'Micro-condos' make their Toronto debut

Smart House CondoSmall is beautiful. Less is more. Those pithy sayings have been around for decades, but a pair of Toronto developers is taking them to heart.

Urban Capital and Malibu Investments Inc. are developing a downtown Toronto building of “micro-condos” in which they propose to “eliminate wasteful space and streamline living.”

“Smart House” will feature micro-condos of approximately 300 square feet, according to a number of news reports, starting at $249,000. The developers are billing the condos as “small by design, and by clever design, made to feel larger too.”

Canadian Architect magazine reports the 25-storey building will contain 241 residential suites as well as two floors of retail space and two floors of office space. Occupancy is expected in 2017. 

To educate potential consumers, Urban Capital summons up other iconic images such as “small and mighty” Napoleon; the Swiss Army knife’s clever utility found in a compact package; and the style of the Mini automobile.

Just move in

But behind all the clever branding are some fairly slick ideas. No furniture? No problem. Just move in.

Condos can be configured to contain sofas that convert into beds and which have built-in storage. Urban Capital says, “living and dining room furniture (is) chosen to fit like a glove.”

Kitchens feature extra-deep counter space with fully retractable countertops; a kitchen island/dining room combo; and space-saving appliances such as a combination convention oven and microwave.

In the washrooms, condo owners will find such space savers as an integrated sink and vanity; a wall niche in what otherwise might be empty pipe space; and a custom-designed shower with a frameless glass door.

Nor are these condos simply “smart” because of their dimensions. Owners will receive a custom application that will allow them to remotely control their lighting, interior temperature and ventilation, blinds, in-suite alarm, music and more. 

Since 1996, Urban Capital has built 2,500 condo units with another 1,200 on the way, for a total of almost $2 billion in development. The company has since begun to add retail and office to its developments and has expanded to include work in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

Glasshouse, Southport in the works

Among the company’s current projects is Glasshouse, a 160-unit residential tower slated for Winnipeg that will include a hotel, two restaurants and 100,000 square feet of class A office space; as well as the Southport six-storey condo development on Halifax’s waterfront.

Malibu Investments has built and/or has under construction approximately 4,000 residential condo suites. Its current projects include Tableau Condominiums, a 36-storey Toronto building that will offer 410 residential suites and 25,000 square feet of office space and retail; and Gramercy Park, a “condominium community.”

MarketVision, a Toronto condominium marketing firm, is aiding Urban Capital and Malibu on the Smart House project. MarketVision specializes in land valuation and sales, product design concepts and advertising communication strategies. 

The company is currently working on a number of large condo projects in the GTA, including the 17-storey King + boutique condos; the three-tower condo and townhouse project One Valhalla in Etobicoke; and the 11-storey Art Condos in Toronto.


A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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