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8 former Toronto clubs and bars set to become condos

In late January, Menkes Development reportedly purchased the property of Filmores Hotel for $31.5 million, along with the adjacent parking lot for another $20 million. Despite the looming possibility of being kicked out of the building that has been its home for the last 40 years, the infamous gentlemen’s club on Dundas Street East made it clear that it wasn’t going anywhere yet. In a recent Facebook post, the club stated that it will stay at its location for, “at least a couple more” years.

Filmores Hotel is one of many clubs across Toronto that have bit the dust as a result of residential development. Here are a few notable venues that are now the planned or under-construction site of condominiums.


1. The Silver Dollar Room

Source: Jeff Hitchcock /  Flickr

Developer: Fitzrovia Real Estate
Now: The Waverly
Status: Rentals pending, under construction

On the west side of Spadina Avenue near College Street, the Silver Dollar Room was once a live-music stage, popular among rock enthusiasts. Before closing its doors in May 2017, the venue sung its swan song with the help of local punk rock band, METZ.

The building has since been torn down and is now the site of The Waverley, a soon-to-be 15-storey condo tower. As part of the building approval conditions and due to the building’s heritage status, developer Fitzrovia Real Estate is required to reconstruct the Silver Dollar, reportedly keeping the original bar, floor and big silver coin sign intact.

2. Zipperz/Cellblock

Developer: Tribute Communities
Now: Stanley Condos
Status: Sold out, under construction

Walking past the Carlton and Church Street piano bar, it wasn’t uncommon to see a drag king or queen performing in the window. After closing in July 2016, the site was replaced with a 37-storey condominium tower, called Stanley Condos. Touting over 16,000 square feet of amenity space, including a study hall, outdoor terrace and fitness centre, the 471-unit tower is walking distance to downtown conveniences like the Eaton Centre, Ryerson University and Loblaws.

3. House of Lancaster

Developer: Urban Capital
Now: Reina Condos
Status: In registration, preconstruction

Located on The Queensway just west of Humber Bay, the House of Lancaster was once an infamous gentleman’s club. After a string of violent offences, including shootings, the South Etobicoke strip club closed its doors in 2017 before being demolished in February 2018.

Parallax Development Corporation originally proposed a 55-townhome project for the site, before Urban Capital carried the development in a new direction. Now, Canada’s first all-female development team will launch Reina Condos, a 200-unit midrise condo building.

4. The Comfort Zone

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Developer: Fitzrovia Real Estate
Now: The Waverly
Status: Rentals pending, under construction

Neighbouring the Silver Dollar, The Comfort Zone lived downstairs in the basement of the Waverly Hotel. A stage for heavy metal bands, hip-hop artists and DJs, the underground after-hours club on Spadina Avenue saw many patrons since opening its doors on New Year’s Eve in 1996. By the end of May 2017, The Comfort Zone ended its more than 20-year tenure by meeting a similar fate to that of its sister club — the wrecking ball of death. The site of the former club is now the under-construction site of The Waverly.

5. The Matador

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Architect: Axia Design Associates
Now: 466 Dovercourt Road
Status: Sales pending, preconstruction

Little Italy’s century-old ballroom and music venue, The Matador, is currently the subject of a recent residential proposal. Architects Axia Design Associates imagines a 30-unit, six-storey condo building for the Dovercourt Road and College Street location.

However, there are also plans to keep the exterior marquee and wood paneling on the ground floor where commercial space is expected to be. The Matador, which was sold in the spring of 2019 to a private buyer, saw performances from singers Johnny Cash and Joni Mitchell in its time.

6. Guvernment

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Developer: The Daniels Corporation
Now: Daniels Waterfront
Status: Under construction, selling

At the bottom of Lower Jarvis, the famed Toronto nightclub, previously known as RPM, shared its warehouse complex with Kool Haus. Over its years in business, the club saw a number of concerts and dance parties, with notable performances ranging from Deadmau5 to Bob Dylan. The venue closed in 2015 before being converted into the Daniels Waterfront community, where construction of two condo towers is expected to wrap up in the summer of 2020.

7. The Second City & Wayne Gretzky’s

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Developer: CentreCourt
Now: 55 Mercer Condos
Status: Registration, preconstruction

Rising 47-storeys on King and John Street, 55 Mercer Condos will take over the site of the former Second City venue and Wayne Gretzky’s sports bar. The new condo tower, centrally located in the Entertainment District, will be walking distance to a plethora of bars and restaurants, along with more touristy destinations such as the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Roy Thomson Hall and TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Second City will relocate to a new site at One York Street in late 2020.

8. The Central

Developer: Westbank
Now: Mirvish Village
Status: Rentals pending, under construction

Once a venue for live indie music and comedy shows, The Central was one of the many businesses to go — alongside Honest Ed’s — upon the massive redevelopment of Mirvish Village. The site of the late Bathurst and Bloor Street bar, which was open from 2006 until closing in January 2017, will become part of the new master-planned Mirvish Village, a multiple phase low- and high-rise development that will be home to 855 residential units when complete in 2022.

Michelle McNally

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