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Yorkville is prized, exclusive and priced to match

Yorkville is prized, exclusive and priced to match

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Yorkville is prized, exclusive 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 prized locale 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.

Signature condo destination

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

Among the new projects underway is 55C Bloor Yorkville Residences, where MOD Developments broke ground just last month. The 48-storey building comprises 551 units in one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations and is due for completion in fall 2023.

Also under construction in the area is 8 Cumberland from Great Gulf, a 51-storey condo with a century-old brick Victorian podium located at the northwest corner of Cumberland Avenue and Yonge.

Great Gulf is also building the 76-storey One Bloor East just one block away.

Nearby, Lanterra Developments is building 50 Scollard, a 41-storey condo at the corner of Bay and Scollard, with 77 exclusive residences. The project 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 Capital Developments

11 Yorkville by Metropia

11 Yorkville by RioCan Living

50 Scollard by Lanterra Developments

55C Yorkville by MOD Developments

140 Yorkville by Empire Communities

321 Davenport by Alterra Group

625 Yonge Street by Edenshaw Developments

Via Bloor 2 by Tridel


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In Conversation With… Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner, City of Toronto

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In Conversation With… Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner, City of Toronto

Gregg Lintern, for those in the urban planning field, has one of the most desired gigs in all of Canada – chief planner of the City of Toronto. But heading up the planning department of the largest city in the country, indeed, one of the fastest growing in the world, is no cushy assignment. Managing growth, housing development, transit and cycling infrastructure… the list of tasks is endless and the critics plentiful and often harsh. And in a COVID world, everything is that much more complicated.

Lintern opens up about his vision for the city, his department, and the challenges of the development approvals process.

You’ve been in the chair a few years now… What have you learned or come to appreciate about the job?

Growth and change in a city of three million people is complex. The job is about managing that complexity to focus finite energy and resources to influence positive outcomes – usually in partnership with public and private interests. I’ve learned that is not easy – and it takes people and your ability to inspire people to get things done.

How would you describe your philosophy as Chief Planner for the City of Toronto?

Be values driven – I ground my thinking in values such as humility, empathy, generosity, perspective and resilience – and be people-centred. Think about the outcomes – the city we want to be in 20 years, and work backwards. What choices can we make now that will get us there and have our children and grandchildren say we made good decisions?

The city as we know it is a consequence of evolutionary change, driven by internal and external forces. Part of my role is influencing change for the better, understanding mistakes and showing a willingness to change direction, and push for beneficial outcomes.

The tensions that exist within the system of evolution are many, including things such as cars versus other modes of transportation, and exclusivity of land use versus mixed use. These tensions often result in incremental compromise, even as the general direction is clear.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, but COVID has seemingly accelerated and clarified both our opportunities and challenges. Ideas with long-standing support, such as increased cycling infrastructure, have moved forward quicker than they otherwise might have. But just as quickly, existing issues such as access to housing and social and health inequities have an increased urgency and visibility around them.

If we remain grounded in our values, I do think we can use this moment of clarity, even if it feels overwhelming at times, to make some lasting changes for the better, particularly for our most vulnerable groups.

What do you hope to accomplish in your tenure?

I set out a simple goal at the beginning of my tenure, and that was to build on past accomplishments and leave the Division and the City in a better place than I found them. I see that as the contribution everyone should make – in service to their family, friends, community and city – is to add, to enrich, to get it ready for who comes next as an intergenerational responsibility. In that sense, the city having more housing available and affordable for more people and better mobility than they have now – to have that access to opportunity that people across the city require. Toronto has landed on many top 10 lists across many measures of success; my job is to keep us there and to grow the list.

What changes would you like to make, or are making, from the way your office has operated in the past?

I would simply emphasize communication with staff and stakeholders. I know you can’t get things done alone – the more we communicate in a way that resonates with people, the better off the results of the services we provide and the outcomes in the community.

What are the top priorities in the planning department these days (such as improving the approvals process, addressing the need for “missing middle” housing, cycling infrastructure…)?

While we are looking at improvements to the approvals process, we are very much focused on improving the outcomes of the process – ensuring that new development contributes positively to the idea of complete. That’s really our main priority and much of what we do is aligned with this objective. In addition to the construction of new housing and commercial space, expanding and improving transportation infrastructure, cycling connections, expanding and making better use of our public spaces are all elements in the process of building complete communities.

Building a more livable, equitable Toronto is also a top priority. The City’s recently approved Housing Now projects are examples of smart density, building complete, mixed income, mixed-use communities with housing accompanied by child care facilities, open spaces, pedestrian connections and new streets, and retail and office space in various configurations. It’s about developing a broad range and mix of uses, combined with good urban design, to support daily life. Missing middle housing, and expanding housing options in neighbourhoods, is part of that work and city planning has a considerable role to play.

The home building industry is lobbying various levels of government to make the approvals process faster and simpler. How do you see this issue, and how are you addressing it?

The City conducted an End-to-End Development Review, which provided recommendations to improve the development process for both applicants and the City. To implement the recommendations, the City has established the Concept to Keys (C2K) program – a dedicated, multi-divisional team that will guide this work and will modernize how the City of Toronto attracts, facilitates and regulates development activity. C2K is working to create more predictability, efficiency, transparency and collaboration. Early areas of focus include a revised operating model and governance structure, enabling online applications and evaluating options to enhance backend technology to more effectively manage the development review process from start to finish.

New home supply and affordability, some say, are at or near crisis levels, and that we really need to approve and build more new housing, and more quickly, in order to meet demand and address affordability concerns. What’s your take on all this, and how realistic is it to expect your office to “fix” this problem?

Affordability and access are major challenges facing Toronto and many other growing North American cities. Council adopted the HousingTO 2020 – 2030 Action Plan in December 2019. It recommends a host of actions to improve supply and affordability across a whole spectrum of need. It’s a tool kit approach because there isn’t one fix for the housing challenge. About 20,000 units of housing are approved every year in Toronto, but a greater variety of housing more targeted to specific needs is required. Ideas such as expanding housing options in neighbourhoods, and more ground related housing such as laneway suites and secondary suites in homes, are gaining interest, for example.

What other cities, either in Canada or elsewhere in the world, have planning departments, systems and processes that you believe work well, and that we could learn from, and why?

We are always looking toward other cities, and encourage other cities to look to Toronto, to seek out and share best practices. No two places are the same and local context is always important, but there absolutely are lessons to be learned from work being done elsewhere.

Many cities in Canada and around the world are contending with the same challenges, though perhaps at different levels of intensity, as Toronto. Expanding housing options and providing for some that of “missing middle” are one such example, where cities are looking at what other jurisdictions are doing and then developing a suite of tools that work for their communities.

How did the early days of the COVID-19 shutdown impact your office? We’ve heard a lot about approval processes slowing, and submission backlogs…

Like any other organization, the pandemic disrupted core business in the very early days but the initial disruption was short-lived. Staff pivoted to work from home over the course of eight weeks, and that transition limited backlog and enabled staff to perform duties normally undertaken in the office.

One of the challenges posed by COVID has been hosting community consultation meetings. We host hundreds of these meetings in communities throughout the year to consult on new development applications and the development of new planning policy. What used to occur in person has moved online, and there has been a period of adjustment in adapting new consultation approaches. These new approaches to consultation present an opportunity for us to reach a broader audience and incorporate more constructive feedback into the planning process.

Lintern cycling on Lake Shore Blvd. during one of the recent ActiveTO weekend road closures.

How have things progressed since then? Is the planning department back up to full capacity?

Since the initial weeks of the shutdown, we have provided staff across the Division with resources to continue processing development applications and new policies remotely. We have been running at full capacity for several months now.

What has your office learned, or changes you’ve made, since the pandemic began?

We focused initially on keeping the economy going with development approvals, introduced temporary use bylaws to expand cafes, supported new housing initiatives for vulnerable people such as modular housing, moved consultation online with virtual consultation meetings and workshops, reformatted services including holding Committee of Adjustment hearings online. We have adapted our processes to work better remotely and provided our staff with resources to continue managing development review applications.

Additionally, the pandemic provided a renewed sense of clarity and urgency to certain areas of work, including the need to expand housing options and build local resilience right across the city.

toronto.ca

And on a personal note:

What part of town do you live in (from your Twitter account, it looks like you’re a west-ender…)?

In Toronto, you are either east or west of Yonge. I’m west of Yonge – actually grew up in Rexdale and have lived in the west end ever since. But I love the east end too, of course!

What is your favourite thing about Toronto?

When I get asked this I usually say – it’s a good place to call home. I often think of the people who were here before European settlement, of the waves of immigrants who have come here and of the people who desire to come here. It’s grown into a big city, but remains a place people want to call home.

When you’re not at the office (real or home office), you’re:

Walking or cycling in my High Park neighbourhood.

If you weren’t a city planner, you would:

Cook for people.

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In Conversation With Brian Sutherland, Director of Development, Argo Development Corp.

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In Conversation With Brian Sutherland, Director of Development, Argo Development Corp.

There’s something big happening in Mississauga, specifically in the Lakeview area of Port Credit.

Perhaps you’re familiar with Lakeview, the former location of the Lakeview Generation Station, demolished in 2007. Or maybe you’ve been following the development plans for this prized, expansive lakefront location.

More likely, if you’ve driven by the area recently, is that you’ve noticed some new activity on the site – notably a striking, 1,600-ft. hoarding featuring the works of local artists. It’s an immediately noticeable sign that things are on the move for this development, and that soon, Lakeview Village, eventually comprising 8,000 new homes and 20,000 residents, will come to life.

Brian Sutherland, director of development for Argo Development Corp., the lead developer for Lakeview Village, discusses the plans for the transformation of Mississauga’s waterfront into Canada’s most innovative and sustainable mixed-use community.

And we have to say, impressive doesn’t do it justice.

The recent unveiling of the art installation is a significant step for Lakeview Village – a symbol of what’s to come and a signal to area residents that things are on the move. Why was it so important to make such a noticeable statement, and involving local artists?

Creating a hub for arts and culture is deeply embedded in the vision of Lakeview Village. Through this artist collaboration, we created in partnership with Artscape Atelier, and launched a platform for artists during the construction process while laying the groundwork for the future community. Our team is very passionate about the concept of placemaking, and these bold, beautiful artistic works make the site a vibrant and enjoyable place for locals and visitors. And although our original plan did not anticipate a global pandemic, we felt even more dedicated to this project and the employment opportunities it presented for artists to earn income during this particularly difficult period.

The murals also significantly enhance our sunflower program: One million sunflowers have been planted next to the art installations and are set to bloom alongside the works in late August. This is the second year in a row for the sunflower program, and we’re excited to welcome people back to experience their impressive beauty.

What will be the next noticeable sign of activity? Your project timeline shows the Discover Centre opening in late 2020…

The Lakeview Village Discovery Centre will a be a modern, welcoming space where we will showcase the vision for the project and its exciting regional impact, as well as the work of our neighbours and partners, including the adjacent Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area. We also envision the Centre being a safe gathering place for the community that we can offer for activities and events throughout the construction phase. This exciting space will also serve as our future sales centre.

Implications of the pandemic have delayed our original plans to open the Discovery Centre by the end of this year. We’re now aiming to open its doors in the spring of next year.

The timeline also shows breaking ground in Q1 2021 for phase one… Is that still on track, and what will be included in phase one?

We still anticipate earthworks occurring in 2021. Our goal for the first phase is to start with excavations, followed by beginning to install key servicing infrastructure. These foundations will be key components to bringing the community to life.

What are the timelines for the other phases?

The project will be developed in multiple phases and our focus right now is on Phase 1. By 2025, we anticipate first occupancies occurring in our first phase blocks, which will be in sync with the completion and opening of the project’s many parks and the adjacent Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area. We are currently evaluating and advancing plans and timelines for future phases. We hope that businesses are drawn to Lakeview in the near future and we (in partnership with the City of Mississauga Economic Development Office) can start construction within the Lakeview Innovation District and establish this district in the early phase of development as well.

What is the breakdown of housing types, highrise versus mid- and lowrise, and the approximate timelines?

The 177-acre project will combine diverse high-quality housing options for all lifestyles and life stages. The council-endorsed master plan allocates approximately 60 per cent of residential builds to be midrise, 10 per cent townhouses and 30 per cent highrise, creating around 8,000 residential units.

As a true mixed-use community, residential areas will be integrated alongside retail, commercial and recreational areas. This will include almost two million sq. ft. of office and institutional space, plus thousands of sq. ft. in retail, hotel and educational spaces.

As for the timeline, we’re working with the City of Mississauga through our development approval process right now with hopes of securing planning approvals by the end of 2020, allowing us to begin detailed engineering design, earthworks and servicing in 2021. This will be a multiphased project with a buildout over 10 years or more.

When can prospective buyers expect to be able to actually purchase at Lakeview Village?

We are hopeful that the first phase of unit sales will go forward in fall 2021.

Lakeview Village’s homebuilding partners include Branthaven Homes and Greenpark Group. What other builders might be involved?

Lakeview Village’s development is led by Lakeview Community Partners Limited (LCPL), which is an unprecedented collaboration between five community builders, including TACC Construction Ltd, Greenpark Group, CCI Development Group, Branthaven Homes and Argo Development Corp. Each developer plays an important role in the project. I find it incredibly rewarding to work with true innovators and leaders in the industry on something as unique and exciting as Lakeview Village. We are seeking to create Canada’s most transformative mixed-use waterfront community, bringing new life to Mississauga and connecting residents to this portion of Lake Ontario for the first time in decades.

The list of amenities for this new community looks very impressive. What are the top highlights, in your view?

What we’re creating at Lakeview Village will rival the world’s most acclaimed waterfront developments. One thing that really jumps out at people when they visit the site or look at the plan is the pier. We have one of the longest piers on Lake Ontario in our development. It was created to bring coal to the power plant, but we’re going to reimagine it as a place for the community to gather and to draw tourism and events. It will be fully open to the public, and it’s something no other community can match.

We’re planning on delivering more than 67 acres of land back to the city through the waterfront park, the pier, cultural lands and space for employers across sectors. This is in addition to several new parks, more than three kilometres of waterfront trails, and connections to bordering parks in the surrounding regions. After years of being cut off from Lake Ontario, we want residents and visitors to be able to reconnect with the water and create an unparalleled urban waterfront experience.

Our commitment to reviving the natural landscape also includes the collaboration with Credit Valley Conservation (CVC). This includes restoring Serson Creek – an extensive project that will realign and restore the creek back to its original and natural location as part of the conservation area, revitalizing habitat for wildlife and nature in the region. We are also supporting CVC, which is building the Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area, a 64-acre coastal conservation area that attract both wildlife and fish species back into the rebuilt habitat. Another exciting and vital component of the project is the Lakeview Innovation District, which will be a new business corridor with a variety of employment, institutional and educational uses. The District presents the opportunity to bring 9,000 jobs and attract innovative companies to the region, creating a true mixed-use community with significant economic impact. The city of Mississauga has so much potential and we strongly believe this hub will attract top talent, new employers and innovation to the city’s already established business sector.

How will Lakeview Village pay homage to the Lakeview Generation Station, the decommissioned coal-fired power plant whose former site the community will be built on? The plant, with its smokestacks known locally as the “Four Sisters,” had been a part of the local history since the early 1960s…

This site has a rich and interesting history – something we very much respect and keep top of mind as we plan for the future of this community. The former power plant delivered electricity to the region, which helped facilitate the considerable growth of Mississauga and the Region of Peel over the past 60 years. But it also produced heavy pollution in the form of smog days and contributed to the disconnect between the community of Lakeview and their access to Lake Ontario. We’ve been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform this former polluting utilitarian site and make it a vibrant, sustainable place to live by the lake.

One of the most exciting outcomes of the plant’s demolition is that we were able to donate more than 200,000 tonnes of concrete from the former foundations of the power plant to the Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area being built next to our project. The former foundations of a polluting coal burning powerplant will forever be the foundation to a new coastal conservation area. This creates an incredible start to the revitalization of the waterfront in southeast Mississauga.

What would you like to say to potential buyers, who may be watching all this unfold, perhaps have lived in the area, and are looking to see what buying opportunities there might be coming at Lakeview Village?

To either future buyers, locals or people who have been following Lakeview’s story, I would say get excited and get vocal! Our team is incredibly enthusiastic and dedicated to the vision for Lakeview Village – an urban experience that will transform Mississauga’s waterfront into Canada’s most innovative and sustainable mixed-use community. It will be waterfront revitalization done right, and be a place to live, work, play, learn and enjoy.

We always encourage people who are interested in the project to use their voice, whether that’s to share their visit to the murals on social or connecting with local government representatives to share their thoughts and support for the future of this community.

mylakeviewvillage.com

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In Conversation With… Mark Palumbo, Sales Manager, Democrat Homes

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In Conversation With… Mark Palumbo, Sales Manager, Democrat Homes

If COVID-19 has done anything, it’s convinced some homebuyers that more is necessary. Bigger homes, larger lots, more privacy and personal space. Or, as Mark Palumbo, sales manager at Democrat Homes’ Forest Heights Estates development, describes it, to live without being “squished on top of one another.”

Homes Magazine sat down with Palumbo for his insights into these and other matters at Democrat Homes, as well as his background in acting. Yes, acting.

Let’s start with an easy one: How’s business these days?

Business is booming. Our beautiful Forest Heights Estates site is situated 20 minutes north of Barrie in Horseshoe Valley. Every lot that we offer here is nestled into the trees and gives people the space both on their lot and in their home that is so hard to find in the city.

There is no need to live crammed into a subdivision like sardines where you can touch your neighbour’s house from your window. From the minute you drive into the site, the first thing you notice is the incredible towering trees on the 100-ft. frontages each one of our lots provides.

People have really begun to realize that it’s possible to live in a stunning community like this with the space and house you’ve always wanted. The affordability and lifestyle you get with this community is what has fueled the steady traffic we have seen at the model home.

How did the pandemic affect construction and sales at Democrat Homes?

It has been a crazy year! Our model home remained closed through the early months of the pandemic. We were lucky in that construction was one of the few industries allowed to continue working. We have moved to an appointment-based structure at our sales office, which allows us to control the flow of people coming through, as well as effectively clean and sanitize our model home after each visit. We also provide masks, gloves and hand sanitizing stations for people. Safety is a priority, and something we take very seriously.

How has the company ‘pivoted,’ in terms of virtual sales and other changes during the pandemic?

Almost all of the appointments I have now are set up virtually. All the information a potential purchaser needs can be found on democrathomes.com. We made it a priority to make the website as functional and informative as possible. You can view everything from floorplans and site maps to quick move-in options and virtual tours right on the site.

What distinguishes Democrat Homes and its product from what else is available in the market?

Democrat Homes has always prided itself on offering people a better home on an incredible lot for much less money than you could ever hope to find in Toronto markets. We want to show people that the home of your dreams is possible and it’s just an hour away from the city.

But beyond that, we are a familyrun business that cares about our customers and the product we build for them. With so many other home builders out there, the process of buying and designing a new home can be cold and joyless.

We offer a more personal experience that makes buying a home special. I am the purchaser’s main liaison throughout the entire process, from sales to house design. This is the biggest purchase people make in their entire lives, and I strive to make the experience the best it can be.

You’re building in non-GTA markets – Horseshoe Valley and Orillia. How are those markets doing?

Better than ever. In these crazy times, people have begun to realize the importance of working remotely. We offer incredible homes in beautiful areas with the highest quality services around. Bell FIBE is available at all our sites, offering lightning fast Internet speeds, so working from home is an easy transition. Not only do you have the flexibility to realize your remote working options, but our sites are surrounded by the most incredible year-round activities. Lake Simcoe is just 10 minutes away, and our site is situated with direct access to hundreds of kilometres of walking, ATV, snowmobiling and snowshoeing trails. We are a five-minute drive to Horseshoe Valley ski resort and six different golf courses. The possibilities are endless, and the markets reflect that.

Some experts say larger detached homes on sizeable lots, in more remote locations like yours, will be a growing market in future, given everything COVID-19 has taught us in terms of working from home and personal space. How do you see this?

The future is now! COVID-19 has made people understand the issues that come with living squished on top of one another. Democrat Homes offers empty nesters a tranquil setting and stunning home to retire in. We offer families the space for their kids to play and explore nature instead of being cooped up in a small home devoid of living space, or a 500-sq.-ft. apartment. There really is something for everyone here in Forest Heights Estates, and there has never been a better time to make your dream home a reality.

What’s next for Democrat Homes?

We are currently focused on the two brand new sites we have just begun: Forest Heights Estates in Horseshoe Valley, and Professor’s Walk in Orillia. But, the future looks bright! We plan to be providing quality-built homes to the people of Ontario for many years to come.

And on a personal note…

When I’m not at the office, I am: A husband and soon to be father!

My greatest inspiration in this business is: My father, who started this business with my uncle almost 20 years ago now. He is the best man I know, and I have learned so much from him. He inspires me every day to be better at everything I do, from our business to home life.

If I wasn’t in the homebuilding industry, I would: Be an actor. I studied acting at an arts high school in Toronto, then went on to get a university degree in dramatic arts. I’ve been in a ton of plays, commercials and even had a TV show all about Canadian beer that I cohosted with my brother Chris.

Portfolio

Forest Heights
Horseshoe Valley
Estate homes

Professor’s Walk
Orillia
Detached homes

democrathomes.com

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Hamilton is the high tech city of the future

Hamilton is the high tech city of the future

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Hamilton is the high tech city of the future

by Wayne Karl

Hamilton may be best known as a steel city – a moniker it may never shake, given the industry is still alive and well here. But here’s a more modern nickname for you – tech town.

Yes, really.

The city of 536,917 was recently ranked as one of the top tech cities in North America for “opportunity.”

Commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE rated Hamilton number two in 2019, citing a tech scene that has grown by 52 per cent over the last five years. This, in addition to naming it Canada’s fastest growing mid-sized city for tech talent in 2018.

This reputation may be slightly unfamiliar to some, but homebuyers have known the city has been transitioning for years.

City on the highrise

Indeed, a quest for lowrise housing at affordable prices has sent throngs of buyers from the Toronto area to Hamilton over the past decade.

While more affordable lowrise homes may have encouraged GTA buyers to head west, it may be the stellar performance of the highrise sector that keeps them here. See, for example, how healthy the price growth in Hamilton is for condos, as compared to that for all other types.

Developers, meanwhile, are catering to the growing demand for highrise housing in the city. And in the coming weeks, a major new master-planned community in the city’s east end will be announced. A consortium of local builder and development partners and the City plan to revitalize an aging neighbourhood by creating a new community of subsidized and market rental apartments, plus condominium townhomes priced well below Hamilton and GTA market values. It is said to be one of Hamilton’s biggest-ever inner-city developments and a tribute to inclusivity and diversity.

It’s not just about homebuying opportunity in Hamilton, however. From educational institutions such as McMaster University and Mohawk College, to exhibits such as the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, to historical landmarks such as Dundurn Castle, there’s plenty to enjoy in and around the city.

Infrastructure development

Hamilton is also benefiting nicely from the billions being spent on transit and highway infrastructure improvements in the province, allowing residents to live there and easily get around the city or travel to surrounding areas.

All of this further positions Hamilton and its residents to enjoy its rising stature as a tech town, and a place to be now and in the future.

Location, location, location

Golden Horseshoe at the west end of Lake Ontario; population of 536,917; 68 kms from Toronto, 73 kms to Niagara Falls.

Key landmarks

• Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

• Dundurn Castle

• FirstOntario Centre

• Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology

• Tim Hortons Field

Select condo developments

Garner Road Condos by Sonoma Homes

Jamesville Lofts by Areacor Developments

KiWi Condos by Rosehaven Homes

Muse Condos by Homes by DeSantis

Steeltown City Co. by Elite MD Developments

SoHo at Central Park by Losani Homes

Upper Sherman Condos by Sonoma Homes


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It's about a lot more than the Falls in Niagara

It’s about a lot more than the Falls in Niagara

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It’s about a lot more than the Falls in Niagara

When people think Niagara, they often think only of the Falls themselves, those natural wonders to which a visit never seems to grow old.

But beyond the awe-inspiring beauty and power of the Falls and the Niagara River, Niagara Region offers a lot more that’s worthy of just a weekend getaway.

Encompassing towns such as Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catharines, Thorold and Welland, the Niagara Region is blessed with a great natural location. It occupies most of the Niagara Peninsula, bounded by the U.S. to the south and on the north by Lake Ontario, and of course the Niagara Escarpment – all of which offers strong potential for business and lifestyle choices.

These natural landscapes and climate make the Niagara Region perfect for agri-businesses such as winemaking – a key economic sector. The Niagara Wine Route, for example, connects dozens of wineries and is a growing tourism draw, complementing cultural events such as the Shaw Festival.

Indeed, a visit to the area can involve a stop at the Falls, winery tours, the quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Botanical Gardens with its Floral Clock and Butterfly Conservatory, several championship golf courses and a growing casino industry in downtown Niagara Falls.

But this is all for play. To live and work in the region is another matter.

Economic growth

Again, a blessing of location, Niagara is within 800 km of two provinces, nine states and 130 million people on both sides of the border. This means opportunities for business. The trade that flows across Niagara’s borders totals more than $100 billion annually, and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across Canada and the U.S. The infrastructure network to support this trade activity comprises five international bridges, multiple railways and the Welland Canal, linking Lake Erie into the St. Lawrence Seaway system.

All of this is conducive to growth potential for the region’s manufacturing and transportation and logistics sectors, to complement the historical strength in agriculture and tourism.

Niagara’s economy has shown steady growth in a number of areas, particularly in job creation and new investment, but still lags slightly behind Ontario averages. The Niagara economic development department confirms the area still has challenges in higher unemployment, lower participation rate and lower household income per capita.

But that’s changing. In 2018 alone, Niagara had $1.7 billion in construction investment. From 2015 to 2018, such investment grew by 56 per cent in Niagara, compared to 19 per cent for Ontario overall.

New home development

As the economy grows and affords people more opportunity to live and work in Niagara – or close by – new-home development is following.

Much of the housing growth is in the lowrise category, as buyers from the GTA find the lot sizes and price points far more appealing and affordable.

But that, too, is changing, as some consumers prefer the condo lifestyle, even in a nature-rich area such as Niagara. Developers are responding in kind, with several new condo projects, many of them midrise or boutique condominiums.

Homes by DeSantis, for example, has condo projects in both Grimsby and Stoney Creek, and Urbane Communities is building Marbella Condominium in Niagara Falls.

Part of the appeal for homebuyers in Niagara, of course, is affordability relative to Toronto and other parts of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. According to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey, for the first quarter of 2020, aggregate median home prices in Niagara-St. Catharines were $453,483. This is up 1.1 per cent from $448,631 in the fourth quarter of 2019, and 7.4 per cent from $422,294 in the first quarter of 2019.

And from the ReMax 2020 Housing Market Outlook Report in late 2019, the realty firm noted that average residential sale prices in Niagara increased by almost 13 per cent, from $378,517 in 2018 to $427,487 in 2019. Value-conscious consumers from the GTA were buying in droves, ReMax says, with many choosing to live in the region and commute to Toronto.

Location, location, location

A regional municipality in Southern Ontario comprising 12 municipalities such as Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catharines, Thorold and Welland; 130 kms from Toronto; 86 kms from Hamilton.

Key landmarks

  • Botanical Gardens
  • Casino Niagara
  • Clifton Hill
  • Legends on the Niagara Golf Course
  • Niagara Falls
  • The Niagara Wine Route
  • Welland Canal
  • Whirlpool Golf Course

Select condo developments

1 Dexter Condos, St. Catharines by RO Beam Construction

157 Griffin St. Smithville, Smithville by Phelps Homes

AquaZul Condominiums, Grimsby by Homes By DeSantis

Marbella Condominium, Niagara Falls by Urbane Communities

Montebello, St. Catharines by Marydel Homes

South Port, Port Colborne by Rankin Construction Inc.

The Bench Beamsville, Beamsville by Lanca Contracting Inc.

The Niagara, Niagara Falls by M5V Group of Companies

The Schoolhouse in Old Glenridge, St. Catharines by PBG Homes

Utopia Condominums, Beamsville by New Horizon Development Group


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In Conversation With, Anson Kwok, Vice-President, Sale & Marketing Pinnacle International

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In Conversation With, Anson Kwok, Vice-President, Sale & Marketing Pinnacle International

Toronto is blessed with a number of signature high-profile condo projects, forever changing the landscape and city skyline. Few are as noteworthy as what’s about to rise into the sky and pierce the clouds in the heart of the downtown area – Pinnacle One Yonge from Pinnacle International.

One Yonge, as a location, is notable in its own right, as the address of the landmark Toronto Star building, built in 1970 and acquired by Pinnacle in 2012. The property was in the news again recently, when in May the Star itself was sold to a private equity firm, leading some to again wonder what the plan was for the area.

And an opportunity for Pinnacle to again discuss its vision for One Yonge.

The plan is a nothing short of a spectacular master-planned complex of residential, commercial and retail space, that over the years of its development will reshape that area of downtown.

The first phase of Pinnacle One Yonge involves The Prestige, a 65-storey residential tower with 497 condominium units, a community centre and extensive retail space. Phases 2 and 3 will add SkyTower, a 95-storey tower, and then an 80-storey tower, significantly contributing to the densification of the block. Phase 4 will develop the south parcel of the land, introducing an additional three buildings, including a 12-storey addition to the existing Toronto Star building.

Designed to densify and enhance the urban streetscape, Pinnacle One Yonge links to public transit, improves and widens sidewalks and provides prioritized pedestrian and cyclist access.

And this is just one project Pinnacle has on the go in the GTA.

Condo Life sat down with Anson Kwok, vice-president of sales and marketing at Pinnacle, to discuss the progress at Pinnacle One Yonge, how the company is adopting to the COVID-19 pandemic, and other topics.

When we spoke to you at the beginning of the year, things we very different. Pinnacle had four active construction sites in the GTA, and you mentioned possibly increasing that to six projects by the end of the year. Generally speaking, where is all that now, in this unprecedented COVID-19 world?

Our four active construction sites have continued during COVID-19 with some delays, and we are still looking to deliver three of those projects for our purchasers to get their keys in the next 12 months.

Our sites are ready to go for both Pinnacle Toronto East and SkyTower at Pinnacle One Yonge. We are just finalizing approvals and future permits to proceed.

You also mentioned at the time that lengthy municipal approval processes were resulting in longer completion times. How hopeful are you that this will improve? During the pandemic, governments have demonstrated that they can and do move more quickly when they really have to…

Fundamentally, I don’t see the process speeding up, as the system is set up so that all city staff, especially planners and reviewing departments, are working on projects for years, with new applications and resubmissions continuously ending up on their desks. The complexity of projects is also increasing, resulting in additional consultant reports and more detailed drawing sets. This all leads to longer processing times, and it perpetuates the constant cycle.

Even having city staff working on the same file at the same time, would help improve efficiencies and to expedite timelines.

How did COVID-19 affect your projects, in terms of both construction and sales?

Our construction sites have continued to operate, but we did experience about a six-month delay due to new procedures onsite with social distancing, inspections and supply chain delays.

Our sales program took a pause for about four weeks, and then we have been pretty active with inquiries and sales since.

Working from home is expected to become more prevalent in future. How might Pinnacle address this trend in future condo designs and amenities?

We have been offering larger product in the marketplace, so we will continue with that strategy, as I think this has benefited people who have been working from home. Also, providing amenities such as study rooms, business centres and boardrooms will be in higher demand.

How are things coming along at The Prestige at Pinnacle One Yonge?

We have built out the extensive podium of our first Phase 1, and now reached our typical floorplate at The Prestige at Pinnacle One Yonge, so you will start seeing the building really rising quickly. We are on schedule for our first occupancy in May 2022.

And with SkyTower?

Sales have gone extremely well at SkyTower, and we are in position to start construction and will be mobilizing in the near future.

Besides a pretty unbeatable location, how will The Prestige and SkyTower stand out from other projects in the area?

The location and address of this master-planned community definitely speak for themselves. What also stands out is that it’s part of a true master-planned community. At its completion, it will comprise:

  • Three residential towers, including the tallest residential building in Canada at 95 storeys
  • 80,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor residential amenity space
  • 50,000-sq.-ft. community centre with a six-lane swimming pool and gymnasium
  • 1.1 million sq. ft. of office space
  • 160,000 sq. ft. of retail space
  • Two future hotels
  • PATH connected
  • Next to a future a 2.5-acre park.

So, there is a lot to be excited about!

The Prestige and SkyTower are two of the three towers planned for One Yonge. What is the third, and what is its status?

We are currently working on the final design of the 80-storey tower planned on the north parcel, as we review the suite layouts.

What’s next for Pinnacle, beyond these noted signature projects?

We are currently working on rezoning our Pinnacle Etobicoke and Pinnacle Uptown Communities which will consist of eight future residential towers and three residential towers, respectfully.

We are also looking forward to start leasing our new office building at Pinnacle One Yonge.

And on a personal note…

When I’m not at the office, I am:
In my condo, enjoying time with my wife and our two young boys.

My greatest inspiration in this business is:
My mom, Grace. She brought the concept of preconstruction sales to Vancouver and is dubbed as BC’s First Lady of Pre-Sales. She has been consistently leading successful sales programs in all different market conditions.

If I wasn’t in the new condo business, I would:
Be pursuing my previous passion of running a hotel.

Portfolio

Amber at Pinnacle Uptown
Move in now
Mississauga

Cypress at Pinnacle Etobicoke
Under construction
Etobicoke

PJ Condos
Under construction
Toronto

Perla Towers
Under construction
Mississauga

Pinnacle Toronto East
Pre-construction
Toronto

SkyTower at Pinnacle One Yonge
Pre-construction
Toronto

The Prestige at Pinnacle One Yonge
Under construction
Toronto

pinnacleinternational.ca

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Back in the saddle - e-bike style

Back in the saddle – E-bike style

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Back in the saddle – E-bike style

There’s an old adage that goes something like: “It’s like riding a bike,” meaning, once you learn, you never forget.

But maybe it’s been years since you’ve used your pedal power, and you’re a little hesitant to climb back in the saddle.

Park those doubts right now, and jump on board with the biggest trend in cycling these days – E-bikes.

Among the 45-plus crowd, especially, these high-tech whips are surging in popularity.

Indeed, E-bikes are becoming so popular that The Toronto International Bicycle Show, a biannual consumer exhibition running for 34 years, this year rebranded to become The Toronto Bicycle Show and E-Bike Expo. E-bike exhibitors have multiplied every year – from five in 2016 to 24 in 2019.

“Things are growing very quickly, with double digit growth year-over-year for the past several seasons,” says Pete Lilly, owner of Sweet Pete’s Bicycle Shop, a Toronto retailer with three locations. “At Sweet Pete’s in downtown Toronto, we’ve seen our year-over-year E-bike sales double the past four years.”

Major manufacturer Trek Bicycle says E-bikes are the company’s fastest growing category in terms of sales and product development.

“We are seeing consistent growth both in volume and in ways an E-bike can change someone’s life,” Taylor Cook, Canadian marketing manager for Trek, told Active Life Magazine.

The 45-plus age group is dominating E-bike growth at Sweet Pete’s. “It’s a good way to get back into cycling if someone has parked their bike for a few years,” says Lilly.

“They’re the great equalizer,” adds Cook. “If your partner is an avid cyclist and you aren’t, E-bikes allow you to ride together.”

E-bikes 101

By now, you may be wondering exactly what an E-bike is. Basically, they fall into three classifications:

  • Class 1, pedal assist, with a top assisted speed of 32 km/h
  • Class 2, pedal assist with a throttle, also running up to 32km/h
  • Class 3, pedal assist, with a top assisted speed of 45 km/h. These are currently not allowed in Canada.

Trek, for example, makes only Class 1 E-bikes.

“Our approach is that it is, first and foremost, a bicycle, amplified with electronics,” says Cook. “This means that as soon as you stop pedalling, the motor stops assisting. Thirty-two km/h is the maximum amount the motor will assist you to. However, you can ride faster than that under your own power. It also means it is a normal riding experience for people who are new to E-bikes, and you can ride the bike with the motor completely off – which is great if you run out of battery.”

The anatomy of an E-bike involves three major components

  • Motor, usually located in the crank area near the pedals
  • Display or controller, usually up on the handlebars, showing your E-bike’s settings, battery power, speed and distance
  • Battery, usually integrated into the downtube (the angled part of the frame connecting the handlebars and front forks to the pedal area); the more watt hour (Wh) in the battery, the more power at your disposal

E-bikes initially made their way into the market sort of as a fringe category, often with large, clunky models that were more of a novelty. Now, you can find E-bikes in virtually every category – mountain, hybrid, road and even cargo bikes – and most large manufacturers are along for the ride.

No matter what your interest may be – from just wanting to get back into cycling, to tackling some rough terrain, running errands without the car or getting out for long journeys – E-bikes can help make it all happen.

“From a commuting standpoint, E-bikes are great tools to get to work consistently, without dripping in sweat, and are way more fun than sitting in traffic,” says Cook. “We just launched the Domane LT+, which is our first E-road bike in Canada, and our e-MTB category continues to evolve and see consistent growth.”

Expect the E-bike market to continue to grow.

“The technology changes fast, so there is a constant flow of new products, and product lines are getting more robust,” says Cook. “We doubled our E-bike business in each of the last two years, and expect to again in 2020. In three years, the technology is only going to get smaller, more integrated, more connected and offer more possibilities for people everywhere. It’s extremely exciting.”

With an E-bike, no ride is too long, no load too heavy and no place your legs can’t carry you.

As the saying goes, “It’s just like riding a bike.”

And it really is. Only easier.

E-bike shopping essentials

Pricing: Like anything – a car, for example – you can spend as much as you want on an E-bike. You can find some around the $1,000 mark, but an inexpensive motor in a low-quality bike can mean ongoing service needs and limited options.

The lowest price E-bike Sweet Pete’s offers is about $2,000, but most of the bikes in the category in the store are in the $3,000 to $5,000 range.

“The value of E-bikes depends on perspective,” says Lilly. “Looking at it as a bicycle, it seems expensive. Looking at it as an alternative to a car, the price seems extremely low.”

Safety: Laws in Canada say the motors must stop providing assistance when the bike reaches 32 km/hr (you can easily go a lot faster than that, downhill on a regular bike). This restriction keeps the overall speed of E-bikes at a manageable level that most riders will find safe.

“The better-quality E-bikes are designed with more safety features to prevent the bikes from feeling ‘jerky’ when power is applied to the pedals,” Lilly says. “Torque sensors allow the bikes to get up to speed in a predictable way so the bike doesn’t pull away from the rider.”

Concerns over safety are lessened when dealing with a more mature customer, he adds. “A rider who respects the fact that an E-bike has the potential for more power and speed than a traditional bike is ahead of the game, and will be safe aboard an E-bike.”

Use: What do you want to do with an E-bike? There are models designed for efficient commuting, some for carrying kids or cargo, and some for just simple comfort and fun.

Different brands will use different motors and batteries, which determine performance. “What, in the end, will be the most telling is a test ride,” Lilly says. “Giant and Trek bikes ride differently, and a test ride will speak to a rider about which one is the ‘right’ one.”

Photos: Trek Canada


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Vaughan is on the move – in more ways than one

Vaughan is on the move – in more ways than one

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Vaughan is on the move – in more ways than one

Vaughan is a city on the move – quite literally, and in more ways than one. Located north of Toronto in York Region, Vaughan has long been one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada, with a population now exceeding 306,000.

Comprising the Woodbridge, Maple, Thornhill, Concord and Kleinburg communities, each with their own characteristics and enjoying their own growth, Vaughan is a hub of development and activity. Once known as the city above Toronto, it’s now “the place to be.” And with good reason.

Vaughan Metropolitan Centre

With Hwys. 400 and 407 right there, and Hwy. 7 also running through town, transportation and transit have long been important parts of Vaughan. Now they’re central to its future, with the new Vaughan Metropolitan Centre rapid transit station, the north terminus of the western section of the Toronto subway’s Line 1. It is also a major transit hub for York Region Transit and the Viva and Zum bus rapid transit services.

Economic growth is occurring in lockstep. Vaughan is now the third largest employment centre in the GTA after Toronto and Mississauga, and the largest contributor to York Region’s economy.

Manufacturing is the star economic performer here, accounting for 22 per cent of total employment, followed by construction, retail and wholesale trade, and transportation and warehousing. United Parcel Service, in fact, operates a signature shipping warehouse near Jane and Steeles.

In the near future, you can add healthcare to the mix of economic and lifestyle benefits, as the City has entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Mackenzie Health, York University and ventureLAB.

The City is leading the collaboration to transform an 82-acre parcel of land at Jane Street and Major Mackenzie Drive into the Vaughan Healthcare Centre Precinct. Vaughan, York University, Mackenzie Health and ventureLAB are to study to the best use of lands surrounding the site of the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital. The hospital is under construction and expected to be completed later this year.

The goal of the collaboration is for the Vaughan Healthcare Centre Precinct to leverage resources to bring healthcare, innovation and jobs to this growing community.

Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua
Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua

“This feasibility study is an illustration of how partnerships can be truly effective when values, principles and beliefs are perfectly aligned,” says Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua. “The new state-of-the-art Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will be a catalyst for other uses, like medical offices, labs and research space, healthcare incubators, and education and conference rooms related to healthcare. This is where thought leaders, subject matter experts and innovators will come together to advance a shared vision of healthcare innovation. This transformational collaboration will benefit the healthcare of residents of Vaughan and beyond.”

Highrise living

Vaughan is noteworthy for a lot of condominium development taking place around new transit infrastructure, though there’s also noteworthy new lowrise communities in the area. This is where buyers come for expansive single-detached homes and large lots.

And once you’ve bought a home in Vaughan, Improve Canada will help you furnish and operate it. Located in Concord and more commonly known as the Vaughan Home Improvement Centre, the complex is a unique offering of about 400 home improvement stores.

Location, location, location

Located in the Regional Municipality of York; bounded by Brampton to the west, King to the north, Markham and Richmond Hill to the east and Toronto to the south; more than 273 sq. kms; population 306,233; includes the communities of Concord, Kleinburg, Maple, Thornhill and Woodbridge.

Key landmarks

• Canada’s Wonderland

• Kortright Centre for Conservation

• McMichael Canadian Art Collection

• Reptilia Zoo

• Vaughan Home Improvement Centre

• Vaughan Metropolitan Centre

• Vaughan Mills

Select housing developments

9560 Islington by Kingsmen Group

Abeja District Condos by Cortel Group

Boutik Condos by Bremont Homes

Festival Condos by Menkes

Festival Condos by QuadReal

Hwy 7 & Jane by Gold Park Homes

Park Avenue Place by Solmar Developments

SXSW by Primont Homes


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M2M Spaces, Aoyuan Canada

COVID-19 already influencing new home and condo design – experts

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COVID-19 already influencing new home and condo design – experts

COVID-19 is challenging all kinds of things about life in Canada – including the way we live and work. Our panel of experts share their insights on the new home and condo design changes already taking place.

M2M Spaces, Aoyuan Canada
Photo: M2M Spaces, Aoyuan Canada

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Broccolini

COVID-19 has transformed our homes into our offices, classrooms, gyms, and playgrounds. Our homes need to encourage physical and mental health. To support the growing roles of our homes, flexibility in design will be key. For remote workers, we’ll need to prioritize flex spaces which offer natural light, plus acoustical and visual privacy to maintain separation between work and homelife.

Building amenities such as the coworking space offered in Broccolini’s River & Fifth and upcoming LeftBank projects can make this possible for residents with less space. For material selection, we’ll continue to prioritize durability and cleaning ease, incorporating choices such as quartz countertops and porcelain tiles in residences and amenity spaces.

Megan Collins
Design Manager, Broccolini
Toronto
broccolini.com

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Dunpar Homes

There’s no question that moving forward people will continue to work from home if they’re able to, and that decision will greatly affect how people choose to design their new homes or condominiums in this new normal. Our space will have to be very functional, livable and afford us the room we need to work. There will be great emphasis on building out multi-purpose rooms that have the ability to work smarter for us and take full advantage of square footage.

There’s great power in good design. A living room equipped with bookshelves and a console table could function as an office, whereas a guest bedroom could also have built-in desk and storage solutions to offer the same value. It’s less about dedicating a specific room as an office and instead making certain rooms offer dual functions.

Lisa Rogers
Executive Vice-President
Design
Dunpar Homes
Etobicoke, Ont.
dunparhomes.com

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Flato Developments

Flexible spaces are a great way to reconcile livability with affordability. In response to the working- from-home reality, we have started exploring the idea of co-ownership condo suites with a shared flexible zone that would allow two potential owners to share a home office space.

In multi-unit condo design where space is typically very efficient, we are looking beyond the four walls of each suite in order to find flexible and cost-effective design solutions through cost sharing. We think shared indoor and outdoor amenity areas with generous, strategically located flexible spaces designed with functionality, wellness and technology features would be very marketable. This way, a potential buyer might opt to pay more to buy into a building where there are options to work from home, but not always within the confines of the walls in his condo suite.

Eduardo Ortiz, for Flato Developments
Principal, Architecture Unfolded
Toronto
architectureunfolded.ca

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Gairloch Developments

We have been seeing the trend in work-from-home increase over the past decade. Urban professionals long to eliminate a commute to gain more time for family and personal pursuits. There is also a desire to work in a more informal environment with comfort of home conveniences. Our clients are looking for uncluttered living spaces, timeless design and large windows affording views and plenty of natural light.

We understand that a condominium amenity space is an integral part of a building. A well-designed amenity should remain flexible, be attractive to many and facilitate future ways that we will work and inhabit our homes. At our 1414 Bayview project, the flexible amenity space is realized within a series of grand rooms, including a large communal table, for formal and informal lounging and working.

Our firm believes that a well-designed living space continues outdoors. Private, open-air retreats remain a top priority for our clients, especially in these unprecedented times. Several of the upper units at 1414 Bayview have access to large private terraces which will allow for outdoor lounging, entertaining and even working, from the comforts of home.

Stephanie Vermeulen & Kelly Doyle
for Gairloch Developments
Sixteen Degree Studio
Toronto
gairloch.ca

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Georgian Communities

An open concept floorplan has generally been the defining characteristic of new home design for years. The possibility of the new norm remaining suggests that flexible private areas such as home offices, gyms and playrooms with acoustic insulation are no longer a luxury but a necessity. In lowrise homes, functional finished lower levels offer additional space at an affordable price while eliminating impact to main floor principal rooms. Extensions to the outdoors from traditional living spaces will become more valued. Enlarged windows, covered porch and patio areas, walkouts when possible all help provide a sanctuary without leaving the home.

Danielle Jaques
Interior Design Coordinator
Georgian Communities
Barrie, Ont.
georgianinternational.com

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Heathwood Homes

In the new reality of a COVID-19 world, more people will be working from their home. This isn’t necessarily new, it’s just going to become so much more prevalent now.

In most homes, the trend towards the more open concept designs over the last decade does allow for flex space on the ground floor, but that same design comes with distractions in the form of noise and other people.

The easiest solution would be to carve out some “office space” in an existing bedroom or the basement area where daytime distractions would be minimized.

Bedrooms can be modified to have a desk niche, in lieu of a closet or have a murphy bed setup that allows for lots of additional daytime space. Also, in some homes, the laundry room could be moved to the basement, and that space becomes ideal office space.

Of utmost importance is that you have your Internet connections and modems of the highest speed and quality – so that you can ensure connectivity everywhere in the house. That way you can move around the home as needed – so that morning meeting can be had with a coffee on the front porch. Good technology is key.

Bob Finnigan
Chief Operating Officer
Acquisition & Housing
Heathwood Homes
Toronto
heathwood.com

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Minto Communities

Within condos, technology must be elevated to offer keyless entry, parcel drop-off and virtual platforms which can keep residents connected. Amenities should include breakout rooms and pods that facilitate continued amenity independent use, with greater emphasis on easily disinfected surfaces. There will be value to designs that can prioritize private outdoor spaces, and offer provisions for full-time work/study for multiple people, separating work and personal life within a single space.

We must use the events of COVID-19 to think about the resilience of systems and spaces, without losing track of the importance of designing spaces that promote well-being through community and connection.

Matt Brown
Director, Product Development
Minto Communities
Toronto
minto.com

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National Homes

Remote work spaces can take many forms. In larger homes, a dedicated office can work for one or two members of a household. For smaller homes, an alcove off a hallway with pocket doors for audible separation, similar to an office cubicle, may be all that is needed.

Glass partitions can be incorporated to allow a parent to keep an eye on their little ones, while still having a noise separation. If distractions in the home are not an issue, the main living space can be used as a flex space. Built-in desks with accessible outlets, such as National’s signature “Family Centre,” can be the perfect space to work from.

Wayne Cassidy
for National Homes
Principal
Cassidy and Co. Architectural Technologists
Ajax, Ont.
cassidyco.com

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