Hazelview Investments has a $13.4-billion development pipeline of more than 21,000 residential units it can deliver on properties it already owns.
Much of the growth can be done through intensifying existing assets in the Greater Toronto Area, Montreal, Ottawa and Halifax, managing partner and head of real estate Michael Tsourounis told RENX.
“They all have a pretty big dislocation between demand and supply of housing, so we think those are great markets to deliver housing into,” Tsourounis explained.
While Hazelview’s existing pipeline is already extensive, Tsourounis said it will also consider additional acquisition opportunities where there’s a good fit and it makes economic sense.
Impact of GST elimination on construction costs
“Even with the reduction of the GST, and hopefully the provincial PST, there are still challenges economically so we tend to be very selective on what those projects are,” Tsourounis explained. “Everyone has experienced a significant increase in interest rates as well as inflationary pressures, which makes the delivery of some of these projects harder and harder.”
Tsourounis said the federal government’s Sept. 14 announcement it will eliminate the five per cent goods and services tax from the construction costs of new purpose-built housing such as apartments, student housing and seniors residences built specifically for long-term rental purposes — and moves by several provinces to follow its lead — will be a catalyst to move some projects forward.
Other factors, however, can still hinder new apartment development.
“There can be a positive effect with the reduction in taxes, but a lot of our cost pressures are arising from hard costs, labour costs and interest rates in a market where we have limited skilled labour to build this stuff,” Tsourounis observed.
“Those savings you get from tax reductions could quickly be wiped away by increases in development costs, development charges and interest rates, so the tax reduction definitely helps and is definitely a welcomed thing, but I think it's just one of many things that are probably needed to spur a lot of development.”
Anticipated 2025 apartment building completions
The company has a full slate of projects already well into construction.
210 Willett, comprised of two 17-storey purpose-built apartment buildings in Halifax’s Clayton Park neighbourhood, is expected to be completed in 2025.
The complex will include 530 units, two levels of underground parking, approximately 12,000 square feet of indoor amenity space on the 10th floor of each building, rooftop patios and exterior amenity space.
A 38-storey, 336-unit apartment at 73 Broadway Ave., near Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue East in midtown Toronto, is expected to be completed in 2025 on a site already occupied by a 10-storey residential building.
The tower will project from a four-storey podium and include 15,000 square feet of amenity space, 520 bicycle stalls and 116 storage lockers.
“That’s a great example of intensifying an existing site,” Tsourounis pointed out. “We were able to preserve the majority of the existing multifamily asset that we had and build a new rental tower directly adjacent to it.”
Completion is expected in early 2025 for a 15-storey, 265-unit apartment building at 1750 Bloor St. and 3315 Fieldgate Dr. in Mississauga.
It will intensify a site already occupied by Dixie Square Apartments and include underground parking, a rooftop terrace and an 8,000-square-foot stand-alone amenity building.
Construction is progressing well on a 5.2-acre site at 3450 Dufferin St., across the road from Yorkdale shopping centre near Hwy. 401 in Toronto.
The master-planned community with 29-, 27- and 23-storey Arcadis IBI Group-designed rental buildings will have approximately 750 units, a public park, a daycare centre and a small amount of retail space.
Fitzrovia Real Estate will manage the two tallest buildings while Hazelview will manage the third. Alberta Investment Management Company (AIMCo) is Fitzrovia’s ownership partner in the project, which is expected to be complete in 2025.
Construction is also underway at 6020 and 6030 Bathurst St. in Toronto for a project expected to be completed in late 2026 or early 2027. It includes 355 units in a 26-storey apartment building and townhomes, over 15,000 square feet of amenities and two levels of underground parking with 392 vehicle stalls, 550 bicycle stalls and 255 storage lockers.
Hazelview and an institutional partner own the west parcel of a site at Toronto’s Bloor and Dufferin streets, while Fitzrovia and AIMCo own the east parcel for a combined mixed-use development of over 2,100 residential units (including 56 affordable units).
It will also offer approximately 174,000 square feet of retail space, 50,000 square feet of office space, 69,000 square feet of amenity space, a 35,000-square-foot community hub and daycare centre, and a 38,500-square-foot public park.
Hazelview and Fitzrovia are co-development managers for the project, which broke ground in February. Hazelview is responsible for two rental towers that will combine to have almost 900 units, as well as service- and needs-based retail and commercial space at grade.
Hazelview has been approved for entitlement to add a 101-unit apartment building to the site of an existing 141-unit building at 2285 The Collegeway in Mississauga. The new building will include 48 parking stalls and approximately 2,600 square feet of interior and 6,300 square feet of exterior amenity spaces.
Approvals needed for large Mississauga development
Hazelview is working with SvN Architects + Planners on a large development to replace the two-storey Dunwynn Centre on a 17-acre site at Dundas Street East and Mattawa Avenue in Mississauga.
The company is seeking approval for a mixed-use development with 185 townhomes as well as 169 bachelor, 1,706 one-bedroom, 731 two-bedroom and 236 three-bedroom units in buildings ranging up to 41 storeys. Both condominium and purpose-built rental units have been proposed.
Hazelview is also proposing to include approximately 27,000 square feet of retail space, 4,800 square feet of community space, 112,000 square feet of indoor amenity space, 86,000 square feet of outdoor amenity space and parking for 2,447 vehicles and 2,755 bicycles.
Emphasis on sustainable developments
Tsourounis said Hazelview emphasizes sustainability in its new developments, which he said has been a core part of the company’s investment strategy for many years.
“That's going into every decision throughout the design phase,” Tsourounis said. “That comes down to product selection, materials selection, building envelopes, heating systems, cooling systems, et cetera.”
In addition to future-proofing new developments, Hazelview is also retrofitting existing structures and improving heating and cooling systems, insulation, building envelopes and other elements to make them more efficient and reduce energy usage and emissions.