Sale of the Week: The $1.7-million Willowdale home that proves land is sometimes worth far more than a house

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Published on: June 27, 2016

Address: 203 Ellerslie Avenue

Neighbourhood: Willowdale

Agent: Adam Parsons, Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

The property: A one-and-a-half-storey house on a huge, manicured lot.

The history: The seller bought the house for $305,000 in 1997. She made modest updates over the years, but the house itself is virtually unchanged. Most of her effort went towards landscaping the 300-foot lot and creating a lush perennial garden. Now, she’s retired and planning to move to Ottawa to be closer to family.

The fate: The buyers, a couple from New York, plan to move into the house for now, but they’ll almost certainly redevelop it eventually to take advantage of the size of the land. There’s a lot of rebuilding happening on Ellerslie Avenue at the moment, including on a massive double lot just four houses east of this one.

The sale: The listing agent gently broke the news to the seller that her land was worth a great deal more than her house—and, that if priced very aggressively, it would generate a lot of interest among developers and builders. There were about eight showings on the first day, but there was also an extremely high pre-emptive offer. At $700,000 over asking, and with a quick closing as part of the deal, the seller had no reason to decline.

By the numbers:

  • $1,700,000
  • $5,558.83 in taxes (2016)
  • 1200 square feet
  • 53-by-300-foot lot
  • 5-car driveway
  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • 1 day on the market

The house isn’t big, but it’s cozy. Here’s the living room:


The dining room:


And the family room, with greenery inside and out, and a wall of exposed brick:


The kitchen:


There are three bedrooms. This one is being used as an office:


The main bathroom:


Another bedroom:


And the last bedroom:


But the real attraction here is the lot, which is 300 feet deep. This is only the start of it:


This is what the buyers paid $1.7 million for:


More Sales of the Week

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House of the Week: $1.8 million for a century-old Corso Italia home with a new rooftop deck

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Published on: June 24, 2016

Address: 15 Glenholme Avenue
Neighbourhood: Corso Italia
Agents: Susan Gail Toyne and Samantha Thomson, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada
Price: $1,795,000
Previously sold for: $590,000, in 1989

The place

A century-old, ivy-covered home in Corso Italia.

The house has oak doors, trim and panelling:


The living room, looking very fancy:


Here’s the dining area, with a stately leaded glass window, chandelier and ceiling medallion:


And plenty of room for china:


The kitchen has what looks like a pressed tin ceiling:


There are four bedrooms on the second floor. The owners are using this one as a den:


Another bedroom:


And a sunroom, with more of that tin-like ceiling material. This room has a door to the second-floor balcony:


And here’s the last second-floor bedroom:


All the second-floor bedrooms share this bathroom:


There are two more bedrooms on the third floor. Here’s one of them:


And the third-floor bathroom:


The history

The home was built in 1915, and the sellers have lived there for 27 years. (Before that, the previous owners lived there for 40.) In the past year, they’ve revamped the bathrooms, added a third-floor deck, and replaced the fireplace mantles, though they still look antique. The house still has many of its original details, including leaded glass windows, a cast iron kitchen sink, bay windows and quarter-sawn oak doors and trim.

Big selling point

The house’s outdoor space is enough to get even the staunchest air conditioning enthusiasts outside.

There’s a den beside the entrance to the third-floor deck, complete with a wet bar:


A closer look at the deck:


Down at ground level, the backyard has a pergola:


Possible deal breaker

Three bathrooms for seven bedrooms might be a tight squeeze in the morning.

By the numbers

• $1,795,000
• $6,243.18 in taxes (2015)
• 101 years old
• 7 bedrooms
• 4 parking spaces
• 3 bathrooms
• 2 kitchens
• 2 wood burning fireplaces

More Houses of the Week

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A pharma magnate is selling his lakeside Oakville estate for $18.9 million

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Published on: June 24, 2016

Is $19 million the going rate for a megamansion in the GTA? That’s the list price for Robert Herjavec’s palace on the Bridle Path, and it also happens to be roughly what pharmacy magnate Mahen Acharya is asking for his sprawling mansion on the Oakville lakeshore.

Acharya is the chairman and CEO of Sterimax Inc., an Oakville-based company that supplies drugs to hospitals. According to his executive bio, he was born in Kenya and immigrated to Canada after graduating from university in 1973. In 2005, he sold a Kingston-based wholesale drug business, Trent Drugs, to AmerisourceBergen Corp for a reported $40 million, plus the assumption of $43 million in debt.

The house has over 17,000 square feet of living space, six bedrooms and nine bathrooms. The exact list price is $18,888,000.

Here’s the master bedroom:


And its ensuite bathroom:


The owner had this stained-glass skylight custom made and installed in the house’s rotunda:


The living room has more than enough space for a grand piano:


The family room, with cathedral ceilings:


Here’s the kitchen:


And the in-ground pool:


The property, located on 850 feet of shoreline at 88 Wolfdale Avenue, was purchased in May 2011 for $8 million. The buyer was a trust, for which Acharya was the signatory. The discrepancy between the original purchase price and the current asking price seems extreme, but the listing agent, Don Goodale, believes it’s justified. “He’s spent about $4 million on the property since he bought it,” Goodale said. “He improved the landscaping, and the whole lower level was completely gutted and rebuilt with all high-end stone and heated floors.”

The lower level also has a wine cellar:


A large living area:


And a mood-lit home theatre:


The property has a private inlet at the mouth of a creek, as well as a boat lift with direct access to the water, which Goodale points out are rare luxuries on the Lake Ontario shoreline. The house was built in 2001 on the site of an earlier home. “The last owner was able to rebuild on the existing footprint, but he wasn’t allowed to build one square inch bigger. That was the only way he was able to get it approved,” Goodale said. “It’s one of the few homes that is that close to the lake.”

The listing promises expansive Lake Ontario views, perfect for the thrifty plutocrat who wants all the waterside enjoyment of a cottage without actually having to buy a second residence on Lake Joseph.

Here’s a view of the layout:

An aerial view of the property. An aerial view of the property.
 Photo by Silver:House

And the boat lift:


Because of its immense size and expense, Goodale expects the mansion to sit on the market for one or two years before it sells.

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Condo of the Week: $1.7 million for a CityPlace penthouse with a CN Tower view

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Published on: June 24, 2016

Address: 11 Brunel Court, Penthouse 2
Neighbourhood: Harbourfront
Agent: Claudine Montano, ReMax Hallmark Montano Group Realty, Brokerage
Price: $1,749,900
Previously sold for: $1,103,585, in 2008

The place

A 49th-floor penthouse with views of the CN Tower and Lake Ontario.

The living and dining area has easy access to the terrace:


The reverse view:


The kitchen has granite countertops and stainless steel Viking appliances:


The sellers added some built-in shelving in the den:


There’s a decent-sized office:


Here’s the guest bedroom:


The master bedroom has quite a view. Better not lounge around naked with the curtains open when there are people doing the Edgewalk, though:


The master bathroom:


The history

A lawyer and a teacher who moved from Vancouver bought this place in 2007. Now, they’re heading back to B.C. to build a dream home by the ocean. They spent more than $100,000 on upgrades, according to their agent.

Big selling point

Terraces this big are rare. Party guests are sure to be impressed:


Possible deal breaker

The building is in CityPlace, a dense cluster of towers developed without much infrastructure to support them. Getting in and out can be a hassle, especially when there are Jays games happening. One glimmer of hope: Metrolinx announced a SmartTrack station at Spadina and Front earlier this week—though there’s still some confusion as to exactly what that means for the neighbourhood.

By the numbers

• $1,749,900
• 1,893 square feet
• $1,198 in monthly maintenance fees
• 497-square-foot terrace
• 3 bathrooms
• 2 bedrooms
• 1 den
• 1 parking space
• 1 locker

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