The building at 68 Broadview Avenue, which sits steps away from the Don River on the city’s east side, was originally erected in 1914 to house the Rexall Drug warehouse. In 2003, when we began planning to adapt the industrial structure into a loft residence, the project was met with broad support from the city and the community. The main challenge to overcome, then, was the fact that the structure had been built in five different stages—resulting in a wide variety of pre-existing flooring and construction materials. Additionally, rather than building the parking garage into the first floor, as was the trend at the time, we endeavoured to integrate it underground around the building’s perimeter.
The result is a seven-storey loft-style residential building, framed mostly with wood, and including a set-back, two-storey penthouse, distinguished by its glass facades. A new wing was added, as well as rental townhouses over the garage. The finished lofts retain much of the original’s character, utilizing century-old brick-and-beam elements, as well as cage elevators and a water tower that stands high above the roof.
Still recognized as one of the city’s most exemplary residential conversions, the building plays a role in the ongoing transformation of Riverside into one of the city’s most sought after neighbourhoods.