Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Insider’s Perspective: The Historic Distillery District

Submitted by Janice Mackie, Broker of Record for Insite Realty, Exclusive Broker for the Historic Distillery District.
The Distillery District is an internationally acclaimed village of brick-lined streets and dozens of vibrantly restored Victorian Industrial buildings. As one of Ontario’s hottest tourist attractions, the Distillery District is home to live theatres, galleries, fashion, design and jewelry boutiques, unique cafes and award-winning restaurants.

With Toronto selected as the site of the 2015 Pan Am Games, the popularity of this neighbourhood is sure to intensify. By accepting to host, the city promised to build out the West Don Lands, including the athletes’ village for the Pan Am Games. What will follow includes schools, transportation, retail space and 6,000 homes – in essence, a brand new community – right next to the Distillery District.

The Restoration of the Distillery District

The visionaries behind the site, Cityscape and Dundee, purchased the 13-acre parcel of land in 2001 and set out to restore all 44 of the Distillery District’s historic buildings.

Uncertainty Followed by Proven Success

In 2005, Insite Realty was approached to sell the condos at Pure Spirit. Some industry insiders thought the area would not be where people would want to live. They thought it just wasn’t ‘there’ yet: it didn’t have the necessary services, transportation was an issue...and the list went on.

That year, Pure Spirit at 33 Mill Street sold out in record time, proving the insiders wrong. Why? Because people who experienced the District fell in love with it and went with their intuition. They knew the area was just starting to get the attention it deserved. It was unique. It was different. It was unlike any area in Toronto.

Clear Spirit was then launched in 2007 during a time when interest in the area was greatly increasing. News of the West Don Lands and the revitalization of the 80-hectare site just east of the District gained people’s interest. Waterfront Toronto’s vision of the West Don Lands was exciting, and the launch of Clear Spirit was successful.

Gooderham followed in 2008, and today, there are a limited number of units still available here. With an expected completion date of November 2012, you’ll find a range of suites including two-storey units with terraces, and tower units with incredible views and wrap-around balconies. The average price in this community is now just over $500 per sq ft!

As evident in the case of Pure Spirit and Clear Spirit, the next time you hear the nay-sayers say “it’s not there yet” or “don’t buy now”....go with your gut feeling and don’t rely on others, including the media, to make your decision. Sometimes only you know what is right for you.

For more information on the Distillery District, please visit  Additional photos can be found after the jump.

Janice Mackie is the Broker of Record for Insite Realty, the Exclusive Broker for the Historic Distillery District.  Janice can be reached at

All photos courtesy of Insite Realty.