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Marlin Spring buys T.O.'s 8 Dawes site, adds to dev. pipeline

Marlin Spring plans a 38-storey residential tower at 8 Dawes Ave. in Toronto, a site is just acquired from Metrolinx. (Courtesy Marlin Spring)
Marlin Spring plans a 38-storey residential tower at 8 Dawes Ave. in Toronto, a site is just acquired from Metrolinx. (Courtesy Marlin Spring)

Marlin Spring’s recent acquisition of a vacant piece of Toronto development land at 8 Dawes Rd. from Metrolinx adds to its cluster in the area and an already very active development pipeline.

The Toronto-based company used its Marlin Spring Development Fund II to acquire the approximately 30,000-square-foot high-rise, transit-oriented, mixed-use development site in the Danforth Village neighbourhood for an undisclosed price. 

Marlin Spring Developments vice-president of land development and acquisitions John Josephson told RENX it was a competitive process with interest from several bidders.

“It's a vacant property that Metrolinx was using for construction staging,” Josephson said.

Plans for 8 Dawes Rd.

The plan is to build a 38-storey condominium with 399 units, indoor and outdoor amenities, parking for 126 cars and 450 bicycles, a minor retail component and a small park. Marlin Spring is in the middle of the approvals process for the project, which may also include an affordable rental housing component.

“We'll do what we can do to make it a complete community,” said Pedro Lopes, who was recently promoted to Marlin Spring Developments’ chief executive officer after spending the past 39 months as senior vice-president of development.

“We think that this is the perfect location to intensify.” 

The property is a few minutes walk from the Main Street subway station, Danforth GO Transit station and the TTC's 506 streetcar route. Schools, parks, Ted Reeve Community Arena, restaurants, major grocery stores and other local and national retailers are also within walking distance.

Lopes told RENX he would like to have all approvals for 8 Dawes in place by the end of the year and then begin sales and construction as soon as market conditions dictate.

Other Marlin Spring projects in the area

Marlin Spring knows the surrounding area well as it has other condo projects in, and close to, Danforth Village:

    •    Canvas Condos, an eight-storey, 166-unit building at 2301 Danforth Ave. that was completed in 2020; 
    •    WestBeach, a six-storey, 89-unit building at 1630 Queen St. E. that was completed in 2021; 
    •    The Dawes, a development at 10-30 Dawes Rd. that recently recorded enough sales for construction to begin; 
    •    and a proposed 316-unit project a bit farther west at 5-19 Cosburn Ave. that’s in the planning and approvals stage.

The Dawes will have 38- and 25-storey towers and include 432 units in its first phase (636 units in both phases). It will incorporate a small park and a heritage building that will be retrofitted to become a 12,000-square-foot daycare facility that will be conveyed to the City of Toronto.

Marlin Spring has a roster of 22 active projects in the Greater Toronto Area encompassing approximately 10,000 units — including low-, mid- and high-rise buildings — at various stages of the development cycle.

“Our projects are in nodes that we know well, that we've become familiar with, and where we have good relationships with the community, the councillor and staff,” Lopes said.

South Etobicoke developments

Pedro Lopes, Marlin Spring Developments’ chief executive officer. (Courtesy Marlin Spring)
Pedro Lopes, Marlin Spring Developments’ chief executive officer. (Courtesy Marlin Spring)

One of Marlin Spring’s development clusters is in south Etobicoke, where it has several projects.

The Tailor is a 10-storey, 140-unit condo at 1197 The Queensway. Its units are all sold and it’s nearing the end of construction, with first occupancy expected in June or July.

Approval has been granted for a 284-unit condo, in partnership with Greybrook, at 1045-1049 The Queensway.

“We're currently in the process of refining the building design and putting a sales and marketing strategy together, and we want to be ready to go to market . . . as soon as the market permits,” said Lopes. 

Curio is an 11-storey, 146-unit condo at 801 The Queensway that will be developed with DAMAC Properties. It’s close to achieving the sales threshold needed to get construction financing into place.

Marlin Spring and Greybrook are proposing a three-tower development near The Queensway and St. Lawrence Avenue.

An application has been submitted for a 12-storey condo near Dundas Street West and Royal York Road.

A 59-storey condo with approximately 650 units and three levels of underground parking is close to approval for 2189 Lake Shore Boulevard W., near Park Lawn Road, which is currently the site of a gas station.

It’s hoped that a 36- and 20-storey condo project at the northwest corner of Windermere Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard West, a site acquired from CreateTO, will go to market this year. It will include 61 affordable housing units.

St. Clair Avenue West developments

Marlin Spring has also been active around St. Clair Avenue West, including the 10-storey, 242-unit Stockyards District Residences at 2306 St. Clair Ave. W. The development is a partnership with Greybrook and is now fully occupied.

Two 11-storey buildings with a combined 511 units are proposed for across the street from that site at 2255-2283 St. Clair Ave. W.

There’s also a 12-storey, 276-unit condo pending approval for 2231 St. Clair Ave. W. It’s another partnership with Greybrook.

To the south, sales are underway for the 26-storey 316 Junction Condos on the former site of 10 single-family homes extending from 316 to 336 Campbell Ave. It will have approximately 300 units and construction is expected to start late this year or early in 2024.

A little bit farther south is House of Assembly, a 16-storey, 256-unit partnership with Greybrook that’s under construction at 158 Sterling Rd. Approvals are pending for two more condos totalling 390 units at the same site.  

Other high-rise condo developments

Marlin Spring and RioCan Living are partnering on the 24-storey, 577-unit Above Condos. Sales are well underway for the mixed-use project that will transform the 2.43-acre, 27-store Sandalwood Square Shopping Centre site at Bristol Road East and Hurontario Street in Mississauga. It’s hoped that construction can begin before the end of the year.

Marlin Spring is proposing two high-rise condos with 823 units, commercial space at grade and underground parking at 2500 Don Mills Rd. The project is in the planning and approvals stage.

Suburban low-rise developments

Marlin Spring is also developing four low-rise projects. 

The 212-unit Symphony Towns at 250 Harmony Rd. in Oshawa is sold-out and under construction, with about half the homes already occupied.

Archetto is a sold-out 91-unit townhome project being built at 4433-4477 Major Mackenzie Dr. W. in Woodbridge.

Ivylea is a 422-unit townhome project at 1521 19th Ave. in Richmond Hill that will be built in phases. Servicing of the site was just completed and vertical construction is just starting.

Marlin Spring is moving towards the end of the approvals process to build single-family homes, semi-detached homes and townhomes at Nash Road and Hancock Road in Courtice. Sales should begin later this year or next year, depending on the market.

Condo sales are coming back

Marlin Spring is a fully integrated real estate company that acquires, develops, constructs and repositions assets throughout North America, which Lopes thinks gives it an edge over some competitors.

“We're seeing and dealing firsthand with challenges, identifying opportunities, and then taking those lessons learned and using them to improve our processes,” he said. 

“We're dealing with trades directly and we're dealing with suppliers directly. We're seeing what the issues are live through our projects and we're able to take that live knowledge and prepare ourselves accordingly to be able to pivot when we have to.”

Lopes hopes the condo market is coming out of a volatile period of labour shortages, supply chain interruptions, rising interest rates and inflation. These factors have disrupted schedules, driven up costs and curbed consumer purchasing.

There have been recent signs of increased activity with resale condos, according to Lopes, and he believes that’s starting to carry over into the pre-construction market. Demand is outpacing supply and immigration is increasing, which bodes well for developers.

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