Tag Archives: Wayne Gretzky

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In Conversation With… Shamez Virani President, CentreCourt

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In Conversation With… Shamez Virani President, CentreCourt

If affordability is top of mind for today’s condo buyers, transit connectivity might be number two on the list. For CentreCourt, this means providing “ground floor” opportunities near transit infrastructure, where buyers can lay claim to the best locations, and capture maximum value.

President Shamez Virani explains, and offers some insight into where buyers might want look next.

Condo Life: CentreCourt is releasing The Forest Hill, a new project said to be among the few with direct transit access in the lobby, to the upcoming Forest Hill Station on the LRT. How is this project coming along?

Shamez Virani: We’ve recently introduced The Forest Hill Condominiums to the market, the first development with a direct connection to the new Eglinton line. This project is located on the southwest corner of Bathurst and Eglinton, giving prospective homeowners the opportunity to live within one of the most coveted neighbourhoods of the city – Forest Hill. We’re offering an approachable price point starting at the high $300,000s with suites ranging from studios to three-bedrooms. The project launched in October and has already received incredible interest from the community. In today’s market, our purchasers understand the value of direct transit connectivity and “getting in on the ground floor” for a future subway line.

CL: You have another project planned at the intersection of Mercer Street and Blue Jays Way, the former site of Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant… so, a sentimental location for many Torontonians. How, if at all, do you plan to honour the history of this site, say, in design, project name or interior accents?

SV: We are excited about bringing a sophisticated, high-end and energetic project to the already vibrant downtown area. Not only will residents of this building benefit with state-of-the-art amenities such as a high-end gym (featuring Peloton bikes and other cutting-edge technology) and social co-working space, but we are looking into designing the building in a way that amplifies the character of the neighbourhood as an employment, culinary and artistic node. It’s critical that the interior and exterior design captures this energy. The project will be named 55 Mercer – for those who know Toronto real estate, there are few other addresses that evoke the cache and excitement of 55 Mercer.

CL: You have other projects planned for Yonge Wellesley, 201 Church and 319 Jarvis. What’s the status and key characteristics of each?

SV: As you note, we have a number of great downtown sites in the rezoning phase that we hope to bring to market in 2020. This is a very exciting time for us at CentreCourt, as we have more in the development pipeline than we have ever had. As we finalize our zoning on these sites and gear up to launch sales, we will be able to share more information regarding the developments. In the interim, our focus is on the upcoming launch of The Forest Hill and gearing up to go to market for 55 Mercer.

CL: The red light-green light development proposal approval process recently adopted by three Toronto city councillors is not going over too well in the development industry. What are your views on this situation?

SV: Toronto is a fast-growing metropolis – the public and private sectors need to work together to support the city’s growth. Our partnership with Metrolinx at The Forest Hill Condominiums at Bathurst and Eglinton is a great example of how public and private can work together to enhance services for Torontonians and transit users through transit-oriented development that is in sync with great planning. We need to continue to encourage development near major transit areas to meet the current housing needs.

CL: Affordability is a growing concern for homebuyers in the GTA, but much of what determines end costs – land use policy and availability and approvals processes – are out of builders’ control. How does CentreCourt address the affordability challenge?

SV: We are focused on bringing more living options to areas that can support new density. We design our suites to be efficient, and price them in a way that allows a broad range of buyers to gain access to a market they would otherwise be priced out of. No better example of this is The Forest Hill Condominiums, where suites will start in the high $300,000s and exist beside homes in Toronto’s most affluent area, which can be 10 to 20 times more expensive.

CL: Where do you see the next homebuilding – and therefore, for customers, homebuying – opportunities in the GTA, in terms of geographic area? You seem to be focused on downtown, transit-centric locations and projects…

SV: At CentreCourt, we’ve focused on areas that are nearby to major amenities, transit networks and pivotal employment areas. A major decision factor for condo buyers is transit connectivity, fostering an area and the access to live, work and play. When you look at the nodes in Toronto and the GTA that are seeing the largest amount of development, opportunity, and capital appreciation, it’s often because major transit infrastructure has been planned or added to the node. Some of the most exciting opportunities going forward will be those that provide a “ground floor” opportunity to be one of the first projects to be built at or near transit infrastructure. These “first movers” tend to be successful and lay claim to the best locations, and capture the maximum value from the growth and maturation of new transit infrastructure.

CL: What’s next for CentreCourt?

SV: Our 55 Mercer and The Forest Hill Condominiums projects are our primary focuses right now, and we are approaching our 10-year anniversary and will have some exciting projects and initiatives to announce.

AND ON A PERSONAL NOTE:

If I wasn’t involved in homebuilding, I would: That’s a hard question, seeing as I told my mom I wanted to “build big buildings” when I was 12 years old and have never veered from this dream since. However, if I wasn’t involved in homebuilding, I would likely be an entrepreneur focused on building a technology business. Entrepreneurship is in my blood and technology is the other industry (aside from real estate development) that I am fascinated by and love to learn more about.

My greatest inspiration in this business is: My mother. She immigrated from Tanzania in the mid-1970s without any formal secondary education or money in the bank, but she never let her circumstances define the amazing life that she built for our family. She has taught me the value of hard and honest work and I am constantly inspired by her. To this day, she remains my primary sounding board on all things business and career related.

When I’m not at the office, I: Love to immerse myself in anything Raptors related. I am a die-hard fan who is still celebrating our championship!

centrecourt.com

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Losani Homes

Brant West modern towns and singles from Losani Homes coming soon to Brantford

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Brant West modern towns and singles from Losani Homes coming soon to Brantford

Losani Homes is proud to deliver its next master-planned community, Brant West, in charming Brantford, Ont. A stunning blend of nature and neighbourhood with all the amenities your family will ever need, it’s about time to start thinking about heading west.

The city of Brantford has been the home to many great moments in Canadian history. Named after Joseph Brant and founded on the Grand River, it is where Alexander Graham Bell made the first phone call ever, and also, the birthplace of Wayne Gretzky. Steeped in tradition, Brantford features picturesque landscapes creating the perfect backdrop to raise a family.

Brantford living also promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, with a slew of both traditional and river trails. The trail systems stretch over 70 km and are ideal for hiking, jogging, cycling, and interacting with nature. In the winter months under proper conditions, the trails lend themselves perfectly to cross country skiing and snowshoeing. It comes as no surprise that with such a rich trail system connecting Hamilton, Simcoe, and Cambridge, that Brantford is known as the hub of Ontario trails. And with more than 60 playgrounds to enjoy across the city, which offer a packed summer activity sheet, Brantford is the perfect choice to raise a family. Other amenities include the Steve Brown Sports Complex, the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre, Lorne Park, the lovely Harmony Square, as well as the Brantford municipal airport.

Losani Homes is extremely proud to have a presence in Brantford and will be offering a range of homes as rich and diverse as the land itself. Single-family detached homes will be offered across 33-, 36-, 40- and 46-ft. lots, and purchasers will have their choice of four timeless elevations. Be it the freshly redesigned traditional, French inspired Chateau, Tuscan, or the forward-thinking Modern, Losani Homes has a design to satisfy all styles and tastes. Losani Homes will also be offering a wide variety of its award-winning modern townhome designs. Tremendous value does not have to come at the price of sacrificing style in the master-planned Brant West community.

LOSANI HOMES

Brant West Set to release in fall 2019 and starting from the $400,000s, you can register online now for this exciting new community.


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Brantford

Brantford – On the move and poised for growth

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Brantford – On the move and poised for growth

You may know Brantford, Ont. only as the birthplace of Wayne Gretzky and the place where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, but these days, this city of about 100,000 has a lot more going for it than just history.

Namely, its growth potential and bright future.

Powerhouse location

Indeed, one thing in Brantford’s favour is a prime natural location in Southwestern Ontario, on the Grand River and along Hwy. 403, with proximity to major consumer and industrial markets throughout North America. That makes it a powerhouse locale for business, and with improving transportation infrastructure, also for living here and commuting elsewhere in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Developed largely as an industrial centre catering to the agricultural sector (remember Massey-Ferguson and other farm implement names?), Brantford once thrived as a manufacturing town. But by the 1980s, following massive consolidation in the heavy equipment industry, the economy was in steady decline. Closures and bankruptcies left thousands unemployed, and economic depression set in.

Fast-forward to mid 1990s when the Brantford to Ancaster section of the 403 was completed, opening up easier access to U.S. markets such as Buffalo and Detroit, and an economic revival was on.

More recently, companies such as Procter & Gamble and Ferrero Group (maker of the world-famous Nutella and Ferrero Roche chocolates) have set up shop in Brantford.

World Nutella day

Ferrero, in fact, is a key employer. After opening the $150-million plant in 2005, employing 600 workers, the operation has expanded twice, investing another $140 million and adding almost another 100 jobs. The city even hosts an annual World Nutella Day celebration every February (this year it was Feb. 5).

All of this development has led Brantford to boast one of the lowest unemployment rates in Ontario, well below the provincial and national averages.

With a diversifying economy and expanding employment opportunities, those moving to the city will also find homes that are far more affordable, compared to Toronto and other areas in the GTA.

Housing affordability

“You can sell your home in Mississauga for $720,000 and buy the same home in Brantford for $420,000,” former Brantford mayor Chris Friel said last year when Moneysense magazine ranked the city the number one place in Canada to buy real estate. “You have all the amenities you need, and yet you’re only five minutes away from beautiful little towns and a rural area.”

Revitalization efforts of the downtown area have brought a mix of old and new, home to a growing post-secondary scene, with four institutions, including Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College.

Economic diversity, housing affordability, lifestyle, proximity to amenities and transportation options… All of these developments have Brantford poised for growth. According to the City, population is forecast to reach 163,000 by 2041.

Forget history. Brantford is preparing itself for a bright future as a place to live, work and play.

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Location, location, location

• Population 100,000, located in Southwestern Ontario in Brant County, on the Grand River and along Hwy. 403

• Distance from Toronto, 100 km; 135 km from Buffalo; 275 km from Detroit

Key landmarks

• The Bell Memorial, commemorating Alexander Graham Bell

• Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre

• Elements Casino Brantford

Select upcoming housing developments

Dufferin Crossing by Schuit Homes – Single-family homes

Portside at Woodway Trails by Royal Arc Developments – Townhomes

Portside at Woodway Trails by Huron Creek Developments – Townhomes


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NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Toronto Entertainment District a condo community?

Toronto Entertainment District a booming condo community in the making

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Toronto Entertainment District a booming condo community in the making

If you haven’t been to Toronto’s Entertainment District lately, you’re in for quite the surprise.

In fact, you might not even recognize this booming neighbourhood.

Long a Toronto hot spot filled with some of the city’s best theatres and restaurants, the Entertainment District is in full-on transition mode – into also becoming one of the most prestigious condo destinations.

A place to live

The Entertainment District, a condo community?

Yes, that same area punctuated by such landmarks as Roy Thompson Hall, the Princess of Wales Theatre, and Canada’s Walk of Fame, known as a place to play and eat, is now becoming known as a place to live.

“Look around at all the buildings being built and how the neighbourhood is changing and will continue to change,” Alan Vihant, senior vice-president, highrise at Great Gulf recently told Condo Life at the ground-breaking for the company’s 357 King West project. Great Gulf’s 357 King West is a 42-storey condo at the corner of King St. W. and Blue Jays Way.

This development and population growth is now leading to other expansion. “It’s not just a place to live now,” Vihant says. “A lot of offices are moving here, the bars and restaurants continue to evolve. It’s a great time to be building down here.”

Essentially born in the 1990s as an entertainment and tourist hub, with a burgeoning nightclub scene elbowing its away among the existing theatres and restaurants, the early 2000s brought the first wave of a condo boom.

More recently, SoHo Metropolitan Hotel & Residences, Festival Tower, and Bisha Hotel and Residences are among some of the notable condo projects that are up and running.

Abuzz with excitement

One key cultural attraction is TIFF Bell Lightbox, which opened in 2010 on the northwest corner of King Street and John Street. The first five floors of this 42-storey tower serve as headquarters for the Toronto International Film Festival, while the Festival Tower residences sit atop. With TIFF Bell Lightbox serving as host to countless international stars and pre-screenings during the annual festival, the area is often abuzz with excitement.

Add to this more recent landmark developments such as Bisha Hotel and Residences, and Nobu Residences, and you have an expanding array of exciting residential opportunities.

Then there’s Wayne Gretzky’s Restaurant at 99 Blue Jays Way, and more recently even a Wahlburgers (of the Wahlburgers restaurant chain and famed brothers Donny and Mark Wahlburg). All of it a stone’s throw from the Rogers Centre, Ripley’s Aquarium, the CN Tower, Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Scotiabank Arena.

The team at Great Gulf breaking ground at 357 King West.
The team at Great Gulf breaking ground at 357 King West.

Transition to excellence

And more is on the way.

Great Gulf and Ed Mirvish Enterprises, for example, recently announced they have reached an agreement on the sale to Great Gulf of the site of the proposed landmark Mirvish+Gehry project in the Entertainment District.

All of it adds up to an area in transition indeed – to excitement and excellence.

 

Location, location, location

Bordered by Spadina Avenue, King Street West, University Avenue and Front Street

Key landmarks

  • Roy Thompson Hall
  • TIFF Bell Lightbox
  • Wayne Gretzky’s Restaurant
  • Wahlburgers
  • Rogers Centre

Select existing condos

  • SoHo Metropolitan Hotel & Residences, by Mastercraft Starwood
  • Festival Tower, by Daniels
  • Bisha Hotel and Residences, by Lifetime Developments

Select upcoming condos


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