The home may be nice, but really it comes down to the pooch-friendly factor
A view is nice. Square footage certainly counts. But whether they’re looking 30 storeys above Bay Street, or for a leafy commuter bungalow, buyers want more than just the basics. Here are some of the hottest amenities on offer across the GTA.
Toronto’s Line 5 condos, in the Yonge and Eglinton area, are named for the light rail transit system under construction. But that’s not the only transportation advantage for future residents. The new development from Reserve Properties will incorporate an Uber pick-up lane in the courtyard. And for owners who don’t want to go outside at all, there will be hot and cold storage for food deliveries as well as fitness studios with computerized floors, lighting and walls suitable for virtual training sessions — a bike ride through virtual mountains, say, or an on-demand exercise class.
Technology is also central to the Notting Hill townhomes in Cambridge, by Gable View Homes, a Burlington-based developer. Their new two-, three- and four-bedroom builds will include Think Nest thermostats, which residents can operate using their phones or tablets to suit their temperature preferences and schedules. The homes are also equipped with Amazon Echo Show, a voice-activated system that can turn on lights, check security cameras and operate sprinklers.
And at Tridel’s “smart condominium” at Ten York, residents won’t even need keys. Units are accessed via digital door locks, common areas are controlled by a smartphone app and the garage recognizes residents’ license plates. Naturally, future owners can also keep watch on how the building is going via a construction cam, which updates images of the site every 30 minutes.
With James Gardens and Humber Valley Park nearby, the condos at 293 The Kingsway already have obvious appeal for dog owners. But the new development from Malen Capital and The Benvenuto Group, which is currently registering units from $484,900 to $1.3 million, has gone one step further for Fido: It includes an on-site pet “spa,” a wash basin with a hand-held shower suitable for dogs of all sizes.
Of course, 293 The Kingsway has plenty of amenities for people too. There’s a game and billiards room, a rooftop barbecue terrace with a large-screen TV and fireplace, and a 3,500-square-foot fitness centre. But with 230,000 dogs in Toronto — and about three to five dogs per building floor, according to city planners — four-legged residents are increasingly an essential part of developers’ plans.
The Upper House Condos in Leaside, completed last spring, not only has a dog washing facility but features a hydraulic clipping table and adjustable blow dryer. DavPart’s new development in North York, The Avro, has a dog run on the property as well as a dog washing station. And The Livmore, a luxury rental development at Bay Street and Gerrard has an outdoor dog run on the fifth floor, complete with fake fire hydrant.
Not every development is dog-friendly. In the last year, residents at one Etobicoke property were told they could only have dogs small enough to be carried through the lobby. Another building in Toronto’s downtown core posted a notice they would be charging residents $15 per dog to cover the additional building maintenance that can arise from pets. Outrage followed, however, and lawyers interviewed by the press said such rules are not enforceable.
A family of four in less than 800 square feet? No problem at condo developments like Tridel’s Evermore at West Village.
The 28-storey condo just north of Bloor Street at the West Mall, will include both an outdoor terrace and an indoor kids play area decorated with cubbyholes, hexagonal shapes and primary colours. There will also be a youth hub with high-speed internet and a mix of recreation and study spaces. And for those aspiring rock stars (are moms and dads welcome too?) there will be a music room with studio equipment.
Access to good schools and parks has long been a real estate selling point. But as it gets increasingly expensive for young families to afford detached homes in Toronto, many are staying in condos longer or looking for permanent high-rise living spaces. About 13 per cent of the city’s families now live in condos, according to the 2016 census — up 8.9 per cent from 2011.
While kid-friendly amenities are a bonus (CityPlace’s Navy Wharf, at Spadina and Lakeshore, has a basketball court) developers are also catering to growing families with bigger units. At Lakeside Condos, a development from the Greenland Group at Lakeshore Blvd. East and Lower Sherbourne, there are not only two-bedrooms but suites with two bedrooms plus a den and three bedrooms. Set for occupancy in 2021, the building is part of a master-planned waterfront community near Sugar Beach, the Cherry Street YMCA and Young People’s Theatre.