Sale of rare beachfront properties stalled by red tape

Last-minute paperwork is the only thing delaying “For Sale” signs at four Toronto Community Housing homes that are right along the Kew Beach lakefront.

Rick De Clute, an agent with De Clute Real Estate, stands on the second-floor verandah on the beach-front heritage home at 7 Hubbard Boulevard. PHOTO: Andrew Hudson
Rick DeClute, an agent with DeClute Real Estate, stands on the second-floor verandah on the beach-front heritage home at 7 Hubbard Boulevard.
PHOTO: Andrew Hudson

Built in 1926, the heritage homes at 4 and 6 Wineva Avenue and 5 and 7 Hubbard Boulevard are among the highest-valued houses in the TCH inventory.

Their sale has been discussed since at least 1999, but was finally prompted by the need to finance the housing agency’s $751 million backlog in repairs.

“We’ve prepped them, staged them, photographed them, have all kinds of advertising ready to go, and we’re waiting on the city,” said real estate agent Rick DeClute, who expected to show the homes two months ago.

“We stopped bringing things in because they started to stall,” DeClute said. “I don’t know what it is.”

Featuring deep verandas with brick piers and tapered wood columns, the two-storey “fourplexes” on Hubbard and Wineva have a cottage look that is unique to the Beach.

The homes at 5 and 7 Hubbard make up a single “fourplex” where residents can run straight from their front steps into Lake Ontario.

The Hubbard homes will list for $1.7 million each, but DeClute expects one buyer will likely purchase the entire $3.4 million building and spend another $1 million to renovate its interior as a single family home.

The homes at 4 and 6 Wineva face east and are part of separate fourplexes, but they too are just steps from Kew Beach.

Those homes haven’t been priced yet, but DeClute said their interiors are in better shape than the Hubbard fourplex, which, not counting the squatters who sheltered there recently, has been vacant for years.

“Anything we’ve ever sold on the waterfront has had spectacular interest,” DeClute said.

De Clute knows exactly why. Last year he bought a similar house along Hubbard from a developer who had not been told it was a heritage-listed property.

“It’s amazing,” said DeClute, who now keeps two kayaks and a paddleboard on his veranda.

“From Silver Birch to Yonge Street, there are seven homes that face the lake – that’s it.”

Loud beach parties aside, DeClute said it’s an ideal spot, adding that the city’s heritage preservation staff have been great to deal with.

Without heritage protection, DeClute said the five heritage fourplexes on Hubbard and Wineva would likely be replaced by condos.

Together with the nearby Eliza J. Furniss House and Hubbard Court Apartments, all the homes were built on the former grounds of the Scarboro Beach Amusement Park, which stretched from Leuty to MacLean Avenues. The largest and longest-lasting of Toronto’s old amusement parks, Scarboro Beach closed in 1925 as the Beach was shifting from a summer hotspot of tents and resorts to a year-round residential neighbourhood.

A newspaper ad from 1926 lists the brand-new duplexes on Hubbard and Wineva for between $5,400 and $7,500, roughly $72,254 to $100,350 in today’s dollars.

[flagallery gid=24 name=”5 and 7 Hubbard Boulevard”]

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Why on earth does the TCHC need to retain and pay a real estate agent to sell these properties? These properties would go for top dollar in an open, advertised auction setting. Surely TCHC employs enough experienced real estate people to deal with this rather than handing a commission to an agent who will do virtually nothing to earn it!

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