.
I don't think having "stuff on the first floor" makes it a strip mall. It's the massive parking lot that's to blame. At a minimum they could have put the storefronts directly to the sidewalks and put the parking in the back facing the rail tracks.

Exactly! That's the minimum they could have done. I especially dislike all the townhouses. It should have been much higher density. I would have liked to have seen mid-rises here. (6 to 10 stories, lined with retail on the main strip) Liberty Village needs a centre, a real gathering space. A few interesting attractions or entertainment wouldn't hurt. As it is, it's just like any suburban, bedroom community, with a few cool warehouses, that don't even come close to what their potential is.

This area should have been a major attraction, not another bedroom community. How many more bedroom communities do we need in the core? Isn't City Place, the Fort York District and Liberty Village enough? This is the city, not suburbia!!!
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I don't think having "stuff on the first floor" makes it a strip mall. It's the massive parking lot that's to blame. At a minimum they could have put the storefronts directly to the sidewalks and put the parking in the back facing the rail tracks.

I agree completely that the massive parking lot totally sucks and should've been placed facing the tracks. That being said, it is being shrunk by 1/3 with the new retail that's being currently built and once Liberty Place is built, the parking lot will not be visible from any of the streets that run through LV and will kind of appear out of nowhere once you get far enough down Snooker St.. I also agree that 6-10 stories would've been ideal and the east end needs a ton of retail in the podiums. As for the townhomes, I think it's important to remember that this was all vacant land and it was hard enough for CanAlfa to sell those townhomes, let alone a series of 6-10 story buildings with many more units, because very few people could see the possibility of LV back in 2002. To some extent, it's only because of those townhomes and the stripmall that LV has become as desirable a location as it is. I know many on here don't like it, but the price appreciation and incredible number of condos sold speak for themselves. It's still one of the hottest neighbourhoods in Toronto with a location that is just close enough to walk to all the action or the waterfront, but just far enough to get away. Plus, it has the best looking populace of any neighbourhood in Toronto ;-)
I kind of like the townhomes. And yes it's hot -- there's barely any shade at all :)

Do you know what the new retail will be that is being built?
Really good post simuls, I agree with most of it, especially the last sentence ;)

As for Liberty Village not having a beating heart, I somewhat agree, but there are attempts underway to change that, particularly the Liberty Market Building's attempts to introduce a cool retail environment.

Obviously if we had the opportunity to do it all over again LV would look very different, particularly from the Metro eastward, but the fact is that we don't so it's up to us to make it as vibrant as we can and with the amount of new businesses coming in to the area I thinks it's slowly becoming more of a destination.....most people that live there really enjoy it, despite the best efforts of the City of Toronto to screw it up via a lack of infrastructure (how about extending Hanna Avenue to Strachan?) and over-building (why not ensure that a panel of competent architects overlooks every development project in the City?).