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State Building Group hunts, finds GTA condo development sites

Company's current pipeline includes about 4,000 condominium units – and it wants more

Southport in Swansea, a two-tower condo development by State Building Group in Toronto.
Southport in Swansea, a two-tower condo development by State Building Group in Toronto.

State Building Group has owned, developed and managed a large portfolio of residential and commercial properties over the past 60-plus years. Part of its more recent focus has been on acquiring prime Toronto high-rise condominium development sites.

“We focused primarily in the past on low-rise, but over the last eight to 10 years or so we saw a changing market and jumped on the opportunity,” State principal Tamar Zagdanski told RENX. “We've been strategically acquiring high-rise sites.”

The Toronto-based company’s previous condo developments include 609 Avenue Road (in partnership with Madison Group) in Forest Hill, Hillside at York Mills in Hogg’s Hollow and Promenade Park and Residences of Townsgate in suburban Thornhill. 

As State continues to expand its pipeline, the family-owned firm expects to add more than 4,000 condo units in Toronto in the coming years.

Southport in Swansea

The most recent project, which officially broke ground on Oct. 18, is the first of two Richmond Architects-designed 29- and 27-storey Southport in Swansea towers. Sales for the first building launched in May 2022 and pricing is now around $1,400 per square foot.

“Sales were great and we decided that now's the time to break ground so that we can deliver our product when we promised to deliver it,” Zagdanski said. 

Interest rate increases throughout last year and this year haven’t had a major impact on sales, according to Zagdanski, and she’s hopeful that will also be the case when units in the second building go on sale in 2024.

Southport in Swansea’s two towers will combine to include 691 one-, two-, and three-bedroom open-concept units designed by Tomas Pearce.

Ranging from approximately 400 to 900 square feet, they'll feature large windows and balconies with views of the city skyline and Lake Ontario.

Southport in Swansea will provide 30,000 square feet of amenity spaces, including a landscaped outdoor terrace and open-air pool on the fifth floor, as well as a green-screen content studio, an athletic centre, parking and more.

There will also be 12,000 square feet of retail space at grade. Zagdanski said State has been in talks with potential tenants and she’s hoping to get a small grocer involved, but nothing has been confirmed.

The first tower is scheduled for completion in Q1 2027.

Swansea location a walkable district

Southport in Swansea will be on the site of a now-demolished strip mall just north of The Queensway and south of Bloor West Village. The property has been vacant for eight years.

It's within 10-minute walks of Lake Ontario, the Humber River and High Park, and also provides easy access to the shops, restaurants and other amenities of Bloor West Village.

“It's hard today in the City of Toronto to be walking distance from such amazing green space, as well as the water and amazing shopping,” Zagdanski said. “It really was a location, location, location project.” 

Other Toronto condo projects in the pipeline

State has three other high-rise condo developments in its near-term pipeline.

It owns a three-acre site at 400 Front St. W., across the street from The Well, where it intends to build 1.5 million square feet of residential and 100,000 square feet of retail space in three towers, with a park in the centre.

Zoning approval is in place and sales should launch in 2025.

A 450-unit condo tower is planned at 316 Bloor St. W., at the corner of Madison Avenue, on the border of The Annex and Yorkville neighbourhoods.

It will offer residents access to two Toronto Transit Commission subway lines, the Spadina streetcar and a variety of amenities.

Zagdanski said all approvals are essentially in place and sales should launch in 2024. The existing two-storey building will be demolished to make room for a condo that will include bachelor, one- and two-bedroom units expected to be in the 350- to 850-square-foot range.

A 545-unit condo at 55 Eglinton Ave. E., near Yonge Street, will provide easy access to the Yonge-University subway line and the future Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit line.

The existing office building on the site will be demolished, but the new mixed-use tower will have an office replacement component as well as retail at grade. Approvals are in the works and sales are expected to begin in 2025.

Low-rise, commercial and U.S. activity

Zagdanski said State continues to seek acquisition opportunities for Toronto high-rise development sites for projects beyond the next two years.

State also remains active in developing master-planned low-rise communities in the Greater Toronto Area and recently completed Bridle Path of Thornhill in Vaughan and Jefferson Forest in Richmond Hill. 

It’s selling homes at Terrace Park Towns in Cornell Rouge and will soon launch sales for Union Glen at Kennedy Road and Major Mackenzie Drive in Markham.

State has completed more than 50 residential developments over its history and Zagdanski expects the company to build about 1,000 single-family homes over the next two to three years.

State also manages more than two million square feet of commercial space but isn’t looking to develop more at this point beyond the mixed-use components of its condos.

In addition to its activity in the GTA and overseeing a portfolio of commercial buildings in London, Ont., State is also busy south of the border with projects in New York City, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, Utah.

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