Hazelview Investments is an owner, developer and manager of global real estate investments while Hazelview Properties is a property management organization overseeing more than 24,000 multiresidential units in buildings valued at $11.6 billion in 25 cities across Canada.
“It really celebrates the individual stories that are lived by the residents in every single unit, but also the story of the community,” Hazelview Investments senior vice-president of brand marketing and corporate social responsibility Colleen Krempulec said in an interview with RENX.
“We felt that instead of branding and marketing every building individually, there is scale and efficiency in developing a master brand because each one can build off of each other. You don't have to start from scratch every time you launch a new building.
“There are nuances to each project that we have to work really hard on to make sure that it makes sense for the local community and the local demographic, but the master brand approach allows us to get some scale and efficiency and allows residents to feel like they're part of something bigger like a collection.
"We haven't seen much of that sort of branding in the multiresidential space.”
Brampton and Ottawa apartment buildings
The 31-storey Story of Brampton Central is the city’s tallest tower and has 272 one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Another tower and townhomes are also part of the property, but not part of the Story of Home collection.
“Originally, the entire community was planned for condos, but we identified the opportunity and thought rental would work well here,” said Hazelview Investments managing partner and head of real estate development Michael Williams.
“So we actually switched the tenure from what was originally meant to be condo to fully built, purpose-built rental.”
The 25-storey Story of Rideau and Chapel has 315 bachelor, one- and two-bedroom units.
“In that market we're anticipating attracting more singles and couples and likely students,” said Krempulec, who added both buildings offer residents the opportunity to grow in place as their circumstances change.
Approximately 40 per cent of the ground floor at both Story of Brampton Central and Story of Rideau and Chapel is dedicated to service-based retail space.
Story of Home features
Graziani + Corazza Architects, rla/architecture and interior design firm 4té have partnered with Hazelview on Story of Home, which promises elevated architecture, interior design, lifestyle programming and amenities.
The apartments will also offer cooking lessons with local partners, wine and craft beer tastings, opportunities to learn new hobbies and other programming for residents.
“What they also have in common is an elevated operating platform,” said Krempulec. “We’re going to have dedicated in-house resident service specialists.
"We're going to have integrated technology throughout the building that allows residents and staff members alike to stay in touch and integrated in the programming.”
“Even though there is consistency, we do have an opportunity to expand and refine the offering as we learn lessons,” added Williams.
“We can keep the platform flexible enough that we can actually tailor it to the communities that we're going to be operating or developing in.”
Story of Brampton Central and Story of Rideau and Chapel started leasing almost two months ago and Krempulec said things are progressing well.
“These are both going to market at market rents,” said Krempulec when asked if a premium would be placed on rents for the Story of Home apartments due to their enhanced offerings.
“Right now, I would say we're very much in keeping with some of the other new product in each of the municipalities.”
Future Story of Home locations
Krempulec said Hazelview is focused on identifying locations in key growth areas near pre-existing urban infrastructure for future Story of Home sites.
The Story of Home brand won’t be applied to every new Hazelview apartment, just to those where the company feels it’s appropriate and can offer the amenities, programming and operating platform that will be unique to it.
Williams said the next two Story of Home apartments will be at yet-to-be-disclosed locations in midtown Toronto and Halifax and are in the early construction phase.
Updating existing Hazelview apartments to fit the Story of Home concept will be considered on a case-by-case basis.