The Hwy. 10 corridor connecting Mississauga to Brampton will be unrecognizable in just a few years’ time, thanks in part to a proposed set of sprawling towers courtesy of Stanford Homes.
The site, 200 County Court Blvd., on which Stanford’s five proposed towers would be built, is near Hwy. 407 and Steeles Avenue in Brampton. While it was tendered in August, the developer’s proposal is far from the only application the City of Brampton has received for the area.
The reason, if not the lynchpin, according to Michael Pirocchi, Stanford Homes’ high-rise development manager, is a Metrolinx project.
Named after Mississauga’s late long-time mayor, the Hazel McCallion Line will be a 19-stop LRT running up Hurontario Street, from Lakeshore Road in Mississauga’s Port Credit district up to the Brampton Gateway Terminal.
The corridor along the 18 kilometres of dedicated track is earmarked for significant densification
“There will be quite a few people and jobs going into the area,” Pirocchi told RENX.
But the LRT — which will run through Mississauga’s already tower-rich city centre — isn’t the only reason Stanford Homes is all-in on intensification.
A few highways, including the Trans-Canada Highway, are located next to Stanford Homes’ development site, which it has owned for decades.
“There are the 407 and 410 (highways), which are near the LRT, so they give people options to move around, which is great for residential, and those were some of the key factors that drove our concept of intensifying the site,” Pirocchi added.
Stanford's plans for 200 County Court
The development application — which is subject to amendment by Brampton’s planning department — would see the first tower built to 34 storeys with 384 units; the second at 22 storeys and 250 units; the third 44 storeys and 465 units; the fourth 28 storeys and 273 suites; and the fifth 40 floors high with 460 units.
The third and fourth buildings are to feature a five-storey podium holding 114 units.
The current site of Stanford’s proposed development is a single-storey retail plaza, while the surrounding area comprises office parks that were not immune to the COVID crisis.
However, the confluence of mass transit and thousands of new residents could rejuvenate the area, especially in light of Brampton’s somewhat resilient office sector.
According to data Colliers provided to RENX, Brampton’s office vacancy rate decreased from 2.6 per cent in Q2 2023 to 2.3 per cent in Q3.
Ron Jasinski, senior vice-president of Colliers’ GTA office division, said Brampton has among the GTA’s lowest office vacancy rates, and while low supply is a factor, it’s not the only one.
“It’s not an overbuilt market — never was — but we’re seeing more demand for office space in Brampton and it’s everything from government use to more traditional commercial use,” Jasinski said.
“The LRT will obviously be a benefit.
"There’s a more cost-effective manner, so from my perspective I do think the Brampton market has development potential.”
Jasinski is bullish on Brampton’s office sector because there was an overcorrection in the GTA which he said was exacerbated by sweeping remote work configurations and a subsequently tepid pace of reversal.
The obvious consequence has been downsizing, but Jasinski believes the COVID-induced disruption is ultimately an aberration.
“As employees come back to the office, there won’t be sufficient space in one facility,” he said.
“Suburban markets where there’s opportunity to take advantage of lower-cost residential and cost-effective housing, and with good public transit, are really critical to office development.
“I don’t think we’re there yet, but as those vacancies get taken up, and as workers come back to the office, we’ll see those vacancies come down relatively quickly and there will be more demand for efficient, modern office space that meet what tenants need today.”
The future is vertical
Stanford Homes is among countless developers that understand the future is vertical, not horizontal.
The 18-year-old Places to Grow Act is the impetus for Ontario’s swivel toward intensification, and considering the exorbitant costs affixed to low-rise housing inventory, developers are looking skyward.
“Stanford has historically developed quite a few residential buildings, decades ago, and from that point of view (we) pivoted and did quite a bit of low-rise work over the past few years, but we’ve aimed at getting back to high-rise residential,” Pirocchi said.
To that end, Stanford Homes has five other projects on the go, four in Toronto and one in Mississauga, in various stages of development.
The emphasis on greater high-rise development is a business strategy influenced by federal policies that have increased how many permanent residents, non-resident permit workers and international students enter the country every year.
Canada’s population broke 40 million in July owing to record immigration quotas despite Canada’s pronounced housing shortage. That should make building more high-rise projects low-risk gambits.
The solution is to build as many units of housing, whether to rent or own, as quickly as possible, and tall, dense towers is how that will be done.
Moreover, with the passage of Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act — legislated to ensure 1.5 million new homes are built in Ontario by 2031, including 113,000 in Brampton — municipal planning departments are more amendable than ever to density.
“That’s a huge driving factor, immigration is huge,” Pirocchi said. “We just don’t have supply and housing costs have been driven up quite a bit and that’s largely due to not having enough housing.”
Such conditions are propitious for the building industry.
“We are looking for more sites,” Pirocchi continued. “We have quite a few on the go and we are looking at a couple of different things.”