Thursday, 30 June 2011

Design and Build for an Addition with Our Special Corso Italia Offer

Design and Build of an Addition Wo-Built's special offerPoster: Wo-Built's Corso Italia Festival Special Offer
"Sign up for a Design and Build of an Addition
and we pay the Permit Drawings"
July 1- September 30, 2011
2011 @

As you know we fell in love with Corso Italia, located on St Clair West roughly between Lansdowne and Dufferin, because it is friendly, offers most of the things we need for our business and life and just has got this special atmosphere of enjoyment.

Our Corso Italia Festival and Canada Day Offer

As a company we would like to mark the occasion of the 14th annual Corso Italia Festival 2011 and upcoming Canada Day and bring to our potential clients some ongoing festive joy. For a limited time starting July 1st, 2011 to September 30th, 2011 we have the following special offer:

Sign up for a Design and Build for an addition and we pay for the permit drawings.
Estimated value up to $2,500.

  • Ground floor addition has to be at least 12ft x 20ft;
  • Ground floor addition contract has to include finishes;
  • Our ValueXeptional Classic 2nd Storey Addition is included in offer;
  • If Build portion is cancelled for any reason, the offer is void and Wo-Built will have to be reimbursed for the drawings.
Not included in the offer:
  • Design time, consultancy and fees;
  • Engineering time, consultancy and fees;
  • Any structural, foundation and other feasibility investigations;
  • Wo-Built’s fee and Mark-up;
  • Permit fees, City deposits and applicable taxes.
Wishing everyone a happy Canada Day and great fun at the Corso Italia Festival. See you there either at the festival or when you visit the area to shop and dine.

Wo-Built's Team
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

wobuilt: Renovate with ValueXeptional Classic Second Storey Addition
wobuilt: We Are Looking for Adventurous Building Owners

+ Added Link Special offer for Design & Build for Addition
"Located in the Corso Italia area in Toronto we decided to have a Corso Italia Festival Special Offer which is valid until September 30th, 2011 - so don't worry that the festival is over. Sign up for a Design and Build for an addition and we pay for the permit drawings. (conditions apply) "
Greater Toronto Area Over 3,902,655 Free Local Classifieds
Date Listed: 06-Jul-11

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Celebrate Culture, Music and Food at Corso Italia Festival

Collage: WoBinna Toronto Corso Italia Festival, July 2 - 3, 2011Collage: WoBinna: "Corso Italia Festival - Free Admission
July 2 & 3, 2011 - Cool - Check it out!?"
2011 @

"Celebrate European culture, music, and food July 2-3 2011 as CORSO ITALIA welcomes the World to its 14th Annual CORSO ITALIA FESTIVAL. St. Clair Avenue West between Lansdowne & Westmount is transformed into a European "PIAZZA" for the week-end with: Live music on street corners representing the best of Italian, Portughese, Latin, Jazz, Classical & Swing bands; Local Italian, Portuguese, & Latin restaurants featuring their delicious versions of 'street-food'; Some of the finest European-style shopping this side of the Atlantic with local family-style retailers who pride themselves on service with that special "personal" touch; and delightful children's activities found throughout the street including rides & games for the entire family to enjoy.
CORSO ITALIA, long-known as the epicenter of Italian-Canadian World Cup celebrations in 1982 and 2006, invites you to experience a little bit of Europe in Toronto this Summer. On July 2nd & 3rd, come discover what makes this neighbourhood unique; and such an enjoyable place to live, work, and play!
Jeff Gillan, Chair Corso Italia BIA

What: 14th Annual Corso Italia Festival

When: Sat Jul 2, 2011 / 1:00pm - 11:00pm

Sun Jul 3, 2011 / 1:00pm - 8:00pm

Where: on St. Clair Avenue West

(between Westmount & Lansdowne Avenue)

Free Admission
Corso Italia BIA

Wo-Built Invites Everyone to Join in the Corso Italia Festival
In past postings we told the world about the wonderful area we found to relocate our office in: Corso Italia, St Clair West, between Dufferin and Lansdowne. We talked about supporting our neighbours, the community and our passion – food. Corso Italia really offers most of the things that one needs to run a business, go shopping for groceries, clothes, day-to-day items, restaurants, ice cream, walks in the park, exercise, professional offices, doctors – you name it and you can probably find it in Corso Italia. But we also found friends among our neighbours.

So we would like to invite everyone to come to the Corso Italia Festival on July 2nd and 3rd to check out the area, have fun, listen to music, have wonderful ice cream, taste some of the great food and of course fall in love with the area as we have.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Please check out our Corso Italia Festival offer:

Sign up for a design & build 2nd storey addition for your home before September 30th, 2011 and we pay your permit drawings with an estimated value of $2,500. Conditions apply.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Renovate with ValueXeptional Classic Second Storey Addition

ValueXeptional Classic Second Story Addition Model with Wo-Built, wobuilt.comPostcard: Wo-Built's ValueXeptional
Classic Second Story Addition Model
2011 @

Wo-Built's ValueXeptional Classic Second Floor Addition Model Offer

In previous posts we have been an advocate of families staying within their existing communities rather than moving to new ones since established communities can give stability, help and security. But of course we understand that sometimes more space is required. Adding a second storey or a rear addition is the next consideration. However, adding to the building often only becomes an option if the cost of the addition is in line with buying a bigger house in move-in condition. Hence we looked hard at providing families with an offer that makes adding a second storey affordable.

Today is our launch for our ValueXeptional Classic Second Floor Model, a fast track 2nd floor addition initiative that combines cost effective return on investment with innovative design.

After having looked at the GTA housing stock for the last few years we noticed the amazing similarities in bungalow design and we were able to develop a typical second storey floor plan that takes into account the increase home value potential.

The ValueXeptional Classic Second Floor Model is based on providing 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and closet space on the second floor. The starting price of $167,000 + HST is based on 800 sft, no finishes and external cladding, since finishes and external cladding are design and material driven and offer many choices. A separate finishes contract takes care of the final touches for your dream home.

ValueXeptional, a derivative of value and exceptional, refers to our value added fast track processes that reduce the hassle, stress and timelines for the construction, hence being cost effective and to our exceptional designs that bring wow-factor to our projects. Classic refers to the second floor typical layout for a bungalow.

The typical floor plan does not prevent your own personal touches and dream house niceties. This is where our 4-step Process for Making Your Dream House a Reality comes in to play. We start with your Dream House Assessment, a 90-minute exploration of the possibilities, your dreams and needs. Followed by your Dream House Design, where we design innovatively and take care of the details, including dealing with the City or municipalities. In your Dream House Construction we manage and take care of the construction process, leaving you free to go about your normal life. Finally your Dream House Outcome where your dream vision comes to life delivered on time and on budget.

ValueXeptional Classic basic specification for $167,000 + HST
(detailed specification is per individual contract):
  • Design to permit drawings, includes test holes for foundation and soil investigation
  • Demolition of roof
  • Carpentry of floor, walls and roof
  • Roofing
  • Rough-in of electrical, HVAC and plumbing (includes new furnace and electrical panel)
  • Standard Stairs and Railing
  • Standard vinyl windows
  • 2 Skylights and 1 Light pipe
  • Drywall/Mudding/Priming
  • Drywall repair on 1st floor

Options (extra to basic price):
  • Permit fees, committee of adjustment fees and deposits
  • Any engineering services required for complicated architectural features
  • Any architectural, services upgrade and structural work on first floor and basement (Option)
  • External cladding (brick, siding, stucco, stone) (Option)
  • Green measures such, but not limited to as heat recovery units, solar panels, green roofs etc.
Exclusions (separate contract):
  • Finishes work on First Floor, Basement including kitchens and existing bathrooms
  • Flooring
  • Baseboards/Trims
  • Doors and hardware
  • Electrical finishing, including light fixtures
  • Plumbing finishing, including any bathroom fixtures
  • HVAC Finishing, such as grilles, louvers etc
  • Bathroom Tiling and finishes
  • Painting
Conditions, but not limited to, to meet base price:
  • Based on 800 sq.ft.
  • Sound walls and foundations
  • Deviation from typical plan minimal
  • No existing Rot, Mould and Asbestos

If you are interested to know more about the offer or know someone who would be, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Call us 416-402-2679.

Wo-Built's Team
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build


East York Mirror: Wo-Built Home Builder with New Affordable Initiative

Cost vs. Return on Investment: Top Renovations That Increase Home Value

A Second Storey Addition: New Construction Approach Marcia Lyon's Creating Spaces: REMODELING: Two-story addition transforms second floor of home to make it more livable
By Marcia Lyon, Jun 16, 2011

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Carbon Neutral Neighbourhood Project Launch in Toronto

Project Carbon Neutral Neighbourhood Launch Green 13 - The Junction, June 18, 2011, photos  by wobuilt.comPhotos: Project Neutral Neighbourhood Launch
Green 13 - The Junction, June 18, 2011
Annette Street Public Library
2011 @

@wobuilt: "Will attend #junctionTO GREEN 13 - Project Neutral Community Launch at 10am at Library at 145 Annette Street #toronto"
18 Jun via web from Toronto, Ontario
Last Saturday I attended the launch of Project Neutral ( in the Junction, one of the two neighbourhoods in Toronto, Riverdale is the second one, that are embarking on making the area carbon neutral. The initiative is spearheaded by Green 13 neighbourhood grassroots organization, who has brought Project Neutral to the Junction. The turnout was good, indicating that many residents in the area are interested in reducing their carbon footprint. Afterwards I saw that many signed up to be volunteers to canvas the neighbourhood to encourage participation for the survey for the green house gases baseline. Both MPP Cheri DiNovo and Councillor Sarah Doucette gave their congratulations to the successful launch.

What Is Carbon Neutrality?
Generally speaking carbon neutrality is a balance between carbon emission and carbon absorption. Living in Cities creates a great imbalance (we emit a lot more CO2 than we absorb, due in part to inefficient use of energy and lack of green spaces). Often we concentrate on making new buildings and developments the focus of energy effectiveness and environmental initiatives, but in Toronto the residential sector represents 25% of the green house gases emission. This sector represents a great opportunity for reduction in the carbon footprint and Project Neutral attempts to do that. This is a commendable ambition and one which deserves our support.

What the Project Is Trying to Achieve?
What the project is trying to achieve is the participation of as many households as they can, in both the survey to establish a baseline and the implementation to reduce the carbon footprint. In our opining what the projects are most likely going to achieve is a much larger awareness of what communities can do when they band together. The projects will encourage discussions of innovative ideas on financing and implementing the reduction measures, often the strongest stumbling blocks for home owners. Most of all, the project can achieve starting or providing the infrastructure for larger community initiatives such as large scale solar panel installations, central rain/ grey water collection or recycling points and other larger scale ideas.

Going Carbon Neutral
The two projects are not the first in Ontario or Canada, one of the pioneers is Eden Mills, Ontario. The village of 150 households was the first village in North America to tackle climate change. Apparently they were inspired by the example of Ashton Hayes, a village in England. As part of the launch Charles Simon and Linda Sword gave a brief outline of Eden Mills of their considerable success since their start in 2007. Other examples of carbon neutral cities can be found in Europe such as Germany and Sweden and in pockets throughout the world.

For a construction company dedicated to green building this kind of project is very exciting as it is potentially mind and attitude changing on a larger scale. The possibilities to instill green thinking in people are enormous and will push green construction further. The education part is key with workshops and information sessions in the Junction.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Wo-Built at the Home Show with Green Presentation

Being Green, Building Green Design and Construction Company

Going Green in the City: Building and Renovating with "Being Green" in Mind:
Part 1 - Eco-Friendly Home Improvements
Part 2 - Going Green Is Becoming Mainstream
Part 3 - Living Rooftops - An Environmental Alternative for "Green" Building

Eco Green Building: Wo-Built Inc's commitment on Being Green, Designing and Building Green and Sharing our Knowledge.

Project Neutral Neighbourhood Launch Green 13 - The Junction, June 18, 2011, photos  by wobuilt.comPhotos: Project Neutral Neighbourhood Launch
Green 13 - The Junction, June 18, 2011
Annette Street Public Library
2011 @

Green 13: Top 10 Environmental Tips
Greening Parkdale – High Park
  1. Walk, bike or carpool. If you do drive, make sure your vehicle is in good repair and remember, do not idle.
  2. Conserve energy. Turn off appliances and lights when not needed, power down, wash in cold water and switch your bulbs to florescent.
  3. Replace older household appliances with energy efficient ones. Select Energy Star ratings.
  4. Be Water Wise. Use a low flow aerator on your showerhead, get low flush / dual flush toilets. Collect rainwater. Reserve landscape watering.
  5. Recycle, Reuse, Reduce. Use the largest City of Toronto recyclable bin, challenge yourself to use the smallest garbage bin. Learn to donate unwanted items and try hosting an annual yard sale.
  6. Faithfully use the City of Toronto’s Green Composting system. Think of it as an investment toward future organic fertilizing. Try composting your own garden waste and start a Holistic Garden.
  7. Plan a tree for the future. The majority of the City of Toronto’s street lined trees and destined to perish at the same time. Start a home garden and grow your own produce. Plants are lungs of Society.
  8. Live Solar. Plan deciduous trees on the south of your home for summer shading and winter solar access. Plant evergreens to the north of your home to serve as protection from cold winds. Close window covering on a hot summer day, open them when you want bright warming rays. Dry your clothes outside.
  9. Make your home more efficient. Insulate, weatherstrip. Upgrade your heating and cooling systems.
  10. Shop Local. Balance out the carbon footprint by eliminating transportation costs, which affects fuel consumption and pollution creation. Support your Neighbour.
Credit: Green 13 is a volunteered environmental group originating from Ward 13, Toronto

Thursday, 16 June 2011

We are using KLOUT – The Influence Metric

Screenshot: Wo-Built's Klout Dashboard
Social Media Analytics
Credit: Klout - The Standard for Influence
We are probably one of the few small to medium sized construction companies that use social media extensively. Hence it is important for us to see how effective our social media efforts are. In the past the only indication of effectiveness was our hit rate to the website by links from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Like anything, social media is an investment in time and a return on investment needs to be achieved to justify the activities. Do not kid yourself, anyone who claims you can do social media effectively and meaningfully in 15 minutes a day, is thoroughly mistaken in our view. Effective social media means you should correspond with your friends and followers, answer their tweets, acknowledge their input and comments. In return, comments from you to them are also important. No amount of automation will achieve the personal touch, however there has to be structure. As a sample, we set-up the Wo-Built Daily on not to miss interesting articles and comments by our followers and friends. But even this will take more than 15 minutes.

So, when we heard about KLOUT we jumped on the chance to see our effectiveness and our measure of our overall online influence. To our delight we found that we are classified as 'Socializer's, a hub of the social scene and people count on us to find out what is happening. We are also influential at present in the following topics: toronto, construction, business and neighbours, all topics close to our heart and our expertise.

Influence is defined as per KLOUT’s own website: “We believe that influence is the ability to drive people to action -- "action" might be defined as a reply, a retweet, a comment, or a click. We perform significant testing to ensure that the average click-through rate on links shared is highly correlated with a person's Klout Score. The 25+ variables used to generate scores for each of these categories are normalized across the whole data set and run through our analytics engine. After the first pass of analytics, we apply a specific weight to each data point. We then run the factors through our machine-learning analysis and calculate the final Klout Score. The final Klout Score is a representation of how successful a person is at engaging their audience and how big of an impact their messages have on people.” Scores are out of 100.

Our Overall KLOUT SCORE is 37, which means "You are effectively using social media to influence your network across a variety of topics".

Our True Reach is 92, which means "You have a small but tightly formed network that is highly engaged".

We are delighted by the scores, as they show that we are not wasting our time; however they also show some of the potentials. We need more responses from our friends and followers and we will be actively working on those. We will further relationships with women in the trades and construction, green professionals and of course our neighbours in Corso Italia and our clients.

The score on KLOUT gives us another tool to analyze how we reach our public. Leads for projects will come increasingly through social networking. That’s why it is important to know how effectively our message connects with our network and subsequently prompts potential clients into action to buy our services. In the end all that counts is money in the till.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

From Worms to Green Building

green building: from worm composting to sustainable housing, by wobuiltPhoto-Collage: From Worms to Green Building
From Worm Composting to Sustainable Living
2011 @

"Every family needs a pound of worms,"
declares Cathy Nesbitt ...

from Learning to love the magic of worms
by Ellen Moorhouse Special to the Star

Published on Sat Sep 19 2009

I normally don’t write about my private life, but I got new pets, 800 to 1000 to be precise. And I had them for a week and a half and they are still alive!!! They are red wiggler worms (scientific name: Eisenia foetida), they live in a composting bin in my kitchen and they eat my organic kitchen waste.

When I got the little wigglers, I didn’t know anything about vermiculture or vermicomposting. I met Cathy of Cathy’s Crawly Composters a few times over the years and always said I wanted to try. So last week I finally picked up my worms and to my surprise I got two cartons of worms, one bottle of distilled water, one carton of soil/lime mix, bedding of paper shreds and of course the composting bin (size of a blue bin). Not quite assembled as I hoped, but I guess bonding with your pets is a good thing. So when I got home I had to set up their new environment and luckily Cathy provides a manual with the kit. Bedding your worms is quite a science. So is feeding them. I now have a freezer full of worm food, freezing helps to break down the structure, easier to digest.

Anyway I must have done something wrong and for a few days some of the little critters tried to escape. Making me a concerned worm owner. But I finally fluffed their bedding (more oxygen) and all is well in wormland. Pheeew!!!

I got the worms, because I wanted to do my tiny bit for the environment and live more healthy. I started juicing vegetable and fruits to eat the recommended daily 7 portions according to my chart from the My Food Guide at Health Canada, something that is almost impossible otherwise. But I didn’t want to throw away the pulp or the food scraps, so perfect timing for the worms. My own personal commitment to green which of course extends to my professional commitment to green building.

Living healthy, living green or living sustainable is a way of life and it does not have to large scale. The same applies to green buildings. Of course we would like to install all the large scale measures such a solar panels, geothermal and windmills or green roofs, but smaller measures can be as satisfying. A heat recovery unit is affordable at approx $4000, a light pipe to bring daylight into enclosed spaces can be as little as $1000 installed. If you really want, you can even consider composting toilets. If you add an extension to your house it may be possible to design in the environment to achieve an energy effective house. Measures such as orientation, glazing, heat sinks, daylight, natural shading, natural ventilation all play a vital role. For a second storey addition, skylights, light pipes and extra attic insulation are great ways to reduce energy usage. We discussed some of the ideas in our post about the Aboretum.

I am a great believer that we do not have to do without the comforts of modern life to be green or live an sustainable life, I like to live in a well designed, bright, warm or cool comfortable home, but I will encourage all our clients to think about ways how they can be green. The worms are my start, what would be yours?

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

PS: Father’s Day is just around the corner. Kids, instead of buying things or making some craft items for Dad, why not persuade him to get a children’s worm kit from Cathy’s Crawly Composting. Caring for the worms can be great fun for the whole family.

links: How to Build an Attractive Worm Bin
by Mindy McIntosh-Shetter, eHow Contributor
updated February 08, 2011

Wormilicious — diary of a worm composting revolution
by Cassandra: the worm coach

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Construction Statistics and Economic Indicators: Signs for Future Projects

On Tuesday, June 7th the Toronto Star published an article "GTA developers seeing slowdown" by Tony Wong about the slowdown of new residential and non residential construction seen by developers in the GTA. A follow article "Home building frenzy slows down" about the subject was published on the Toronto Star website on Wednesday. In his articles Mr. Wong mentioned that "in the key Toronto market, permits fell by more than half at 55% to 945 million in April", due to a decline in the condominium driven market and institutional buildings. However, high volumes of sales in the condo market are predicted to eventually translate into housing starts. He also mentions a record sale in existing homes in April. But with the Bank of Canada’s likely raise of interest rates and the home prices’ significant outpacing of job growth and income, affordability of new homes will be weakened, according to Francis Fong, an economist at the TD Bank.

In our opinion what is the likely outcome for the large scale home renovations such as additions? Due to the record home sales in the first half of the year it is likely that less renovations were scheduled as people moved rather than added to their home. Even at spring time, usually the start of the building season we observed fewer building signs from our competitors; larger renovations seems to be done by the owners or developers.

However, higher interest rates, a soft economical environment and a larger sale of condos will likely impact the prices in the house market negatively. It is conceivable that more large scale renovations will be undertaken by home owners once this happens.

But will it? The Toronto housing market has not performed over the last few years during the recession as one would expect; lesser housing prices, fewer sales, more large scale renovations in the medium price range ($150,000 to $500,000). On the one hand owners seem to hold back, on the other they bought new houses driving the market price up. The home sales were helped by extremely low interest rates. Recently, some of the major banks lowered their mortgage rates, even though the Bank of Canada rate stayed the same. Does that mean a decline in housing sales in May?

As a construction company specializing in the medium range construction it seems that even when the normal economic indicators forecast a likely increase in potential home extension projects, there are no sure outcomes. Our approach is two-pronged, being global, but staying local:
  • a) In the World: as a strategy - it is key to raise our brand profile to become a household name among the global community. In our experience social media is a great vehicle for sharing and connecting with our clients and partners and allowing us to show the public what we are about.
  • b) At Home: as a strategy and a core believe - it is important to promote and further local social concerns and we are working with community papers to make our name more known in specific areas of Toronto, such as East York / Beaches and Etobicoke; both areas have emotional connections to us. At home also includes the community around our office, Corso Italia and The Junction / High Park / Swansea (location of one of our previous offices).
As there is no crystal ball as to the future of the Toronto housing market and home owners’ behaviour, the two-pronged approach is likely to yield a steady, sustainable growth regardless of circumstances. The key is to increase market share by being a household name, not to rely on a larger number of construction projects.

But of course if the economic reality becomes such that for homes to appreciate in value the owners rather stay put; maybe a future article by Mr. Wong will indicate this; we would like to reiterate words from Ari Berman’s posting: "In short – if you bought it, keep it. If you need more of it, expand it. And, if you plan to sell it at some time in the future, maintain it in good condition while staying as free of debt as possible. "

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

links: Home building frenzy slows down
by Tony Wong | Wed Jun 08 2011

HomeView: Ontario Home Starts Decline in May
by: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Published on Jun 08, 2011 House Prices: Part of the Problem or Part of the Cure?
by Ari Berman | Mon October 06 2008

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Wo-Built Inc Daily: We Are Publishers construction newspaper social media by wobuilt torontoScreenshot: The Wo-Built Inc. Daily
Easy to Read Newspaper-style Format
Spreading construction, design and build ideas through social media

Credit: – Be a publisher organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or #tag.
@SmallRivers - Creator of

We are publishers courtesy of, who compile our tweets and those of the people we follow in a newspaper form every day for free. We love The Wo-Built Inc Daily for three reasons:
  1. It shows all tweets of the day of our Twitter friends in one place. So we do not miss interesting tweets from people and companies we like to see updates from. Often I find stories about design, renovation or construction which I consider educational or informative and which, since I do not check Twitter every hour, I would have missed.
  2. We can share the paper with our friends and followers and of course is an open forum and anyone can view the papers. Previous editions are archived and can be used for future reference. We can choose the keywords we want to share and the newest features include great editorial powers.
  3. The look of the paper is phenomenal. It is well laid out, easy to read and to navigate. It simulates a real newspaper and therefore has more of a stimulation effect than just reading the tweets as it shows the attachments in full with images and text.
Wo-Built Inc Daily is only the start for us. The next step is to setup papers which are geared to specific topics such lighting, green, environment, construction and architecture, topics which are important to us and which we tweet about all the time.

I found through people I followed on Twitter since they used the application and shared their papers. I thought this was a wonderful idea as it referenced the contributors (some of them grabbed my content) and gave such a great opportunity to engage in a conversation with Twitter friends. We have in turn recommended the application to others. Check out The Toronto Corso Italia Daily, run by the Corso Italia Business Improvement Area (BIA), Wo-Built’s home turf.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Combining Old and New: Keeping the Neighbourhood and Community Thriving

Architecture: Combining Old with New in the Junction area Toronto, by wobuiltPhoto-collage: Architecture: Combining Old with New
Keeping the Neighbourhood and Community Thriving
2011 @

We are continuing our series about old and new, a topic that is very dear to our heart. We believe strongly that marrying old with new can revitalize buildings and in extension communities. As a company we would love to be involved in their revitalization.
As the Junction area is close to home I have seen the area transform over the last few years. We got more art galleries; recently I bought a painting from The Telephone Booth gallery, more new and exciting restaurants, coffee shops; Starbucks and Crema to name a few and many more interesting shops. The Junction has become much more up market than before.

There are also changes in the architecture. Several corner buildings had a third floor added. A sign that the area is well on its way to gentrification, people invest in it. The buildings all had a commercial unit on the 1st floor and two residential floors above. The third storey design, simple and uncomplicated, blends in well with existing building. Old and new are complementary to each other.

As a business case the additional floor has to provide value in excess of the costs of construction. They all had the following in common: the building footprint is already large enough to give some economy of scale and it is providing enough space for several individual units. But the amazing fact is that the buildings are not enormous and not substantially larger than other buildings in the Junction, yet still they seem to be commercially viable.

The Junction is only one area in Toronto which is undergoing change and it took a long time for the turn around. The building extensions happened when the Junction was on the cusp of turning, meaning that the property values increased, making the initial capital costs viable. Many other buildings in the Junction are likely candidates for adding a third storey. Other areas in Toronto which are on the cusp of turning also might have buildings that are suitable.

Any building owner with a commercial 2-storey unit might find it beneficial to undertake a business case study to see if an addition is feasible. Viability can be measured in return of investment and break even points. We can help building owners make an informed decision as we have the necessary management and consulting expertise in our company.

Building investments in areas like the Junction will keep the neighbourhood and community thriving.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build