Everyone loves a ravine lot — a forest is infinitely more uplifting than staring into someone’s backyard or a brick wall.
The Keeley, a 12-storey midrise, will have that coveted pastoral setting. Designed by Teeple Architects, the building also appeals. Charming punched windows and a red-and-white brick facade give it a residential vibe referencing the neighbourhood’s 1960s architecture.
Slated for Keele and Sheppard in North York, the name, “the Keeley” is a cute nod to its address. (Plus, it’s fun to say out loud.) One of the unique features in the 364-unit building is that some of the homes are on two levels. And it’s always great to have your living room on a different floor from your bedroom.
Studios to three-bedroom homes start in the $400,000s for 560 square feet. Or live larger in the Townhome, a two-storey ground-level unit overlooking a private courtyard, or the two-storey Skytown, with its oversized walkout terrace and unobstructed views. Both of these housing styles start in the $900,000s for 1,100 square feet.
A total of 80 per cent of the units have been sold, and construction has started. Occupancy is set for 2021.
The natural amenities were a big draw to the site, says Mazyar Mortazavi, president of TAS DesignBuild. The developer is palpably excited about the Keeley, which is one of the first condo projects in the vicinity.
The area is undergoing a massive revitalization, he says. (Who knew? Not downtowners.)
“It’s really unique,” Mortazavi says. “On one hand you have an extraordinary park in front of you, then you have this lush forest in the backyard that’s tied into hiking and cycling trails.”
The park Mortazavi is referring to is Downsview Park, which is getting some love from Canada Lands. The company is redeveloping several neighbourhoods surrounding it. These will all be integrated and designed with the park — and its forests, ponds, trails, sports fields and events — as their central element.
Keele Street, which has traditionally been a thoroughfare, may seem remote. “Unless you know the neighbourhood you tend to drive through it,” Mortazavi says.
He used to do the same, until about six years ago when he noticed the area starting to blossom.
“I had been going down that corridor for many moons. It was familiar but it was always a barren landscape,” Mortazavi says, “but then we saw a new transit line going in for Downsview Park.” (It opened in 2017; a Go Transit stop is also right there.) “As a company, most of the work we do is on significant transit corridors,” he says.
Other draws for the developers: watching Humber River Hospital’s completion and the proximity to York University, which is connected to the ravine, he notes.
“But the big story is that Downsview Airport has been bought by the Public Sector Pension (PSP). It will be going through a revitalization in the next 20 years,” Mortazavi says. “We saw really interesting and diverse amenities coming into a neighbourhood that had been for a long time isolated and suburban.”
As for The Keeley’s residents, Mortazavi says they won’t be homogenous. “We’re focused on demographic diversity, anchored around this idea of ‘over seven, under 70,’” he says. “Whether you’re a downsizing senior who wants the comforts of condo living, a family who grew up in the neighbourhood, or a young professional connected to the hospital, or the university, you’re part of a village construct, as opposed to a bunch of boxes that people are renting out.”
Building amenities are poised to cater to such diversity. A children’s activity centre will keep the younger set happy. And instead of a vast party room, there will be smaller, 300- to 400-square foot lounges that are multi-functional — they can be a spot for a child to meet with a tutor, or a senior to have tea with a friend.
“We’re even putting a piano in one of the spaces for music lessons,” Mortazavi notes. “We want to respond to the way people live, instead of forcing them to use spaces as they are. It’s human-centric design, not programmatic design.”
Other thoughtful amenities include a dog- and bike-wash station and the Sky Yard, an outdoor space catering to relaxation. Dine alfresco here or loll on the bathing deck slathered in lotion, then use the outdoor shower to wash off.
An indoor-outdoor connection is evident inside the building as well. Skylights will flood the entranceway with natural light, and the transparent lobby offers picturesque views to Downsview Park and the private landscaped courtyard.
Suites, meanwhile, are warm and modern. Kitchens feature contemporary cabinetry with soft-close hinges, stone countertops and faucets with pull-out spray nozzles.
But with all that greenery so teasingly close, who’s staying indoors, anyway?
Written by Iris Benaroia.