Tag Archives: North York Condos
Pat Brennan – Toronto Star
It was a gamble to erect the Procter & Gamble Tower.
Nearly 30 years ago, North York’s city centre wasn’t the vibrant, happening place it is today, but Murray Menkes decided to go ahead and build the first commercial highrise tower on Yonge Street North — without a lead tenant.
Menkes had four good reasons to take the gamble.
First, he had a vision he shared with then North York mayor Mel Lastman, that Yonge between Sheppard Ave. and Finch Ave. could become an exciting core for a city of half a million souls that had no soul. Plus, he had the cushion of three ambitious sons who wouldn’t let him starve if it didn’t work out.
But it did work out. Menkes had the 15-storey tower well underway when P&G decided to move from downtown Toronto to the GTA’s geographic heart at Yonge and Sheppard. The P&G Tower became the first new highrise in an urban core where Menkes and his three sons would eventually build more than 1.5 million square feet of commercial, retail and entertainment space, plus 7,000 highrise homes in 20 buildings.
Although the family’s name is an integral part of North York’s City Centre, it can also be found throughout the GTA on some of the area’s most impressive residential and commercial towers — plus on hundreds of single-family homes.
And the Menkes name is about to reach new heights in Toronto’s housing history.
The $28 million penthouse will occupy 9,038 square feet on the top of the 55-storey Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences on the northeast corner of Bay St. and Yorkville Ave. A consortium from Page + Steele IBI Architects and architectsAlliance designed the immense project.
The penthouse includes a separate 1,000-square-foot suite in the 26-storey east tower of the project to house the owner’s staff.
In a Toronto Star interview, Menkes said the new owner is a resident of Germany, but plans to move here and live in Toronto. “He loves our city,” Menkes says of the unnamed purchaser. “He’s not buying at Four Seasons as a vacation spot. The penthouse will be his principal residence.”
He’ll have 12-foot ceilings, balconies facing in four different directions and floor-to-ceiling walls of glass. He should easily see Menkes’ two latest condo projects — Pears on the Avenue, at the corner of Avenue Rd. and Pears Rd., and Fabrik, a 16-storey condo proposed for the fashion district at Richmond St. and Spadina Ave.
And on a clear day, he can watch more Menkes condo highrises being added to the North York’s City Centre skyline with construction underway on another tower at Gibson Square and Savvy Condos at Yonge and Sheppard, where Murray Menkes and his boys first reached to the sky.
The Four Seasons penthouse sold for $3,100 a square foot; the first highrise condos Menkes sold in North York went for $175 a square foot. Today, those same units are selling on the resale market at $650 a square foot.
Alan Menkes has taken his penthouse purchaser up to the top floor of the Four Seasons Tower to give him a taste of the view he’ll wake up to after moving in later this year. His father, Murray, couldn’t do the same with his first penthouse occupant.
Lastman and Menkes rode a construction elevator to the top of the Proctor & Gamble building for the traditional topping off ceremony in 1986, while P&G president Robert Kendall waited on the ground.
Kendall told this writer that he wasn’t going up to his penthouse office “until it has four solid walls and there’s an elevator up the middle of the building. Heights and I just don’t agree when it comes to standing on an open roof.”
Ironically, Kendall had been a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force and was one of the first RAF pilots to fly a jet fighter when they replaced the Spitfires.
Alan Menkes says he sees no letup to Toronto’s hot condo market. “We are seeing 100,000 new immigrants a year moving to Toronto and home ownership is a very high priority with them. Urban sprawl is not the answer, so we’ll need more and more highrise condo homes.
“Low interest rates and job creation are also important to keep Toronto’s housing market strong,” says Menkes.
Murray Menkes and his offspring are not only proficient at producing highrise condos; they’re proficient, too, at producing more Menkes. Two of Murray’s grandsons now hold executive positions at Menkes Developments Ltd. — Jared, 30, is Alan’s son and works with him creating highrise condos, and Steve’s son, Jason, works in the commercial wing of the family firm.
“But we have more young Menkes than we have leadership positions at the firm. They’ll all be owners, but some won’t work in the firm,” says Menkes.
He’s going to go see the movie The Descendants to see how George Clooney’s character handled that same situation.
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.
Incoming search terms
Proposal for residential development to pay for park
Anna Mehler Paperny – Globe and Mail
In 1943, it was the centre of Toronto’s Second World War aviation effort.
In 1994, the federal government announced its future as a massive national park.
Next week, the Downsview plan goes before North York community council when councillors vote on the latest iteration of the city’s proposals for the area, which make provision not only for 100 hectares of parkland, but for thousands of units of mixed-use residential development intended to pay for it.
If the vote passes and sends the proposed Downsview Secondary Plan to city council, it will set in motion plans 16 years in the making.
But Michael Baigel would really rather it didn’t.
“It’s a dreadful plan,” he said. “It was meant to be a national park … a real gem in the city.”
But plans for the Parc Downsview Park rely on turning much of the site – running from Keele Street in the west to Wilson Heights in the east and as far north as Sheppard Avenue – into intensified residential developments in order to raise money for the park itself, which is meant to be self-funding.
“They want to make it like downtown,” Mr. Baigel laments – something he moved to Toronto from Manchester, England, specifically to avoid.
“The reason people live in the suburbs is because they want to live in the suburbs. They don’t want to live in condos.”
Plans for the site have ruffled more than a few residential feathers in the various neighbourhoods bordering the park. But one of the most offensive is the proposal to remove ramps on and off Allen Road from Wilson Heights Boulevard.
The plan to foster “transit-supported mixed-use communities” includes 400,000 square metres of mixed-use development and a transportation plan that emphasizes transit use and provides for an internal pedestrian and bicycle network.
But residents argue this would add to already clogged traffic and force commuting motorists into residential areas.
Local councillor Mike Feldman is putting forward an amendment at the June 22 meeting asking city staff to shelve plans to remove the ramps, at least until residential development transforms the area enough for different traffic systems to make sense.
Apart from that detail, he said, the secondary plan is “a nice first step” for a project that, like a growing number of public initiatives across the city, will attempt to pay for itself by leveraging the real estate value of the land on which it sits.
But Mr. Baigel would rather see the plan scrapped altogether. He fears Torontonians “will never get that greenery back again.”
“They’ll make one area residential and then a few years later another bit will get developed. Eventually it’ll all disappear. Over 50 years, we’re going to lose that park in the centre of Toronto. … It’s going to be chipped away at.”