On the map: Condo coming to King and Strachan is five minutes from Trinity Bellwoods

Developer Matt Young of Republic has spent the past couple of years tackling the question: How do you fit a new development into a bustling historic residential neighbourhood beloved by the city it’s in? Bellwoods House is his latest project, and it will soon add 323 units to the iconic Trinity Bellwoods Park neighbourhood.

He acquired the parcel of land at the corner of King Street West and Strachan Avenue after developing a friendship with former city councillor Fred Dominelli, who owned the property. The corner is currently home to several auto shops and a brick heritage building that houses the pub Pennies. Dominelli decided he could trust Young with developing the property, and in 2021 sold it to him. For Young, the location was the biggest draw.

“It’s this green pocket surrounded by the four coolest neighbourhoods in the city,” says Young, referring to Queen West, King West, Ossington and Liberty Village. The bustling Trinity Bellwoods Park and more tranquil Stanley Park are both a five-minute walk away.

“I imagine Bellwoods House will be attractive to a lot of younger people who are ready to mature a bit and want a more tranquil home but still want to be close to the action,” says Young.

Young and his team began with a plan to restore the heritage building on the northwest corner. Republic will clean up the brick, then construct the rest of the building behind and above it. The tenants of the development’s only commercial unit have not yet been decided, but Young says it will be something “small-scale” like a café or restaurant.

Then came the task of designing a building that would fit in a neighbourhood populated by townhomes, industrial buildings and historic houses built for factory workers at the turn of the twentieth century. The new structure will be broken into three sections of varying heights, with the tallest reaching 13 storeys.

“The idea was to break up the experience on Strachan, to make it feel like smaller individual residential structures,” Young says.

The team was initially planning to go 14 storeys up, but following local consultations with a neighbourhood group that had formed to consult on a recent condo development at 950 King Street, the height was brought down to 13 storeys.

The Bellwoods House development also features townhomes with street entrances along Strachan and front yard terraces along the laneway to the east of the development.

“We want these to be activated places, not just parking spaces,” Young says.

Like Young, Dominic De Freitas, the principal designer at Figure3 and the lead interior designer for Bellwoods House, was focused on the concept of belonging as he developed his vision for the building.

“We don’t want this shiny new thing inserted into a neighbourhood with so much vibrancy and history,” says De Freitas.

Making the design fit with the local architecture meant using materials common in the area: brick to mirror surrounding heritage homes, and dark metal as an homage to the industrial buildings in the area. A grand metal archway leads residents into the lobby, which features exposed brick that echoes the building’s exterior.

Black metal also accents the window frames and features throughout the ground floor amenities, which include a co-working space with Zoom rooms, a podcasting studio and an outdoor work area. De Freitas warms up the relatively cold elements — brick and steel — with natural materials like rift cut white oak.

One challenge he faced was the gym. Because of its location — between a loading area and a row of townhouses — the area receives no natural light. De Freitas wanted to create a natural oasis vibe, more wellness and self-care than hardcore workout. But how to do this without sunlight? The solution is a two-storey ceiling backlit with a product called Parasol, which lights the entire ceiling at once and mimics the natural changes in light that occur throughout the day. The upper walls are lined with mirrors to reflect the light, further illuminating the space from above. In the evening, the ceiling turns to twilight, and at night a dark indigo. Scattered pot lighting in black portions of the ceiling mimic the twinkling night sky.

“In the day, it really feels like daylight is pouring in,” says De Freitas. “We were like, ‘How has no one thought of this before?’”

If all goes as planned, new residents will be living in Bellwoods House in mid-2026. One of those residents will be Matt Young himself. Young currently lives at King and Bathurst but plans to move into the development when it is completed.

“My desire to live on that busy corner is waning,” says Young of his current home. “I want to be somewhere green, somewhere more residential but still vibrant.”

For more information, visit bellwoodshouse.ca.

Three things

The three-block shopping strip on Queen West just north of Bellwoods House is as boutiquey as it gets: John Fluevog shoes, Type Books, Anthropologie, Dutil Denim, Warby Parker and Kotn all vie for space between Tecumseth and Strachan.

Skip the patios on the Queen and opt for a meal on the grass in Trinity Bellwoods Park with a side of people watching. When it comes to takeaway, diners are spoiled for choice, with Matty’s Patty’s, Agora Greek Market, Fresh and Hooky’s Fish and Chips a block or so away.

Tucked under the Gardiner, a previously unused strip of concrete was transformed in 2018 into The Bentway, a hive of cultural activity. There are art shows, readings, concerts, markets, festivals, communal dining experiences and in the winter an ice skating loop. 250 Fort York Blvd.

Source: National Post