Planted on famed landmark’s ground
Where pop music fans once screamed and fainted, boutique condo aims to take buyers’ breath away
The Jack promises to bring revolution to Rosedale.
Yet with that promise, the new 11-storey condo from Aspen Ridge Homes will stay true to its storied location. The 153-unit boutique condo will be built at 1331 Yonge St., just south of St. Clair Ave. in Deer Park, on the the site of the old CHUM Radio headquarters.
In its heyday — before CHUM sold the property and moved downtown to 250 Richmond St. W. — the building was the city’s rock ’n’ roll mecca. Artists such as Paul McCartney, Elton John and Frank Zappa dropped by for interviews. When the Bay City Rollers and the Osmonds showed up to go live on air they triggered fan mayhem on Yonge St., recalls CHUMFM morning host Roger Ashby.
The old CHUM building is being demolished to make way for the Jack, but the development team vows the project taking its place will create a big buzz of its own, a “revolution in luxury living.” Site of significance: Given the rich history of the Jack site, its fate has been the source of some speculation.
“Everyone always asks us about this location,” says Christene DeGasperis, vicepresident of Aspen Ridge Homes, which acquired the property seven years ago. “So we realize the significance of what the site meant to the city. It’s probably one of the most important sites we’ve had, and we knew all eyes would be on us.”
Her team went to great lengths to ensure the development does justice to its highprofile history. They would have liked to keep the iconic “Dial 1050 CHUM” neon sign that once adorned 1331 Yonge St., but that went with the station when it moved downtown. What’s on offer: Units at the Jack range from 590 square feet to the 3,500-squarefoot penthouse, which has yet to be released. Prices start at $450,000 and go to more than $3.5 million for the penthouse.
“We realize the significance of the site . . . we knew all eyes would be on us.” CHRISTENE DEGASPERIS ASPEN RIDGE VICE-PRESIDENT
Each suite, designed by II BY IV Design, will have outdoor space: a large terrace for upper-level units facing south and west; balconies on the building’s eastfacing side; and Juliette balconies on the lower-level street-facing side. Who’s buying: Given the project’s proximity to Rosedale and Forest Hill, it’s largely catering to a move-down, emptynester market transitioning from spacious homes.
Buyers have the opportunity to combine smaller units to make a larger one. For example, one purchaser has turned three units into a single suite that’s over 2,000 square feet.
Yet it’s not only move-down buyers the project is appealing to, DeGasperis notes. The Jack also targeting young professionals who might have grown up in the area, left for a bit, and are now looking to return.
“But it’s definitely for people in the neighbourhood,” she says.
Amenities: The Jack will have a fitness centre and a party room that opens onto an outdoor terrace with barbecue and lounge seating. The condo will have one guest suite and there will be 10,000 square feet of retail space at ground level, animating the street between Yonge and St. Clair and Summerhill, with the “Five Thieves” fine-food strip and landmark LCBO, among other shopping and dining destinations. “We’re hearing lots that the neighbourhood is looking forward to having retail at the base here,” DeGasperis says. “Right now there’s no real connectivity. This will add some street life.” Personal project: The Jack is very much a personal project for its designer, Quadrangle Architects principal Les Klein.
“First, I worked on the existing building on and off for years,” he explains.
“We renovated the building, put an addition on, then put another addition on, and now I’m about to tear down a project I worked on for 20 years.”
Plus, as a boomer, “rock and roll was a window onto the world.” Klein didn’t grow up in Toronto (he moved here from the U.S. in the ’80s to cofound Quadrangle), “but I know lots of people who did, and they viewed the CHUM (Top 40) chart as a connection to the world outside Toronto, a way of breaking out of one’s local condition and touching the world. So I feel a lot of affinity toward that cultural history.”
The priority in the Jack’s design is a strong mainstreet presence, with a vibrant retail facade and widened sidewalks: “an urban landscape with trees and places for people to sit, potentially a café,” Klein explains.
In a nod to the CHUM Radio sign, a band of bold red metal will run along the top of the retail level, around the corner on Jackes Ave., and back up the building vertically to define the condo’s side-street entrance.
Above the street wall, the condo will step back each floor from levels six to 11, creating large terraces with views made extra-spectacular by the fact the site is on an escarpment that Klein notes once formed the edge of ancient Lake Iroquois.
“It’s on the shoreline overlooking downtown.”
Plus, he points out, the Juliette balconies feature glazing etched with shadows of leaves and trees.
“We wanted to have details that would intrigue people as they walked along,” Klein says; “give them the sense there’s a lot to look at, rather than ( just) a single glance.”