Graywood plans expansions into apartment sector, new cities

IMAGE: 250 Lawrence is one of several Toronto and Calgary projects under development, or construction, by Graywood. (Courtesy Graywood)

250 Lawrence is one of several Toronto and Calgary projects under development, or construction, by Graywood. (Courtesy Graywood)

Graywood Developments is currently focused on an extensive list of condo developments in Toronto and Calgary. However, the company is laying the groundwork to broaden its horizons, both into a new sector and at least one new geographic market.

The Toronto-based private investment management company is, in a word, busy. It recently announced plans for a boutique condominium in Toronto’s Bedford Park neighbourhood, and has also just entered a partnership for a site on Jarvis Street. In all, it has about a dozen projects on the go, aside from its future expansion plans.

“They’re all different in terms of risk and return profile, but we have the ability and expertise to participate in low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise, which allows us to be very selective in the transactions that we choose,” Graywood president and chief executive officer Stephen Price told RENX.

“The low-rise land development segment is more limited in terms of opportunities. As we invest through private equity funds, we have to be able to execute within defined timelines. Often, land that presents itself as available has a timeline that extends beyond the life of our fund.

“We need developments that we can achieve planning approvals and completion within an eight-year time horizon.”

Graywood to be “national housing provider”

Graywood has a staff of 45 based at its downtown Toronto head office.
While its focus at the moment is developing in the Greater Toronto Area and Calgary markets, Price said the company is looking at expanding into another major Canadian market by next year because its institutional investors are encouraging Graywood to broaden its reach.

“We think that, ultimately, Graywood is positioned to be a national housing supplier. We will take our time and manage our growth ambitions carefully and gradually.”

Graywood also recently started an initiative to develop rental housing in Toronto, and expects to do the same in Calgary and other cities.

“We’re actively underwriting transactions and hope to announce our first rental development land acquisition in the next six months,” said Price.

Here’s an overview of Graywood’s current and upcoming developments:

314 Jarvis St.

Graywood just entered a joint venture with Phantom Developments to lead a new development at 314 Jarvis St. in Toronto.

Graywood acquired a 50 per cent interest in the site (currently occupied by a heritage home across from Allen Gardens) from Toronto-based Phantom, and it’s so new no name or branding have yet been established for the project.

Price anticipates building a condo with approximately 34 storeys and 450 units. He expects sales to start in the first half of next year.

250 Lawrence

Graywood acquired a former medical office building in 2014 from a group of doctors who were owners and tenants. After a lengthy planning process, 250 Lawrence will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom suites in a nine-storey building designed by Quadrangle when sales begin this fall. Prices haven’t yet been announced.

“We believe we’re filling a niche and it should sell well, but we’re always conservative in our expectations of sales,” said Price. “We don’t tend to sell exclusively to investors on a blowout basis. We tend to sell to a combination of investors and end-users, which results in a more progressive sales program.”

Suites will average 750 square feet. Amenities will include a dog-friendly spa, nearly 200 spaces for bicycles and 9,200 square feet of outdoor space. Forty per cent of the site will be given over to public land use in the Bedford Park neighbourhood.

The plan is for construction to start by late 2020 or early 2021.

Peter & Adelaide

Peter & Adelaide will include 695 units and about 45,000 square feet of retail and office space at grade and on the second floor of the podium. Construction will begin this summer on the 47-storey building, located in Toronto’s Entertainment District.

Third-floor amenities include: a co-working and recreational room; an outdoor lounge; an outdoor fitness studio; a yoga studio; a fitness centre; an infra-red sauna and treatment rooms; a demonstration kitchen; a private dining room; a party lounge; a terrace; outdoor communal dining; and a kids zone with arts and crafts. There will be a rooftop pool, lounge deck and cabanas on the 19th floor.

Parliament Street

While this is still in the planning stages, Price anticipates launching sales in the fall of 2020 for a condo with 32 storeys and 450 suites at the gateway to Toronto’s Distillery District.

“That market continues to be very active and desirable,” he said.

“There will probably be fewer end-users, but the Distillery District is a very desirable location to live.”

SCOOP Condos and SCOUT Condos

SCOOP Condos is the first boutique residence of its kind in Toronto’s West St. Clair West neighbourhood and offers 72 suites over six storeys. All of the units are sold, construction is well underway, and occupancy should start this fall.

Building on the success of SCOOP, Graywood will introduce the same neighbourhood to SCOUT Condos. Price expects to reach the 70 per cent pre-sale threshold by the fall for the 12-storey, 259-unit condo. He said it could be under construction as early as this fall or as late as the first quarter of 2020.

“West St. Clair West is really blossoming now, with new projects announced recently,” said Price. “Pricing continues to rise in this node as it’s being discovered.”

Wonder Condos

This 286-unit condo at 462 Eastern Ave. in Toronto is being developed in tandem with Alterra. Wonder Condos won the best mid-rise building design award from BILD this year and construction has just started after a May groundbreaking.

A very small number of units are now available that were originally held back from the original sales program. Price expects the building to be sold out by the end of the year.

“Selling prices in this node are approaching, or in some cases exceeding, $1,000 per square foot. We have some very unique units in the building that are priced in excess of $1,200 per square foot,” Price said.

Westhaven Towns On Islington

Westhaven Towns on Islington is comprised of 176 townhomes and 25 commercial condo units on a 12.5-acre site in close proximity to transit, services and community amenities. Construction is complete except for some residual work.

“The demand for infill townhome projects is very high in the city, so we were able to achieve a good return for our investors,” said Price.

While there weren’t a lot of benchmarks in Toronto for commercial condos when the project started, Price said the market has been surprisingly good for the 1,600-square-foot units and that Graywood could have sold another 25 of them.

“We considered developing and leasing, but I believe that the decision to go through the condominium process was the right one. We saw significant price increases through the sales program.”

Oh! Towns and Park & Lake

Two sites encompassing 26 acres a short walk from Oshawa’s waterfront, parks and trails also offer easy access to a GO Transit station and Highway 401. Sales just launched for the 56 townhomes of Oh! Towns, which are priced in the $500,000 range.

“The suburban market has been slow for the last six to 12 months with the implementation of new mortgage qualification rules and the previous rapid run-up in single-family house prices,” said Price. “However, the market is now improving, particularly for product that’s offering good value to first-time and move-down homebuyers.

“We’re seeing that type of interest in this project.”

Park & Lake is the companion development to Oh! Towns. It will include 170 single and semi-detached homes directly abutting Lake Ontario. While the planning process still has to be completed, Price hopes to launch sales in the fall of 2020.

The Theodore Condominiums

This mid-rise condo in Calgary’s Kensington community will feature 115 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, with prices beginning in the $290,000 range. The site is across from a grocery store and public transit, while there are parks nearby and the upper floors offer views of downtown Calgary.

Sales recently launched for The Theodore Condominiums, and more than 1,000 people have registered.

“There’s been a decline in optimism in the marketplace, but I do believe we’re starting to see improvements there, particularly for good sites,” said Price. “We anticipate slower sales programs for our Calgary projects, but we have absolutely fantastic locations.”

Eau Claire Residences

Eau Claire Residences is located in Calgary’s Eau Claire area, between 1st and 2nd Avenues and close to the Bow River, Peace Bridge and Prince’s Island. Price said this is the last available site for residential development in Eau Claire that he’s aware of.

While this condo project is still going through the planning process, it’s expected to have approximately 140 suites on six storeys. It’s anticipated sales will launch in the spring.

Fish Creek Exchange and Park South

Fish Creek Exchange occupies 24 acres on a former golf course in Calgary. Graywood can develop up to 1,000 units on the site, with a combination of mid-rise condos and townhouses. The first condo building is occupied and sales and construction are continuing on the second one.

There’s some commercial space at grade in the first two buildings, and Graywood is well underway in leasing programs for those units.

The recently released second phase, which will include another two buildings, is known as Park South.

The first phase of freehold townhouses is under construction and occupancy began in the spring. The second development phase will also include townhouses.

“It’s exactly the product that the market is looking for,” said Price.

Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

Read more

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