Tag Archives: Niall Collins

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The Power Seat – building industry CEOs call for government change

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The Power Seat – building industry CEOs call for government change

The Power Seat is a new feature series in which we put one pointed question to a select, specific audience.

We asked CEO level executives among the homebuilding community:

“You have been invited to a meeting with representatives of municipal, provincial and federal governments, and it’s your turn to speak. What do you say to them?”

Joe Vaccaro
CEO, Ontario Home Builders’ Association

This year is one of continual growth, which presents the opportunity to respond to the current and future challenges Ontarians face. All levels of government project an increase in Ontario’s population of 2.6 million #homebelievers by 2031. Change is where need meets opportunity.

We need more housing supply and choice across Ontario, and that means housing can be a cornerstone solution to climate change, the employment skills gap and the economy. Instead of viewing growth as a problem, let’s view it as the change opportunity for the type of future, communities and neighbourhoods that Ontarians want to call home.

*****  *****
 

Dave Wilkes
President and CEO, BILD

All three levels of government need to work collaboratively, rather than in silos, and with one agenda, rather than competing ones. With a housing affordability and supply problem impacting the GTA, we need solutions-oriented collaboration.

We need to make it simpler to bring new homes to market by streamlining the process, faster to build new homes by reducing approval times, and fairer by making sure fees and taxes are equitable

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Gary Switzer
Chief Executive Officer MOD Developments, Toronto

Help us do our job to create new housing. We have a shortage of housing because of the lack of supply. Don’t look at new housing as a golden goose that you can keep laying on more and more municipal charges. Right now, about 24 per cent of the cost of all new housing is going to some level of government in the form of taxes, levies, charges and fees.

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Daniel Berholz
President, The Rose Corporation

The three levels of government, as well as builders and developers, may all have different constituencies, but our objectives are remarkably similar.

Affordable housing works for all of us. Good planning works for all of us. Good design works for all of us. Building Green buildings works for all of us. Governments working together with developers works for all of us and can help facilitate all of this.

At The Rose Corporation, we accomplished exactly this, working with York Region, the Town of Newmarket and the federal government (CMHC). Together, we are now building a sustainable, complete and better overall community for having worked in close consultation with each other.

 *****  *****
 

Johnathan Schickedanz
General Manager, FarSight Homes, President, Durham Region Home Builders’ Association

The largest issue surrounds climate change, GHG emissions and resilience in new housing. Over the next decade, these may be some of the biggest changes our industry will face. Our building code is about to be changed to begin steering the industry towards net-zero homes.

Government needs to support the R&D side of the construction industry so that new and better products can be developed. Net-zero homes are achievable. There are a number of builders that have already constructed a discovery home and are looking at the ability to market this in a production capacity. Although from a technical perspective this is achievable, it will come at a significant cost. Net-zero homes will not be cheap.

The bigger question, then, is, will such initiatives be affordable? This is what governments will have to balance. When they regulate such a high minimum standard, our industry will be forced to meet the requirements. This is where R&D pays back. We need materials and products that are approved and available at the best price points possible to adopt into our building program.

Government should keep a close eye on the timing for mandating high standards of construction, and be mindful that affordability must be a top priority in the implementation.

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John DiMichele
CEO, Toronto Real Estate Board

Housing affordability is one of the most important issues facing Canadians today. TREB remains diligent, along with other real estate boards and associations across Canada, in urging all levels of government to remove barriers and reduce the cost of homeownership.

With all levels of government in Canada, plus reputable international bodies acknowledging that we have a housing supply problem, and specifically the affordability pressures facing the GTA, it’s imperative for the growth of our city and region that we have flexible housing market policies that will help sustain balanced market conditions over the long term.

The time is now and policymakers need to translate their acknowledgment of supply issues into concrete solutions in 2020 to bring a greater array of ownership and rental housing online. As always, TREB will be there to help policymakers have the right impact on the market and Canadians.

 *****  *****
 cl_feb2020_the_power_seat_bob_finniganBob Finnigan
Principal and COO of Acquisition & Housing, Herity, Toronto

 The bottom line is this: Unless we can shorten the time it takes to bring developments through the approval process and to market faster, demand is going to continue to outstrip supply.

There have been some very positive enhancements the provincial government has put through to try and reduce these timeframes, by reducing red tape and other changes, and we’re grateful for that.

But in many cases the Province and the municipalities do not see eye to eye on how policies should be applied, and this constant fighting continuously thwarts the positive efforts and mires the process.

We have to work together – the politicians, building industry and public – to accept growth, have growth pay for growth, and not for unrelated municipal spending as well. We need to plan to have adequate supply of all types of housing, but especially what is missing in our urban areas today – the two- and three-bedroom midrise condos – the “missing middle.”

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Niall Collins
President, Great Gulf Residential, Toronto

It’s vital that all three levels of government work together to address the housing affordability issue by increasing the supply of housing to meet demands of growth in the GTA for decades to come.

Sustained infrastructure growth requires multi-level government support partnering with private enterprise to foster innovation in procurement and delivery and that the planning approval process is streamlined to avoid increased costs which impact housing affordability.

The cities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe need to actually adopt and implement provincial policies on development densities near transport nodes. Ultimately, the homeowners carry the burden of the increased costs from a lack of land supply, approval delays and development charge increases.

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Christopher Alexander
Executive Vice-President and Regional Director, ReMax of Ontario- Atlantic Canada

Canadian economists and politicians have spent the better part of the last decade sighing with relief and sharing kudos for having skirted the U.S. housing crisis. Meanwhile, north of the border, Canadians are on a rollercoaster ride, as a result of government intervention and other factors. We’ve experienced record-high housing prices, record-low interest rates, economic downturns, and domestic speculators and foreign investors pushing people out of their homes because they can’t afford to live there anymore. We’ve seen housing inventory drop, and new development hindered by red tape and mounting development fees.

We need to keep up with housing demand to maintain sustainable housing values. It’s a complex issue with many moving parts.

To Mayor John Tory: Eliminate the municipal Land Transfer Tax, or at the very least, cap it. With Toronto’s ever-increasing property values, this tax is prohibitive in an already unaffordable market. The prospect of having to pay double LTT is deterring some move-up buyers from listing their homes, further straining the already low housing supply. How do you intend to stimulate housing market activity?

To Premier Doug Ford: Domestic and foreign immigration to Ontario is critical to a healthy economy, but as you work to continue attracting the biggest and best businesses to the province, where will you house the employees and their families? Housing supply is critically low, with developers stuck behind red tape and buried under development fees, preventing them from building the homes Ontarians so desperately need.

To Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Canada needs a National Housing Strategy that addresses inventory and affordability in our cities. Many Canadians, especially Millennials, new immigrants and those employed in the so-called “gig economy” feel homeownership is becoming less tangible by the day. While politicians of all stripes acknowledge the mounting urgency of affordable housing, few are offering any timely or compelling solutions. Focus on creating supply and affordability in a sustainable way, instead of continuing to support corrective measures that have constrained Canadians from participating in the economically beneficial practice of homeownership.

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Neighbourhood Watch: Yorkville

Yorkville – High end and priced to match

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Yorkville – High end and priced to match

If location, location, location is the golden rule of real estate, the Yorkville area of Toronto is one of the most shining examples. Indeed, it doesn’t get much more central than this, bounded by Bloor Street, Davenport Road, Yonge Street and Avenue Road. If midtown Toronto is what you want, a neighbourhood pretty much at the intersection of the city’s main subway lines at Yonge and Bloor is it.

Five-star is the perfect descriptor for Yorkville, home to the Mink Mile, one of Canada’s most exclusive shopping districts, along a stretch of Bloor. Upscale names such as Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Boss, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen operate flagship locations here, and north of Bloor, on Yorkville and Cumberland streets, you’ll find smaller buildings containing art galleries, first-floor retail and high-end restaurants. And of course, being so close to the famous Yonge Street, you’re just steps away from every retail option you can imagine, including the new Nordstrom Rack on the ground floor at 1 Bloor East.

Prized condo destination

As you can imagine, given Toronto’s condo boom, Yorkville is also a prized location for highrise living, with developers introducing several new projects in recent years, reflective of the luxurious character of the area.

“(8 Cumberland) is right on Yonge Street, you can walk to the subway door, it’s right there, and it connects to a path that goes through Yorkville and all the way through to Bloor Street,” Alan Vihant, Great Gulf’s senior vice-president, highrise, told Condo Life last fall at the groundbreaking for the company’s 8 Cumberland. This modern 51-storey condo with a century-old brick Victorian podium is located at the northwest corner of Cumberland Avenue and Yonge.

“8 Cumberland will create a new gateway to the Yorkville District,” says Great Gulf President, Residential, Niall Collins. “Our commitment to the neighbourhood’s revitalization includes a 36-storey condo tower at 18 Yorkville, the iconic 76-storey condo tower at One Bloor East and this 51-storey condo development all within a block radius.”

Award-winning

Nearby, Lanterra Developments is building 50 Scollard, a 41- storey condo at the corner of Bay and Scollard in Yorkville, with 77 exclusive residences. The project, in fact, earned Lanterra Best Highrise Building Design at the 2019 BILD Awards.

Complementing the high end, highrise living and shopping in Yorkville are nearby cultural offerings such as the Royal Ontario Museum, the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, the Mira Godard Gallery, the Heffel Fine Art Auction House and Gallery 36.

And of course, blessed with a location along major transit arteries, getting to and from Yorkville is a breeze, with three subway stops along this stretch of Bloor.

Location, location, location

Bounded by Bloor Street to the south, Davenport Road to the north, Yonge Street to the east and Avenue Road to the west

Key landmarks

  • Cumberland Terrace
  • Gallery 36
  • Hemingway’s
  • Holt Renfrew Centre
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • Sassafraz
  • Windsor Arms Hotel

Select condo projects

8 Cumberland by Great Gulf

11 Yorkville by RioCan Living

11 Yorkville by Metropia

11 Yorkville by Capital Developments

50 Scollard by Lanterra Developments

321 Davenport by Alterra Group

625 Yonge Street by Edenshaw Developments


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In Conversation With Niall Collins, President of Great Gulf Residential

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In Conversation With Niall Collins, President of Great Gulf Residential

Fresh off a milestone 2018 filled with multiple industry awards and groundbreakings at signature projects, Great Gulf is poised for another, well, great year in 2019.

From landmark highrise developments in Toronto, to expanding its footprint south of the border, Great Gulf has no plans to rest on its laurels.

Niall Collins
Niall Collins

We spoke with Niall Collins, president of Great Gulf Residential, to get his take on what lies ahead for this leading developer.

Condo Life: Great Gulf’s tagline is, “At Great Gulf, we do more than just build — we transform.” Please elaborate on what exactly that means.

Niall Collins: We are continuously researching new opportunities to add more value to our products. Investing in innovation is at the core of our business.

CL: Last year was a huge year for Great Gulf – winning Highrise Home Builder of the Year at the BILD Awards, then Builder of the Year at the OHBA Awards of Distinction. What are you doing for an encore in 2019?

NC: Great Gulf is launching three highrise residential projects in Toronto. We’re also starting construction in the spring of La Clara, a luxury condominium building in West Palm Beach; we’re currently building a 10-storey mixed-use, multi-family development in Washington, DC’s vibrant Union Market District; and we’re registering Monde by Toronto’s waterfront.

One-hundred per cent of Great Gulf homes and midrise buildings are being manufactured by H+ME Technology. The entire production process at H+ME Technology is entirely controlled through the complex computer design of every single element of home structures, which are CSA approved.

357 King West
357 King West, at the corner of King Street West and Blue Jays Way in Toronto.

CL: You had three major groundbreakings in late 2018 – 357 King West, 8 Cumberland and Home at 48 Power. How is the sales pace going for these projects?

NC: Sales are ongoing for all three projects.

CL: And how is construction coming along?

NC: Construction is progressing well with shoring and excavation work well underway on all projects.

CL: 357 King West is interesting in that, being in a downtown location, it includes a bike storage, dedicated bike elevator and wash and repair area. What are some similar inclusions at some of your other new projects that speak to how purchasers live, specific to that area?

NC: We’re a vertical city and should respond to purchasers’ needs. First-time buyers, families and those downsizing will have different requirements. We are building larger units to accommodate families. Home Condominium provides expansive rooftop amenities that people value, creating the experience of outdoor space.

Great Gulf executive team
The Great Gulf executive team at the 8 Cumberland groundbreaking.

CL: What is the status of the project at the Mirvish+Gehry site at King and Duncan – such as name, notable features and launch date?

NC: The Gehry project will feature the tallest residential tower in Canada at 92 storeys, with the second tower at 82 storeys. It is notable because it also represents the coming home of famous architect Frank Gehry. We are currently working through the building program and will have details available in the near future.

CL: We understand you have a luxury condo planned for the Yonge and St. Clair area? What can you tell us about that?

NC: We are planning a launch this year for the Yonge and St. Clair development. The project, with exterior and interior designed by Siamak Hariri, will feature large luxury units ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 sq. ft. and include large balconies and terraces.

CL: What’s next for Great Gulf, in terms of upcoming projects?

NC: Great Gulf currently has 18 highrise projects being developed across North America. We’re working towards completing permit design and process to start construction on three highrise residential buildings in Dallas and Atlanta.

PORTFOLIO

  • 357 King West 357 King St. West, Toronto, Now selling
  • 8 Cumberland 8 Cumberland St., Yorkville, Toronto, Now selling
  • Monde Queens Quay and Lower Sherbourne, Toronto, Under construction
  • One Bloor Yonge and Bloor, Toronto, Now selling
  • 401 King & Spadina 401 King St. W., Toronto, Coming soon
  • Yonge & St. Clair 1421 Yonge St., Toronto, Coming soon
  • Mirvish & Gehry Condos King St. and Duncan St., Toronto, Coming soon
  • Spadina 101 Spadina Ave., Toronto, Coming soon
  • Home 48 Power St., Toronto, Coming soon

 

greatgulf.com

RELATED READING

Great Gulf and partners break ground on Yorkville condo 8 Cumberland

Great Gulf breaks ground at 357 King West

 

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