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CHUM building purchased by developer
Landmark sold to the tune of $21-million

Globe and Mail
July 25, 2008

An iconic Yonge Street building that for a half-century was a vital part of the history of popular music in Toronto has been purchased by a major developer.

In a deal that closed this month, Aspen Ridge Homes, a major Toronto-region builder, paid CTV Ltd., a subsidiary of CTVglobemedia (which also owns The Globe and Mail), $21.5-million for the CHUM radio building on Yonge Street south of St. Clair Avenue, according to real estate records.

The records also show that, after the deal went through, Aspen Ridge, a developer that in recent years has moved aggressively into the downtown condominium market, then mortgaged the 0.64-acre property for $30-million, with the Bank of Nova Scotia as the primary lender.

The two-storey building, built as a book bindery in 1954, was made into a radio station in the late 1950s and was set on the path to rock 'n' roll history when, on May 27, 1957, Allan Waters converted it to a teen-music format and played Elvis Presley's All Shook Up as its first Top 40 song.

Since then, its neon CHUM DIAL 1050 sign has been a landmark. In pre-MuchMusic times it was a magnet for teenaged pilgrims who trekked up Yonge Street hoping to get a glimpse of a cultural hero, which at the height of the rock 'n' roll era included the disc jockeys, such as Jay Nelson, who spun Elvis or the Stones.

CHUM, which still broadcasts from the building with its AM station broadcasting what are now considered golden oldies, led the field in Southern Ontario for a good part of the golden age of rock, and its Top 40 chart, which it maintained until 1986, was the longest-running radio station record survey in North America.

But its building is on a prime site for redevelopment.

In the past decade, Yonge Street below St. Clair Avenue has become one of the hottest locations for high-end condominium development, and the CHUM site is zoned in a way that would permit Aspen Ridge to build an 84,000-square-foot mixed-use building without seeking city approval for a larger one.

Andrew De Gasperis, president of Aspen Ridge, did not return a call.
Keep the CHUM sign!

Declare the CHUM sign of historical importance. Just like the Sam The Record Man sign, it should be kept.

If it can't be kept at the current location, move it to Dundas Square. Or at least keep it with the studios.

Where are the radio studios moving to, anyways?
I have a rendering of the new CHUM building down at Richmond and Duncan, and yes they're putting the sign up at the new location.

How do I post it? I don't have it online, just in my email inbox.
Thanks for the help waterloowarior, here it is:

Thanks for the render. I hope the sign doesn't look as tacked on as it does there.

Weren't a few clubs located in this building?
Though the sign might wind up but a cipher, given the state of 1050 CHUM and AM radio in general...
Just so the out of towners know what we're talking about, taken today, by me:


Pulverize it says I!

ps: the Terroni's patio I took this photo from is really relaxing, you wouldn't know there's a (insert future) yuppiestack across the street! :p (What's a yuppiestack? A condo tower....:))
The building's blah; the sign and the contents (as affirmed two Doors Opens ago), legendary. It's like the old studios need to be dismantled and reconstructed in a broadcasting museum, sorta like the Lehman Wing at the Met...
It began life as Whisky Saigon in the mid 1990s and turned into Joe around 2002.

Exactly, it was a decent club as Whiskey Saigon - had a few interesting nights there. The rooftop patio was a neat feature. Oh well, looks like the city doesn't want people to have fun anymore.

As for Chum, how do they keep surviving? The market listening to AM radio must be tiny, especially for the stale, ancient nuggets they keep trotting out.
As for Chum, how do they keep surviving? The market listening to AM radio must be tiny, especially for the stale, ancient nuggets they keep trotting out.
They also have that godawful FM muzak station that plays the same 5 songs fifteen times a day for 3 months. That seems to be doing phenomenally, as the average person these days has the musical taste of a dead stick.