By Sue Stefko
(Appeared in the Glebe Report, April 2022)
Many Glebe Annex residents suspected that something was not going according to plan on 7 Maclean. The site plan for a three-storey, 7-unit apartment building was approved in January 2020. However, there had been no activity on the site, other than the demolition of the original home more than a year later, in April 2021 – and then nothing since. It was recently confirmed that it had gone back up for sale and that Canci Realty was the new owner.
Nick Canci, the founder of Canci Realty, is no stranger to the Glebe Annex. His first foray into the neighbourhood was the construction of a triplex in 1997 (340-342 Bell St. S.). His second occurred after one of his visits to that original property. He decided to swing by to visit colleagues at Scaffold-Fast at 385 Bell St S., with whom he had done business in the past, only to find that the location had been shuttered, and the company had moved. Nick wasted no time in seeing if the owners were interested in selling the property. As it turns out, they were.
Within less than two years, Canci Realty added a 4-storey, 15-unit building to their rental portfolio on the site. Although it was just built in 2004, the handsome red-brick building has a historical feel that make it fit seamlessly into the neighbourhood. This is also true of his latest neighbourhood foray, the 29-unit apartment at 307 Lebreton St. S. that was built in 2012. Nick designs his buildings to incorporate elements of the neighbourhood into them – they are meant to look as if they have always been there. His goal is to improve on the neighbourhood but not change it drastically. He also feels that if renters take pride in the building they live in, they are more likely to take care of their units. Unlike many developers, the family-run company then manages the rentals themselves. These days, Nick is more engaged with design and construction, leaving the day-to-day property management to his daughter Ciana.
Given that the official transfer has recently happened occured, plans for the lot are still taking shape, and construction is not expected to start until about 2025. The intent is not to leave the lot in its current gated and overgrown state, however. Nick intends to provide some parking on the lot for company vehicles and establish a grassy space for the use of current 385 Bell St S. tenants.
Longer term plans include the addition of 26 rental units to the current 385 Bell St. S. building. Parking will be on the ground floor, but it will be largely closed in and include windows, to appear as part of the building and not a parking lot when viewed from Maclean St. It will be designed to look like a series of townhouses, such as those that exist on the south side of the street. The four-storey building will step back on the top floor and will include a roof top terrace that houses a ‘bark park’ – a fenced in area with artificial turf to allow pet owners to let their dogs out for a quick leg stretch or to ‘do their business’. The easterly 23 feet of the property is expected to be green space, with the inclusion of trees and shrubs as the space allows.
The addition will contain more density that was initially planned for 7 Maclean, which will have a corresponding impact on some neighbouring properties. However, the proposal is designed to abide by the maximum heights permitted by zoning regulations. It also fits with the city’s priority to increase the affordable housing supply by encouraging new low-rise apartment buildings in what has been described as the ‘missing middle,’ particularly in the urban core.
Photo left: The apartment building at 385 Bell St. South.
Photo right: Nick Canci, the founder of Canci Realty, with his son Yuri Locmelis, who is one of his partners. Nick has been in the construction business for more than 35 years. His interest in the industry was sparked when he started helping his father Giovanni paint houses, often for developers, at the tender age of 13. He built his first custom home at the age of 22 and hasn’t looked back. The original custom home construction business, Canci Homes, largely transitioned into building and maintaining apartment buildings in the late 1990s. The Canci Realty portfolio now encompasses 8 rental buildings and more than 110 units. Three of those buildings are in the Glebe Annex, with another in Chinatown, at Cambridge St. North.
Photos by Gabrielle Dallaporta