It’s now confirmed that a Whole Foods store will be going into the Hullmark Centre our mixed-use project that sits above two subway stations at the intersection of Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue in North York.
The Whole Foods move reflects a trend that brings downtown lifestyle uptown and even north of highway 401. Pusateri’s, Toronto’s most elegant grocery store, is now on Avenue Road north of Lawrence, Oliver and Bonacini café & grill is in Bayview Village next door to our Arc Condominiums, and the Shops at Don Mills, which bills itself as “Ontario’s first and finest outdoor lifestyle centre with best in class stores, restaurants and services in an open-air setting surrounding a lovely Town Square,” boasts chef Marc McEwan’s new gourmet market.
As areas north of the city core fill in with mixed-use communities, they are attracting sophisticated shopping and amenities that allow are residents to remain in their communities on a daily basis, reducing the need to travel downtown.
When you create a self-sustaining neighbourhood, you create a node. When several nodes develop along an area, you need transit sites, Light Rail Transit and arterial roads to link these nodes. But in the case of areas surrounding Toronto, the transit is already going to be there. Kirkor is directing our (developer) clients to seek out greyfield sites, in areas where the urban growth is going, where the transport is heading.
Check out a number of case studies from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, showing successful greyfield residential redevelopment projects in Brantford, Markham, Burlington and across Ontario.
York Region is considering renaming Highway 7 as Avenue 7. This renaming, though controversial, is significant because it reflects the fact that the area is becoming more livable, it’s becoming a neighbourhood.
Intensification will apply best in core areas, where there are major transit lines, major arteries. We prefer not to spend money building new roads, so the idea is to reduce the need to drive the car as much as possible. Communities that are based on pedestrians are seen as safer and more holistic. This is what we are trying to achieve.
Toronto is a great city. We are a leader, urbanistically, in terms of planning, quality of construction and finance. We have great marketing companies and architectural firms. Globally, we are a smaller market and because of this, many firms seem to have recovered well from last year’s economic downturn. The reason for this is that smaller markets go through cycles faster than the bigger markets. Read Canada’s construction outlook according to Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at CanaData, the forecasting and statistics-gathering arm of Reed Construction Data. He expects national office building stats to return to a place between their 2007 and 2009 numbers – around 10.0 million square feet.
Working in a smaller market you have to be willing to go the distance with clients, communicating clearly and offering excellent service – even before you win a job, something that we place particular value on, even when we build in much larger markets. We won our Reno project which is a vibrant, transit supportive and mixed-use community that combines retail, office, hospitality and residential, when Cliff got on a plane and went down to see them. They had interviewed some major US firms, but it was our emphasis on superb client relations that won the day.
Project: Boulevard South, Reno, Nevada USA