Aqualina at Bayside Toronto massive development by Tridel, Hines

Another condo development slated for Toronto’s downtown core hardly causes a news ripple these days. However a mixed-used development unveiled last week by Tridel Corporation and its partner Hines has moved the needle in terms of scale, ambition and location.
Their new development, dubbed Aqualina at Bayside Toronto, is a massive undertaking that will take a full decade to build out once it gets going.
The $1.1-billion development on 13 acres of prime harbourfront real estate will comprise two million square feet of residential, commercial and retail space.
It is quickly apparent that the joint development is not another Gardiner Expressway-hugging condo build. Because it will sit literally right on the water, the Aqualina project had to go through years of planning and approval processes as part of the Waterfront Toronto revitalization.
“There has been years of planning and design in terms of the overall waterfront exposure,” said Jim Ritchie, senior vice-president of Sales and Marketing with Tridel. “Even our community alone, which takes up 13 acres of that land, was subject to some design criteria.”
Not late to the party
Ritchie does not believe Aqualina is coming on too late in the condo cycle which has seen condo towers sprouting up for years in the downtown and across the GTA.
“We know about supply issues and we understand them but we also understand how the city is going to address their increasing population, not only for the next year, but five years, 10 years, 20 years out.”
The former warehouse space at the foot of the city represents “one of the last subdivisions in the city. We are going through a subdivision plan for this parcel, but clearly it will be a higher form of density living.”
Developers have little choice but to go up, the Tridel executive noted.
“If you are going to develop any new form of housing for the city of Toronto, it has to be in some form of higher density because all the developable lands . . . they are gone.”

Master plan approach
Designed by architecture firm Arquitectonica, the project will feature a 13-storey, 363-suite condominium to be built by Tridel and two office towers that will be owned and operated by its real estate partner, Hines.
The master plan means that buyers will know the future mix of residential, office, retail and cultural aspects of the development. Of the two million square feet of space planned for the site, 150,000 will be comprised of retail and 400,000 of office in two office buildings that will run along Queens Quay.
The development should stand out even in the increasingly crowded cityscape. Aqualina will be defined by “a series of distinctive prismatic cubes made of glass and steel, featuring facades accented by angled fenestration” and balconies designed to give the best possible views of the city and lake.
For Ritchie, though, location should prove to be the biggest selling point.
“It is another condominium. But what makes it unique from our perspective is that it is one on the water, it is the only master planned community in the city on the water.”
Those views of the downtown and the lake should make the sales process easier, added Ritchie, given its experience with its new 10 York condo development.
“It sold extremely quickly and it really was because of the viewlines to the water.”
Well-heeled crowd
Given its enviable location and the list of amenities, Tridel is aiming a bit above the typical condo buyer. Rather than creating a tower with ever-smaller units, the new development will boast a wide range of suites, one-bedroom to three-bedroom, and running up to more than 2,000 square feet.
“There isn’t one big condo market though most people see it that way; it is really broken up into many sub-markets, depending on where they are, what it is, who you think your purchasers are going to be.”
Prices at Aqualina will be higher. The current design should be able to accommodate first-time buyers (prices start in the low $300,000 range) to affluent empty-nesters with prices as high as $2 million for the largest suites. The average price will be in the mid-$500,000 range, said Tridel.
Most condo developers target the $300,000 to $450,000 price range.
The condominium’s interior public spaces and amenity areas will be designed by Canadian firm II BY IV Design Associates.
Landscape design for the condominium will be led by West 8 + DTAH, the award-winning team also responsible for the design of East Bayfront’s public realm including the streetscapes, water’s edge promenade and boardwalk.
West 8 + DTAH is also leading the design for the revitalization of Queens Quay which includes a new south side promenade, off-street Martin Goodman Trail and integrates the proposed Light Rail Transit line through the community.
Aqualina at Bayside also promises the fastest residential Internet service in the city, with wireless speeds up to 100 megabits a second.
The development will pursue a LEED® Platinum designation and will be part of Toronto’s first LEED®-ND Gold neighbourhood.

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