Choice Properties REIT (CHP.UN-T) and Toronto developer Greenwin Inc., have closed on the purchase of a downtown Toronto lot which will be the site of a two-tower development containing 844 purpose-built rental units.
The site at 26 Grenville St. and 27 Grosvenor St. is being purchased for $36 million from the province as part of the Provincial Affordable Housing Lands Program. As such, the development will contain 30 per cent affordable housing units for a period of 40 years – meaning an injection of 257 affordable units to help ease a chronic shortage in Toronto and the GTA.
“Today is an important milestone in Toronto’s development history,” said Cary Green, the chairman of Greenwin, in a release announcing the closure of the sale. “Together, with our partner Choice Properties, we are excited to bring sustainable, affordable housing in a mixed-income setting to the heart of the City of Toronto.”
The project was first announced a year ago, at the same time as a similar, larger development planned for a portion of the so-called West Don Lands. In the other proposed project, Dream Unlimited Corp. (DRM-T), Dream Hard Asset Alternatives Trust (DRA-UN-T), Kilmer, and Tricon Capital Group Inc. (TCN-T) were selected to develop and manage a rental apartment community of about 1,500 units in Toronto’s West Don Lands.
The West Don project, also still in the proposal stages, would also feature 30 per cent affordable units – adding an additional 450 units if it is completed as proposed.
Affordable housing in busy Toronto area
“We are delighted to enter into a partnership with Greenwin to develop this well-located property and to create a significant number of affordable units,” said Stephen Johnson, president and CEO of Choice Properties, in the release.
Choice became involved when it bought Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust (CREIT), Greenwin’s original partner, last year.
“Our intent is to create a landmark project that will make a positive contribution to the community,” said Johnson.
The development application for the site was filed with the city in March.
It calls for towers of 35 and 50 storeys, and an increase to 844 residential units, of which 257 would be affordable. The original plans called for over 700 units, with 210 being affordable. An 11-storey podium would connect the two towers.
At grade, residential space would front onto both Grenville and Grosvenor Streets. A new 10,000-square-foot daycare is also in the plans.
It will be located in one of Toronto’s busiest and most densely populated neighbourhoods, near the intersection of Yonge St. and College St. It is within walking distance to College TTC subway station, the University of Toronto and the financial core.
“It’s a win-win situation,” said Kris Boyce, the CEO of Greenwin, in the release. “Working to address Toronto’s rental housing shortage through the transformation of an under-utilized space into a vibrant community is a unique and exciting opportunity.”
The acquisition of the former Ontario Chief Coroner’s office and a multi-level parking structure is the first major transaction under the new Provincial Affordable Housing Lands Program. It was established in 2018 to utilize surplus provincial land for development of market and affordable housing across the province.
A total of 243 sites across Ontario are up for disposition by the provincial government, with more than two dozen across the GTA.
About Greenwin and Choice
Greenwin is one of Canada’s largest privately owned, full-service property management and development firms.
Headquartered in Toronto, Greenwin is focused on multi-family housing, non-profit and affordable housing, social housing and commercial properties. Its portfolio includes more than 15,000 residential units and a million square feet of commercial space.
Canada’s largest diversified real estate investment trust, Choice is the owner, manager and developer of a portfolio comprising 756 properties totalling approximately 68 million square feet of gross leasable area.
It owns a portfolio comprised of retail properties predominantly leased to necessity‐based tenants; industrial, office and residential assets concentrated in attractive markets; and a significant development pipeline.