Tag Archives: Baker Real Estate

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Does a new condo ‘fit’ your lifestyle?

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Does a new condo ‘fit’ your lifestyle?

If you are shopping for a new condominium and fitness plays an important role in your life, congratulations! By definition, condos inspire active living, from their locations in the midst of amenities, to the wonderful amenities such as fitness facilities right in the buildings.

With Ontario’s Places to Grow Act having dictated that condo developers build “up” rather than “out” and locate buildings close to public transportation and amenities, condo residents can walk or ride their bikes to run errands or even travel to work. Walking is the first level of fitness, so strolling to shop, dine out, meet friends for coffee, post letters, attend concerts and the like is good for the body. Of course, cycling is also great for the heart, and in Toronto, new condos must include bike parking spots to encourage their use. What a fun way to burn off calories.

Context Condominiums

Next, let’s talk building amenities, which today are as beautiful as they are practical. For most buyers, fitness rooms are ranked in the first few must-haves on your list. What a pleasure it is to simply throw on workout clothes or a swimsuit and access exercise options without leaving the building. Plus, condo residents can leave gym membership fees behind. Unlike the dank swimming pools and collections of weights housed in the basements of the condos from decades ago, modern buildings feature state-of-the-art fitness rooms with high ceilings, massive windows and elaborate equipment.

Occasionally, you will find a condo that has an activities director or recreational coordinator who organizes group sports and outings. Some condos have climbing walls, golf simulators, yoga/Pilates studios, gardening plots and other inventive niceties. The fitness facilities themselves are much like commercial clubs with change rooms, saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, plunge pools or swimming pools to vary the experience. Rooftop pools surrounded by sundecks and lounge chairs are common and well used in the summer.

Gardening plots are part of a growing trend toward eating close to home, and it’s catching on in condominiums. Condo gardening is becoming popular with residents to grow herbs, flowers and even vegetables. In addition to gardening being one of North America’s favourite pastimes, the activity burns off calories. Gardening in a condo can also take place on balconies lined with colourful containers. What a luxury it is to step out onto the terrace and snip fresh herbs, pluck tomatoes or pick fragrant flowers to liven up a dinner party. Unless you want to grow giant pumpkins or watermelons, gardening’s not just for lowrise anymore!

Nowadays, fitness is more than a craze; it is a way of life for people of all ages. Whether you prefer a leisurely swim, an inspiring yoga session, a vigorous weight workout, an invigorating aerobics class or even just a brisk walk, life in a condominium can fulfill all of your exercise needs and wants. As I love to say, go condo!

Barbara Lawlor is President and CEO of Baker Real Estate Inc. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, and internationally in Shanghai. Having received numerous awards and accolades, she is an indemand columnist and speaker well respected for her impactful industry voice.

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Yonge Street Mission

Real estate firms raise more than $200,000 for COVID-19 relief

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Real estate firms raise more than $200,000 for COVID-19 relief

Update: As of Friday, May 8, the partners had reached the fundraising goal of $330,000.

Capital Developments and a number of other real estate companies are doing their part to provide COVID-19 relief to one very important Toronto cause – the Yonge Street Mission – the largest food bank in east downtown.

Yonge Street Mission
Yonge Street Mission staff prepare meals for their food bank services.

Now, they’re issuing a challenge to other firms to take part in the YSM Fundraiser Relay to help raise much-needed funds.

As Yonge Street Mission responds to the COVID-19 crisis, the agency has experienced unprecedented increases in food bank visits every week, resulting in a $330,000 shortfall.

Every week, YSM is facing a $30,000 shortfall – and growing weekly. To sustain YSM’s operations for the next 11 weeks, Capital Developments and other companies are challenging other organizations to join the #YSMRELAY and donate $30,000 to help reach the minimum goal of $330,000.

Real support

Besides Capital Developments, other real estate companies participating include Woodbourne Capital Management, EllisDon, Baker Real Estate and St. Thomas Development. Also on board are Sobeys and Donald K. Jackson Family Foundation.

Yonge Street Mission

Capital Developments kickstarted the campaign by donating $30,000 to cover the first week donation.

Over its 124-year history, YSM has tirelessly supported Toronto’s most vulnerable in the heart of the downtown. As the largest food bank in the Downtown East, the agency is facing a huge increase in demand for its services amidst social distancing and closure of nonessential services.

Like many of the most vulnerable in Toronto, clients who depend on YSM have been hit hardest by this global pandemic – and so many more now need their services.

The Mission has seen a 205-per-cent increase in food bank visits, many from first-time clients, and a 180-per-cent increase in the number of families and individuals fed since pre-COVID-19. YSM is spending $30,000 to $35,000 per week on groceries to meet the demand, compared to an annual food budget of $30,000.

Will your organization pass the baton for one week?

To help YSM continue to provide basic food and essential services to Toronto’s most vulnerable communities during COVID-19, visit ysm.ca.

 

 

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What does my crystal ball say about design this year?

What does my crystal ball say about design this year?

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What does my crystal ball say about design this year?

Over the years that I have been involved in new condominium marketing and sales, I have seen suite designs evolve to keep up with changing purchaser needs and wants. Separate kitchens have morphed into linear layouts and become part of the main living area. Barn doors on bedrooms have eliminated the space required for swing doors. Entrance hallways are rare nowadays, as they represent wasted space.

I have been thinking about what changes might be next, and I believe one may be the attitude toward balconies by both developers and buyers. As prices have increased dramatically over the past few years, square footages have gotten smaller to make suites more affordable. Currently, having a personal outdoor space is a must for many buyers, so developers typically include as many balconies as the building design will allow for. Nowadays, however, with prices continuing to rise, I see buyers wanting every square foot possible in their suite interiors. If you look at, say, a 10-by-five-ft. balcony, that is 50 sq. ft. that could make a big difference inside. This predicted trend is a reality in cities such as New York right now, where you do not get balconies in new condos period.

Looking at this another way, keep in mind that the outdoor shared amenity spaces in today’s condos are extraordinary. When residents want to commune with nature, there are plenty of opportunities to do so in courtyards and on terraces and rooftop gardens. We even see urban vegetable and herb gardens in some condos.

The other design trend I see catching on in the future is the addition of more Zen-type spaces in the amenity rosters of condos. In many ways, the condominium lifestyle is conducive to well-being and healthy living. Buildings are located close to local amenities so residents can walk or bicycle to run errands. Exercise facilities right in the buildings makes keeping fit convenient. Lately, I notice yoga/Pilates and stretch studios being included as well, plus Zen gardens to encourage meditation.

There has been a lot of media attention recently to circadian rhythms – our 24-hour cycles that are affected by internal physiology, as well as sunlight, temperature and other external cues. In short, our circadian rhythms are our sleep/wake cycles. When these are out of whack – which happens a lot nowadays because of our hectic lifestyles – we can experience insomnia, daytime sleepiness or both, putting us at greater risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. The trend toward including Zen gardens and areas in new condos has started, and I see more of this type of shared space in the future. We will likely even see nap rooms in offices and work areas, to encourage mindfulness and enhanced health.

The word from the agencies we deal with at Baker Real Estate Incorporated is that condominiums represent 60 per cent of new construction, and that percentage is growing. Imagine the positive impact that the increase in well-being for condo residents will have on society as a whole!

BARBARA LAWLOR is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Inc., winner of the pinnacle 2017 Riley Brethour Award from BILD, and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog.


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Condo Market: Summer a Great Time to Shop For a Condo

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Condo Market: Summer a Great Time to Shop For a Condo

With everything in full bloom across Ontario’s towns and cities, summer is a wonderful time of year to shop for a new condominium. Nowadays, developers spend a lot of time on landscaping buildings to add a touch of natural greenery and colour to their surroundings. In Toronto, a cosmopolitan city with an abundance of greenery, the cityscape is all that more lush with condo landscaping. Landscape architects are truly artists in their own right. They select plant material carefully so that the shrubs, trees and flowers flourish in appropriate light/shade conditions and maximize the visual effect. On a practical note, well-planned and planted landscaping at any residences enhances its value.

Landscaping takes on many forms in condos. For example, some feature ground-level courtyards with lovely garden areas. They may contain park benches, barbecues, trellises or other scenic touches or other spots where owners can enjoy a coffee and morning paper surrounded by greenery, or meet friends for a chat. Higher up in buildings, outdoor terraces are extremely popular. These landscaped areas may offer barbecues, reflecting pools, swimming pools, sunbathing decks, cabanas, hot tubs and/or or other highlights.

And let’s go up even higher. The green roof has gained tremendous appeal, especially with environmental consciousness taking on an important role in today’s real estate scene. As well as being beautiful to look at, green roofs are eco friendly and provide an inviting place to barbecue with friends and dine alfresco amid nature and fabulous city views. We are seeing a lot of developers feature fire pits on rooftop terraces as well, to extend the use of these areas past September. What a fun sight it is to see people in parkas barbecuing in the cold weather and then bringing their dishes into their suites to enjoy.

The icing on the condo landscaping cake is the effort many residents put into planting greenery and flowers on their personal balconies and terraces. Container gardening is a hot trend right now. Garden centres carry every shape, size, colour and pattern of container imaginable. Suite owners can add fresh herbs to their cuisine by stepping out onto their balconies. Some condos even feature gardening areas where residents can grow vegetables. Talk about eating close to home!

Of course, with balconies in a high-rise condo, residents must consider wind and shade conditions when choosing plant material. Of course, drought-tolerant and drought-resistant plant material is a good idea. The staff at garden centres can help with determining what will grow well and look good for as much as the season as possible. Ornamental grasses can add visual interest during the winter as well.

People are also incorporating natural materials such as rocks on their balconies to bring more of the outdoors “up.” You might want to highlight one statement plant in a container or group three or more that combine hardy and delicate flowers for effect. Fountains, living walls – the possibilities are diverse and exciting. After you move into your condo, you will have ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors without leaving home!

BARBARA LAWLOR is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Incorporated and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com

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Condo Market: Be an Educated Consumer When Purchasing a Home

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Condo Market: Be an Educated Consumer When Purchasing a Home

Today’s new home shoppers are better educated than ever before, with the proliferation of websites and social media that provide information on everything from communities and their locations to local amenities, transportation, builder/developer histories, government regulations on housing, etc. We still occasionally see potential buyers coming in who have avoided doing their “homework” and need guidance. Of course, sales representatives are happy to provide advice, but the more you know before you enter the sales office, the less time it will take you to zero in on the perfect choice. You will also purchase with more confidence, knowing where you stand in the great scheme of things.

The moral of the story is to narrow your search parameters by making lists of your must-haves and nice-to-haves. Location is usually top on people’s list as far as something they must have. Look at the available homes or condos in the general area. Remember to find out what amenities are in the area, especially those that are important to you. For examples, families will want schools relatively close by. Urban dwellers who do not own a vehicle will want easy access to public transportation. If you anticipate a commute, before you sign on the dotted line, actually drive or ride the commute from your potential new home during rush hour. You want no surprises once you move in.

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If this is your first home or condo purchase, you have a lot to learn. Visit CMHC’s website for a handy booklet on home-buying step by step. If you are a seasoned purchaser but are moving from a low-rise home into a condo for the first time, realize that condominium ownership and purchasing are different. Again, consult the experts for information on what to consider.

There are so many elements to buying that lists, or a spreadsheet for today’s electronically minded purchasers, can be your best friend. By all means, comparison shop, but be sure you compare fairly. Square footage is one parameter, but how about layout? This can often mean more than the number of square feet when it comes to how you like to live. Keep track of standard features vs. upgrades in each building you look at. Location is a big factor. Be realistic when you decide on commute time and how handy the buildings are to the people and other locations that mean a lot to you.

Whatever your situation, even if you are a seasoned home buyer, it makes sense to find out as much as you can about buying a new condominium. Fortunately nowadays, this can be done via the Internet whenever you have time. You can find out a lot in the sales offices as well, and remember, the sales representatives are there to answer your questions. If in doubt, ask! Your home will likely be one of, if not the largest financial investment you make in your lifetime. It merits a lot of forethought and research. Then, you can sit back and enjoy!

BARBARA LAWLOR is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Incorporated and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com

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Condo Market: Colour Your Selection Appointment With Logic

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Condo Market: Colour Your Selection Appointment With Logic

Selecting features and finishes for your new home or condominium is exciting, and can also seem overwhelming. Take wall colour alone – with paint available in every imaginable shade, how do you decide? My advice is that unless you are an interior decorator or designer, pay attention to the suggestions of the design consultants who guide you through your colour selection appointment. Your preferences take precedence, but a good design consultant can rein you in if your wishes go astray. Maybe a bright orange wall in the kitchen seems like a good idea, but think ahead to when you might want to sell. That hue could turn off potential buyers. There is something to be said for timeless appeal when choosing your standard features and upgrades.

The professionals our developers and builders enlist keep up with current trends, understand which shades compliment specific design styles, and offer interesting insights into choosing colours. They also know how you can use colour to make the most of your space. Neutrals and lighter colours can make a compact home or suite seem larger, and using the same colour throughout open concept areas can create a smooth, seamless vista when you walk in.

Be sure to discuss which way your suite faces. Colours look different in the shade than they do in sunlight, and your consultant can advise you on what will work in your rooms. This is especially important if you have massive windows walls, which so many of today’s beautiful homes and suites do.

Now, wall paint colours are only one aspect of selecting items. Remember that your cabinets, appliances, flooring and the like all have to work together. I notice that many builders offer finishing packages in which designers have done the pairing work for you. This may be an excellent way to go, especially for first-time buyers. You know it will look great.

Before you go to your appointment, you would be wise to tour model homes and suites. You will get incredible ideas for what is possible from these beautiful models.

In the end, it’s about balance. Yes, you want to be true to yourself, so if you really want that orange kitchen wall, go for it. You can always repaint it if and when you sell. Keep an open mind, too. Modern colours are different from those of a decade ago. One example is grey: today’s shades are more multidimensional and are being paired with traditional warm colours for a stunning effect.

We know that colour affects our moods, so in a restful place such as your bedroom, stay away from primary shades and go for calming blues or a soft yellow. Do a little research into colour psychology, and you may be surprised at what you learn.

By all means, make the most of your design centre appointment when you buy a new home or condominium. Why not benefit from the advice of experts so that you have surroundings you’ll be comfortable with from the moment you move in?

BARBARA LAWLOR is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Incorporated and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com

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Panda Condos

Panda Condos by Lifetime Developments

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Panda Condos by Lifetime Developments

Lifetime Developments Launches New Panda Condos in the Heart of Toronto

Times Square in New York. London’s Piccadilly Circus. The Old Town Square in Prague…These are just some of the world’s great pedestrian centres that have come to define the world’s great cities.

While many of us would include Toronto on any listing of great international urban centres, those of us who know and love ‘the 6’, recognize that in many ways it was the opening in 2002 of Yonge-Dundas Square that cemented the city’s place among the world’s best. Since its opening, the Square has hosted countless public events, performances and art exhibitions, establishing itself as a defining characteristic for our city and a global icon.

Lifetime Developments, Panda Condos, Toronto

“It’s a world class destination, in a world class city,” says Lifetime Developments’ Brian Brown. “Yonge and Dundas is the heart of the city. Whether you’re visiting from Scarborough or Scotland, no visit to Toronto is complete without time spent at Yonge and Dundas.”

Brown should know. His company, Lifetime Developments, is one of Toronto’s most successful condominium companies. From Liberty Village to the Financial District, and from King West to Yonge and Eglinton, Lifetime has earned a reputation for developing award-winning communities in Toronto’s best locations.

“There’s nothing more important to the success of a new condo project than its location,” says Brown, as he and his team – including Cecconi Simone, Turner Fleischer Architects and Baker Real Estate – prepare to launch Panda Condos at 20 Edward Street… steps from Yonge-Dundas Square.

Lifetime Developments, Panda Condos, downtown Toronto

A 30-storey tower, defined by its glass three-storey podium, bold vertical lines and two-tone palette, the development sits directly across from the neighbouring Ryerson University Campus, while offering unparalleled views of the downtown core, midtown Toronto, and Lake Ontario.

Featuring 555 extraordinary suites, designed by Cecconi Simone, they are both modern and memorable. Offered in a range of layouts – from an efficiently designed 356 square feet to an expansive 1,462 square feet – which includes one, one-plus-study, one-plus-den, two, two-plus-study, two-plus-den, and large three-bedroom designs. With floor-to-ceiling windows and large, spacious balconies, the dynamic energy of the surrounding neighbourhood will flood the units, highlighting Cecconi Simone’s distinctive design touches.

Panda’s kitchen designs include custom cabinetry, Euro-style stone countertops, tile backsplashes and an ultra-modern, sleek appliance package including integrated refrigerator, exhaust fan and dishwasher. Elegant and timeless bathrooms offer custom designed cabinetry, hand-selected countertops and sinks, decorative light fixtures and an accessory package chosen by the design team.

Lifetime Developments, Panda Condos, Toronto downtown

The site itself boasts both a perfect Transit and Walk Scores (100) and high Bike Score, offers convenient PATH access, and unparalleled proximity to Ryerson University, U of T, and the Eaton Centre.

“While the location offers an abundance of choice for residents looking for chic retailers, internationally-celebrated universities, hot restaurants and cool night life, hospitals, libraries and ample transit options, Panda is committed to matching the area’s dynamic lifestyle options, with a range of condo amenities that exceed expectations,” adds Brown.

Among the amenities offered at Panda includes unique facilities geared towards the modern student or young professional, including study spaces, gaming room, fitness and yoga studio, theatre and sports facilities.

“While it may have taken the opening of Yonge-Dundas Square to cement Toronto’s international reputation as a great destination to visit,” says Brown, “Panda Condos will establish the location’s reputation as a great location to live.”

For your chance to live at Panda, call or visit the website.

(416) 927-8989
PandaCondos.com



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