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Pinemount, Elysium JV, plan to redevelop Toronto strip mall

Estonian-based Hepsor also joins partnership; its first Canadian investment

A proposed redevelopment of 799 Sheppard Ave., in Toronto, known as Gorman Park, by Pinemount Developments. (Courtesy Pinemount)
A proposed redevelopment of 799 Sheppard Ave., in Toronto, known as Gorman Park, by Pinemount Developments. (Courtesy Pinemount)

Pinemount Developments Ltd. and Elysium Investments are planning a mixed-use condominium development for a 1.78-acre site at 3406-3434 Weston Rd. in Toronto they acquired for $19.8 million through a receivership sale brokered by Colliers in June.

The Weston Road acquisition has a limited partnership ownership structure Pinemount and Elysium jointly control. Pinemount is the lead development manager but decisions will be made by the two partners.

Pinemount is a Toronto-based real estate development and management firm focused on delivering mid- and high-rise multifamily buildings within a two-hour drive of its hometown.

Toronto-based Elysium is the real estate offshoot arm of the Minkids Group family office. It was launched by Harley Mintz, Sayf Hassan and Jamie Torpey earlier this year.

Elysium also brought in Hepsor SPV I Ltd, the Canadian subsidiary of Talinn, Estonia-based developer Hepsor AS, as an investor. This project is its first Canadian investment.

“We have been told that they’ve worked with the Elysium principals on other ventures in the Baltic,” Pinemount founder and president Eli Turkienicz told RENX.

Early plans for Weston Road site 

The Weston Road site is occupied by a fully tenanted, 19,363-square-foot single-storey commercial plaza built in 1960 that can provide holding income before redevelopment. There’s also parking for 60 vehicles.

The property is 500 metres from the future Emery stop on the 11-kilometre Finch West light rail transit line that’s under construction.

“It was an opportunity that would provide much-needed housing and it's in an area that we think is really up-and-coming with the LRT,” said Turkienicz.

“We think that higher density will really go well in that area.”

A previous development plan from 2015 had proposed an 11- or 12-storey mixed-use building with 270 residential units, retail at grade and 348 parking spaces.

There’s potential for higher density now, however, as the Ontario government has mandated the intensification of sites within major transit service areas.

The development is still in the very early stages and the first submission to the City of Toronto to get the ball rolling on the development is expected to take place within a month, so Turkienicz declined to provide details on what’s being planned. 

A Hepsor media release says two apartment buildings are planned for the site.

Icon Architects and community planning firm Bousfields Inc. are assisting in the process.

Turkienicz expects the entitlement process to take 24 to 30 months and for construction to take three to four years after that.

While the intention is the construction of a rental apartment project Pinemount and Elysium would develop, own and manage, Turkienicz said the site could potentially be taken through the entitlement process and sold to another developer if the right offer is made.

Pinemount’s launch and evolution

Turkienicz has been involved in real estate for more than 30 years as an investor and developer.

He spent two decades with Milton Turk and Sons, his father’s development company which acquired and built industrial buildings, condominiums, multi-storey office buildings, detached and semi-detached homes. 

Turkienicz branched out on his own in 2010 to expand his reach to the rental housing market. Pinemount’s first development was completed in Barrie in 2014 before it was sold.

The company has also completed projects in St. Catharines and Hamilton. 

“Right from the beginning, I saw the potential growth of purpose-built rental apartment buildings,” Turkienicz said. “So we focused strictly on purpose-built rental apartments in smaller communities.” 

The company has hundreds of units already built or in the planning stages and Turkienicz’s son and daughter are both involved with the firm, carrying on a family tradition.

Pinemount has a staff of 10 that does its own planning and pre-development work in-house while outsourcing construction. A property management division is being put together.

Guelph and North York developments

Pinemount has a number of other projects at various stages of the development cycle.

A six-storey, 110-unit apartment and townhome complex at 166 College Ave. W. in Guelph launched construction early this summer within walking distance of the city’s main university campus.

“It's not what you'd call student housing, but it will service the university in terms of students, faculty and administration,” said Turkienicz.

The building, which will have 78 underground and 55 above-ground parking spaces, is targeting occupancy in the first quarter of 2025.

It will have a 6,000-square-foot commercial component on the ground floor which Turkienicz hopes will be occupied by a day-care centre. 

Gorman Park is a proposed nine-storey, 170-unit apartment building with 12,000 square feet of commercial space at grade and 187 underground parking spots on Sheppard Avenue near Bathurst Street in North York.

Pinemount is nearing the end of the site plan approval process.

Gorman Park will include a geothermal mechanical system Turkienicz hopes will be in place this fall before excavation and shoring for the site begins early next year. Completion of the building is expected in late 2026 or early 2027.

“We are applying to CMHC under their MLI Select program for getting full points for energy efficiency within the building,” said Turkienicz.  “We’re doing the same thing on any project that we're starting.

"We’ll be looking at these types of attributes to not only get the CMHC preferential financing, but also to improve the operating efficiency of the buildings themselves.”

Hamilton and Peterborough projects

Pinemount is in the planning stages to build a nine-storey, 72-unit condominium at 600 James St. N., at the corner of Burlington Street, near the West Harbour waterfront in Hamilton.

“We were thinking of going condo with that and we're still working on that model,” Turkienicz explained, “but with the current state of the market, we're looking at all options on moving forward.

"Potentially we'd still be going to market in the spring of ’24.” 

Pinemount also just closed on the $4.5-million acquisition of a 5.5-acre vacant property at 1341 Water St. in Peterborough where it plans to develop a student housing building due to its proximity to Trent University

While the development won’t be affiliated with the university, Turkienicz said there’s a huge need for student housing in the area.

The site will be taken through the rezoning process.

While some of the site is forested and won’t be developed, Pinemount is looking to construct a building with approximately 600 beds in one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units and student lifestyle-geared amenities.

“We are constantly looking at other sites and are open to opportunities,” Turkienicz said of potential future acquisitions and developments. 

“Because higher interest rates have slowed down the market and some of the expectations on some of these sites, we're finding opportunities are a little bit more realistic now than they were maybe a year or a year-and-a-half ago.” 

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