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  1. http://nymag.com/homedesign/urbanliving/2012/hudson-yards/ Atop the 1,300-foot office tower, soon to rise at 33rd Street and Tenth Avenue, by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse From 0 to 12 Million Square Feet In a few weeks, construction begins on New York’s largest development ever. Hudson Yards is handsome, ambitious, and potentially full of life. Should we care that it’s also a giant slab of private property? An exclusive preview. By Justin Davidson Published Oct 7, 2012 ShareThis On a Friday afternoon in September, a conclave of architects and real-estate executives gathers in a hotel conference room to look over plans for Manhattan’s largest remaining chunk of emptiness. Hudson Yards, the railroad depot that stretches from Tenth Avenue to the Hudson River, and from 30th to 33rd Street, barely registers on the mental map of most New Yorkers. Look down from a neighboring window, and you see only a pit full of trains hazed with their diesel fumes. The planners’ view, though, takes in sugarplum dreams of the city’s shiny next wing: an $800 million concrete roof over the yards, and above it the country’s largest and densest real-estate development: 12 million square feet of *offices, shops, movie theaters, gyms, hotel rooms, museum galleries, and open space, and 5,000 apartments, all packed into 26 acres. In the first, $6 billion phase—scheduled for completion by late 2017—the tallest tower will top the Empire State Building, and even the shortest will have a penthouse on the 75th floor. The people in the conference room can visualize that future in high-resolution detail. On the screen, digital couples stroll among trees pruned to cubical perfection. A chain of glowing towers garlands the skyline, and tiny figures stroll onto a deck hanging nearly a quarter-mile in the air. Architects discuss access points, sidewalk widths, ceiling heights, flower beds, and the qualities of crushed-stone pathways. You could almost forget that none of this exists yet—until one architect points to a lozenge-shaped skyscraper and casually, with a twist of his wrist, remarks that he’s thinking of swiveling it 90 degrees. The Related Companies, the main developer of the site, has called this meeting so that the designers of the various buildings can finally talk to each other, instead of just to the client. I’m getting the first look at the details at the same time some of the participants are. Suddenly, after years of desultory negotiations and leisurely design, the project has acquired urgency: Ground-breaking on the first tower will take place in the coming weeks. There’s a high-octane crew in the room: William Pedersen, co-founder of the high-rise titans Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; David Childs, partner at the juggernaut Skidmore Owings and Merrill; Elizabeth Diller, front woman for the cerebral boutique Diller Scofidio + Renfro; *David Rockwell, a virtuoso of showbiz and restaurant design; Howard Elkus, from the high-end shopping-center specialists Elkus Manfredi; and landscape architect Thomas Woltz, the only member of the group new to New York real-estate politics. Their task is to compose a neighborhood from scratch. The success of Hudson Yards depends on the question: Can a private developer manufacture a complete and authentic high-rise neighborhood in a desolate part of New York? “This isn’t just a project; it’s an extension of the city,” says Stephen Ross, Related’s founder and chairman. New York has always grown in nibbles and crumbs, and only occasionally in such great whale-gulps of real estate. In the richest, most layered sections of the city, each generation’s new buildings spring up among clumps of older ones, so that freshness and tradition coexist. A project of this magnitude, concocted around a conference table, could easily turn out to be a catastrophe. The centrally planned district has its success stories—most famously, Rockefeller Center. Coordinated frenzies of building also produced Park Avenue, Battery Park City, and the current incarnation of Times Square. But this enterprise is even more ambitious than any of those, and more potentially transformative than the ongoing saga of the World Trade Center. New York has no precedent for such a dense and complex neighborhood, covering such a vast range of uses, built in one go. That makes this Ross’s baby. Hundreds of architects, engineers, consultants, planners, and construction workers will contribute to the finished product. Oxford Properties Group has partnered with Related, and the city dictated much of the basic arrangement. But in the end, how tightly the new superblocks are woven into the city fabric, how organic their feel, and how bright their allure will depend on the judgment and taste of a billionaire whose aesthetic ambitions match the site’s expanse, and who slips almost unconsciously from we to I. “We went out and selected great architects and then created a whole five-acre plaza,” Ross says. “People will have never seen such a world-class landscaping project. I can’t tell you what that plaza will look like, but what I visualize is a modern-day Trevi Fountain. It’s going to be classical and unique.” The best clue to what he has in mind isn’t in Rome, but at Columbus Circle. Ross lives and works in the Time Warner Center, which Related built, and if you imagine the complex blown out to five times its size, you begin to get a sense of what’s coming at Hudson Yards: crowds flowing from home to boutique, hotel to subway, office to spa, concert to restaurant—and all that activity threaded around and through a curving plaza equipped with fountains and a very tall monument, as yet unchosen. The Time Warner Center brought profitable liveliness to Columbus Circle, the once moribund, now vibrant hinge between midtown and the Upper West Side. But massive as it is, the Time Warner Center is dainty by comparison. Hudson Yards circa 2017 1. This office tower, by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, will become Coach headquarters. 2. Apartments by Diller Scofidio +Renfro, joined by David Rockwell: condos on top, rentals below. 3. The flagship office building, also by KPF: 1,300 feet high. 4. The curvy multiuse tower by David Childs contains a hotel, condominiums, and a big Equinox gym. 5. The shopping arcade (please don't call it the mall). 6.The Culture Shed: still unrevealed, but a great big space for traveling exhibits and other events. Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Unnumbered buildings (the western half of the development) have yet to be designed. Photo: Map by Jason Lee The view from the High Line. Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Start on the High Line, at West 30th Street near Tenth Avenue. At the moment, the landscaped section peters out here, but the old elevated railway continues, forking both east and west to form the southern border of Hudson Yards. Eventually, you’ll be able to continue your stroll beneath the canopy of an office tower housing the headquarters of the leather-goods company Coach. It’s a tricky spot, and the interaction of city street and raised park forces the architecture to perform some fancy steps. The building genuflects toward Tenth Avenue on muscular concrete legs. Coach’s unit reaches out toward the High Line, and the crown greets the skyline at a jaunty tilt. With all its connections and contortions, the tower, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, assembles its identity out of the complexities of city life. “My whole career has been about taking buildings that are inherently autonomous and getting them to become social gestures,” remarks Pedersen. Head up a couple of blocks from Coach’s future headquarters, and at West 33rd Street, another KPF tower tapers from vast hoped-for trading floors to a jagged peak 1,300 feet up. A state-of-the-art office building these days requires huge open layouts and thick bundles of elevator shafts, which tend to give it the natural grace of a hippopotamus thigh. But look up: Here, the design artfully disguises the two towers’ bulk by making them seem dramatically foreshortened, as if they were speeding toward the sky. One slopes toward the river, the other in the direction of midtown, parted like stalks of corn in a breeze. The cone of space between them draws sunlight to the ground and leaves a welcome break in the city’s increasingly crowded skyline. With any luck, you should be able to stand at the foot of these towers and feel sheltered but not squashed. It would have been far easier to wall the development off and let each tower stand in isolated splendor. Instead, planners have tried to soften the borders of their domain. That’s not just civic-mindedness; it’s good business. If Hudson Yards is going to be a truly urban place, it will have to lure people who neither work nor live there but who come because everyone else does. The development will have two major magnets, one for commerce, food, and entertainment, the other for that primal necessity of New York life: culture. Related is pinning a lot of financial optimism on a five-floor, two-block-long retail extravaganza that links the two KPF towers, rather like the Time Warner Center shops, only bigger, busier, sunnier, and more tightly knit to the city. “We don’t want this to feel like a mall,” insists its architect, Howard Elkus. Pedestrian passageways cut through the building, extending the streets indoors, and a succession of great glass walls turn window-shopping into a spectator sport. The liveliness engine is on the fourth floor, where a collection of informal but high-end food outlets curated by Danny Meyer looks out over the central plaza—“Eataly on steroids” is how one Related executive describes it. Above that are more expensive restaurants and a ten-screen multiplex. Stroll out the western side of the shopping center toward the central plaza, walk diagonally across to 30th Street, halfway between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, and you come to the most intriguing and mysterious element of Hudson Yards: the Culture Shed. Having set aside a parcel of land for cultural use, the city put out a call for ideas. Elizabeth Diller and David Rockwell answered with an amalgam of architectural and institutional innovations: a flexible gallery complex to accommodate traveling exhibits and nomadic performing events. Together, they designed an enormous trusslike shell that could fit over the galleries or roll out like a shipyard gantry to enclose a vast performance space. The city refuses to discuss architectural details, how the still-theoretical organization will function, or who would pay to build and operate it. But it’s easy to imagine it being used for film premieres and high-definition broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera or as a permanent home for Fashion Week, which now camps out in tents. The Culture Shed can give Hudson Yards the highbrow legitimacy and cutting-edge cool it needs to become an integral part of New York, and also create a cultural corridor running from the Whitney Museum at Gansevoort Street (now under construction), through Chelsea’s gallery district, and up to Lincoln Center. The project may be in the wishful-thinking stage—it could still get scaled back or dumbed down, or it could vanish altogether. But it does have one crucial booster: the Related Companies. “The Culture Shed is critically important,” says Jay Cross, the executive who is running the Hudson Yards project. “We’re going to be major supporters because we want and need to see it come to fruition.” Hudson Yards is getting much more from the city than just the Culture Shed. While planners keep working out ways to weld the complex to its environs, the West Side has already begun to embrace its coming addition. New rental towers have sprouted in the West Thirties and burly office buildings will soon rise along Ninth and Tenth Avenues. “There are communities around us—Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown South, West Chelsea, New Jersey to the west—that if we do a great job are just naturally going to flow in and populate that space,” says Cross. The site as a whole is a yawning pit, not so much a blank slate as an empty socket, surrounded by amenities and infrastructure just waiting to be plugged in. Hudson River Park runs along the western edge (set off by Twelfth Avenue), the High Line spills in from the south, and the future Hudson Park and Boulevard will swoop down from the north. The No. 7 subway-line extension is on the way to completion, the Javits Center is being overhauled, and maybe one day Moynihan Station will even get built. In all, $3 billion in taxpayer-funded improvements encircle the Related fiefdom—not including city tax abatements. “Where else have you ever seen this kind of public money for infrastructure to service a whole new development, in the heart of the city, with that much land and no obstacles?” Ross asks. His vocal enthusiasm for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party’s small-*government credo evidently hasn’t curbed his appreciation for public support. Although it’s the next mayor who will cut the first ribbon, in the long run Hudson Yards may well be the grandest and most dramatic piece of Michael Bloomberg’s legacy. It’s been on the city’s to-do list for almost a decade, ever since Bloomberg hoped to draw the 2012 Olympics to New York with promises of a West Side stadium. The fact that London won the games was a disappointment to him but a stroke of luck for the West Side, scuttling what would have been a disastrous stadium plan, while at the same time calling attention to the value of the real estate above the tracks. Eager for space to put up high-rises and now prompted by a big hole on Manhattan’s western flank, the city focused on a rezoning that is gradually pulling midtown’s center of gravity westward. There are two ways to conceive such a monster project. One is for a single architectural overlord to shape the whole shebang, as Raymond Hood did at Rockefeller Center. Steven Holl, whose offices overlook Hudson Yards and who has designed two similarly gargantuan complexes in China, submitted an entry that might have resulted in a work of thrilling coherence, with the same sensibility imbuing every detail, from door handles to office blocks. But the auteur development also risks yielding a place of oppressive uniformity, where each aesthetic miscalculation is multiplied many times over. Related chose the second option: recruiting an ensemble of brand-name designers. That approach emulates a sped-up version of New York’s gradual, lot-by-lot evolution; the danger is that it can produce a jumble. “Sometimes architectural vitality leads to messiness, or varying degrees of quality, and we’re trying to avoid that,” acknowledges Cross. “Every building is going to be best in class. That’s the common thread.” But bestness is not actually a unifying concept, and when the city held the competition to award the development rights in 2008, the Related entry failed to wow the city, the public, or the critics. “With a drop-dead list of consultants, contributors, collaborators, and anyone else who could be thrown into the mix … [the company] has covered all possible bases with something dreadful for everybody. This is not planning, it’s pandering,” wrote the critic Ada Louise Huxtable in The Wall Street Journal. None of that mattered: The project originally went to another developer, Tishman Speyer, and when that deal fell through, Related scooped it up. Architecture had nothing to do with it. Yet nearly five years later, with contracts signed and money starting to flow, that gold-plated crew of designers, working in separate studios, with different philosophies and, until recently, little consultation, has nevertheless produced a kind of haphazard harmony. What unites them is their taste for complexity and the deftness with which they maneuver conflicting programs into a single composition. Just past the Culture Shed, on the 30th Street side of the site at Eleventh Avenue, is the eastern half’s only purely residential tower, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, with David Rockwell. It’s an architectural griffin, grafting together rectilinear rental units on the lower floors with flower-petal condo layouts up high—about 680 apartments in all. The fantastically idiosyncratic bulges and dimples join in complicated ways that make the glass façade look quilted. Now walk north, back across the plaza and past a still-to-be-designed café pavilion, and you come to another tower with a textured exterior—vertical folds with stone on one side and glass on the other, as if a palazzo had merged with a modernist shaft. Actually, the building is even more hybridized than that. David Childs, the architect of the Time Warner Center and One World Trade Center, had to shoehorn a large Equinox gym plus offices, an orthopedic hospital, a sports emporium, a hotel, and a condominium into a curved base and a slender tube. “Hudson Yards is a city within a city. This tower is a city within a city—within a city,” he says. The most delicate, crucial, and treacherous design problem at Hudson Yards isn’t a building at all but the public space, and especially the five acres in the middle, an expanse about as large as Bryant Park. Done right, it could be the most vibrant gathering spot on the West Side, a New York version of Venice’s Piazza San Marco. Done wrong, it could be a windswept tundra populated only by office workers scuttling between the subway and their desks. It’s worrisome that Ross and his team postponed thinking about that void until so much of the architecture had been designed, but heartening that they are intensely focused on it now. Related has given the job to the talented Thomas Woltz, whose quietly refined restorations of gardens and college campuses may not quite have prepared him for the fierce pressure of shaping New York’s most ample new public space. It’s not just a place for people to mingle but for the relationships between the various buildings to express themselves across the connecting plaza. “One of the paintings I admire most is The School of Athens,” says KPF’s William Pedersen, referring to Raphael’s klatch of bearded philosophers chatting beneath noble vaults. “You have great historical and intellectual figures gathered together in dynamic groups of interchange, gesturing to each other. That’s the architectural assignment for each of us.” David Childs phrases a similar thought in a way that graciously defers to Woltz even while sending the message: Don’t screw this up. “We have an obligation to create great architecture, and all the buildings have to be related to the space in the center,” he says. “The void is the most important part.” Woltz has gotten it wrong once. In his first presentation, he placed a plush lawn at the center of the complex, and Ross nearly kicked him out of the room. What Ross wants is not a place to toss a Frisbee, but a town square alive with purpose and electricity. That’s a spectacular challenge; there are few great models for a European-style piazza within a ring of skyscrapers. For now, Woltz’s solution is a paved ellipse, outlined by a perimeter of trees cultivated with geometric severity—given “the Edward Scissorhands topiary treatment,” as one designer puts it. The idea is to create a verdant transition from the human scale to that of glass-and-steel giants. “In an open space next to 1,000-foot towers, our tallest tree is going to be like an ant next to a tall man’s shoe,” Woltz says. But the most maddening paradox of Woltz’s assignment is that he must tailor an open space to the motley public—in ways that will please a potentate. Like some fairy-tale monarch, Ross has dispatched his counselors to find an artist capable of supplying his modern Trevi Fountain. What he wants is something monumental enough to focus the entire project, a piece that’s not just watery and impressive but so instantly iconic that people will meet by it, shoot photos of it, notice it from three blocks away, and recognize it from the cover of guidebooks. You get the feeling that Ross is hedging his bets: If Woltz can’t deliver a world-class plaza with his trees and pavers, maybe a Jeff Koons or an Anish Kapoor can force it into life with a big honking hunk of sculpture. A giant puppy can’t solve an urban design problem, though. It’s nice that a hardheaded mogul like Ross places so much faith in the civic power of art, but he may be asking it to do too much. The plaza is the node where the site’s conflicting forces reveal themselves: the tension between public and private, between city and campus, between democratic space and commercial real estate. Occupy Wall Street’s takeover of Zuccotti Park last year pointed up the oxymoron inherent in the concept of privately owned public space: You can do anything you like there, as long as the owners deem it okay. Childs hopes that his client’s insistence on premium-brand design won’t make Hudson Yards just the province of privilege. “We want this project to be laced through with public streets, so that everyone has ownership of it, whether you’re arriving in your $100,000 limo or pushing a shopping cart full of your belongings.” The plans include drop-off lanes, so the limos are taken care of. But if the shopping-cart pushers, buskers, protesters, skateboarders, and bongo players start feeling too welcome at Hudson Yards, Related’s security guards will have a ready-made *argument to get them to disperse: This is private property.
  2. KPF wins planning approval for Gravesend riverside renewal project Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (London) have won planning approval for a new riverfront development to the north-west of Gravesend Town Centre that combines affordable housing, public amenity space and the restoration of Thames riverside heritage. Clifton Wharf will occupy two brownfield sites separated by West Street. The unique location includes a disused iron railway pier extending out into the Thames. KPF’s proposed re-development advances both the Kent and Medway Structure Plan and the Gravesham Local Plan by redressing the legacy of decline to the environment and infrastructure of this area. It will revitalise Gravesend town centre by bringing life into the neighbourhood though the creation of jobs and much needed accommodation. The scheme comprises 145 residential apartments, a retail unit and provisional river-related uses. The design overcomes the challenge of a split location by means of five sliced ellipsoidal buildings. Cutaway roofs allow for terraces at the top levels; punctuations in the wooden façades provide balconies for lower flats. The buildings, pebble-like in form, sit on a landscaped podium that stretches out in line with the pier. Every building in the cluster uses cutting edge morphology and careful positioning to maximise variety, giving the appearance of differing volumes and heights and taking advantage of the site’s access to unique views and natural light. KPF’s scheme restores the old iron pier and introduces steps and ramps to allow members of the public to get close to the original engineering. The shape and orientation of the pier is echoed and extended inland by the podium which unifies the site and reinforces the connection with the river. The new public walkway, which extends across the road to the pier, provides pedestrian access to the terraces and viewpoints on the water. The relocation of the old river defence wall creates space for proper pavements on West Street and an improved flood protection barrier further to the north. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11355
  3. Dans le SFGate Montreal's quartet of cultures creates a colorful pattern Margo Pfeiff Updated 11:25 am, Friday, July 4, 2014 Tourists gather near the Basilique Notre-Dame in Montreal. Photo: Joanne Levesque, Getty Images The Ogilvy Piper makes his way through the jewelry section of the iconic department store at noon every day. Photo: Margo Pfeiff, Special To The Chronicle A room at Old Montreal's classic 18th century Hotel Pierre du Calvet. Photo: Margo Pfeiff, Special To The Chronicle Old Montreal's classic 18th century Hotel Pierre du Calvet. A terrace at an Old Montreal restaurant. Photo: Margo Pfeiff, Special To The Chronicle Activities at the Lachine Canal National Historic Site. Photo: Margo Pfeiff, Special To The Chronicle Ninety percent of all first encounters in downtown Montreal begin with the same two words. That are the same word. "Bonjour. Hi." Respond one way and you parlez français; answer the other and you're in English territory. Despite periodic bickering - including threats of Quebec's separating from the rest of Canada - the biggest French-speaking city outside of Paris has actually become increasingly bilingual and harmonious over recent decades. But with the strong bilateral English-French vibe, what's often overshadowed is that there were four founding cultures that laid down strong roots on this island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River almost 350 years ago. I'm reminded of this as I wait at a traffic light staring at each culture's national symbols on a flapping city flag - the French fleur-de-lis, the red English rose, an Irish shamrock and Scotland's thistle. Though Montreal is wildly multicultural today, in the 19th century, 98 percent of the city's population was French, English, Irish or Scottish. Is it still possible, I wonder, to experience each of those distinct original cultures - including real, non-poutine France and genuine tally-ho England - in modern Montreal? Heart of New France Since I believe every cultural quest is improved with a signature cocktail, I start with France and I order my very first absinthe at the Sarah B Bar, named after Sarah Bernhardt, queen of French tragedy. As couples cuddle in "Green Fairy" alcoves, my bartender pours the notorious chartreuse liquor that Hemingway, Toulouse-Lautrec and Oscar Wilde imbibed in their Parisian days into a specially shaped glass. He rests a flat, perforated "absinthe spoon" topped with a sugar cube across the top, then drips ice water until it is melted, turning the absinthe milky. Legend has it that absinthe has driven men to madness and drove Van Gogh to slice off his ear. Sipping the herbal, floral and slightly bitter cocktail, I look closely at the bottle's label - while the current version is a hefty 160 proof, it's missing the likely source of "la fée verte" (green fairy) hallucinations, wormwood. I teeter on uneven cobblestone streets to the heart of New France in Old Montreal amid clip-clopping horse-drawn carriages. Bells chime from Notre Dame Basilica with its Limoges stained glass windows from France, artists sell their crafts in narrow alleyways, and in the evening, gas lamps still light up rue Ste.-Helene. I check into La Maison Pierre du Calvet, a nine-room guesthouse spanning three small buildings dating back to 1725. It's a stone-walled time capsule with random staircases, crooked hallways and an antique-filled library with ancient fireplaces. Escargot and stag fillet are served in a grand old dining room, and the chateau luxury includes a grand step-up, monarchy-caliber canopied bed. The morning streets waft cafe au lait and croissant aromas as I walk to the walled city's original market square of Place Royale to Maison Christian Faure, a chic new French pastry shop. In the hands-on cooking school, I glean the secrets behind crisp-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside, iconic French macarons. It's so simple they even offer kids' classes, and it's made all the more fun by Lyon-born Faure himself, a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) - an elite group of France's best chefs - and the stories of his days as pastry chef for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the prince of Monaco. "I moved here because the public markets are like those in Provence," he croons in a Lyon accent, "and because Montreal is so, mmmmm ... Europe." The pipes are calling While French zealots came to the New World to save the souls of "sauvages," the Scots came to make money. And you can still see plenty of it in the Golden Square Mile's historical buildings sloping up from Sherbrooke Street, downtown's main upscale shopping boulevard, to Mont Royal, the park-topped hill after which the city is named. The area was a residential tycoon alley from 1850 to 1930, occupied by rail, shipping, sugar and beer barons with names like Angus, McIntyre and Molson who owned 70 percent of the country's wealth. About 85 percent of the lavish estates were lost before heritage finally won over demolition in 1973. When I walk those hilly streets for the first time instead of whizzing by in my car, I'm surprised to see downtown with different eyes, an obviously British and Scottish quarter with an eclectic architectural mix from Neo-Gothic and Queen Anne to Art Nouveau, estates with names such as Ravenscrag and castles crafted from imported Scottish red sandstone. These days they're consulates, office headquarters and the Canadian McCord Museum; 30 of the beauties are campus outposts bought by McGill University, a legacy of Scottish merchant James McGill, who donated his 47-acre summer estate to become one of Canada's leading universities. One of my favorite buildings is the 1893 Royal "Vic" (Victoria) Hospital, where you can get your appendix yanked in a Scottish baronial castle complete with turrets. And where there are Scots, there are bagpipes. Montreal's most famous piper is at Ogilvy, a high-end department store on Ste. Catherine Street. Every day from noon to 1 p.m. since 1927, a kilt-clad piper plays marches and reels as he strolls around all five floors, down spiral staircases and beneath massive chandeliers where purchases are packed in tartan bags and boxes I also hear the whining tones of "Scotland the Brave" as I head toward my Highland cocktail at the Omni Hotel, where a kilted piper every Wednesday evening reminds folks emerging from Sherbrooke Street office towers that it's Whisky Folies night, a single-malt-scotch tasting in the Alice Bar. I choose five from the 10- to 20-year-olds served with a cuppa fish and chips. A local Scotsman drops in for a wee one, informing me that there's been a benefit St. Andrews Ball in Montreal every November for 177 years, "but come to the Highland Games, where there's dancing, throwing stuff around and looking up kilts - fun for the whole family." Montreal's bit o' Irish Snippets of the four founding cultures pop up repeatedly when you walk around town - statues of Robbie Burns and Sir John A. Macdonald, the Glasgow-born first prime minister of Canada; the green Art Nouveau ironwork of a Paris Metro at the Victoria Square subway station, given by France; British hero Adm. Horatio Nelson overlooking Old Montreal's main square (though the original likeness was blown to bits by Irish republican extremists in 1966). Ah, the Irish. They arrived in Montreal in big numbers in the early 1800s to build the Lachine Canal to bypass rapids blocking the shipping route to the Great Lakes. They settled nearby in Griffintown, currently a maze of condos and cranes. Stroll along rapidly gentrifying Notre Dame Street, still an eclectic melange of antiques-and-collectibles shops, funky cafes and local bistros. The Irish were unique among English-speaking immigrants - hatred for their English oppressors back home had them cozying up with the French, fellow Catholics. Surprisingly, the Irish legacy is dominant in Montreal; about 40 percent of the population has a wee bit of Blarney blood. Of course there are also pubs and churches, St. Pat's Basilica being the ornate religious hub, its interior adorned with intertwined fleurs-de-lis and shamrocks. Conveniently nearby, sacred brew is served over the altar of Hurley's Pub, a favorite hangout where Irish and Newfoundlanders work magic with fiddles, pipes and drums - even the Pogues have jammed here. I love Hurley's because it's a rare pub with Guinness stout on tap both icy cold and traditionally lukewarm; I prefer the latter for bigger flavor. "Watch him top that brew up three times," Frankie McKeown urges from a neighboring stool. "Even in Ireland they hardly do that now." The Irish come out of the woodwork on March 17, when Canada's oldest St. Patrick's parade turns downtown green, as it has since 1824. "It's amazing," says McKeown. "In Dublin it's all done in 45 minutes, but here we're watching floats for three hours." A grand party ensues afterward at Hurley's. "But it's just as much fun on Robbie Burns Day, when a haggis held high follows a piper through the pub." Britain in the mix Britain enters Montreal's picture after the Seven Years War in the 1760s when France dumps Quebec in exchange for the sugar colonies of Martinique and Guadeloupe. By 1845, about 55,000 British top out as 57 percent of Montreal's population - and the percentage has been dwindling ever since. While there may not be much Scottish brogue or Irish lilt left these days, there's plenty of culture on the plate and in the glass, though surprisingly not so much representing British roots in Montreal. In 2012, English chef Jamie Oliver made big waves by teaming up with Montreal chef Derek Dammann to highlight creative British tavern-inspired fare at the popular Maison Publique (Public House), serving locally sourced, home-smoked/pickled and cured angles on Welsh rarebit, hogget with oats and cabbage, and the like. Otherwise, the truest of Montreal's British establishments is the Burgundy Lion in Griffintown, one of the few places to offer Sunday British "footie" on the big screens, as kippers 'n' eggs, Lancashire pot pie and cucumber sandwiches are dished out by gals in tight, mod-'70s outfits. I happen to drop in during England's National Day, St. George's, to find the place hopping with dart-throwing, papier-mache piñata-style "dragon slaying" and ballad singing. I wind up at the bar sipping my pint of Boddingtons between two fellows, both dressed in fake chain mail. The one also draped in a Union Jack British flag clicks my glass with his bottle, announcing "Here's to Blighty!" before raising the visor on his medieval knight helmet to take a royal slug. Can you still experience Montreal's four founding nations in this multicultural modern city? Oui. Yes. And aye. If You Go GETTING THERE Air Canada offers daily flights from San Francisco to Montreal year round. (888) 247-2262, www.aircanada.com. WHERE TO STAY La Maison Pierre du Calvet: 405 Bonsecours St., Old Montreal. (514) 282-1725 or (866) 544-1725. www.pierreducalvet.ca/english. Lavish French colonial inn. From $265 double with continental breakfast. (Two on-site dining rooms serve French fare.) Fairmont Queen Elizabeth: 900 Rene Levesque Blvd. West. (866) 540-4483. www.fairmont.com/queen-elizabeth-montreal. A classic fit for everyone from the Queen Mother to John and Yoko; where they recorded "Give Peace a Chance" in 1969. From $209 double. Hotel Nelligan: 106 St. Paul West, Old Montreal. (877) 788-2040. www.hotelnelligan.com. Chic boutique hotel named after a famed Irish-French poet. From $250 double. WHERE TO EAT Le Mas des Oliviers: 1216 Bishop St. (514) 861-6733. www.lemasdesoliviers.ca. Classic French cuisine at a landmark downtown restaurant, one of the city's oldest places to eat. Dinner for two from $120. Also open for lunch. Restaurant L'Express: 3927 St. Denis. (514) 845-5333, www.restaurantlexpress.ca. Popular, casual French bistro, a Montreal icon. Dinner for two from $60. Maison Publique: 4720 Rue Marquette. (514) 507-0555, www.maisonpublique.com. Jamie Oliver's hip, up-market and creative take on British tavern fare. Very popular, no reservations. Dinner for two from $60. Burgundy Lion: 2496 Notre-Dame West. (514) 934-0888, www.burgundylion.com. Only true British pub in Montreal. Large selection of local and imported brews and one of Canada's biggest single-malt whiskey collections. English gastro pub menu with lunch and dinner from $40 for two. Hurley's Irish Pub: 1225 Crescent St. (514) 861-4111, www.hurleysirishpub.com. Great selection of brews, a traditional Emerald Isle pub menu, and Irish and/or Newfoundland fiddle music nightly. Entrees from $10. WHAT TO DO Point-a-Calliere Museum of Archaeology and History: 350 Place Royale, Old Montreal. (514) 872-7858, www.pacmusee.qc.ca/en/home. Excellent museum set atop the original city town square. Closed Mondays except in summer. Adults $18. McCord Museum: 690 Rue Sherbrooke West. (514) 398-7100, www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/en. Extensive cultural museum of all things Canadian. Frequent exhibitions of Montreal's various cultures. Closed Mondays. Adults $12. Fitz and Follwell Co: 115 Ave. du Mont-Royal West. (514) 840-0739, www.fitzandfollwell.co. Guided Montreal biking, walking and unique snow tours. Martin Robitaille: Private history-oriented city guide. [email protected] Maison Christian Faure: 355 Place Royale, Old Montreal, (514) 508-6453, www.christianfaure.ca. Hands-on French pastry and macaron-making classes. There's even a pastry-making boot camp for kids. Whisky Folies, Omni Hotel: 1050 Sherbrooke West. (514) 985-9315, http://bit.ly/1iCaJxc . Single-malt scotch and whisky tastings with fish and chips every Wednesday, 5-9 p.m.. From $16 to $40. My Bicyclette: 2985-C St. Patrick (Atwater Market). (877) 815-0150, www.mybicyclette.ca. Bike rental and tours of the Lachine Canal region. MORE INFORMATION Tourism Montréal: www.tourisme-montreal.org. Tourism Québec: www.bonjourquebec.com. Margo Pfeiff is a freelance writer living in Montreal. E-mail: [email protected]
  4. Dernière phase du projet Jardins Upper West Side http://www.upperwestside.ca/1-condo-dollards-des-ormeaux.html Site : https://www.google.ca/maps/@45.477769,-73.83937,3a,75y,61.29h,84.76t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1spLhJy19dbfb9Lh9WBnX4iQ!2e0
  5. Phases 4 et 5 des Jardins Upper West Side http://www.upperwestside.ca/1-condo-dollards-des-ormeaux.html Phase 4 Phase 5
  6. Who can I put on speed dial for thread subject changes? I posted this thread and I'd like to rename the title appropriate because at first I thought this was on Notre-Dame West but then I realized it was on Duvernay. vBulletin won't let me do it.
  7. Not much info on this one - saw a sign posted today at 2204 Sainte-Catherine West, right opposite of the now completed Seville project. The sign said something along the lines of stay tuned - new project on the way. Will try and get more info tomorrow!
  8. This is the same building as Angela Pizza. Walked by today, noticed some heavy renovations going on at "ground" floor level. All graffitis cleaned up. Peeked inside and saw plenty of ladders and fresh new walls. I think this is a handsome rugged building that deserves a facelift. Gives me NYC vibes. It's been abandoned for as long as I can remember though I think there was a dental clinic in there at some point. Googled a bit for 1668 Maisonneuve and found this listing as well as this Altus profile. [sTREETVIEW]https://maps.google.com/maps?q=maisonneuve+at+st-mathieu,+montreal&hl=en&ll=45.494924,-73.580168&spn=0.001765,0.004106&sll=45.55097,-73.702207&sspn=0.225754,0.525627&hnear=Maisonneuve+Blvd+W+%26+St+Mathieu+St,+Montreal,+Quebec,+Canada&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=45.495001,-73.58008&panoid=-CcEf2QVZaTxF67hFVvEag&cbp=12,152.08,,0,-17.9[/sTREETVIEW]
  9. http://www.westjet.com/guest/en/deals/offers/winter-schedule.shtml?i_cid=wj:wj-hp:sk-left:routes:new-routes-20150720 What a joke. Just waiting for others to blame air canada for this
  10. 2006 et moins -------------------- Nouvelles constructions 27 :: 1200 de Maisonneuve Ouest, tour 1 27 :: 1200 de Maisonneuve Ouest, tour 2 23 :: Roc Fleuri 15 :: Profil O 8 :: Le Central Urbain 5 :: Urbania, phase 2 (Laval) 5 :: Urbania, phase 1 (Laval) 5 :: Jardins Upper West Side, phase 1 X :: Mosquée au Centre-Ville X :: Le Dome de Fuller (Biosphère) X :: Lorne M. Trottier Building
  11. Sorry for the late-night shot. But it looks like we're getting a full restoration of this nice old building. Before:
  12. Discussion portant sur le projet du SLR dans le West Island de Montréal.
  13. YANKEEDOM. Founded on the shores of Massachusetts Bay by radical Calvinists as a new Zion, Yankeedom has, since the outset, put great emphasis on perfecting earthly civilization through social engineering, denial of self for the common good, and assimilation of outsiders. It has prized education, intellectual achievement, communal empowerment, and broad citizen participation in politics and government, the latter seen as the public’s shield against the machinations of grasping aristocrats and other would-be tyrants. Since the early Puritans, it has been more comfortable with government regulation and public-sector social projects than many of the other nations, who regard the Yankee utopian streak with trepidation. NEW NETHERLAND. Established by the Dutch at a time when the Netherlands was the most sophisticated society in the Western world, New Netherland has always been a global commercial culture—materialistic, with a profound tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity and an unflinching commitment to the freedom of inquiry and conscience. Like seventeenth-century Amsterdam, it emerged as a center of publishing, trade, and finance, a magnet for immigrants, and a refuge for those persecuted by other regional cultures, from Sephardim in the seventeenth century to gays, feminists, and bohemians in the early twentieth. Unconcerned with great moral questions, it nonetheless has found itself in alliance with Yankeedom to defend public institutions and reject evangelical prescriptions for individual behavior. THE MIDLANDS. America’s great swing region was founded by English Quakers, who believed in humans’ inherent goodness and welcomed people of many nations and creeds to their utopian colonies like Pennsylvania on the shores of Delaware Bay. Pluralistic and organized around the middle class, the Midlands spawned the culture of Middle America and the Heartland, where ethnic and ideological purity have never been a priority, government has been seen as an unwelcome intrusion, and political opinion has been moderate. An ethnic mosaic from the start—it had a German, rather than British, majority at the time of the Revolution—it shares the Yankee belief that society should be organized to benefit ordinary people, though it rejects top-down government intervention. TIDEWATER. Built by the younger sons of southern English gentry in the Chesapeake country and neighboring sections of Delaware and North Carolina, Tidewater was meant to reproduce the semifeudal society of the countryside they’d left behind. Standing in for the peasantry were indentured servants and, later, slaves. Tidewater places a high value on respect for authority and tradition, and very little on equality or public participation in politics. It was the most powerful of the American nations in the eighteenth century, but today it is in decline, partly because it was cut off from westward expansion by its boisterous Appalachian neighbors and, more recently, because it has been eaten away by the expanding federal halos around D.C. and Norfolk. GREATER APPALACHIA. Founded in the early eighteenth century by wave upon wave of settlers from the war-ravaged borderlands of Northern Ireland, northern England, and the Scottish lowlands, Appalachia has been lampooned by writers and screenwriters as the home of hillbillies and rednecks. It transplanted a culture formed in a state of near constant danger and upheaval, characterized by a warrior ethic and a commitment to personal sovereignty and individual liberty. Intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers alike, Greater Appalachia has shifted alliances depending on who appeared to be the greatest threat to their freedom. It was with the Union in the Civil War. Since Reconstruction, and especially since the upheavals of the 1960s, it has joined with Deep South to counter federal overrides of local preference. DEEP SOUTH. Established by English slave lords from Barbados, Deep South was meant as a West Indies–style slave society. This nation offered a version of classical Republicanism modeled on the slave states of the ancient world, where democracy was the privilege of the few and enslavement the natural lot of the many. Its caste systems smashed by outside intervention, it continues to fight against expanded federal powers, taxes on capital and the wealthy, and environmental, labor, and consumer regulations. EL NORTE. The oldest of the American nations, El Norte consists of the borderlands of the Spanish American empire, which were so far from the seats of power in Mexico City and Madrid that they evolved their own characteristics. Most Americans are aware of El Norte as a place apart, where Hispanic language, culture, and societal norms dominate. But few realize that among Mexicans, norteños have a reputation for being exceptionally independent, self-sufficient, adaptable, and focused on work. Long a hotbed of democratic reform and revolutionary settlement, the region encompasses parts of Mexico that have tried to secede in order to form independent buffer states between their mother country and the United States. THE LEFT COAST. A Chile-shaped nation wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade and Coast mountains, the Left Coast was originally colonized by two groups: New Englanders (merchants, missionaries, and woodsmen who arrived by sea and dominated the towns) and Appalachian midwesterners (farmers, prospectors, and fur traders who generally arrived by wagon and controlled the countryside). Yankee missionaries tried to make it a “New England on the Pacific,” but were only partially successful. Left Coast culture is a hybrid of Yankee utopianism and Appalachian self-expression and exploration—traits recognizable in its cultural production, from the Summer of Love to the iPad. The staunchest ally of Yankeedom, it clashes with Far Western sections in the interior of its home states. THE FAR WEST. The other “second-generation” nation, the Far West occupies the one part of the continent shaped more by environmental factors than ethnographic ones. High, dry, and remote, the Far West stopped migrating easterners in their tracks, and most of it could be made habitable only with the deployment of vast industrial resources: railroads, heavy mining equipment, ore smelters, dams, and irrigation systems. As a result, settlement was largely directed by corporations headquartered in distant New York, Boston, Chicago, or San Francisco, or by the federal government, which controlled much of the land. The Far West’s people are often resentful of their dependent status, feeling that they have been exploited as an internal colony for the benefit of the seaboard nations. Their senators led the fight against trusts in the mid-twentieth century. Of late, Far Westerners have focused their anger on the federal government, rather than their corporate masters. NEW FRANCE. Occupying the New Orleans area and southeastern Canada, New France blends the folkways of ancien régime northern French peasantry with the traditions and values of the aboriginal people they encountered in northwestern North America. After a long history of imperial oppression, its people have emerged as down-to-earth, egalitarian, and consensus driven, among the most liberal on the continent, with unusually tolerant attitudes toward gays and people of all races and a ready acceptance of government involvement in the economy. The New French influence is manifest in Canada, where multiculturalism and negotiated consensus are treasured. FIRST NATION. First Nation is populated by native American groups that generally never gave up their land by treaty and have largely retained cultural practices and knowledge that allow them to survive in this hostile region on their own terms. The nation is now reclaiming its sovereignty, having won considerable autonomy in Alaska and Nunavut and a self-governing nation state in Greenland that stands on the threshold of full independence. Its territory is huge—far larger than the continental United States—but its population is less than 300,000, most of whom live in Canada. http://www.tufts.edu/alumni/magazine/fall2013/features/up-in-arms.html
  14. Does anyone have any insight in the condo hotel market? Is it a good investment in Montreal? Toronto has so much offering (Thompson, King West, etc) and Montreal seems lagging (Crystal, Zero 1). I'm wondering if this is a profitable venture.
  15. My parents can not stand Old Montreal, anymore and they have been living here since May. They are planning on moving back to the West Island in about 24 months. I told them about prefab homes. My mother was like, those do not work here seeing you need a basement. My father was like you do not need one. So my question is, do you need a basement or can you have something above ground and nothing under?
  16. As you can see from the following pictures, this handsome 1950 building (mostly known for its Mourelatos) has cleaned graffitis, new doorway, kicked out the shady dance school. I would bet this will be student residences / apartments, but they might have to get it rezoned? July 22nd 2013: Summer 2012:
  17. Nouveau projet de constructions Cartierville (Le sofia sur R-L est d'eux autre également) The Griffin on Murray is a new condominium project in the South West borough of Montreal. The plans, images and information will be available soon. Plus de détails à venir http://www.cartierville.ca/condos-projects-details.html?projetID=95
  18. 10 MINUTES FROM DOWNTOWN NEW PROJECT FEATURING OVER 200 TOWNHOUSE 3 BEDROOMS + BASEMENT, GARAGE, PRIVATE BACK YARD DELIVERY Summer 2010 STEPS FROM MONTREAL-WEST TRAIN BUSSE, SCHOOLS, SERVICES CHOICE OF COLORS, STYLES & OPTIONS NO CONDO FEES BASE PRICE: $ 339,900 (incl all taxes) http://www.lescourspominville.ca The reason why I chose to highlight this project is because of its location and that it lends itself to a much greater discussion. Firstly, it is an example of yet another quality project in an area that is known for being low-income and aesthetically sub-par. Secondly, this project is located in the section of Ville Saint Pierre that is very much ‘Montreal West Adjacent’. In fact if it wasn’t for municipal borders it would make a lot more sense for this area of Ville Saint Pierre in particular to be part of Montreal West as opposed to Lachine. That being said, Montreal West has actually closed off vehicular access to the area from Chemin Broughton making a neighbourhood that should be a theoretical extension of Montreal West into a neighbourhood closed off from it. It is now only accessible from Chemin Avon the street that leads into the rest of Ville Saint Pierre (west of the train tracks).
  19. Selon cet article paru dans le brossard eclair au mois de décembre dernier. A termes avec les phases a venir, il s'agirait du 2e plus grand centre commercial au canada après le West Edmonton Mall http://virtuel.brossardeclair.canoe.ca/doc/hebdo_brossard-eclair/bro_03122009_opt/2009120201/
  20. Read more: http://www.westislandgazette.com/news/32005 Got to love election time Aren't these the same people that said we would get trains in the West Island?
  21. Toronto : The downside of up TENILLE BONOGUORE Globe and mail Old Toronto is booming, thanks to a flood of new condo dwellers. So why are prime retail strips awash in 'for lease' signs? Tenille Bonoguore recently counted 54 empty storefronts on one stretch of Queen alone. With rents soaring, is it only cashed-up chains that can survive? The garlands were up, the Christmas songs were playing, but inside the Danforth Avenue store Paper and Presents, the mood was anything but merry. It was December, 2007, and instead of spreading good cheer, customers were hurling abuse about cross-border price discrepancies. Store owner Grace Wong was facing her second year without drawing a paycheque, and she was fed up with skyrocketing business costs. After 15 years as an independent retailer, she finally realized that it was time to go. "The Danforth has really changed. It's not as vibrant," Ms. Wong said this week from the store that will close this summer. "Stores are flipping, and nobody wants to take a chance. I wouldn't choose a place where stores keep flipping over. ... That's not a good sign." Like many tenant retailers, Ms. Wong pays both rent and part of the property taxes. The combination had reached $5,500 a month for her 800-square-foot storefront, a hike of 40 per cent in five years. Meanwhile, insurance had risen to $1,800 a year, up 50 per cent in 10 years, and other costs were soaring. She was caught in the unprecedented blaze of interest in downtown retailing that is reshaping Toronto's shopping strips, and threatens to turn the city into a whitewash of chain stores. Ms. Wong's is one of seven stores that have closed, or are preparing to close, this year in the Danforth Business Improvement Area. Thirty shut up shop last year, 10 of which had been open for less than two years. The empty storefronts don't reflect a lack of demand - just the opposite. Demand for downtown retail on hot strips like Queen Street, Bloor Street, Yonge at Dundas, and now Yonge at College, has driven up rents, speeding up turnover and forcing out the independent shops that made the strips vibrant in the first place. "A lot of landlords are making the rent so high because they're hoping for a Starbucks or a major chain to come in. They're waiting for the big guys," said Ms. Wong, who is opening an online Japanese paper store. Or storefronts turn into what Charlie Huisken, of This Ain't the Rosedale Library, calls "retail hotels" - a building that hosts a continuing rotation of short-lived ventures. "I don't know if that's a problem of [the retailers] lacking capital, or whether it's because the rents are too high. It might be a combination of the two. They pop up and just disappear," said Mr. Huisken, who recently moved his bookstore from Church and Wellesley to Kensington Market, partly because of escalating rent. Mr. Huisken believes that independent business can survive in the city centre only if retailers are given a mandatory option to buy property. Others wonder if the independents can survive at all. BIG BOX, BRAND OR BUST All of the factors that appear to help business - an influx of residents, increasing demand for downtown property - are sending independents running for shelter. John Crombie, senior managing director and national retail director for Cushman & Wakefield LePage, said he has never seen such demand for downtown retail space. Yorkville now commands rents of $300 per square foot, making it the third-priciest retail space in North America. Storefronts at Queen West and Spadina now cost $125 to $150 a square foot, and a ripple effect is washing across the city. The hot residential market of the past few years has had an impact too: Mushrooming condo developments seem poised to produce ready-made customer bases, which landlords can use as a basis for rent hikes. The condos can increase competition too, because of the retail spaces included in such developments. Meanwhile, Toronto businesses are paying some of the highest property-tax rates in North America, and subsidizing relatively lightly taxed residents. The City of Toronto has pledged to even that out over the next 15 years by shifting more of the tax burden from businesses to homeowners. But that could prove little comfort when new property valuations are issued this fall for the 2009 tax year, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business's Ontario vice-president, Judith Andrew. "If there are really trendy spots that are seeing values go way up ... their share of the total assessment pie goes up and their share of the tax bill goes up too. That's bad news for retailers, even if they're renting," Ms. Andrew said. As independents are being priced out of hot neighbourhoods, cashed-up chains and luxury or trendy brands are moving in, Mr. Crombie said. "There's no question that there's a [residential] filling-in, and they're saying it's more of an affluent consumer coming down," he said. That's an irresistible prospect for big-brand players Queen Street West is a perfect example of the cycle. The city's best-known shopping strip is full of chains, such as Gap, H&M, Zara, Billabong and HMV, that use cheaper, globally homogeneous product to nab the city's disposable income. Brand flagships are getting in on the action too, with Mexx opening its own storefront and Crocs about to do the same. As they move in, the displaced stores seek cheaper locations. Historically, that has meant moving farther west. Now, Queen Street is threatening to run out of western succour. Just look to Parkdale's speedy transformation from blighted hovel to boho-chic haven. "I think there's a frustration for the smaller ma-and-pa regional players, but what can you do? It's really only following consumer behaviour," Mr. Crombie said. "... I've never seen such an interest in downtown street properties." At the start of last year, the Greater Toronto Area had almost 185 million square feet of retail real estate, more than two-thirds of which was in shopping centres and big-box stores. Until now, suburban malls held the most appeal to retailers. But that changed for Toronto in 2007, according to Cushman & Wakefield LePage's annual report. Vacancies on retail strips dipped to 8.4 per cent in 2007, down from 8.5 per cent the previous year and 9.7 per cent five years previous. Meanwhile, vacancies in shopping centres rose to 7.4 per cent, up from 6.7 per cent in 2006. Danforth BIA president Glyn Laverick said it's essential that small businesses be given a helping hand if they are to survive. "There's not an awful lot of support from an institutional or governmental level for small business. There's really not a plethora of grants available if you're not opening a manufacturing company," Mr. Laverick said. One hopeful note is that there are still plenty of people bellying up for the challenge. While the Danforth BIA has lost 37 businesses since January, 2007, 29 others have opened up. NICHE IS THE WORD Studio Brillantine owner Ferdinand Suzara spent last Christmas doing a bit of shopping of his own. Eleven years after establishing the retail beachhead on West Queen West, the design boutique owner was on the hunt for a new 'hood. Not that there was anything wrong with his spot just west of Ossington: He had hoped to buy the building from his landlord, as they had discussed, but his landlord was in no rush to sell. And who could blame him? That part of town will soon welcome hundreds of new residents as part of the City of Toronto's Queen West Triangle densification plan. Mr. Suzara started looking elsewhere, snapping up a more affordable building in Parkdale instead. Studio Brillantine and its inventory of leading-edge design products had opened long before Ossington's hipster influx. So the posters announcing the move shocked the neighbourhood. "Our whole block is up for sale. It's just in the air for this block," Mr. Suzara said as he started preparing for the August move. The south-Roncesvalles area his store is moving to still holds the edgy appeal of Queen West's earlier days, he said, but the clock is ticking. By his reckoning, the chain stores will start arriving in five or 10 years. As the cycle gains speed, independents scramble to seek out the last shrinking oases of affordability. The Danforth's Carrot Common is one such hub. Roncesvalles Avenue where it meets Queen West is quickly becoming another. Shannon Doyle moved her gourmet nook The Mercantile to "Roncy" in May, despite having a legion of loyal customers on College Street. But the rental of her tiny College storefront was about to jump 45 per cent, by her calculations (a figure with which her landlord disagrees), and there was no way she could keep up. Plus, the College strip she had entered in 1999 had disappeared in a slew of bars. It was time to go. "You're really watching businesses move or close," said the diminutive Ms. Doyle, now happily serving her new regulars. " ... They're just flipping every year. You want to say to a landlord, 'Why not just have a good tenant and work with them?' "It has to stop eventually, or everything's a Gap." Space: the final frontier Source: Cushman & Wakefield LePage Toronto Retail Strips: Average Overall Vacancy 2002 - 9.7% 2006 - 8.5% 2007- 8.4% Retail Strip Examples: Vacancy Over 5 Years Yorkville 2002 - 10% 2007 - 7.7% Chinatown 2002 - 8.6% 2007 - 8.2% Pape & Danforth 2002 - 15% 2007 - 9% Yonge & Wellesley 2002 - 8.3% 2007 - 9.1% Dundas & Dufferin 2002 - 13.7% 2007 - 12.9% Source: Cushman and Wakefield LePage