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Metropia breaks ground at Union City, names new president

Samuel Frum gets promotion at Toronto developer, to oversee several major developments

A rendering of MEtropia's three-tower Union City in Markham, just north of Toronto. (Courtesy Metropia)
A rendering of Metropia's three-tower Union City in Markham, just north of Toronto. (Courtesy Metropia)

Metropia celebrated two significant milestones on April 10: the groundbreaking of its Union City community in Markham, just north of Toronto, and the appointment of new president Samuel Frum. 

Metropia founder and chief executive officer Howard Sokolowski remains in that role and will be chair of the Toronto-based development company’s risk committee.

Frum, a Harvard University economics graduate who served as Metropia’s vice-president of investments for the past six years, told RENX he’s learned a lot in that time and is ready to take on the new responsibilities. 

“Howard has been very good about integrating me into every aspect of the business, so this is sort of a natural and very gradual transition that we've been working on for a number of years," Frum said.

"Over time, I've been taking more and more of a leadership role at our company and Howard's been the best mentor and partner anyone could ever ask for.”

Metropia has doubled its head count and internalized its construction management since Frum joined, and he’s been involved with the launch of eight development projects.

Frum said he’s been “deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of the business” and is looking forward to managing different departments and executing on projects “with what I think is the best team in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) at building condos.” 

Union City

One of those condominiums is Union City, which had the most successful launch of any project in the GTA last year after selling more than 400 of its first tower’s 440 units in the first three days of sales. It went on to sell more than 1,200 overall in three towers in less than three months.

Frum attributes Union City’s success to offering the right product in an excellent location at prices that made sense in a tough market. Union City also benefited from a “great marketing campaign” and pent-up demand for housing in the Unionville area of Markham.

Union City is within walking distance of Markham’s new York University campus, while Bill Crothers Secondary School, a YMCA, the Markham Pan Am Centre sports facility, Pacific Mall, CF Markville, Milne Dam Conservation Park and Rouge National Urban Park are also nearby.

GO Transit and bus rapid transit stations, as well as Highways 7, 404 and 407, are also in close proximity. 

There are about 150 unsold units that were held back in the earlier launches and released on April 11. They include townhomes integrated into the base of the buildings in addition to one- to three-bedroom units and penthouses.

The 36-, 40- and 44-storey towers that broke ground on April 10 will be connected by an underground parkade while two of them will also share a six-storey podium. It’s expected the first will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2027 while the last should be occupied in 2028.

Union City’s second phase will be developed across the street on the south side of Enterprise Boulevard. Metropia has applied to build six multifamily towers with more than 2,000 units and is working with municipal officials to advance its plans. It will connect to the first phase by a pedestrian bridge over Enterprise Boulevard.

Metropia has also enjoyed success in the area with Union Village, a master-planned low-rise community developed in partnership with Minto. The partners have sold 700 houses and will be releasing another 500 dwellings in 2025. 

11YV and The Hill

Metropia is partners with RioCan Living and Capital Developments at 11YV, a 66-storey, 620-unit condo at 11 Yorkville Ave. Frum said there are two unsold units in the tower that’s scheduled to begin occupancy late this year.

Sweat and Tonic, a fitness centre that also provides workspaces and full-service cocktail bars and has two other Toronto locations, will lease an 18,000-square-foot space that will occupy the entire second floor. Metropia will share ground-floor commercial leasing plans in the coming months, according to Frum.

Sales for The Hill — a 50-storey, IBI Group-designed condo with well over 500 units at 1406 Yonge St., just south of St. Clair Avenue — launched last fall, but it was taken off the market after slow initial sales.

“We're taking the time to refine our product, our floor plans and our marketing materials to come out really strong when we think the market’s right,” Frum said. “We think it's an incredibly exciting project directly adjacent a transit stop.

"We love the location, we love the project and we can't wait to bring it back to the market when we think the demand is there.”

Ruo Wu recently joined Metropia as its vice-president of sales and marketing after previously holding positions at Empire Communities, Aoyuan International and, most recently, Marlin Spring Developments. Frum said he’ll play a major role in the relaunch of The Hill.

Future Metropia developments

Metropia is at various stages of pre-construction with three other Toronto developments, though it’s holding off on launching sales until it feels the timing is better.

Metropia is seeking planning approval to build a 49-storey Turner Fleischer Architects-designed condo with about 670 units at 239 Dundas St. E., west of Sherbourne Street. It will be developed in conjunction with Greybrook Realty Partners

Metropia and Capital Developments are partnering on a 46-storey Sweeny&Co Architects-designed mixed-use condo with more than 600 units at 170 Roehampton Ave., northeast of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue East.

The project will also include retail space, a child-care centre and townhouse units.

Metropia is a partner with RioCan Living on a master-planned high-rise condo and townhome community at 815 Eglinton Ave. E. It will also include commercial and institutional buildings as well as public space.

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