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A Historic Schoolhouse and Its Playground Are Being Made Over as Condo Lofts and Upscale Townhomes Near Newmarket’s Historic Main Street

Three years ago, the team at The Rose Corporation was wrapping up 212 Davis Apartments, a 15-storey building in Newmarket they had co-built with Greenwin. While in the city’s north end, they would often stop to grab lunch.

“We always thought the Main Street of Newmarket was Yonge Street and Davis Drive,” says Rose Corporation president Daniel Berholz — in other words, big- box store central.

But, after the locals steered them in the right direction, they discovered Main Street proper.

“It was not unlike the charming Main Streets you would find in small towns in Ontario like Bracebridge and Huntsville,” says Berholz of the strip, lined with historic buildings, unique boutiques, funky restaurants and other small businesses.

The Town of Newmarket and the private sector have done significant refurbishments to buildings in the area. Old Town Hall has undergone a $10-million renovation; improvements have been made to The Clock Tower and the Old Fire Hall. The latter is being converted into the second location of the Port Perry-based Old Flame Brewery, with rolling glass doors and a 5,000-square-foot craft beer and retail store opening in early 2021.

“Downtown Newmarket is a hidden gem. We were blown away by it,” says Berholz. “We discovered amazing options for ice cream, coffee, and Mexican and Hungarian food,” says Berholz, noting favourite eateries like the Ground Burger Bar; the gastropub The Hungry Brew Hops, the Maid’s Cottage — a teahouse-style bakery with butter tarts — and the Italian restaurant Joia.

Century homes with heritage designations surround the strip, he notes. And in the heart of downtown is Wesley Brooks Conservation Area — or Fairy Lake, as the locals call the 13.4-hectare parkland that features trails, waterways and marshland.

So when Rose was approached about a unique piece of property only steps away they didn’t hesitate to buy it: the King George School on 400 Park Avenue was built in 1912 by the contractor macintosh and architect O.E. Trench in a classic 20th-century style. The building is Newmarket’s oldest learning institution and func institution and functioned as a primary school until 1983. “Then the board transitioned it and sold it,” Berholz says. “We fell in love with it. The school itself is a beautiful building and was in great shape. We were in awe of the potential of the school itself and the playground.”

Working with the York-ville-based Audax Architecture, they transformed it into King George School Lofts & Town Homes, preserving the school in the process (residents have already moved into the project).

There are 11 condominium lofts within the school building. These feature 13-foot ceilings, gourmet kitchens and generous terraces for some suites. They range in size from 640 to 1,220square feet and start at $589,990.

The lush playground, with its 100-year-old trees, is home to 14 two-storey freehold townhomes. These are priced from $1.2million, and range from 2,100 square feet above grade. “There is 3,180 square feet of livable space if you finish basement, as many owners have done,” says Berholz.

Townhome features include double-sided glass fire- places, herringbone wood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The townhomes were designed in two different styles to match the homes in the area, he says. One block is Victorian and has more height; the other, with its lower profile, is Edwardian, featuring peaked roofs and red brick and black panelling.

The garages are tucked into the back, he adds, unlike “narrow towns in urban areas that have to deal with the garage being part of the unit.”

In addition to a “nice-sized dining room,” the main-floor plan will include a power room. Not having to trudge upstairs to use the bathroom is ideal for empty nesters, who are the majority of buyers here.

“(They’ve bought) because they either want to be close to their kids or they want to be out of downtown and are ready for a quieter lifestyle,” says Berholz.

“They can walk to Main Street for dinner, drinks, the shops and go along the beautiful trails,” he says. “A lot of them have cottages on Simcoe or further north and they like being a few minutes from the 404 and the 400 to get there.”

You are here:

  1. Riverwalk Commons is a thriving recreational site with a splash pool, a skating rink and an outdoor stage that hosts festivals year-round. Past events include Moonlight Movies, Music in the Park and the Garlic is Great Festival. 200 Doug Duncan Dr.
  2. The nearby, 8.5-kilometre Tom Taylor Trail circles Fairy Lake, offering cyclists and pedestrians a chance to get active in a scenic setting.
  3. Sanctuary Day Spa is located in a restored 5,000-square-foot historical home. Post-treatment, clients can relax on the covered rooftop patio or stroll the serene gardens. 57 Main St. S.

But they aren’t the only demographic who have discovered King George.

“My wife and I were there this weekend and the newest buyers showed us their townhome and their new basement,” says Berholz of a young family of five with two dogs who had relocated to the development from a 4,000-square-foot house.

“They created a media room in the basement and this very livable four-bedroom three-level home,” he says. “They say it’s the most cozy home they’ve lived in.”

A fully furnished model townhome can be viewed by appointment at 400 Park Avenue in Newmarket, or for more information visit

Source: National Post