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Tricon, Kilmer get Toronto's Housing Now initiative off the ground

Firms begin building 5207 Dundas St. W.; 725 housing units at former Etobicoke Six-Points intersection

A rendering of the 5207 Dundas St. W., development by Tricon Residential and Kilmer Group in Toronto. It is the first to begin construction under the city's Housing Now initiative. (Courtesy Tricon Residential)
A rendering of the 5207 Dundas St. W., development by Tricon Residential and Kilmer Group in Toronto. It is the first to begin construction under the city's Housing Now initiative. (Courtesy Tricon Residential)

Tricon Residential Inc. and Kilmer Group have broken ground on the first Housing Now project to move forward since the initiative was approved in January 2019.

Housing Now is a program to utilize City of Toronto-owned lands to stimulate the development of affordable rental housing within transit-oriented, mixed-income, mixed-use and complete communities.

“We're certainly proud to be the first Housing Now project to start construction,” Tricon managing director Andrew Joyner told RENX. “It was also the latest land parcel to be released.” 

The city had issued a request for proposals to develop the site at 5207 Dundas St. W. in 2020. The Tricon and Kilmer partnership was selected following a competitive bidding process.

“I think the track record of delivering large-scale rental communities in partnership with all levels of government put us in good standing and ultimately helped us be selected for the 5207 Dundas opportunity,” Joyner said.

“We've partnered on previous large-scale city-building projects and work well together and are city builders focused on adding much-needed rental supply to the City of Toronto, and we’re proud to be part of the solution.

"We're organizations with shared values and it made sense to partner again.” 

Mix of market and affordable rental units

The two Toronto companies are equal partners and will co-own and co-develop 5207 Dundas St. W.

It will include 507 market rental units and 218 affordable rental units in 29- and 25-storey towers along with two-storey townhouses. The project surrounds a central outdoor courtyard area and public spaces.

Tricon will operate the rental units once the building is completed.

Rents for the affordable homes will range from 40 to 100 per cent of the average market rent.

“The way that the city is able to attract the development community to partner with it is through providing property tax relief on the affordable units during the period of affordability as well as exempting development charges on the affordable units,” Joyner explained. 

“We also partner with CMHC through its rental construction financing initiative as a lender on these projects.

"Our CFI program provisions for 10-year fixed-rate financing, which gives developers certainty — which is quite important in this volatile interest rate environment — on what the long-term financing costs will be.”

What 5207 Dundas St. W. will offer

The development will include a mix of unit types from one to four bedrooms. Joyner said they’ll be five to 10 per cent larger than comparable condominium units since they’re being built for end-users and not investors.

Amenities will include:

  • Club Apex, comprised of a large-scale commercial gym with fitness-on-demand programming, a yoga studio and a spin studio;
  • The Cove, an outdoor pool and wellness facility;
  • The Node co-working space;
  • a large landscaped courtyard;
  • interior storage for 741 bicycles;
  • and 199 vehicle parking spaces since the site is easily accessible to public transit.

A small retail component will provide amenities and services to support residents’ needs and there will be public spaces for community gatherings and events. 

Design team and environmental initiatives

Vancouver-based Henriquez Partners Architects, which is also involved in Toronto’s Mirvish Village, is the lead design architect for 5207 Dundas St. W. 

The developers are also working with Hamilton-based Smoke Architecture to add an Indigenous perspective. 

Montreal-based CCxA (formerly Claude Cormier + Associés) is the lead landscape design architect.

The development will support the City of Toronto’s climate action objectives and target Toronto Green Standard Version 3, Tier 3, with a zero-carbon certification.

Joyner is also hoping to connect with Enwave’s future district energy geothermal system for the area.

The goal is to complete the building in four years.

“We're one of the most active, if not the most active, rental developers,” Joyner noted. “I think these large-scale city-building projects are ones that we're incredibly proud of. 

“It means a lot to us to continue to be a partner of choice of the government and be selected to do these. They're large, they're complicated, but they're exactly what the city needs, so it's a joy to be a part of them.” 

More rental housing coming to neighbourhood

The city has invested $77 million to decommission the former Six Points Interchange in Etobicoke and replace it with a new network of streets that will unlock nearly 18 acres of land and create seven blocks for redevelopment. 

The 5207 Dundas St. W. site is one of five blocks identified for additional rental housing development through Housing Now.

The five development blocks will include at least 2,781 residential homes, 904 of which will be affordable rentals.

“Kilmer and Tricon are very much excited about the opportunity to continue to add rental stock to this area,” said Joyner.

“We're definitely interested in continuing to partner with the city and I think this location will continue to become a great neighbourhood.” 

Other blocks include space for the proposed Etobicoke Civic Centre, a Toronto Public Library branch and parks.

Housing Now

Housing Now aims to deliver 10,000 affordable rental homes by 2030.

Toronto council has allocated 21 transit-oriented sites and committed more than $1.3 billion in land value, capital funding and financial incentives to Housing Now.

Ten sites have been rezoned and market offerings have been completed for six of them. 

Construction at two other shovel-ready sites at 50 Wilson Heights Blvd. and 140 Merton St. is expected to begin before the end of this year.

“Purpose-built rental housing is foundational to a well-functioning and livable city, and we need significantly more rental housing,” Joyner said.

“Our goal is to be part of the solution by increasing the supply of high-quality, professionally managed, purpose-built rental communities that put people first.”

Canary Landing

Tricon, Kilmer and Dream Unlimited Corp. are also partners in Canary Landing, a 12-acre community of 2,300 rental units on Cherry Street.

Thirty per cent of the units will be dedicated as affordable housing and 25 per cent will be barrier-free.

Canary Landing will include eight mixed-use buildings built in four phases and spanning four city blocks. It will also include 30,000 square feet of retail and a 5,000 square-foot-community space.

Maple House, the first three-tower, 770-unit phase of Canary Landing, has launched. It features one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and one- and two-bedroom townhomes.

Tricon Residential is an owner and operator of a growing portfolio of approximately 37,000 rental homes in the United States and Canada.

Kilmer Group is the privately held Toronto-based investment holding company of Larry Tanenbaum. It’s been involved in the development of more than 12,000 homes.

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