Declining attendance is a reality that many church congregations face these days, often leading them to tough decisions about what to do with their buildings—buildings which often bring great character to their neighbourhoods. The answer is often to sell the property, with nearby residents who care about the quality of their streetscapes left to place their hope in developers who respect the architecture and feel of the neighbourhood. In the case of High Park-Alhambra United Church, new owners Medallion Capital Group sat down with the locals to take into account their vision for the reimagined site.
The result for 260 High Park Avenue—on the southwest corner with Annette Street—is a four-storey complex that retains much of the heritage features of the church, while echoing its massing in a contemporary extension that forms a U-shaped massing which will rise where the church's Sunday School and surface parking lot have been.
The design work to transform the site has been given to three teams of architects; Turner Fleischer is handling the modern parts of the complex—to be clad primarily in a brick that's complementary to the existing church walls—ERA Architects will exercise their expertise in heritage conservation aspects, and a first-timer in Toronto, Finegold Alexander Architects of Boston, renowned for sensitive church conversions, are making the best of out the heritage spaces of the church to create exceptional suites within the former sanctuary.
Landscaping designed by MEP Design will blend the development into the tree-lined streets of the High Park neighbourhood, and give the courtyard entrance to building a garden ambiance. Inside the lobby doors, a 24-hour concierge will be positioned in a space designed by Toronto's esteemed U31. Their chic spaces will marry the serene, traditional qualities of the church and neighbourhood setting with the warmth of natural materials in clean, modern lines and with the latest in conveniences. Indoor amenities will include a multi-purpose lounge with fireplace, party room with custom kitchen and private dining area, a fitness centre with cardio equipment, a yoga studio, sauna and change rooms, while outside, a patio will be found adjacent to the ground level party room, and a rooftop terrace will give residents a treetops view of Toronto's now numerous far-flung skylines.
Suites in the 55-unit contemporary portion of the complex—ranging between 632 and 2,567 ft² and starting in the $600,000s—are already on sale and are close to 70% sold out. They come in one-bedroom, one-bedroom+den, two-bedroom, two-bedroom+den, and three-bedroom+den layouts. Sales of the 15 Sanctuary Church Loft suites are beginning soon. They will range between 837 and 3,081 ft², come in one-bedroom, one-bedroom+den, two-bedroom, and two-bedroom+den layouts, and be priced between $1M and $4M. Sanctuary Lofts will feature stained glass windows, have ceiling heights that average 10 feet, some with vaulted ceilings. Some Sanctuary Lofts are multi-level units.
All suites will feature smooth ceilings, custom European cabinetry, quartz countertops and backsplashes, Miele appliances, designer baths with rainfall showerheads, cabling to support high-speed entertainment and communication services, and many more high-end features and finishes. With Wilkinson Construction taking on the project, Medallion Capital Group principals Chris Giamou and Mike Giamou are confident enough in the quality of their final product that they have each purchased suites within the complex.
260 High Park's presentation centre can be found at 2150 Bloor Street West in Bloor West Village. Hours are Saturday to Thursday 12 to 5 PM, closed on Fridays.
Additional information and images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.
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|Related Companies:||ERA Architects, Finegold Alexander Architects, Medallion Capital Group, MEP Design Inc., Turner Fleischer Architects, U31|