The Globe and Mail helped us to celebrate the launch of Greenbilt Homes’ FlexPlex® with a new article about the project.
The report by Globe real estate columnist Dave LeBlanc included a retrospective of the long journey from concept to completion of this “flexible multiplex” concept home in South Etobicoke.
Mr. LeBlanc penned The Architourist column entitled “The FlexPlex finally gets its day in Toronto” for the Globe website and well as the Dec.8th print real estate section.
He quoted generously from a 2019 Globe and Mail article by John Lorinc about the beginnings of the FlexPlex as a dream that was captured on architectural firm Sustainable’s drafting table.
Mr. LeBlanc’s article chronicled some of the unexpected setbacks that occurred after the first article. They include the Covid lockdown and $112,000 in development charges incurred for the right to add a second unit to the site of a former single-family house. Other setbacks not mentioned in the article included opposition from neighbours, and rapid increases in mortgage rates just as building finally got underway and bills came pouring in.
But like the old saying “you can’t keep a good man down,” the concept of FlexPlex as a highly flexible building that can accommodate equally flexible occupant types somehow carried on despite the adversity.
Today the building is a striking Duplex that houses Greenbilt President Mike Manning and his wife Catherine Ann Marshall in the lower unit. A globe-trotting family with children who have just arrived from Seoul, South Korea live in the upper unit.
The FlexPlex’s “secret sauce” is that it can quickly and easily be converted from a Duplex to a Triplex to four 2-bedroom apartments OR it can be converted into a large multi-generational or co-living style single residence. The building can have up to eight bedroom/bathroom combinations and up to four full or partial kitchens.
The benefit of all this flexibility is that an owner can start with a fourplex, and over the years use more and more of the space in the building for personal use. Conversely, they can downsize in place.
The FlexPlex represents a solution to the absence of missing-middle housing types in Toronto.
In addition, it achieves all of this in a climate-friendly, energy-efficient, all-electric, low-carbon building with heat pumps for heating, cooling and hot water – truly an accomplishment of which to be proud!
The Globe article described the FlexPlex as presenting “a handsome, single-family face to the street, albeit a very contemporary one with cladding of concrete panels.”
Coming from someone of Mr. LeBlanc’s stature, this architectural evaluation of the FlexPlex was a pleasure to hear.
He is an authority on Modernist architecture with a background in the arts, and has served as a juror for the Ontario Association of Architects and the City of Toronto.
Reading the Globe article was a watershed moment. You can see it here: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/toronto/article-the-flexplex-finally-gets-its-day-in-toronto/
It reminded us how long we battled adversity. But now that the journey is over, culminating with the occupancy of the FlexPlex, the retrospective article reminded us that we have a lot to celebrate.