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Aoyuan launches M2M Spaces collection at master-planned North York community

Aoyuan launches M2M Spaces Collection at master-planned North York community

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Aoyuan launches M2M Spaces Collection at master-planned North York community

Following its initial sold-out debut, developer Aoyuan International is releasing new inventory at its landmark 8.6-acre master-planned community, M2M. One of the first projects to launch in Toronto this spring, M2M Spaces includes two- and three-bedroom townhomes and tower suites, located in the vibrant Yonge and Finch community.

Functional and private

“When we created the Spaces Collection, it was really important to us that the residences feel like single-family homes,” says Vince Santino, senior vice-president, development, Aoyuan International. “People are spending more time at home nowadays, and we recognize how important residences which are both functional and private are.

“That’s why we’re so thrilled to launch Spaces, an exciting offering which can support multigenerational families and working parents who are seeking an urban living experience without compromising space and privacy. We know that families of all sizes will enjoy the larger units, added flex spaces, exterior terraces and incredible amenities unique to M2M.”

The M2M Spaces collection consists of 25 spacious townhomes ranging from 1,000 to 1,300 sq. ft. and an additional 12 sub-penthouse units beginning at 703 sq. ft. Designed to maximize greenspace for residents, suites feature street-level entrances and views of a future new public park in the Park Collection, face inward towards private courtyard terraces in the Courtyard Collection, or offer personal rooftop terraces with an elevated park or courtyard view in the Rooftop Collection. Every suite will have access to fresh air and lush outdoor spaces, an increasingly important element in today’s urban environment.

Flexible floorplans

Flexible floorplans at M2M Spaces give residents the choice of an extended living, kitchen, and dining area. In the townhomes, another option incorporates sliding panels that open into a family room on the main level. Inside, abundant natural light streams in through large windows overlooking the greenery of the future new public park or the city skyline beyond.

To further support privacy and the needs of diverse families, residents will also benefit from the inclusion of Aoyuan’s switchable smart glass feature in the Sky Collection of sub-penthouse units. By simply flipping a switch, residents can change the transparent glass panels to transform to opaque, allowing for quiet time or increased concentration.

aoyuaninternational.com

 


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In Conversation With Vince Santino, Senior Vice-President of Development, Aoyuan Canada

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In Conversation With Vince Santino, Senior Vice-President of Development, Aoyuan Canada

Talk about making a statement. Chinese builder Aoyuan International doesn’t exactly dip its toes into the waters of global condominium development. With signature projects in Sydney Australia, Vancouver, Hong Kong and now Toronto, Aoyuan goes all out.

M2M, Aoyuan’s first development Toronto, is located in a prominent neighbourhood in North York – Newtonbrook. Located just north of the Yonge and Finch transit hub, this master-planned community is a statement, indeed, with easy access to the subway and GO Transit, and dining and shopping hot spots.

When completed, the 8.6-acre community will be a fully integrated neighbourhood designed for living, working and playing. Five towers and two podiums will host a total of 1,650 residential units, as well as hundreds of thousands of square feet of office and retail space, a community centre, children’s daycare, and even its own greenspace for a future park.

Condo Life sat down with Vince Santino, senior vice-president of development, to get a sense of how M2M is coming along, and what’s next for Aoyuan.

How’s business these days, in these unprecedented days of COVID-19?

While we experienced a temporary pause at our construction site, we’ve been pleased to see things begin to pick up again more recently. When the COVID-19 preventative measures were at their strictest, we saw this as time to get involved with our neighbourhood more deeply. Times like these are opportunities to support others, and especially as a newer member of the North York community in Toronto, we felt strongly that we should do what we can to help our most vulnerable neighbours. To support the North York community, we donated $25,000 to the North Harvest Food Bank, and we encourage our peers to do the same in their neighbourhoods. Since then, we’ve launched M2M Spaces, the newest inventory from the master-planned M2M community.

How has the market reacted to construction being allowed to resume, and things beginning to ease up? Are buyers running back? Are you seeing pent-up demand…?

Initially, when Ontario began its lockdown, we saw buyers exercising caution when it came to buying new real estate – and understandably so, there were restrictions placed on all of us, and a lot of uncertainty. Now, we’re starting to see homebuyers come back and new sales since launching M2M Spaces, which shows us that there is still demand for great products and home offerings in Toronto and surrounding GTA communities.

How has the pandemic affected your plans for releases at M2M? Are things progressing as planned, phases being delayed…?

While we experienced some delays and pauses initially when Ontario was under the strictest lockdown measures, we have been very fortunate to get things running smoothly again, though we have had to make adjustments to ensure the health and safety of our team, construction sites, and sales centres. Our first few releases at M2M experienced an initial sellout, and we released the latest inventory (in early June). M2M Spaces includes two- and three-bedroom townhomes and tower suites.

What has the pandemic taught Aoyuan in terms of project sales or planning… using virtual sales techniques and so on?

Though we have always offered virtual signing opportunities, we have had to pivot to use these tools more frequently and earlier in the sales cycle and with a wider range of customers. Our M2M sales centre is being prepared for scheduled visits, with the intent for all visitors to adhere to all social distancing guidelines. We are setting up a video walkthrough and live stream presentation for our M2M Spaces model suite. Brokers and potential buyers can also utilize a cloud-based presentation system to view project information, our 3D building model and compare floorplans from the comfort and safety of their home.

Are you making any design changes at M2M to address changing consumer demands? Say, for example, more “working” spaces built into homes as a result of an expected increase in people working from home?

At Aoyuan, our philosophy has always been centred around living healthy lifestyles and building homes that allow its residents to do just that. To us, that includes giving residents options to make their homes fit their personal needs. We have always prioritized this and will continue to do so, which we know will be appreciated by homebuyers as our communities continue to evolve. Since we’re all at home much more nowadays, our M2M Spaces offering comes at a great time for prospective homeowners with its flexible and functional floorplans. These residences are great options for multigenerational families and working parents, with added features and amenities to suit their lifestyles. For instance, we’re proud to offer features such as our smart glass technology, which is an extremely beneficial feature for residents working from home. By simply flipping a switch, residents can change the transparent glass panels to transform to opaque, allowing for added privacy or increased concentration. You’ll find this feature in a variety of suites throughout M2M.

What other fundamental changes do you foresee as a result of these unprecedented times?

It’s tough to speculate on the future while we are still in the thick of things, but we can definitely see the increased importance of green and outdoors spaces for city dwellers who don’t necessarily have access to backyards as you would in the suburbs. We will continue to prioritize amenities like this because we know the importance of our connection to nature as well as the importance of being able to use greenspaces for socializing, playing sports, or just relaxing. We’ll also want to keep the idea of flex spaces which can be used as at-home offices or playrooms as families seek to make the best use of their homes.

M2M won the 2019 BILD People’s Choice Award. What did that mean to Aoyuan Canada?

As newcomers to Toronto, we were very excited to receive this recognition. We felt that it reinforced and recognized the work we were doing specifically in Toronto and the GTA. When we began working in this city, we handpicked the team to make our approach hyperlocal to the area. By working with experts who understood the nuances of Toronto’s development landscape, we were able to respond to the community’s wants and needs. Our approach was clearly successful, as evidenced by our People’s Choice win. I’m truly looking forward to the opportunity to showcase the excellent work our team has done in this award-winning community with this latest release of M2M Spaces.

What’s next for Aoyuan Canada?

Tightly connected with our Vancouver team, we see numerous opportunities in both cities and we are not limited ourselves to any specific type of development. Our immediate focus here in the GTA is M2M. We’re really excited to see how buyers respond to our new townhomes and exquisite tower suites. Because M2M is a multi-phased development, we’re staying focused on the subsequent launches still to come in this vibrant new community. There are some really incredible amenities for future residents to enjoy, such as a courtyard terrace, an infinity pool, a dog spa and business centre. We really designed this community to make it simple for residents to get everything they need at home.

And on a personal note…

If I wasn’t in the homebuilding industry, I would:

Pursue a career as a World Class Barista somewhere in Europe, making people happy with every cup of hand-crafted espresso!

My greatest inspiration in this industry is:

Our resilience. As an industry, especially here in the GTA, the “box” we work in is always changing and it forces us to be dynamic as a group, and I am inspired when I see great and practical solutions come to life via some of the best developers in the world in the form of vibrant communities – communities where people who come from all walks of life can truly live, work and play. It’s a testament to how our industry responds to market forces and how well it works with all levels of government and regulatory agencies.

When I’m not at the office, I am:

Walking! On a GTA golf course with friends and colleagues as much as I can… a great way to enjoy the outdoors!

aoyuaninternational.com

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Great Gulf, Homebuilder of the Year, Lowrise

GTA’s top homebuilders and projects honoured at 39th Annual BILD Awards

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GTA’s top homebuilders and projects honoured at 39th Annual BILD Awards

Great Gulf, BILD Awards Homebuilder of the Year, Lowrise
Great Gulf, BILD Awards Homebuilder of the Year, Lowrise

Great Gulf and Tridel were among the big winners at the recent 39th Annual BILD Awards, as the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) recognized the top builders and developers, projects and marketing initiatives in the industry.

Builders of the Year

Great Gulf earned the distinction of Lowrise Builder of the Year, while Tridel won for Mid/Highrise Builder of the Year.

Tridel, BILD Awards Homebuilder of the Year, Highrise
Tridel, BILD Awards Homebuilder of the Year, Highrise

The awards honour achievements in planning, design, sales, marketing and city building in 40 categories. A group of 41 expert judges from across North America determined the winners from 850 submitted entries.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Edward Sorbara, principal with the Sorbara Group of Companies, was presented with BILD’s Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his 52 years of leadership in the building and land development industry.

Edward Sorbara, right, principal with the Sorbara Group of Companies, is presented with BILD’s Lifetime Achievement Award by BILD President David Wilkes
Edward Sorbara, right, principal with the Sorbara Group of Companies, is presented with BILD’s Lifetime Achievement Award by BILD President David Wilkes

Stephen Dupuis Humanitarian Award

Tridel also took home the Stephen Dupuis Humanitarian Award for the company’s unique approach to corporate social responsibility. The founding families and every Tridel employee takes pride in the fact that the Tridel brand is synonymous with integrity, quality, customer service, innovation and sustainability.

People’s Choice Award

The coveted People’s Choice Award, determined by members of the public through online voting, was awarded to Aoyuan International for its M2M development. Aoyuan’s vision for M2M is a condominium community that supports and encourages a healthy urban lifestyle, while providing living options that make it easy for families to raise children in the city. The master plan includes more than 1,500 new residences, a community centre and a daycare.

“The People’s Choice Award is a unique honour because it is the public that decides the winner,” says BILD President and CEO Dave Wilkes. “Over 5,200 people cast votes for projects that competed for the best in city building. These projects demonstrate how the industry is providing a wide range of housing options for home buyers in GTA.”

Best New Planned Community

Lakeview Community Partners Ltd. won Best New Planned Community for Lakeview Village. Lakeview Village reconnects the community through a diverse mix of build forms for different uses, including residential, cultural, institutional, commercial and retail. Lakeview will repurpose brownfield land that was once home to the Ontario Power Generation Station in Mississauga.

Lowrise Project of the Year

The Lowrise Project of the Year went to Treasure Hill Home Corp. for its Charbonnel development near De La Salle College in Toronto, while Urban Capital Property Group, M3 Condos, in Mississauga was selected as the Mid/Highrise Project of the Year.

Best Highrise Building Design

Best Highrise Building Design went to Lanterra Developments for 50 Scollard. The project boasts contemporary architecture from Norman Foster and interiors by Toronto-based Italian designer, Alessandro Munge, and an incomparable location in the heart of Yorkville.

Best Midrise Building Design

Alterra Group of Companies and Graywood Developments Ltd. won the award for Best Midrise Building Design for Wonder Condos. Wonder is one of the last of its kind in Toronto, a landmark address that will house heritage lofts, condos and townhouses. Wonder is built on the site of the former Weston Bakery on Eastern Avenue.

Best Overall Marketing Campaign

The award for Best Overall Marketing Campaign went to the team of Empire Communities and Pureblink for their campaign for Empire Phoenix.

For a complete list of award recipients, visit bildawards.com.

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BILD names finalists for 39th annual BILD Awards

GTA’s top builders and projects honoured at annual BILD Awards

 

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In Conversation With Vince Santino, Senior Vice-President, Development Aoyuan Canada

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In Conversation With Vince Santino, Senior Vice-President, Development Aoyuan Canada

Condos are king in Toronto and, increasingly, elsewhere in the GTA, and one shining example is M2M, an 8.6-acre master-planned community from Aoyuan at Yonge and Finch in North York. When complete, M2M will be a fully-integrated, live-workplay neighbourhood with 1,650 residences, a community centre, daycare, 180,000 sq. ft. of retail and office space and a new public park.

Developer Aoyuan International set out with a master plan and smartly designed suite layouts to provide a variety of living options for families at different stages of life.

Vince Santino

We spoke with Vince Santino, senior vice-president of development for Aoyuan Canada, for an update on this signature project, and what might lie ahead for the company.

Condo Life: How are things coming along at M2M?

Vince Santino: Sales of our first phase began in June 2018 with a very successful launch, selling out the north tower. We released the south tower in February 2019, and the response was the same. We’re very pleased with the results to date. People want to be in North York.

We’re on track to begin construction in late Q2 of this year, or early Q3, and we’re looking forward to receiving our first homeowners for our first phase, which includes both towers and our lower suites, in late Q2 of 2022.

CL: What is it about North York that is so appealing?

VS: For one, it’s still within the 416, and when buyers are looking for a condo, they’re looking for convenience and being close to amenities. North York offers it all. Where we are situated, it’s very close to transit, the TTC and GO Transit, but also very accessible to all the major highways.

CL: Who are the typical buyers for this project?

VS: We’ve seen a lot of end users. They’ve been the majority of our buyers, whether they’re young couples, young families or downsizers… many of them have grown up and raised families in the area. They love it and don’t want to leave.

CL: What have you learned about development – delivering on your customers’ needs and wants – since launching this project?

VS: People want convenience. Even though they’ve made the decision to move into a condominium space, they want amenities that they don’t need to necessarily get into a car to get to. And they want choice, in the type of suites, with efficient design where space isn’t wasted, and to maximize utility at a price they’re willing to pay. They’re happy to pay for a bigger suite… our larger suites, our two-bedrooms plus den or three-bedrooms… we’ve designed them very efficiently. So, for a younger family, or someone who’s downsizing, they don’t feel like they’re sacrificing by getting into a condo.

CL: At M2M, you’re not just building a condo, you’re building an entire community, all with easy access to transit, which is increasingly key these days. How import ant are all of these inclusions in appealing to family living in condos?

VS: We’ve got more than 100,000 sq. ft. of office space planned, 8 0,000 sq. ft. of retail… that gives any family all the necessities, literally at their doorstep. Our site is complemented by really good restaurants, shopping, proximity to schools, universities, and we’ve got a future daycare conveniently located within the development that gives the younger families a key service that helps reduce the stress of the day-to-day commute and a busy family life.

The community centre, along with the public park that we’re going to construct as part of the development, provides families with options for better quality of life year-round, just footsteps from you. And because you’re in the 416, you’re close to transit, reducing your commute time, all of that time can be spent enjoying these amenities, spending that time with your family. It isn’t always so conveniently accessible in other developments, so this is really a one-of-a-kind opportunity, because of the sheer size and the amenities we’re providing.

CL: How do you foresee the condo market in that area performing in the next three to five years?

VS: We’re feeling very, very bullish. If you look at what’s been happening in the midtown area, Yonge and Eglinton, and up to Yonge and Sheppard, this is just a natural progression. We’ve seen a lot more launches in North York in the last year, and more coming into the market this year, and the area is starting to undergo a renascence, and over time people are going to continue to choose to be in North York. It tells us that buyers still want to be within the 416, but they have no problem not necessarily being in the downtown core, as long as they can get to it and the rest of the GTA conveniently.

CL: Affordability is a key concern for homebuyers in Toronto. How is Aoyuan addressing that issue, in how it plans and delivers its communities?

VS: The reality is, in the last little while, traditional lowrise homes have become more unaffordable and more out of reach for families. For us, providing well sized, even of the smaller units, are designed with the utility and growing families in mind. It provides people with an alternative. As for M2M itself, delivering those things, all in a masterplanned community, and not just a couple of towers in the middle of nowhere, it’s a great example… we’re trying to give people everything they need, moving into a space that isn’t perhaps traditional for younger families.

We’re taking the opportunity to intensify in an area of the 416 in North York where people want to live because of all of the existing amenities, and all those other elements. It gives our customers a lifestyle that offers it all, really – easy access to schools, transit, universities… people don’t feel like they’re giving up a lot, but the value they get by living in this area makes the affordability challenge a little easier to bear, especially for a young couple or young family moving into their first home.

CL: For some, affordability is a key reason for choosing a condo, but what are some of the other reasons families might consider a condo in the city, versus a lowrise home in the suburbs?

VS: A condo in the city helps with the cost of transportation, as it’s a significant expense for any household, so with the option of public transit, it means families may not need to purchase a vehicle, or a second vehicle. You’re reducing the commute time, and for families working in the city, it allows them more time to spend with their children, parents or grandparents. The city provides families with a lot of choice – where they shop, work and play – and there’s everything around, especially where we are in our setting.

CL: What have you learned – be it about development in Toronto or family-centric condos – from M2M, that you will use in future projects?

VS: Listen to the needs of your buyers. It’s refreshing to try things that maybe haven’t been at the forefront of condo development in the past. There’s a significant segment that wants living in the sky to provide the options, flexibility, amenities and opportunities that in the past attracted families to traditional lowrise homes, and the more we’re able to build those amenities in the sky, it becomes more and more attractive.

CL: What’s next for Aoyuan in the GTA?

VS: The future is bright for us here. We’re not limiting ourselves to condos only, and it speaks to our mantra of building a healthy lifestyle in trying to build complete communities. We’re looking at all kinds of other opportunities across the GTA.

Certainly, we’ve got Phase 2 at M2M coming, and we’re going to continue to build on what we’ve seen has been very successful for Phase 1, but we’re not limiting ourselves to one building form or type. We’re looking at a lot of opportunities, in and around the 416 and the 905 as well. Stay tuned.

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