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Marlin Spring fund buys two Toronto sites, plans 3 towers

Marlin Spring‘s first development fund has acquired its fourth and fifth Toronto properties, on w...

IMAGE: 2500 Don Mills Rd. in Toronto is planned to house a two-tower development by Marlin Spring. (Courtesy Marlin Spring)

2500 Don Mills Rd. in Toronto is planned to house a two-tower development by Marlin Spring. (Courtesy Marlin Spring)

Marlin Spring‘s first development fund has acquired its fourth and fifth Toronto properties, on which it plans to add three more condominium towers to the city’s ever-changing skyline.

The Toronto-based real estate investment firm acquired a high-rise, transit-oriented, mixed-use development site at 2500 Don Mills Rd. from Alimentation Couche-Tard-owned Circle K for an undisclosed price. It’s located at the northwest corner of the Sheppard Avenue East intersection.

Marlin Spring plans to build two condo towers, in the mid-30-storeys range, that will house 823 units. It hopes to achieve 550,000 square feet of development on the 74,789-square-foot site, which is currently occupied by a gas station, a car wash and a convenience store.

There will be commercial space at grade and two or three levels of underground parking as part of the development.

The site is across the street from CF Fairview Mall, a two-minute walk from the Don Mills subway station, within one kilometre of Highways 404 and 401 and two kilometres from the Oriole GO Transit station.

It also offers relatively close access to many retail and commercial amenities, including the Bayview Village shopping centre, and is close to North York General Hospital, schools, libraries and parks.

“It’s located at the edge of an affluent and mature community with great demographics,” Marlin Spring senior vice-president of development Pedro Lopes told RENX. “People want to be there and we want to continue to provide great housing for people, so this just checked all the boxes.”

Marlin Spring will submit a development application to the City of Toronto shortly and is hoping to have approvals in place to launch sales and begin construction in the fourth quarter of 2024. It’s anticipating occupancy in late 2027.

Campbell Avenue assembly acquisition

The Marlin Spring Development Fund has also acquired 10 single-family homes from 10 owners between 316 and 336 Campbell Ave. in Toronto’s Junction Triangle neighbourhood northwest of the downtown. No financial details were disclosed.

Marlin Spring closed on the first house 13 months ago, while the final sale closes this month. All but two are vacant and the remaining residences should be vacated in the next couple of months.

Marlin Spring is proposing to build a 26-storey, 230,000-square-foot tower with 313 market-priced condo units as well as some rental replacement units on the assembled properties, which comprise just under an acre of land.

The site is within walking distance of both the Lansdowne subway station and the Dundas West transit hub, which provides connections to streetcars, GO Transit, the Dundas West subway station and a Union Pearson Express station.

There are also many local retail amenities — including restaurants, grocery stores and banks — as well as parks and other community facilities in the neighbourhood.

IMAGE: Marlin Spring's plans for 316-336 Campbell St. in Toronto includes a condo tower and podium. (Courtesy Marlin Spring)

Marlin Spring’s plan for 316-336 Campbell Ave. in Toronto includes a condo tower and podium. (Courtesy Marlin Spring)

Marlin Spring already has three other buildings under development and construction in the Junction Triangle area, and it’s also active in the nearby Junction and Stockyards areas, so it’s well-positioned to leverage synergies and understand the needs of the neighbourhood and its residents.

“We’re active in that area because obviously we like everything about it,” said Lopes.

Marlin Spring anticipates launching sales for the project later this year and Lopes said a major selling point will be the unobstructed views the building will offer. The development’s south end will also include landscaped, privately owned but publicly accessible space.

Other development fund acquisitions

Marlin Spring closed the Development Fund at $125 million last October after raising more than was originally anticipated.

Money from the fund was also used to acquire a site at 2189 Lake Shore Blvd. W. in the Humber Bay Shores neighbourhood from Circle K. It has submitted a development application to build a 58-storey condo with approximately 700 units and three levels of underground parking.

The fund also purchased a site at Nash Road and Hancock Road in Courtice, a community of about 35,000 located 60 kilometres east of Toronto, adjacent to Oshawa and Bowmanville.

Marlin Spring is looking to build 220 townhomes with a gross floor area of about 430,000 square feet in a development called Nash that’s not far from its sold-out, 212-unit Symphony Towns project under construction in Oshawa.

Marlin Spring also used money from the development fund to acquire Boardwalk REIT’s share of a redevelopment project. It’s now 50-50 partners with RioCan REIT to transform the 2.43-acre, 27-store Sandalwood Square Shopping Centre at 70 Bristol Rd. E. in Mississauga.

While it’s relatively early in the process, it’s expected the project will be comprised of about 400,000 square feet of residential space with approximately 510 units in 17- and 23-storey buildings connected by a five-storey podium. Between 10,000 and 14,000 square feet of retail space at ground level are also anticipated.

GTA remains Marlin Spring’s focus

Marlin Spring and its portfolio companies consist of more than 600 employees involved in all aspects of acquisition, development, construction and asset management.

Marlin Spring has acquired more than 45 projects, consisting of more than 14,000 units in various stages of development, construction, repositioning and completion across Canada and the U.S. They represent more than 13 million square feet of gross floor area and a value of more than $7 billion upon completion.

“Our strategy is to primarily focus on the Greater Toronto Area,” president Ashi Mathur said. “That’s our backyard and that’s where we’ve got many years of experience and expertise. And within the GTA, we always target those markets where we see they’re growing quickly with people moving into them.”

Marlin Spring’s diversification comes through building: low-rise in the suburbs; mid-rise in areas with high public transit accessibility and amenities nearby; and high-rise in the downtown core and near the shore of Lake Ontario.

“Now that we’re well along with fund one, we’re already thinking about fund two, and we are going to stick to our knitting in terms of our strategy,” said Mathur. “We still see lots of upside in the GTA.

“The demand isn’t going away for quality housing in a city that continues to grow because of population growth. It’s coming from immigration but also all the great jobs that are being created in our city.”

Marlin Spring Foundation and Neighbour To Neighbour

Mathur said Marlin Spring’s growth also brings increased responsibility to the relationships it has established with tradespeople and local government representatives, as well as to the communities where it invests.

The Marlin Spring Foundation supports programs designed to eliminate the stigma around mental health in Canada and fund youth education platforms to create lasting change.

The Neighbour To Neighbour program supports organizations which benefit neighbourhoods where Marlin Spring is active.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto and Akin, a Toronto-based arts organization that provides creative studio space as well as arts-based programming, are examples of its beneficiaries.

“We’re looking, as we continue to grow in the markets that we’re in, to make sure that we’re giving back to the communities that we’re active in and wanting to make sure the whole community benefits from our presence,” said Mathur.

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