Tag Archives: annex
Lisa Van de Ven – National Post
Whether you’re in the market for a big-name amenity-rich condo-hotel, or an intimate boutique building with all of the finest features, Toronto’s luxury developers have something for sale. Here’s what’s on offer in the Greater Toronto Area’s luxury condominium market.
The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto
Delayed gratification isn’t your thing? Then The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto may be. With the condo-hotel built and occupied, and the amenities up and functioning, there’s not much you’ll have to wait for. “Anyone walking in to buy today gets the full ambience of luxury,” says Barbara Lawlor. And the building by Graywood Developments, Cadillac Fairview and Ritz-Carlton comes with all of the fixings you’d expect from a five-star hotel: There’s 24-hour concierge service, a doorman, valet parking and a spa, to name a few. “Residents can enjoy The Ritz’s legendary service in their home,” says the president of Baker Real Estate, the site’s exclusive broker. Remaining suites range from 1,512 to 6,020 square feet and from $2.1-million to $9.65-million.
If a building’s success starts with its location, One Bloor went in with winning odds. In Toronto, it’s hard to get better than the junction of Yonge and Bloor streets, on two subway lines, close to shopping and a jaunt from Yorkville. Developer Great Gulf created a building worthy of the site. The 75-storey Hariri Pontarini-designed glass-clad tower is now under construction. “It’s beautifully curvaceous,” says Alan Vihant, Great Gulf’s senior vice-president of high-rise. “It has these great lines, great curves, a very sensuous form.” Remaining suites range from 530 to 1,727 square feet and from $534,990 to $1,831,990.
Bisha Hotel & Residences
What exactly is “affordable luxury?” For one, it’s what Lifetime Developments and INK Entertainment were striving for at Bisha Hotel & Residences. And according to Mel Pearl, that meant smaller units and more emphasis on the lifestyle outside the suites’ walls. “We wanted people to be engaged in living beyond their condo,” says the Lifetime principal. “A great place is when the bar and the restaurant is busy.” And the condo-hotel will have a lot of public amenities to keep crowded, including a 24-hour café, a bar and lounge, a casual dining restaurant and a rooftop restaurant. Suites range from 379 to 699 square feet and from $303,900 to $532,900.
Living Shangri-La Toronto
Living Shangri-La may not have the same brand recognition in Canada as it has in Asia, but the Toronto location at University and Adelaide has certainly seen its share of success. The 66-storey condo-hotel is now 85% sold out, with occupancy underway. Buyers have come from around the world. “There’s no specific buyer group – we’ve had all types of people,” says Michael Braun, marketing manager for Westbank Corp., which developed the site with Peterson Group. “There are single people and older couples, as well some who bought a suite for their kids or someone in their family attending university in Toronto.” Suites range from 891 to 4,431 square feet and from $993,600 to $9,322,500.
133 Hazelton Residences
“It’s not really downsizing,” says Sam Mizrahi of the lifestyle he’s offering in the boutique project 133 Hazelton Residences. While many of the site’s buyers are coming from low-rise homes, they’re moving into suites that are nearly 3,000 square feet. “They’re looking at this as the next chapter in their life,” says the president and CEO of Mizrahi Developments. With only 35 units in total, the building, which started construction in July, promises an intimate environment and prime location – in fact, its Yorkville address is a big part of its draw. Remaining suites range from 1,600 to 2,400 square feet and from $1.8-million to $3.2-million.
Bigger is not necessarily better. With just 45 units, The Perry may not have the heft of some of Toronto’s other luxury sites, but that’s exactly the point. “We’re truly designing a boutique building in terms of scale,” says Maryam Mansouri. Buyers at the intimate project will still be knee-deep in luxury, though, with a one-year membership to the concierge service Quintessentially in addition to the 24-hour onsite concierge, and a prime Avenue and Davenport location. “It has the essence of peace and tranquility, being in the Annex, yet it’s steps from Ramsden Park, Yorkville, Bloor and top-notch restaurants and shopping,” says the vice-president of site developer Mansouri Living. Suites range from 540 to 1,458 square feet and from $344,990 to more than $3-million.
Trump International Hotel & Tower, Toronto
An international brand doesn’t always mean international buyers, but for the Trump International Hotel & Tower, Toronto that’s exactly the case. About 60% of the condominium-hotel’s buyers are from outside of Canada, which still leaves enough Canadian residents to stock up on maple syrup. And with the building well into construction, those purchasers will be able to start moving in later this year, enjoying services such as onsite catering and the use of two chauffeured S-class Mercedes. “The hotel below and the five-star services are great attributes for residents and really add to their lifestyle of convenience,” says the site’s director of marketing, Howard Tikka. Remaining suites range from 1,310 to 3,273 square feet and from $2.3-million to $6.6-million.
Four Seasons Private Residences Toronto
Think of “luxury” and “Toronto” and there are a few condominium projects that immediately come to mind. For most, the Four Seasons Private Residences Toronto is on the top of that list. The condominium-hotel, first announced in July 2005, is now coming to completion. The hotel itself opens Oct. 5, while condo occupancy has been underway since September. “I know some of the other mixed-use condos have attracted more of an international buyer, but for us it’s been predominantly Canadian – a lot of Torontonians,” says Mimi Ng, vice-president of marketing with Menkes Developments, partner on the project with Lifetime Developments and Alcion Ventures. Remaining suites range from 1,200 to 2,000 square feet and from $1.8-million to $2.7-million.
77 Charles West
Why did developer Aspen Ridge Homes ask architect Yann Weymouth – one of the brains behind the iconic glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris – to design its luxury building, 77 Charles West? “We wanted out-of-the-box thinking, and something really prominent,” explains marketing director Christene DeGasperis. The gamble paid off. With construction underway, fewer than 10 suites are left of the 52 total. And when occupancies start early next year, buyers will be able to add some design flair to their suite interiors, too. “We’re offering the services of Mike Niven Interior Design to help customize each suite,” Ms. DeGasperis says. Units start from approximately 1,500 square feet and $1,599,990.
What was once the Sutton Place Hotel will now be The Britt, a condominium building that’s the newest project by Lanterra Developments. “It’s a project that has a lot of history to it,” says president and CEO Barry Fenton. “When you mention Sutton Place, I bet nine out of 10 people have been through or driven by, so the location is superb.” The former hotspot is being revitalized and expanded, then restyled by Alessandro Munge of Munge Leung, with inspiration straight from Britain’s boutique hotels. Suites range from 334 to 1,300 square feet and from the $300,000s to $1.2-million.
Toronto’s condo market may be trending towards smaller suites, but Burnac Enterprises never got that memo: Units at Burnac’s 277 Davenport range from large to extra-large. And with just 10 of them spread over seven storeys, you can’t expect to stay a stranger long in this compact condo. “You’re going to know your neighbours,” says president Ted Burnett. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, the building, just west of Avenue Road, is a contemporary mix of glass, stone and bronze. “It’s a unique New York-style building,” he says. Suites range from 1,750 to over 3,600 square feet and from $1,679,000 to $3,395,000.
Can Mizrahi Developments hit the jackpot twice? They’re betting on it, with the recent release of 181 Davenport, a condominium building adjacent to their 133 Hazelton Residences project. “That block really commanded another building that was complementary to 133 Hazelton,” says president and CEO Sam Mizrahi. With 90 units, the new endeavour is slightly larger than the developer’s first luxury-living foray; buyers can also combine and customize suites. “It’s a European-style building, and offers a similar lifestyle as 133,” the developer adds. Suites range from just under 1,000 to 7,000 square feet and from $500,000 to $7-million.
Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information – 416-388-1960
Laurin & Natalie Jeffrey are Toronto Realtors with Century 21 Regal Realty.
They did not write these articles, they just reproduce them here for people
who are interested in Toronto real estate. They do not work for any builders.
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by Laryssa Stolarskyj
Are you caught in a quandary choosing the ideal condo because you’re enthralled by historic buildings but aspire to owning new? Two Toronto-based developments – The Benvenuto and Madison Avenue Lofts - combine the finest in historic and modern.
Mitchell Abrahams, president of Malen Capital, said the renovation of The Benvenuto at St. Clair and Avenue Road made for an ideal conversion project. The heritage-protected building was originally constructed in the 1950s as luxury apartments. The generous suite sizes, convenient location, views, and amenities made it “the perfect candidate to be renovated; it has the cachet of being the best luxury address in town,” says Abrahams.
The Benvenuto is an important site historically. The original Benvenuto mansion dates back over 150 years, when the builder of the Annex, Simeon James, constructed it to overlook his sprawling new neighbourhood. Its ravine marked the shore of Lake Iroquois (now Lake Ontario), and William Lyon Mackenzie lived in it before it was demolished in the 1950s. Peter Dickinson, architect of the current building, brought an innovative clean-line approach to the city and “left a mark on Toronto in terms of modernist architecture,” says Abrahams, with features such as balconies and banded windows that let in more light than standard windows.
The Benvenuto was built with no structural walls, only columns, so Malen was free to move walls around to create seamless suites. The ability to add big, modern bathrooms and closets gives residents “the best of heritage architecture and space planning to make sure that each suite in the building is redesigned with the best layout,” explains Abrahams.
Tony Barry, vice-president of development, explains that Burnac wasn’t looking to renovate an existing structure. But when the building – which also had the advantage of a superb location – came on the market, Barry was convinced that the company had to acquire it. He says when he first walked into it, he felt its atmosphere was akin to that of an ancient European cathedral. “It was a magnificent structure and we were able to retain that structure.”
Barry explains that although it would have likely cost less to demolish the building and start anew, there were particular features, for instance the high ceilings (which are 12 to 14 feet), that warranted modernizing it into livable, useable space. He notes, “the building is solid, lending itself to a loft product. It was crying out to be renovated; it’s unique.” Barry additionally cites the columns as another feature that adds substance, allowing Burnac to offer a one-of-a-kind condominium.
The process of conversion, however, is significantly more difficult than building new. Malen redeveloped throughout existing occupancy, so details were planned with tremendous coordination to ensure that residents were impacted as little as possible. Abrahams says this meticulousness is worthwhile “only in a building that merits the effort.”
Barry explains that there are more unknowns with a 50-year-old building than with a brand new one, including the major obstacle of not being able to get to know it until actually being in it. Adding parking is another hurdle for Burnac. The original building had no underground parking and adding a new garage beneath the existing structure would be too expensive, if not impossible. Fortunately, the area adjacent to the building can accommodate underground parking, and the top of the garage will host a landscaped courtyard and new wing. Other obstacles that will increase time and cost factors include removing the cladding to add soaring windows that will let in lots of light, creating a new art deco-inspired exterior, and working slowly to preserve the mature trees that border the site.
But the advantages are numerous. Conversions protect buildings with architectural heritage, of which there are few in Toronto. And residents can live in a place with history and enjoy top-quality location and views that simply wouldn’t exist in a new construction in a midtown neighbourhood.
Although conversions offer distinctive features and advantages that new buildings lack, they’re not likely to become the norm. Legislation makes conversions difficult, so only top buildings and locations even make the short list. But Abrahams says it provides an opportunity to reposition luxury buildings and give them “new life in a loft with fantastic locations that are irreplaceable.” Barry concurs, noting “there are fewer and fewer buildings that lend themselves to it in the right locations, but where opportunities present themselves, we’ll carry on taking them.”
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If you had purchased a Toronto area home at the beginning of the year, what neighbourhood would have given you the best return on your investment? While prices for detached houses rose on average 5% in the first half of the year, some neighbourhoods have seen a much more significant appreciation. In contrast to the trend of higher returns in downtown Toronto, the best returns this year are in neighbourhoods outside the core.
“Downtown isn’t the centre of the universe any longer,” said Christine Martysiewicz. “Prices are such that people are now looking at points east, west and north to get more home and lot size for the dollar.”
Last year about half of detached homes reporting double-digit price increases were in downtown Toronto. This year increases are more evenly spread across the 63 districts surveyed.
One big reason is that the average price for a detached home downtown has hit a daunting $830,000.
Homeowners are now looking at areas such as the Scarborough Bluffs. The Bluffs is the top-performing area for the first half of the year, with prices for a detached home climbing 21.2% to $360,175. In second place was the nearby Beaches with values up 19.6% to $622,042.
The survey comes on the heels of a report yesterday by the Canadian Real Estate Association that shows the first half of the year with a record amount of activity in sales of existing homes.
A new annual record is expected to be set this year with 186,177 units sold in the first six months, up 3.6% from 2005, already a record year. With higher interest rates putting a crimp on affordability, the association expects sales to be about 1% more than 2005 by year end.
Toronto, which has a more mature housing market, saw activity increase by a more moderate 2.5% during the first half. More listings in the Toronto real estate market should give some relief to buyers who can expect a more temperate market with more modest price increases.
That’s certainly the case in Toronto, where the Swansea, South Parkdale and Roncesvalles communities saw prices appreciate by 19.25% to $640,132. The Bayview Village area, with large lot sizes and available bungalows, saw a jump of 17.7% to $602,211. The Lawrence Park area, popular with the financial community who want a family-friendly neighbourhood close to Bay St., saw a jump of 17.6% to a prohibitive $1,132,410 for the average detached home.With detached homes becoming less affordable, buyers have increasingly turned to Toronto condos in order to get a foothold in choice locations.
The top return for the first half of the year for condominiums is in the Yorkville-Annex area where condos have climbed 16%. The average price in this area is now a substantial $516,729 – the highest average price for a condo in the city.
In second place is the more affordably priced west end of Humber Summit, which saw prices increase by 14% to $173,238. Lawrence Park again made the top five with a 10.6% increase to $327,525.
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