In Conversation With… Jared Menkes, Executive Vice-President, Menkes Developments
Few builders are as active in condo development in the GTA as Menkes Developments Ltd. Charged with the construction, sales, management and customer service of nearly 6,000 condominium units is Jared Menkes, executive vice-president, Highrise Residential.
Condo Life spoke to him for his insights on the company’s key projects and more.
Condo Life: Mobilio is an interesting new project Menkes has underway – offering both condos and townhomes. What is the inspiration for this project, and what will be its differentiating features?
Jared Menkes: The GTA continues to experience the phenomenon known as the “missing middle,” whereby neighbourhoods lack the diverse housing options that make them more balanced, and – most important – affordable to the average family. The new community will deliver architectural diversity, while simultaneously fulfilling the area’s fundamental need for more density. It will be the first project in Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) to blend a mix of housing types on one site, striking the perfect balance of housing, greenspace and amenities, many of which will be shared between the condos and townhomes.
CL: What is the status of the project, in terms of number of housing type, unit and home sizes?
JM: With more than 1,000 units of low- and highrise living, Mobilio will feature a mix of highrise condominium towers, and two- and three-bedroom townhouses, including some with rooftop terraces. This community is one where we are able to accommodate all different types of buyers – first-time buyers, new couples, empty nesters and retirees all have options to buy.
CL: Vaughan Metropolitan Centre is seeing a lot of development at the moment. Where do you see this going in the next three, five or 10 years?
JM: Vaughan is already the largest employment centre in York Region and will continue to be the destination of choice for the 905, especially with the development of VMC. By 2031, VMC alone will be home to 25,000 residents, 1.5 million sq. ft. of new office space and 750,000 sq. ft. of retail. And with the addition of the subway line added to the area, VMC will continue to become a downtown connected to Toronto’s downtown. Connectivity will also continue to be a major draw to Vaughan, with access to the TTC, VIVA and such close proximity to Hwys. 400 and 407.
CL: Family-friendly condos and amenities are an increasingly important part of the market. What types of new features is Menkes introducing with its projects? For example, developers are including libraries, bike parking, pet-wash stations and even music practice rooms in their projects…
JM: When it comes to amenities, I try to think about everything you would want or get out of living in a single-family home, and incorporate it into a condo. People like to entertain large groups, so we have sophisticated party rooms with kitchen and bar areas. If you like to barbecue, we offer a landsc aped terrace equipped with barbe cues. You enjoy a quiet night in? We have state-of-the-art theatres and game lounges. And if you want to stay active, we have fitness centres with separate weight, virtual and yoga studios.
When it comes to entertaining kids, we’ve offered all kinds of cool amenities such as hobby rooms, music rooms and play rooms with amazing interactive features.
We have really considered every member of your family right down to your pets. Mobilio will include a convenient pet-washing st ation. I am also very excited about the park aspect of this project. We will have the linear parks that connect all the projects together on this block and on future blocks that provide trails and exciting ways for families to stay active.
CL: And at Mobilio, what features there will speak to the neighbourhood or expected buyer profile?
JM: More and more people are looking to invest in walkable suburban communities near jobs, schools and other amenities, so they can experience more of an urban lifestyle in the 905. Mobilio is a short dist ance from Vaughan’s transit hub, and Vaughan is currently the only municipality in the GTA aside from Toronto that offers connectivity to the TTC subway system, GO Transit and regional transit services.
Also, this kind of versatile development will allow people to stay in the same community through every stage of their lives, should they choose to. For instance, families could potentially have their aging parents live close by without moving in with them.
CL: What kinds of things are you personally bringing to Menkes that perhaps previous generations didn’t focus on?
JM: I wouldn’t say there are things that I can offer that other generations didn’t, but I will say that as a previous condo owner with a young family, I can appreciate the need to make smaller spaces more livable for families and the need for amenities that cater to children. My experience living in a condo with two kids and a dog (at that time) helped shape of lot of Menkes’ recent condo projects.
AND ON A PERSONAL NOTE…
When not at the office or in the field, I: Explore the city with friends and family.
My greatest inspiration in this business is: Getting the opportunity to work with my family and getting to work on true city-building projects that will shape our city for generations to come.
If I wasn’t involved in the development industry, I would: I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Real estate is in my DNA. I love the opportunity I have to work on the types of projects that we get to develop. Every single one is a new challenge unto itself.
87 Peter Street
King and Peter Streets
Church and Shuter Streets
South Core Financial District, Toronto
Dundas East near Dundas Square
Vaughan Metropolitan Centre
Yonge and Eglinton