Toronto’s dilapidated garage site that sold for $ 712,000 may soon become a $ 2 million home


When a dilapidated garage in East York sold for over $ 700,000 in 2019, some lamented the state of Toronto’s housing market.

But for Andrew Gabriel, 22, an aspiring new developer, it was an irresistible opportunity.

“My first thought was, ‘This is something that not many people are going to pay attention to,’” said Gabriel. “The garage doesn’t really matter. What we’re buying here is land.”

Gabriel bought the garage and its 20-by-100 foot lot for $ 712,000 in March 2021. Today, construction of a three-bedroom home is underway. Approximately 1,200 square feet in size, the house will have two floors, a full basement and a carport.

Gabriel said he hopes it will sell for between $ 1.8 million and $ 2 million when it hits the market in the New Year. This is based on the current market and other new builds in the same region, he said.

While Toronto’s housing problems are not solved by building high-end single-family homes, Gabriel sees this project as a good example of making the most of a small piece of land.

For its part, the city has encouraged the construction of smaller houses on available land as a potential solution to the current housing crisis.

It launched an initiative to explore more housing options in residential neighborhoods in July 2020. The Expanding housing options in neighborhoods The initiative prioritizes allowing more housing types in areas of the city that historically have not allowed them.

The original garage was pulled out of the cramped lot shortly after it was purchased by Andrew Gabriel’s development firm. (Haweya Fadal / CBC)

The city council also approved the construction of lane housing in 2018 and is in the process of approving garden housing, second smaller houses built in the backyards of existing properties.

But while it’s clear the city wants to expand its available housing options, the city’s zoning regulations and backlogs can be a challenge for those looking to build something new.

An interior render of the three-bedroom home shows a modern kitchen and dining area. (Submitted by Contempo Studio)

Initial plans for the small lot included a slightly larger house with more space, but getting city-approved waivers for this build would have delayed construction until 2022 due to backlogs, said Marin Zabzuni, director. of design at Contempo Studios, the company Gabriel hired to design the new home.

Gabriel told the company construction was due to take place this year in order to protect his investment. This forced the designers to get creative and come up with a unique plan that was consistent with existing zoning regulations and not including any exemptions requiring additional approvals.

“It’s quite difficult,” Zabzuni said. “Every little thing, like placing even a column, if it’s a few inches away, it would need a minor variation [and approval from the city]. “

A render of the interior of the house shows the living room on the first floor and large windows. (Submitted by Contempo Studio)

Ultimately, both designer and developer are happy with the final design.

“This is an exciting and very unique project,” said Gabriel. “Not the typical house style you see.”


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