In Conversation With: Michael Dipasquale
Dunpar Homes specializes in building high-end townhomes in vibrant neighbourhoods
Dunpar Homes has made a name for itself by cornering the market on luxury townhouse living.
For more than 30 years, Dunpar has been building high-end townhomes that are characterized by quality engineering, craftsmanship and timeless design.
Just ask Michael DiPasquale, the vice president of operations for Dunpar Homes. He’s been living in a Dunpar-built townhome for several years and embraces the easy lifestyle.
“I like the convenience of it, the low maintenance and because Dunpar builds infill projects in vibrant communities, my Etobicoke home is near everything I need.”
Dunpar was founded by John Zanini in 1981, who had been renovating older homes in the Cabbagetown area and admired the fine craftsmanship. He learned the techniques, which are now found in all of Dunpar’s homes. Zanini’s first townhomes were built near Dundas and Parliament Streets, which is how he came up with the name Dunpar.
The concept of building thoughtfully planned homes on commercial and industrial sites in prime areas has resulted in the company building more than 2,000 homes — all of them townhouses.
“When Dunpar selects a location for a community, we only choose vibrant neighbourhoods in sustainable communities with easy access to shopping, schools, parks, highways, transit and green space,” Zanini says.
DiPasquale, who has been with Dunpar since 2009, agrees. “Townhomes are ground-related so you have the best of the easy maintenance of condo living without the cramped feeling you can get in a highrise tower.”
Q: What kind of people are purchasing townhomes?
A: Townhomes have been on the housing scene for decades, but they used to be considered an entry point to home ownership. Now, however, with the changing marketplace and higher housing costs, they are a viable alternative for most homebuyers. We’ve been selling to all kinds of people — young families, professionals and empty nesters.
The empty nesters are coming from detached homes and are looking for less space and an easy lifestyle. We also offer the option of installing elevators so they can age in place. However, the young professionals and families are looking to move up from a condo or apartment and want more square footage.
Q: What are purchasers looking for in a luxury townhome?
A: These are educated and refined purchasers and they are looking for elegance and craftsmanship. We build an upscale product with stone and brick exteriors, bay windows, cedar shake roofs, dormer windows and topfloor master suites with luxurious ensuite bathrooms.
We hit on a winning brand but with each subsequent project we refine and improve the design process. For instance, eight-foot ceilings on the upper floors became nine feet. It’s an evolutionary process, but we’ve made no big changes over the years. Dunpar has been doing it right from the beginning, so there is just some tweaking as we go along.
Q: Will Dunpar remain a townhouse builder only, or are there plans to expand the portfolio?
A: Up to this point, it has been townhomes only. However, we are about to bring to market an eight-floor midrise building in Etobicoke at Prince Edward Drive and Dundas Street West, just a couple of blocks east of Royal York Road. The units will be a luxury product in keeping with The Kingway neighbourhood where they are located.
We’re also planning back-to-back townhomes, which will feature rooftop patios. The smallest unit is 1,600 square feet.
Q: How can prospective purchasers get a feel for your product?
A: We’ve kept a couple of units in an older project to use as a sales office. Buyers find it hard to visualize space from a floorplan and they want to see and feel the finishes, so by setting up in an actual unit, purchasers can see the quality of the product and use of space and our well thought out designs. There are very few new homes being built that are over 2,000 square feet — especially infill projects — so our buyers are happy they can see just how great these units are to live in.
We also think about how the space will be used and make sure there are electrical outlets and cable outlets placed in the appropriate place, for instance. We think about everything — there are gas hook-ups on the decks for barbecues and all of our units have two-car garages. Of course, our buyers can also customize their unit. For example they can take a three-bedroom second-floor plan and change it to a two-bedroom.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: Golf. And travel. My wife and I also consider ourselves to be foodies, so we enjoy trying out all the great Toronto restaurants. We’re close to GO Transit so we can get into the city very quickly.
PORTFOLIO ACTIVE PROJECTS
- Trafalgar Ridge, Oakville
- Streetsville Centre, Mississauga
- Lakeshore Village, Etobicoke
- Heritage Gate, Mississauga
- Townhomes in Oakville
- Midrise in Etobicoke
- Luxury rentals on Ossington