13 Apr Final phase of Liberty Village now underway
The transformation of Toronto’s Liberty Village continued this month with the announcement from Lifetime Developments of the third and final phase of a 16-year development project.
For Brian Brown, the firm’s principal, there have been far more highs than lows since Lifetime purchased a property located at 37 Hanna Ave. in 2004 and initiated plans for what became known as the Liberty Market Complex.
Phase One was the building itself, a manufacturing relic that over the years been the location of a grist and flour mill machinery business, the producer of more than 60 per cent global output ofBren Light machine guns during World War II. and since then. everything from fishing tackle and house trailers to washers and dryers.
What followed was a multi-million-dollar renovation and a renaming of it to Liberty Market Building that resulted in an estimated 300,000 sq. ft. of commercial space being created.
“When you look back at where the property was when we bought it to where it is today, it’s probably one of the more dramatic changes that I have seen in a neighbourhood over a short period of time,” says Brown.
“When we bought this property in 2004, the area was a dead-end dirt road. Our building was painted in cream paint and had aluminum siding covering all the brick and the factory stashed windows were cracked and painted over. It was something we wanted to fix and restore. It has become a fixture in the neighbourhood.”
“Looking at where it is today versus how it was that to me is the high. I remember coming to Liberty Village before then. We used to go to The Academy of Spherical Arts, and I would park in a nearby gravel parking lot and think to myself I am really taking a risk with my car leaving it there.”
Today, he adds, Liberty Village has a “New York-feel to it and the life and activity both during the day and at night is amazing. “Phase Two was the 13-storey Liberty Market Lofts on 5 Hanna Ave. completed in 2013 and construction has begun on Liberty Market Tower, a 28-storey tower to be located at 171 East Liberty St. that will feature 281 residential suites ranging in size from 326 sq.ft. to 1,285 sq.ft.
Aside from the residences, there will be seven floors of commercial space, and an estimated 12,000 sq. ft. of indoor and amenity space to be located in the eighth floor of the building that will contain a state-of-the-art fitness studio, entertaining rooms, dining areas and a business centre.
In addition, artist Anthony Ricciardi has been commissioned to create what Lifeline describes as “murals and sculptures that will be integrated within the communal living environments, designed to inspire residents and complement the creative spirit of the larger Liberty Village community.”
As for any lows associated with Liberty Market Complex, Brown says they are “what you would expect when you are going through transition and change. We had some great tenants not succeed.”
“With our buildings we have tried to keep it to a good mix of smaller tenants and a lot of smaller start-ups. We gave people opportunities who were struggling to find units to rent in other locations. We took a bit of a risk with some of them. Sometimes it paid off and sometimes it didn’t.”
“Some of the tenants we took a risk with have grown and doubled and tripled in size in our building.” Occupancy at Liberty Market Tower is scheduled for late 2021.
Source: The Toronto Sun – Saturday, January 18, 2020.