Canderel is enjoying solid sales and construction progress with its Toronto condominiums while also expanding its third-party services despite recent challenges in the market.
“We’re big believers in the Toronto residential market, notwithstanding the headwinds that exist right now,” Canderel chief operating officer Ben Rogowski told RENX.
Rising construction costs and interest rates, increasing government obligations and fees, as well as overall slowing sales have presented challenges to developers this year. Several have paused on acquisitions or new project launches to evaluate the situation but, while being cautious, Canderel intends to move forward while attempting to introduce more creativity into its strategies to get through this period.
Canderel continues to seek new development opportunities and Rogowski said it’s in the final stages of due diligence on a midtown Toronto site.
“I think it’s just a matter of a short period of time until all the buyers realize that prices can only continue to move in one direction because costs are increasing so rapidly,” said Rogowski. “If they want to be in this market, they need to move.
“So I think we’re going to see a big rush back on the demand side coming much sooner than people anticipate.”
In the meantime, Canderel is busy with five Toronto development projects.
St. Clair Village
It launched in 2019 and just a handful of units remain. The structure has just been topped off and occupancy is expected in early spring.
The LCBO has committed to lease almost all of the 9,000 available square feet of retail space at grade.
Sales launched earlier this year for the 12-storey, TACT Architecture-designed 908 St. Clair West, which is also part of St. Clair Village.
About 80 per cent of the units were released and most have been sold. The rest of the project’s total 173 units will be released in the first half of next year.
Construction should start in mid-2023 and occupancy is expected in mid-2025.
Its 238 units are 99 per cent sold, with three-quarters of sales occurring in the first two weeks of its spring 2021 launch.
Below-grade work for two levels of underground parking is underway and cranes for above-ground work will be erected later this year.
“The beauty of these mid-rise projects is they don’t take as long as the high-rises,” said Rogowski. “Occupancy will be sometime in late 2023 or early 2024.”
Forêt, another partnership with KingSett, will have BDP Quadrangle-designed 36-, 32- and 31-storey towers at the corner of St. Clair Avenue West and Bathurst Street.
There will be approximately 1,150 units across the three buildings ranging in size from 370 to about 1,000 square feet.
“We launched a small sampling of units a couple months ago and quickly sold most of those units,” said Rogowski.
“We really used it as kind of a market sounding just to make sure we were on the right track with the product and I think the market told us quickly that we are on the right track.”
Construction is finishing on a 4,000-square-foot on-site sales centre and a wider scale launch will take place later this year.
It’s hoped that construction of all three towers will begin about a year from now, as Canderel doesn’t want to build Forêt in phases. Occupancy is anticipated in 2027.
The 31-storey building will feature what Canderel is calling the Boutique Collection, where the top one-third of the floors will be a blank slate and purchasers will be able to customize their units to best suit their desires — including acquiring an entire floor.
These units will also have their own dedicated lobby, elevators and amenity space.
545 Lake Shore Blvd. W.
Canderel had been working with City of Toronto officials for quite a while on the design elements of a proposed mixed-use development of a 1.8-acre site at 545 Lake Shore Blvd. W., just inside the western end of Queens Quay.
Approval was granted in July to move forward with 21- and 14-storey condos connected by a podium on the south side of the site where a parking lot currently exists. They’ll have approximately 420 units in total.
An existing Art Deco building on the site was given heritage status by the city and will be retained. It was formerly used for television studios and Rogers Media office space before the site was sold to Canderel in 2017.
Homes First is currently operating the building as a homeless shelter, but Canderel controls its destiny and Rogowski said it would function as office space when the condos are built.
“We could start sales in early 2023, but we want to make sure all of our ducks are in a row and that the timing is perfect,” said Rogowski.
Other Canderel markets and services
Canderel has offices in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Quebec City, and manages approximately 28 million square feet.
It has acquired, developed and managed projects worth close to $20 billion since its founding in 1975.
While Rogowski said Toronto is currently Canderel’s prime market, he noted it’s also active with residential developments in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and its home base in Montreal.
Another area where Canderel is picking up the pace is in full-service project and development management for commercial, residential and mixed-use properties across Canada.
“There is a fair amount of work that we’re doing for third parties as we’ve really extended and enhanced that side of our offerings, whether it’s working for others to bring their projects through rezoning or development services from start to finish,” said Rogowski.
Rogowski couldn’t divulge much information about those third-party projects, but said there are two substantial ones in Toronto’s downtown core and Canderel is looking to grow that side of its business even further.