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Elysium forms JV, plans 67-storey Toronto Isabella St. tower

Year-old investment firm has three major developments in its pipeline, working on more

Elysium Investments has formed a partnership to develop this 67-storey tower at Isabella and Sherbourne streets in Toronto. (Courtesy Elysium)
Elysium Investments has formed a partnership to develop this 67-storey tower at Isabella and Sherbourne streets in Toronto. (Courtesy Elysium)

Elysium Investments has only been part of the Greater Toronto Area development industry for a year, but it already has three high-rise multifamily projects in the pre-construction phase and a pipeline of other potential projects in the works.

Toronto-based Elysium is the real estate offshoot arm of the Minkids Group family office and was launched by:

  • co-chairman and Minkids' chief executive officer Harley Mintz, a former managing partner of Mintz & Partners and vice-chairman of Deloitte Canada;
  • co-chairman Jamie Torpey, the founder and majority partner in VPH, a Vilnius, Lithuania-based commercial real estate developer and manager for tenants across the Baltic countries;
  • and CEO Sayf Hassan, who has two decades of Canadian real estate experience with Minkids, Parkbridge, Pinemount Developments and Symmetry Developments.

“We wanted to see where we could fit in and the idea was to be at the intersection of landowners, developers and investors,” Hassan told RENX.

“We said, 'Why don't we focus on not only being the investor, but actually buying these properties and raising capital and deploying capital for them, and also being on the development side and being completely open to bringing in development partners as well as working with municipalities on a very transparent basis.' ”

Elysium works with partners

Landowners seeking the highest-and-best uses for their properties have also approached Elysium due to the firm’s relationships with a variety of municipalities, developers and investors, according to Hassan. 

Elysium deploys its own capital for its projects and augments it with funds from local high-net-worth investors and development partners.

“If a developer is available at the onset, we'd be more than happy to join forces and use their presence on the ground floor,” Hassan explained, “but if not, we're happy to develop ourselves."
Elysium’s focus is on sites located in areas with good growth potential close to major public transit stops, and where it can develop at scale. 

Isabella Street development

Elysium is partnering with International Property Group, North Peak and the Canadian subsidiary of Talinn, Estonia-based developer Hepsor for a development on a half-acre site at 164-168 Isabella St., within easy walking distance of the Sherbourne and Yonge and Bloor subway stations. 

They’re proposing to build a Studio JCI-designed 67-storey tower with approximately 700 units that would rise above two existing heritage homes — which will be used for amenity or lobby space — on the site. There will be no automobile parking but plenty of room for bicycle storage. 

It hasn’t yet been decided if the building will be a condominium or a purpose-built rental apartment. 

“With all of our projects, we don’t make that call at the outset,” Hassan said. “My preference is rental but there's a lot of demand for condos. We are typically agnostic as to the end use. It's just whatever the market needs.” 

Elysium initially underwrites each potential acquisition as a purpose-built rental because Hassan believes there will be a “paradigm shift” toward that asset class.

The Isabella and Sherbourne site went firm for what Hassan called “a sizable acquisition price” in July 2023. The partners have received initial feedback from the City of Toronto and are gearing up to make a formal submission within the next month-and-a-half to move forward in the approvals process.

Capital Developments is in the pre-construction phase for two high-rise condos at 88 and 90 Isabella St. and Hassan is “very confident that node is going to be the next boom node in Toronto because of the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) proximity and how central it is.”

Other proposed developments

Elysium is partnering with Terracap and Trolleybus Urban Development for a project on a recently acquired half-acre site at 17-29 Glenavy Ave., approximately 150 metres from the Leaside station on the under-construction Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit line near Eglinton Avenue East and Bayview Avenue.

Trolleybus assembled seven properties for the development site. The partners are fine-tuning their pre-application consultation package, but they’re proposing a Gensler-designed high-rise tower with a townhome podium totalling approximately 350,000 square feet in the hot development area.

Elysium and Pinemount are planning a mixed-use multifamily development for a 1.78-acre site at 3406-3434 Weston Rd. they acquired for $19.8 million through a receivership sale last June. Elysium also brought in Hepsor as an investor.

The site near Finch Avenue West is occupied by a fully tenanted, 19,363-square-foot single-storey commercial plaza built in 1960 that can provide holding income before redevelopment. There’s also parking for 60 vehicles.

The property is 500 metres from the future Emery stop on the 11-kilometre Finch West light rail transit line that’s also under construction.
A previous development plan from 2015 had proposed an 11- or 12-storey mixed-use building with 270 residential units, retail at grade and 348 parking spaces.

There’s potential for higher density now, however, as the Ontario government has mandated the intensification of sites within major transit service areas.

The proposed development is for a 38- and 39-storey tower atop a seven-storey podium with commercial space at grade. It’s still in the early stages of approvals and Icon Architects and community planning firm Bousfields are assisting in the process.

Future acquisitions

Elysium has several other potential acquisitions it’s doing due diligence on in downtown Toronto as well as in Brampton, Mississauga, Markham and Vaughan.

“I think we’re one of the more active acquirers of land in this market currently,” said Hassan. “We're seeing so many good opportunities and developers and landlords are coming to us more and more frequently, so we’re now looking to actively raise more capital locally as well. 

“We haven't really advertised or tried much to do that, simply because we had committed capital and we have our own capital, but we're now responding to these deals that are going through so we will be looking to raise locally.”

Elysium recently hired a vice-president of development and a senior manager of finance and is looking to increase its staff as its portfolio grows.

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