A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘condos

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s red-hot market sends property values soaring”

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The Toronto Star‘s Tess Kalinowski describes booming property prices in Toronto. If this is not a bubble–if this is the new normal–then I worry.

Toronto’s blistering housing market has prompted a 30 per cent jump in residential property values over the last four years, according to the company that assesses real estate in the province.

City homeowners will receive assessment notices — their first since 2012 — from the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. (MPAC) beginning next week showing a 7.5 per cent annual increase in their property values.

That’s well above the 4.5 per cent provincial average, but lower than the double-digit increases in some 905-area communities such as Richmond Hill and Markham.

The average assessed value for a single-family detached home in Toronto is $770,000, up about $200,000 on average from the last assessment in 2012. Toronto condo values increased 2.9 per cent on average to $363,000, about $35,000 higher than four years ago.

Although assessments are linked to property taxes, homeowners should not panic about a steep rise in taxes, says MPAC.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 28, 2016 at 7:22 pm

[NEWS] Some Saturday links

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  • Bloomberg notes Chinese interest in Australian housing is starting to drop, observes that Miami’s condo boom is likewise slowing down, observes rising migration to the United Kingdom, notes a stated European Union refusal to compromise the deal with Turkey, and reports about Russia’s search for export markets for its chicken.
  • Bloomberg View notes China’s problems with launching itself as a pop culture exporter, and looks at the fragmentation of the European Union’s digital markets.
  • CBC notes that apparently Mars is emerging from an ice age, and reports from the Conservative party’s national polic convention.
  • The National Post notes that, after photos of Chinese students in a mountain village climbing almost a kilometre on a ladder to get to school, this village might get stairs.
  • Open Democracy hosts an unconvincing argument that universal basic income will make recipients lonelier.
  • Urban Ghosts Media shares photos of abandoned radar stations in North America along the Arctic.
  • Universe Today wonders if there could be life on Kepler-62f.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • blogTO notes the warning of the Royal Bank of Canada that the city has too many condos.
  • D-Brief notes how patterns of glucose consumption in the brain can distinguish between people capable of consciousness and those otherwise.
  • Dangerous Minds notes the Victorian tradition of post-mortem photographs.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that, apparently, our knowledge of nearby brown dwarfs is limited.
  • The Dragon’s Tales considers the impact of close encounters with massive passing bodies on the crusts of ice moons.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the criticism of Peter Thiel, funder of attacks against Gawker, by Gawker’s founder as a comic book villain.
  • Language Log notes early efforts to promote a single standard for the Russian language in the Soviet era.
  • The Map Room Blog shares the new map of the London subway system.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog charts the sources of different countries’ immigrant populations.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the popularity of imperialism in Russia.

[URBAN NOTE] “The Trump Tower Is Up for Sale in Toronto — And It Might Lose Its Famous Name”

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VICE‘s Tamara Khandaker reports that, owing to debt and other issues, not only is Toronto’s Trump Tower up for sale, its name might be changed. I’m quite good with both, especially the latter: I want Trump’s name off of my city’s map.

As Donald Trump continues to make his ascent in US politics, having secured enough delegates to capture the Republican presidential nomination, his presence in the Toronto skyline is in danger of being erased as the owners of his namesake hotel look for someone to take the property off their hands.

The Trump International Hotel & Tower, which houses 261 hotel units and 118 condo units, has been on the market for about a year, and according to the lawyer for the real estate company that owns the building, a deal is currently in the works.

“A letter of intent has been signed, and they’re doing their due diligence,” said Symon Zucker, who represents owner of Talon International Development Inc., Alex Schnaider.

Zucker wouldn’t reveal the identity of the bidder, but says it’s surprising that efforts to sell the building, which has been marketed actively for the past while, are suddenly newsworthy.

Shnaider and Raiffeisen Bank International, which loaned his company $310 million — $260 million went into default last summer — for the construction of the 65-storey building, could also put the tower into creditor protection and terminate their contract with the Trump-owned management company that operates the hotel.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 27, 2016 at 9:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “‘Waterfront reset’ examines way to extend transit to new neighbourhoods along the lake”

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The Toronto Star‘s Ben Spurr writes about proposals to extend rapid transit networks to the booming neighbourhoods on the Toronto waterfront.

In the next 25 years, the lakeshore area south of Queen St. is expected to add nearly 280,000 residents and 190,000 new jobs.

The number of public transit projects being built along the waterfront to serve them? Zero.

It’s a future city planners hope to avoid. That’s why on Wednesday night, the city launched public consultations on the “Waterfront Transit Reset,” a joint effort between the TTC, Waterfront Toronto and the city planning office to jump-start transportation expansion along the lake.

Consultation documents obtained by the Star in advance of their release online show the options being considered include an LRT in its own right-of-way on Lake Shore Blvd. West and a pedestrian tunnel from Queens Quay to Union Station that could include underground bike lanes and public art.

The goal of the reset, approved by council last November, is to provide options for a continuous east-west connection to serve areas such as Liberty Village, South Etobicoke, Fort York and CityPlace, all of which have seen unprecedented waves of development in recent years but no transit to match.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 27, 2016 at 6:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] NOW Toronto on niche real estate agents

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This is fascinating. From NOW Toronto‘s Miles Kenyon:

The Toronto Real Estate Board estimates there are roughly 42,000 realtors working in the GTA. This means competition between rival agents is fierce. But with market trends and finances beyond the control of your housing representative, how are they able to set themselves apart?

Some have taken to moving beyond the noise of numbers and appealing instead to their clients’ sexual orientations, specialized needs and even spiritual beliefs.

For instance:

The Christian

What would Jesus do? Given today’s economy, he might sell condos. Scott Benson isn’t really sure but he does think he’s trying his best to blend his religious beliefs with Toronto’s housing market.

“I have the willingness to try and do real estate in a way that is true to the Christian principles,” the 35-year-old agent says. He thinks that clients seek him out because they’re looking for someone who will handle the biggest purchase of their lives while adhering to particular values. However, sometimes these guiding principles clash with traditional businesses practices.

Benson offers this recent example: in one transaction, he represented both the buyer and seller of a property. Appliances were supposed to be included in the sale, but when the buyer went to move in, they discovered the washer and dryer were missing. After double-checking the paperwork and finding that the seller was in the wrong, he attempted to mediate the situation instead of getting lawyers involved. But an agreement couldn’t be met, so he simply purchased new appliances to settle the disagreement himself.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 24, 2016 at 8:45 pm

[PHOTO] Facades across Yonge Street in the condo era

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Facade across the street #toronto #yongestreet #condos #facade #aroma

These two buildings, currently housing most of an Aroma coffee shop are part of the Five St. Joseph condo project at Yonge and St. Joseph. I remember when these two buildings, and more further down the street to left, were functional standalone buildings. (The one on the corner housed, among other businesses, a Second Cup coffee shop.) They ended up being bought out by the Five project, added to the complex but with their facades preserved.

Richard Longley in NOW Toronto worries that this strategy towards preserving an appearance of Yonge Street’s past will do little to preserve its actuality.

Mark Garner, executive director of the Downtown Yonge BIA, is worried about “the usual Toronto facadism.” Quoted in the blog YongeStreet, he says: “The HCD is good to preserve the built heritage component, but it may not have enough teeth to protect the lived experience.”

What about the cultural experience of life on Yonge Street, the loan, vape and condom shops, fortune tellers and massage parlours that contribute so much to the strip’s anarchy? Are they doomed to succumb to gentrification?

[. . .]

FIVE condos at 5 St. Joseph gives a glimpse of Yonge’s future. It’s a huge project – a 48-storey condo tower by Hariri Pontarini Architects above nearly half a block of heritage buildings that, between 1905 and the late 60s, were occupied by Rawlinson Cartage.

Fifty years later, this site has emerged from “the largest facade retention ever undertaken in Toronto.” Supervised by ERA Heritage Architects, it involved suspension of the facade over the excavation pit until the condo tower was built to its four-storey height. Thanks to the gap required for access to underground parking (and Eldon Garnett’s sculpture Artifacts Of Memory), the setback between the FIVE condo tower and the Yonge streetwall is 30 metres, three times more than the 10 metres recommended for other parts of the Yonge Street HCD.

East of FIVE, in the shadow of its looming condo tower, the restored buildings at 606-618 Yonge accommodate a Victorianized Royal Bank and an Aroma Espresso (but so far, no pet spa) steps north of more traditional businesses: a tattoo parlour, nail salon, perfume outlet and Glad Day Bookshop.

Is it a defense to say that something is better than nothing?

Written by Randy McDonald

May 23, 2016 at 11:59 am


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