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Trulife Developments an ambitious newcomer in GTA

Trulife Developments might have only one completed project to its credit, but it will soon launch...

IMAGE: 8188 Yonge is one of Trulife's first development projects. It's in partnership with Constantine Enterprises. (Courtesy Trulife)

8188 Yonge in Toronto is one of Trulife Developments’ first major “A-to-Z” projects. It’s in partnership with Constantine Enterprises. (Courtesy Trulife)

Trulife Developments might have only one completed project to its credit, but it will soon launch sales for a joint venture condominium and has ambitious plans for other developments at various stages in its pipeline.

“We’re fairly new as far as taking projects from A to Z, however we’ve done development work in the background of a lot of projects in the past 10 years,” sales and marketing president Freddy Mak told RENX. “It’s been mostly on the financial side.”

Richmond Hill-based Trulife is led by:

* founder and president Jing Tang, a former senior bank investment advisor who went on to work in finance in the technology sector before moving into real estate;

* partner and chief executive officer David Chau, who worked in sales and insurance before turning to real estate and construction;

* and Mak, who got his start in the financial industry before founding TRACE Property Group — which handles land acquisition, development management, marketing strategies and sales — and heading Ferrow Real Estate Inc.

“Trulife is a partnership between Jing, David and myself, with the intent of creating communities and not just buildings,” said Mak.

Trulife’s completed building is the 80-unit, mixed-use Solstice 2 student residence in Guelph, just west of Toronto. It was a joint venture with Waterloo-based HIP Developments under its subsidiary company, JDT Development Inc.

Constantine Enterprises partnership

“We’ve never branded ourselves,” said Mak, who’s excited the company’s current focus is a co-branded Trulife development with Toronto’s Constantine Enterprises Inc.

The 8188 Yonge St. condo is in Thornhill, in the Highway 407-Highway 404 area.

Mak said he’s had a long relationship with Constantine co-founders Robert Hiscox and Edward Rogers, who established the company in November 2013.

The two companies’ principles are aligned, Mak said, and they had talked about partnering on a project. So, when the 8188 Yonge development came along, it seemed like a good project to work on together.

“I love what they’ve been trying to do over the past few years, to create their own brand and their own development company,” said Mak.

8188 Yonge condo

IMAGE: Freddy Mak, sales and marketing vice-president at Trulife Developments. (Courtesy Trulife)

Freddy Mak, sales and marketing president at Trulife Developments. (Courtesy Trulife)

The 8188 Yonge project will be the first condo in the prestigious Uplands neighbourhood, where Mak said single-family house prices average $3 million and up. It’s located just south of Highways 7 and 407 and the Langstaff GO Transit station, as well as a four-minute walk away from the site of a proposed new subway station. There are also several schools in the area.

The 10-storey condo will have 282 residential units, ranging in size from one bedroom to three bedrooms plus den, with a retail component at grade. Among the units will be: 10 penthouse suites with rooftop terraces; six loft suites with private access at grade; and seven two-storey townhouses with private patios.

The suites will offer three different, customizable balcony design packages that come furnished and with a choice of lighting, flooring and accessories. Suites facing the south and west will overlook the Uplands Golf & Ski Club.

The property will feature 30,000 square feet of outdoor amenity space, which will include: a yoga area; a private park; a dog park; a swimming pool with cabanas and sun decks; a children’s play area; seating; and a 200-foot “infinity walkway” that allows people to go from Yonge Street through the building to a lighted path through the park.

“That’s extremely rare for a single-tower project,” said Mak. “You usually see that for complexes or multi-tower phased projects.”

The development will have two parking levels with 263 residential spaces plus visitor spaces. Each unit gets its own storage locker.

Prices will start in the upper $400,000s and go up to about $1.5 million. Sales will start early this fall and will feature:

* a 60-minute virtual technology experience;

* a 3D view of the building and interiors;

* interactive finishing aspects;

* and virtual agent communication that will enable purchasers to close deals digitally.

Trulife’s growth strategy

Trulife’s goal is to vertically integrate the development process, according to Mak.

“We’d like to take things from land bank right through to sales and marketing. We currently have a strong enough team to do so.”

Mak said Trulife’s “comfort zone” is developing two projects a year. It’s targeting the launch of 4,000 units over the next 36 months.

“We’re quite aggressive in our land acquisition right now,” said Mak. “I think it’s a good period to be doing so, and we plan to catapult from there.

“We always make sure we’re not over-leveraged and we never bite off more than we can chew.”

Trulife is self-financed and works with a variety of lenders. Mak said Constantine carefully vetted the company before partnering with it and was satisfied with what it found.

Other Trulife developments

The Summit is a 175-unit development in Huntsville in Ontario’s Muskoka region, which Mak expects to come to market in a couple of months.

It will feature townhouses as well as stacked flat- and peak-roofed townhouses ranging in size from 915 to 2,200 square feet.

Inside amenities will include a private club with a fireplace, lounge, pool table, theatre, spa and party room.

Outdoor amenities will include a private beach and dock on Fairy Lake as well as gas fire pits, barbecues, community dining areas, an outdoor meditation space and a yoga area.

Trulife has a number of other projects at various stages in its development pipeline in the Greater Toronto Area.

It’s proposing a mixed-use, 110-unit luxury stacked townhouse development in North York. The pipeline also includes the nine-storey Lakeshore West mixed-use condo in Etobicoke, which is well-located for transportation purposes.

Trulife is in the early stages of planning a mixed-use, townhome and mid-rise building development in Ajax.

Trulife has proposed a three-tower high-rise project at 3555 Highway 7, near Warden Avenue in Markham, which would include residential and commercial elements in each building.

Mak would like to launch the project within a couple of years.

That same time frame is also envisioned for a proposed mid-rise condo at 105 Sheppard Ave. E., just east of Yonge Street, in North York.

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