Tag Archives: cityzen development group
From New Dream Homes and Condos Magazine
Cityzen Development Group gives The Esplanade an English twist. They have released their newest community, London on The Esplanade. Inspired by the residences of London, this spectacular community is a dashing new addition to Toronto’s downtown.
“London on The Esplanade is really a unique community,” says Sam Crignano, partner at Cityzen. “It really does have everything an urban buyer looks for—some really amazing high-tech capabilities, unique suite designs, beautiful architecture, and of course a superb location.”
Located on The Esplanade at Scott Street, London on The Esplanade is just steps away from the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts. The BCE Place and Air Canada Centre are within walking distance while the St. Lawrence Market is only minutes away. Great shopping is all around and a Loblaws Superstore and LCBO Vintages are close at hand on Queens Quay. In addition, the buildings themselves will feature a range of trendy shops–always a convenient resource for residents.
London on The Esplanade itself features two distinctly different but complementary buildings, rising from an elegant podium. The west tower rises 33 storeys and features a glass design reflecting the modern style of surrounding buildings in the business core. The east tower rises 16 storeys and features a more traditional glass and brick design, complementing the classic buildings of the St. Lawrence Market and St. Lawrence Hall.
The two towers both offer a wide selection of traditional suites, with unique London lofts available in the podium structure. Suites range in size from 345 to 2,000 square feet and the two-storey lofts range from 640 to 1,815 square feet.
“With two separate towers and a range of suite types, there’s plenty in the way of selection here,” says Paulo Stellato, partner at Cityzen. “We’ve really worked to create something that will set the standard for downtown Toronto—both now and in the future.”
With that in mind, Cityzen has designed London on The Esplanade to meet the high-tech concerns of an urban professional. Featuring wireless internet access throughout the building, an intranet where residents can post messages to each other and to the property management company, as well as a virtual concierge and cyber-doorman, London on The Esplanade is truly a 21st century building. Suites will also be built with state-of-the-art technology for future applications and residents will be able to access the internet in any of the building’s common areas.
And that’s not all that London on The Esplanade boasts in the way of amenities. Its unique Club London facilities feature more than 10,000 square feet of recreational space, including spa treatment rooms as well as areas for cardio, resistance, and weight training, yoga and aerobics. There are both men’s and women’s change rooms, as well as lockers, showers, and steam rooms.
Club London also features a multi-purpose party room with a pub-style bar, a large screen TV, and a catering kitchen. There is a games room with two billiards tables, a fireplace, and a large banquet table. There is a London cinema with theatre-style seating, a multimedia room, a fireside lounge with fabulous views of the city skyline, a reading lounge for relaxing, and a guest suite for overnight visitors.
On the roof of the podium, there is a spectacular pool with a sun deck, a lushly landscaped urban courtyard, and a four-season outdoor whirlpool.
The suites themselves are just as loaded. Each loft and flat includes granite kitchen countertops, six stainless steel appliances, marble showers and floors in the bathrooms, and engineered wood floors. Standard suites all include a balcony and offer 9-foot ceiling heights, while the two-storey lofts also have soaring ceiling heights of up to 20 feet.
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Get out of the traffic and into an easy-living, luxurious downtown condo
Canwest News Service
When the pace of life gets too hectic, some people head for the hills — but not Frank and Lori. This fortysomething couple will soon be shipping out of the picturesque village of Kleinburg and diving straight into the bustle and confusion of downtown Toronto.
For Frank and Lori (who asked that their last name not be used), the move makes perfect sense. He is a partner at an insurance and estate practice near York University, while she teaches school in Mississauga. They bought their current home — a 2,500-square-foot bungalow across from the celebrated McMichael Art Gallery — about 16 years ago. They like it just fine but admit they are rarely there. Instead, they spend an excessive amount of time in their cars, either commuting to work or scurrying downtown to take in their favourite restaurants, films or operas.
“Between business and pleasure, we drive into the city about three to five times a week,” Frank says. “We wanted a lifestyle change, and thought we should get out of our cars and into an area where we could walk to the action. So we started to search for something that could provide us our last move; a spot that would give us all the luxuries but in a setting that didn’t feel like a condo complex.”
Last year, they finally found their dream condo — a spacious 1,600-sq.-ft. unit at 77 Charles, Aspen Ridge Homes’s 15-storey, 47-unit project currently under construction in Yorkville. So much about it is right, says Frank, from the quaintness of the building to the proximity to the University of Toronto, his alma mater, and the many interesting areas to walk their cocker spaniel, Dixie.
There are an abundance of Franks and Loris waiting to put down elegant doormats at a luxury high-rise. Many have put last year’s monetary concerns behind them and are once again putting down hefty deposits in anticipation of their next big, luxurious move.
OK, it hasn’t all been rosy. Last year was a roller coaster ride for real estate, the gloom coinciding with the economy’s demise. “It was definitely challenging — for everyone,” says Howard Tikka, director of marketing, Trump International Hotel & Tower. “We continue to make sales, but at a much slower pace than we have been accustomed to. While the Canadian economy has fared better than most, even those with the capital to make luxury purchases and investments in luxury real estate have scaled back a bit as well,” he says.
“From November ’08 to a couple of weeks into February, we would have weeks where nobody — not even a single soul — would come into the sales office, so that was pretty scary,” recalls Sam Crignano, president of Cityzen Development Group. “You had traffic in the order of 45 to 70 [visitors] a week down to nothing. Some support staff had to get cut. … We were preparing for the worst, and thank God it didn’t happen.”
The market eventually rebounded in spring 2009 and sales offices in the Greater Toronto Area started to see some action from both local and foreign buyers. Within weeks, sales were back on track and developers started feeling relief. In fact, last October Mr. Crignano began construction on three new luxury buildings that are selling fast: Pier 27, comprising 700 units in two towers at the foot of Yonge Street, priced up to $4.6-million; 58-floor L Tower a few blocks north, priced up to $2.6-million; and Oakville’s The Shores, 202 suites and nine town-homes priced to $2.6-million.
“Once people took a look around and realized the Canadian economy and our housing climate were very different from what was happening in the States, when they saw our market was very stable and had solid underpinnings, they were able to get comfortable with making purchasing decisions again and looking at properties and what their options were,” says Mimi Ng, vice-president of marketing for Menkes Development, one of three partners building the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences in Yorkville.
Boosting the buying frenzy are cranes and construction workers visibly busy behind the hoarding. Many luxury buildings and major hotel brands, such as Trump, Shangri-La and Four Seasons, used 2009 to tout their residences and have now broken ground, with The Ritz-Carlton already topped off and ready for its first occupants by summer.
“A lot of people are scrambling to get new products on the shelf for the early part of 2010 while the world is cautiously optimistic, and people will continue to buy,” predicts Mark Cohen, senior vice-president at The Condo Store Marketing Systems. “As long as borrowing rates remain low, prices remain competitive and the general economy seems to be healthy from a rebound standpoint, people will continue to buy new homes and condos. There’s a guarded sense of optimism for a very good 2010.”
One curiosity that has come to light since the recent boom is that local buyers are outpacing those from overseas. Christene De Gasparis, Aspen Ridge Homes’s marketing director, says many own properties in New York and Muskoka and are selling their large Toronto home for a smaller but equally luxurious pied-a-terre. Robbyn Hayden, sales manager for Living Shangri-La, is delighted by the local interest because “you don’t want to be in an investor-only building.”
Despite the bounce-back, luxury high-rise players are hopeful about 2010. Ben Myers, executive vice-president of Urbanation, says few projects launched in 2009 due to the economy, leaving plenty of inventory left to sell, and he does not expect many new projects to come to the market until the current units are sold. Mr. Myers says the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which kicks in this July, will not make a big impact on luxury buyers “because they are already spending a lot of money in this market.”
Julie Di Lorenzo, co-president of Diamante Development Corp. that is building The Florian, a 21-storey, 90-unit building in Upper Yorkville, says prices will certainly rise due to the dearth of units.
“There aren’t a lot of luxury two,-three-and four-bedroom units out there, period,” she says. “They simply have not been built. Inventory of high-end condos is not available. Yet there are still many, many couples who will be downsizing. That demographic is just starting to influence luxury sales. The first Baby Boomers are just hitting 65 and thinking about their luxury home without stairs to climb and eavestroughs to clean. And now many young families have substantial recreation properties and they prefer [to have] the home in the country and the condo in the city for lifestyle.”
Kind of like Frank and Lori. They may not own a cottage, but they want the lifestyle that goes with luxury high-rise living. Judging by the reactions of their family and long-time neighbours, they will have plenty of company at their new pad.
“One word: envy,” laughs Frank as he describes the reaction when he started telling people of the downtown move. “We’ll have a lot more friends and family coming to visit. We’ll be the cool aunt and uncle — and we’ll get to enjoy all the fun and frolic of Yorkville.”
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A collection of waterfront condos makes living in the city that much nicer
Lisa Van de Ven, National Post
Bordering the waterfront of the Don River, the West Don Lands in east Toronto has had its share of uses: About 180 years ago it was a park, while it’s also been dedicated to housing and industry. In recent years, though, it’s just been old brownfield land, contaminated and lying fallow. It was hardly living up to its potential, or glamourizing the environs, which is why Waterfront Toronto — the entity in charge of revitalizing the waterfront all along the city’s edge — made developing it a priority. Today, there are almost 6,000 new residences planned for the West Don Lands, an 80-acre site, including rental and condominium buildings, as well as parks, schools and other amenities.
The first phase, River City, is a five-tower condominium community by Urban Capital. The first building won’t launch until the fall, but excitement over the project is palpable. Units at River City is expected to start at approximately 400 square feet and $179,900.
Buyers will get the chance to be part of history, explains David Wex, partner with Urban Capital: “The residential component of Waterfront is starting here,” he says. “This is the first phase of Toronto’s 25-year plan, so [buyers] are getting in on the ground floor — that’s really big.”
This is just the latest condominium that will be making its mark on Toronto’s waterfront. Condo buildings have been rising along the water’s edge over the past several years, with sites in various stages of development from the West Don Lands to Oakville. These buildings are changing the city’s landscape, while offering a different perspective on urban living.
“People downtown often feel congested because there’s so many apartments and everything’s closed up,” says Ralph Del Duca, vice-president of marketing with Chestnut Hill Homes. Most people prefer a pristine view from their window, rather than a clog of buildings, he says.
Mr. Del Duca is preparing to release a waterfront site, in an area that’s undergoing a facelift of its own: Park Lawn Road and Lake Shore. The 34-storey as-yet-unnamed building will feature 289 units, 90% of which will face the water; it will be released in spring/summer 2010.
What Mr. Del Duca expects at the new site is what other waterfront developers further into their projects have already noticed: a more outdoorsy, active buyer than those purchasing downtown. They’re buyers who not only like gazing out over open water, but enjoy waterfront amenities, including the trails and parks that line Lake Ontario.
“[These buyers] really like the idea of the outdoors,” says Nestor Repetski, senior partner at Winick Realty Corp., which represents Plazacorp/Berkley’s West Harbour City site at Fleet Street and Bathurst.
Currently in its second phase, with the first under construction and starting occupancies later this year, West Harbour City has suites ranging from 567 to 1,395 sq. ft. and from $259,900 to almost $1-million. Both Coronation Park and the Martin Goodman Trail are nearby, offering opportunity for those who like strapping on their cycling cleats: “If you’ve got a bike, you can literally bike from there out to the far reaches of Mississauga,” Mr. Repetski says.
Or, if you prefer, you can jog along the trails instead. Danny Salvatore, president of Fernbrook Homes, has two waterfront sites — Pier 27, at Queen’s Quay and Yonge, and The Shores in Oakville — with partner Cityzen Development Group (units at Pier 27 range from 890 to 4,466 sq. ft. and from $582,000 to $4.466-million, while at The Shores units range from 606 to 2,600 sq. ft. and from $325,900 to $1.513-million).
Mr. Salvatore says many of the buyers he’s chatted with at both sites plan to do their share of jogging. With the Bronte Outer Harbour Marina close by at The Shores, there’s also several boaters among them. “The marina’s right across [from The Shores],” Mr. Salvatore says. “The marina also has restaurants, then there’s the pier itself and the boardwalk.”
If it sounds like some dreamy waterside resort, that’s exactly how some developers describe it. Jason Shiff, executive sales manager at South Beach Condos + Lofts, a project by Amexon Development Corp., says many of his buyers are attracted to that resort-style feel. Suites at South Beach, located at Park Lawn and Lake Shore, range from 454 to 1,960 sq. ft. and from $188,000 to under $1-million. He’s enticing a range of buyers, many of whom appreciate the site’s amenities, its retail offerings, and the nearby parkland. “We’re in the action, but we’re secluded,” Mr. Shiff says. “We get a lot of young professionals who work downtown and they buy here, because they get the seclusion here.”
Finally, The Pemberton Group has two waterfront projects: Park Lake at Ellis Avenue and Lake Shore, and Ashford Terrace in Oakville. Suites at Park Lake range from 615 to 1,145 sq. ft. and from $240,900 to $440,900, while units at Ashford Terrace range from 830 to 2,950 sq. ft. and from $339,000 to $1.8-million.
At Ashford Terrace, Sylvia Valente, sales representative with Circle M Realty, broker of record for the project, says the waterfront is a “huge selling point.” Waterfront buyers, she adds, are looking for a lifestyle more than anything.
“It’s a very serene setting,” she says. “It’s minutes to all the amenities, but it feels like a resort property.”
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