By Tracy HanesSpecial to the Star
Wed., Feb. 24, 2021timer5 min. read
updateArticle was updated 11 hrs ago
From out on Kingston Rd., the Scarborough site that’s been home to the former Knights Inn motel for decades doesn’t look special. But a peek at the rear of the property reveals something extraordinary: a ravine with a steep slope that provides views of a vast swath of the city’s green spaces that surround Highland Creek.
“The ravine has a 75-degree slope and you feel like you’re on top of a mountain,” said Michoel Klugmann, a third-generation developer and founder of Firmland Developments Corp. The property is the future site of Firmland’s aptly-named Perch Condos, an 11-storey boutique midrise building. It will be designed to capitalize on the sweeping views from its ravine-top location overlooking Colonel Danforth Park and Highland Creek.
The greenspace location has other aspects Klugmann was seeking. “I look for neighbourhoods with opportunity where we can develop trend-setting projects I feel will be emulated by others and provide a jump-start in those areas,” he says.
As former head of Lindvest Highrise, he was responsible for developing award-winning projects that helped revitalize neighbourhoods, such as B. Streets, a mixed-use midrise condo project at Bathurst and Bloor Sts., and Sonic, a highrise across from the Eglinton Crosstown line that kicked off the redevelopment of the Eglinton Ave.-Don Mills Rd. area.
“The common denominator between those projects and this one is that people love those neighbourhoods, but those areas needed to be spruced up and the door opened for new development,” said Klugmann.
He considers the area around Perch Condos to be one of the most beautiful pockets in Scarborough, with proximity to transit, highways and many amenities. “It is already zoned for high-density and the University of Toronto has expansion plans for its (nearby) Scarborough campus. It is going to be amazing.
“For people looking to call the 416 home, you have access to parks, trails, ravines. This area is blessed with so much of this. People who live nearby love it,” said Klugmann.
“We’ve been told by the city of Toronto planning staff that they are getting a wave of applications for developments along the whole Kingston Rd. stretch,”he added. “People are looking for alternatives to downtown condos and there’s something to be said for living in an area with more breathing room, more fresh air and where they can be close to nature.”
Klugmann wanted Perch to be a project that will set the bar — and start a trend — in the area as it undergoes revitalization: “The time has come for Scarborough to have downtown Toronto luxury.” To achieve that, Firmland hired renowned design expertise with Charles Gane, of CORE Architects, and Elaine Cecconi, of interior design firm Cecconi Simone.
“It’s a very thoughtful, elegant design and we didn’t spare cost,” said Klugmann. “It has gorgeous terraces and to-die for views. As well as the green areas, you can see elevated highways and the CN Tower. Those are forever views as the adjacent lands are protected by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority.” Firmland has donated part of its site to the TRCA to expand the conservation land.
“We realized the ravine was a special thing and wanted the building to be straight along the front and have an organic, curvy side at the back,” said Gane of Perch’s architecture. “The edge of the ravine gave us a hint of where to place the building. It’s sensitive to the scale of the street, and the city liked the design.”
The top half of the building’s outside profile is stepped back, as required by zoning, and that continues at the rear of Perch to create upper-level terraces. Lower balconies are inset while some of the higher ones angled to avoid 90-degree corners and change up the visual rhythm, said Gane.
The glazed ground level includes an overhang leading to underground parking and the building façade incorporates high-quality brick and opaque back-painted glass panels.
Cecconi and Gane have worked together on many projects. “We have watched each other grow up in the industry and have massive respect for each other,” said Cecconi.
Gane describes working with the designer as “smooth and seamless. (Elaine) gets what we’re trying to do, she follows the cues and her design elevates the architecture.”
Cecconi’s design looked at lighting, with a particular focus on storage and furniture layout within the suites to make the most of sightlines and maximize liveability.
She gave kitchen design a lot of attention: appliances are built-in to provide a custom millwork look, and the island can serve as prep space or dining area. In common areas, she wanted to create an elevated experience that worked with organic elements of the setting. In the lobby, for instance, Cecconi centres the design with a curved meeting-seating area that she anticipates will be a favourite gathering space.
“What’s great about smaller buildings like this is that amenities tend to stay at the ground plane,” said Cecconi. “Whether it’s the lobby, party room or gym, they all interact with an element of greenery and connect to the outside. It feels more intimate and special.”
The building is design to cater to a wide demographic, including empty nesters, young families and students who attend the nearby University of Toronto campus, with suites ranging from one- to three-bedrooms-plus dens, and integrated townhouses. The upper floor units are premium suites, with sweeping views to the north and generous balconies.
The rooftop terrace will also overlook the greenspace of the ravine and park. Plans call for a karaoke room with screen and built-in seating, and an intimate wine tasting room with counter and fridge. Stroller parking on the ground floor and an outdoor kids’ area caters to young families. There’s also a pet spa and outdoor pet area.
“Firmland really wanted to make it special,” said Cecconi. “The access to the ravine to the north is amazing. Michoel was very focused and driven to make it urban, but responsive to the site. He believes that good design differentiates a project and he’s setting the bar quite high here.”
Project: 11-storey building overlooking Highland Creek ravine and Col. Danforth Park at 4964 Kingston Rd.
Builder/developer: Firmland Developments Corp.
Architect: CORE Architects; Interior design: Cecconi Simone
Amenities: Lobby and fireside lounges, parcel storage, stroller parking, pet spa, workspace, Wi-Fi lounge, ravine-side party room, yoga studio and fitness area. Outdoor amenities include kids’ play area, outdoor pet area, water feature, barbecue area, reading patio and dining, fitness and relaxation areas.
Suites: One- to three-bedrooms, with or without dens, 466 to 1,385 sq. ft., plus townhouses at 1,048 sq ft. From the high $400,000s to $1.1 million.
Info: Sales centre at 4679 Kingston Rd., Scarborough, www.perchcondos.com, 416-724-8888