Alexander D’Orazio and Andrew Iacobelli launched Brixen Developments in the summer of 2019 and, although the company is relatively young, the co-founders brought substantial experience to the partnership.
D’Orazio was previously an estimator for The Automated Group, a project manager for Minto Group and a project director for CentreCourt. Iacobelli was a controls engineer for JMP Engineering, worked in sales, project and operations management for The Automated Group, and was development and project manager for Queensgate Homes.
“We're young, hungry and eager to please,” D’Orazio told RENX.
Brixen is based in the Greater Toronto Area community of Woodbridge (part of the City of Vaughan). Its focus is on developing mid- and high-rise residences around the GTA.
It completed the 183-unit South District condominium in Barrie last year, while construction is finishing on the 129-unit The Bronte in Oakville and is at an earlier stage for the 349-unit first phase of Duo Condos in Brampton.
“The cost of housing is pretty expensive and offering mid-rise and high-rise units on the periphery of Toronto really offers affordable units,” D’Orazio said. “We see a lot more people moving outside of Toronto and we want to provide an urban condo, but in a suburban area.”
Brixen was a finalist for the Building Industry and Land Development Association’s mid-/high-rise homebuilder of the year award in 2022 along with three much larger and longer-established developers: Great Gulf, Minto and the winner, Tridel.
Brixen invests equity in its own projects along with a small group of high-net-worth individuals and obtains construction financing to build.
The company has grown to 25 employees, with about half comprising a construction management team and the rest handling development, customer care, accounting and other responsibilities.
Exhale’s location attracted Brixen
Brixen plans to launch sales for its fourth project, Exhale — an 11-storey, 284-unit condo at the corner of Lakeshore Road East and Dixie Road in Mississauga — this spring.
The company closed on acquiring the vacant site from City Park Homes for an undisclosed price in October.
City Park had taken the property through the rezoning process and demolished the commercial building which previously occupied the site.
Mississauga is a growing city in the midst of improving its public transit network.
Brixen particularly liked the Exhale site because of its Lakeview neighbourhood location between Port Credit village and south Etobicoke and its proximity to shops and restaurants.
The Long Branch GO Transit station is within walking distance of the Exhale site, while the Queen Elizabeth Way and 427 highways are minutes away by car.
The future Hurontario light rail transit line (named after recently deceased former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion) will extend from Lakeshore north to the location of RioCan REIT’s extensive redevelopment of the 53-acre Shoppers World Brampton mall site into a mixed-use community.
The City of Mississauga is also studying the implementation of a bus rapid transit line on Lakeshore that will offer a significant upgrade to the already convenient bus route that will be steps away from Exhale’s front door.
“We really believe this community is going to set a new benchmark for transit-oriented, mixed-use development,” said D’Orazio.
“It’s already so well-connected to transit and, with the future plans Mississauga has, it's only going to become more connected.”
The area also offers several recreational opportunities and quality green space. Marie Curtis Park, Lakeshore Park and the Lake Ontario waterfront are an easy walk from the site and 20 golf courses are within a half-hour drive.
What Exhale will offer
Exhale will offer a mix of unit sizes, ranging from 400-square-foot studios to 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom suites — with a variety of options in between. Prices will start in the $500,000s.
“We’ll cater to a variety of residents, whether they’re young professionals, couples, down-sizers or families that are expanding,” D’Orazio said. “We really believe that we have a strong unit mix that's going to attract all buyers.”
The Architecture Unfolded-designed building will feature a four-storey brick podium with retail at grade along Lakeshore that Brixen envisions being occupied by restaurants and cafes.
Exhale’s amenities will include:
- a co-working space connected to the lobby;
- a fitness centre adjacent to a children’s playroom;
- a social room and dining lounge that opens to an outdoor courtyard with a dining and bar area, additional seating and recreational areas; and
- a rooftop terrace featuring barbecues, dining and lounging areas, fire pits and unobstructed views of Lake Ontario and downtown Toronto.
Brixen hopes to have approvals in place to begin construction by this summer. Sales are expected to begin this spring and occupancy is planned for early 2026.
The Bronte and Duo Condos
Almost all of the units are sold at The Bronte, at 2430 Old Bronte Rd. in Oakville, after sales launched in the fall of 2020. Construction started in late spring of 2021 and occupancy is slated to begin in May.
The units for the first phase of Duo Condos, a partnership with National Homes on a 2.49-acre site at 245 Steeles Ave. W. in Brampton, are also substantially sold after being released last February.
The IBI Group-designed project broke ground late last spring and initial occupancy is anticipated for late 2024 or early 2025.
Duo’s two 25-storey buildings will feature six-storey podiums with retail at ground level, as well as underground and surface parking. D’Orazio is hoping to launch sales for Duo’s second tower next year.
D’Orazio is a cousin of National president and managing partner Jason Pantalone, and he’s very happy with the partnership.
“National Homes has a great reputation in Brampton and we bring our high-rise development and construction expertise,” D’Orazio said.
“The partnership really is going well because our skill sets complement each other so well.”
Optimism for a rebounding condo market
D’Orazio said Brixen is always looking for new acquisition opportunities, but wants to grow responsibly so the quality of its current developments isn’t compromised.
He expects the company to make another acquisition later this year, but the current focus is on a successful launch for Exhale.
“I think a lot of buyers are on the sidelines with the uncertainty of if interest rates are going to continue to rise,” D’Orazio said. “I think they just need to have confidence that they’ve peaked.
“I think purchaser confidence will come back and they'll want to get back into the market.
"I think good locations and good projects will continue to sell well and I truly believe that Exhale meets that criteria. I have confidence that it will sell well.”