The Liberty Lofts are located just east of Sherbourne street at Adelaide and are a 46-unit boutique conversion from the old Gillette Razor Factory. The Liberty Lofts are housed in a beautiful old style loft with enormous concrete columns and brick posts, with an original courtyard maintained by installing a skylight. Now an atrium, the gorgeous courtyard can be seen as one rides up the elevator.
Many people say it was built in 1937, but I found a photo of it from 1933, so it is obviously older than that. I see something that could be it on the 1924 Goad’s map, but the shape is not right. The 1913 map definitely shows a sort of mews, what appears to be row houses or workers’ cottages on the site. I assume the small lane way south of today’s Liberty Lofts – Duke Mews – plays homage to these long-gone homes. This would have been back when this part of Adelaide Street was still called Duke Street.
Across the street is the old Heintzman Building, which is now Studio City. To the northwest are the two Imperial Optical buildings, now the Imperial Lofts. But then I found a study by the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association that says the old Gillette building was built prior to 1920. I assume they know what they are talking about! This leads me to believe that the 1924 Goad’s map shows the initial phase of the building. Looking at the current building today, you can see the piece that sticks out to the south, on the west side of the building. This matches the footprint of the 1924 building. At some point the eastern, smaller part of the building was built. And then a facade was added to tie it all together. This makes a lot of sense, as the lobby and interior common areas of the building appear to have once been exterior areas. You can see the two different phases of construction, now it all makes sense to me.
So – the original was built prior to 1920 and after 1913. Then, sometime after 1924 and before 1933 the addition and facade was built. And so all the other “loft specialists” out there claiming a 1937 construction date are off by almost 2 decades! All it takes is a little research to learn the facts. And it is kind of cool, if you ask me, that the building turns out to be 20-odd years older than everyone thought.
Just to muddy the waters, I found this text from the January 1912 Canadian Hardware, Stove & Paint Journal: “One result of the way the trade pushed the GILLETTE in 1911 IS that we have been enabled, and practically compelled, to erect a new GILLETTE Building where we will have more room and better facilities for handling the growing business. This building is now nearly completed, so that we will soon be in a better position than ever to delight your customers with the super-excellence of the GILLETTE Safety Razor.” So I assume then that the building may have been completed late enough in 1912 that there was no time to change the 1913 Goad’s map. But this seals it to me, the original west building was started in 1911 and completed in 1912 – at 120 Duke Street.
When it was last used commercially, it was a Tippet-Richardson records storage warehouse. Not sure when it changed from Gillette to Tippet-Richardson, but that is what it was being used for in the early 1990s. I have seen some sites claim it was converted in 1990, which is not true, as it was in use after that date. Others have claimed it was converted in 2001. Never have I found a loft with so many contradictory dates surrounding it. The history really isn’t that muddled, if you actually take the time to look.
The building (with its old address of 379 Adelaide) was auctioned off as a power of sale in April of 1993, at the King Edward Hotel. Then in the fall of 1994, the new owner put it back up for sale. Unfortunately, it is just a numbered company, so I can’t tell you much more. It was listed until the middle of 1996, with no sale recorded on MLS. The first loft was listed on MLS in early 2000, but they were still under construction at that point. I found a photo in the Getty Images archive that shows it during conversion likely in 1999. Looks like the process of creating the lofts started in 1999 or so and continued into 200o or even 2001. The lofts were sold by yet another numbered company, so there isn’t a lot to go on there. People say that Core Architects were involved, but [they don’t mention the building on their site] (http://www.corearchitects.com/projects/multi-residential) so I don’t really think they designed it.
The two buildings provide for different types of lofts – some with old wood beams and exposed brick, and the other with more concrete and columns. There are 36 one-bedroom lofts and 10 two-bedroom lofts. The two-storey upper level units feature private walk-out terraces complete with BBQ hookups and gardening taps. Only the two-bedroom units have parking spaces. This is real loft living right downtown. Ceilings are high, ranging from between 11 to 13 feet typically. The lofts range from around 600 square feet for the smaller one-bedrooms, up to around 1,350 square feet for the largest two-bedroom penthouse unit.
Located a five-minute streetcar ride from King and Bay, Moss Park is close to the financial core, downtown and so much more! But being surrounded by other great neighbourhoods doesn’t hurt either with easy access to Corktown, St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District.