It takes an imaginative soul to see potential in an axle-grease-laden body shop in SAN FRANCISCO’s grubby Tenderloin at 466 Eddy Street <PHOTO ABOVE>, and turn it into a 3,200-square-foot Japanese spa & restaurant. The husband-and-wife owners told SF Weekly that in the beginning “the building was an open canvas. It was four brick walls and a hole in the ground, which meant we could make our own decisions in designing the interior space.”

The rebuild took about three years – and involved earthquake proofing, complying with the city’s fire code, police department permits, setting up a restaurant and obtaining a massage license.

Could something like this happen in TORONTO’s overheated real estate market? We certainly have a good supply of empty auto-body shops. The one above is on Gerrard Street East at Sherbourne. And below – an eyesore on Jarvis Street at Richmond, now given over to surface parking. Both are in good or developing neighbourhoods within easy walking distance of the downtown core.

Two other San Francisco auto-body shop conversions. The Standard Deviant Brewery is on 14th Street, a neighbourhood devoted to old auto-body shops <PHOTO BELOW – jubilant Standard Deviant Brewery owners after securing their lease>.

And the Volvo Centrum Shop, at 16th and Sanchez, which sold for $4.6-million in 2016 is about to become a frontispiece for a luxury apartment building with glass walls. <PHOTO BELOW>


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