Aoyuan Property Group to develop its largest project in Canada
Plans to redevelop Newtonbrook Plaza site backed by a robust portfolio of residential developments in China, Australia and Vancouver.
Aoyuan Property Group, a pioneer of mixed-use community developments in China, is now bringing their broad lifestyle intelligence to Toronto with the redevelopment of the 8.6-acre Newtonbrook Plaza site at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue.
Aoyuan’s acquisition of Newtonbrook Plaza was one of the largest real estate deals in Toronto in 2017.
Founded in 1996, Aoyuan was the first developer in China to integrate residential real estate with sport and recreation amenities. Their first sports-themed development, named Olympic Garden, was based on the idea that exercise and a healthy lifestyle started at home. The concept was celebrated by the International Olympics Committee, ushering in a new standard for residential communities in China.
Two decades later, the Hong Kong-based company has demonstrated their ongoing commitment to building healthy lifestyle communities with a current land bank of over 200 million square feet and 100 major residential and commercial properties in over 30 cities across China, Australia and Canada.
Aoyuan’s philosophy of healthy living has also expanded to the creation of six different business arms ranging from e-commerce to hospitality. Innovative projects include a mobile app that integrates e-commerce with property management, and a large-scale — and every kid’s dream — chocolate theme park.
“Aoyuan’s entry into Toronto is very exciting news for the development community, says Vince Santino, senior vice president, development (Eastern Canada), Aoyuan Property Holdings (Canada) Ltd. “Aoyuan brings a unique approach to the way we think about the built environment and real estate. Building healthy lifestyle communities was part of their DNA from the beginning,”
“Aoyuan knows real estate is not only about giving people a two- or three-bedroom unit. They have a corporate intelligence about the way people live, which gets baked into their master plans,” says Santino, who has 25 years of experience in Toronto’s real estate development industry.
The 8.6-acre Newtonbrook Plaza site at Yonge and Finch will be Aoyuan’s largest master-planned community in Canada. Plans include five residential towers, 180,000 square feet of office and retail space, as well as a daycare and community centre. The new community will be 100 metres from the Yonge and Finch TTC subway station and the Finch GO Transit station. A portion of the lands that is currently a parking lot will be transformed into a new park and playground. Aoyuan has also embraced the city’s desire to encourage larger suites for families of all shapes and sizes.
“The magnitude of what Aoyuan has accomplished is incredibly diverse and this gives them a very broad perspective,” says Josie Arcella, senior sales and marketing manager (Eastern Canada. “Aoyuan takes into consideration exactly how purchasers will be affected by every decision they make. Aoyuan’s designs are not based solely on global trends, but on the functionality of the entire community and what buyers really need.”
Fundamental to Aoyuan’s international success is their hyper-local on-the-ground approach. In every city, Aoyuan handpicks local talent who understand the development landscape and nuances of the local market. As a result, Aoyuan’s international portfolio is diverse and their projects are very successful with local purchasers.
“Aoyuan’s diverse business arms allowed them to develop a deep understanding of people’s lifestyles and behaviours and build a strong service-oriented approach to real estate development,” says Fan Yang, deputy general manager (Eastern Canada). “I am excited to be part of the local team that is bringing Aoyuan’s expertise to Toronto. The Newtonbrook Plaza site has all the right ingredients, and Aoyuan has what it takes to help make Toronto more liveable for families.”