11YV Condos – Interview with Amanda Milborne-Ireland & Lee Koutsaris
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11YV Condos – A World Renowned Address: Transcript
Roy Bhandari: Hi, everybody. My name is Roy Bhandari and today we are joined by Lee Koutsaris and Amanda Milborne Ireland, the VP in Sales and Marketing of Capital Developments and Metropia. Today we’re here to introduce a very, very, very special project, a very special address, and that’s 11YV Condos at 11 Yorkville. Thank you very, very much for taking the time to speak to us and helping us learn more about this address.
Obviously, we’re going to talk a lot about 11 Yorkville, but before we speak specifically about the building, one of the most important pieces of the investment puzzle today is the developer. I would say when you look at the development team of 11 Yorkville, it is an all-star team, like NBA All-Star. This is the condo all-star team of development.
Amanda Milborne: Awesome.
Roy Bhandari: You’ve got RioCan, you’ve got Metropia and you’ve got Capital Development. I want you guys to tell us a little bit about, let’s start with RioCan, because they’re not in the room. Tell us a little bit about RioCan, for anybody who may not be aware of who RioCan are.
Amanda Milborne: Absolutely. RioCan is the third largest REIT in North America, the largest REIT in Canada and is run by Edward Sonshine, so the preeminent visionary when it comes to retail in Toronto, or in Canada really as a whole. We will have over 40,000 square foot of retail in this building that will be owned and operated by RioCan Living, and that’s one of the highlighting features of this project.
Roy Bhandari: Amazing. Talk to us a little bit about … Why don’t you carry on with Capital Developments and how you came into the market and what you’ve done over the last few years? Because you’ve had a very, very impressive run over the last few years.
Amanda Milborne: Absolutely. Capital Developments, we have over $5 billion of projects under development currently. We’ve done 15 towers that we have under development. Our co-founders, Jordan Dermer and Todd Cowan, got their start in Central Europe in the early ’90s or late ’90s and 2000s, and then exited Europe and came back to Toronto about 10 years ago to invest in triple A transit-oriented developments in Toronto. We’ve partnered with Metropia and RioCan Living on E2 Condos-
Roy Bhandari: I was going to mention that.
Amanda Milborne: … on Bloor & Dufferin and now on 11 Yorkville. We’re so excited about the partnership, because we have such like-minded development ethos with our focus on integrity, our focus on trust and relationships, with a really, really strong focus on customer care.
Roy Bhandari: Awesome. And Metropia, been in the business for decades, so give us a rundown of of Metropia.
Lee Koutsaris: Howard Sokolowski is the founder of Metropia and I guess he’s most well-known for when he start Tribute Communities. He built over 30,000 homes while he was there, and 10 years ago he started Metropia. Since then, he’s built a portfolio of about 18 projects where he’s had his towers at Yonge & Sheppard completed, Yonge & Eglinton E Condos is now completed. He’s [crosstalk 00:02:59]-
Roy Bhandari: We invested in E Condos. We own a couple of units there.
Lee Koutsaris: You’ve seen the level of construction-
Roy Bhandari: Very, very good, yeah. Excellent.
Lee Koutsaris: … and the amenities, that pool deck-
Roy Bhandari: [crosstalk 00:03:05]-
Lee Koutsaris: … the lobby. It’s stunning. We’re just so happy with how that all turned out. We have lots of exciting sites in the pipeline to come. And again, Howard’s big thing is his integrity comes from the quality construction. Our customers are always happy with Metropia. He wants them to be able to feel that when they call someone they’re going to get an answer and there’s always somebody to call for anything.
Roy Bhandari: That’s great to hear. We always hammer on who the developer is, and in today’s climate, we know that’s more important than ever. You touched on the integrity. When you’ve got builders walking away from sites, it’s very, very important that you’re working with builders who are committed to delivering what they say they deliver.
Lee Koutsaris: Yeah, and-
Amanda Milborne: Very important.
Lee Koutsaris: … Yeah, and I say when RioCan, Metropia and Capital Developments have put their name behind a project and they’re supporting that project, an example of the integrity the three companies have is the site is now zoned and approved and ready to go.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent. Amazing.
Lee Koutsaris: So they made a corporate-
Roy Bhandari: You said that very quickly and glossed over it, but …
Lee Koutsaris: It’s a big deal.
Amanda Milborne: Yeah. We’ll say that again just so you catch it. We’re 100% zoned and approved on this site, which eliminates risk for both you and your clients as you’re purchasing, because this is a high level, high price tag of investment and we don’t want to have a blighted project on our track records. We really believe that we’re going to build anything that we come out with.
Roy Bhandari: Amazing.
Lee Koutsaris: Exactly.
Roy Bhandari: I want to switch gears now and talk about … Before we talk about Yorkville and the amazing address, I do want to talk about Toronto a little bit. Toronto is going through this incredible, incredible run of growth. The development level is increasing every year. The demand to come into Toronto is increasing every year. A couple of days ago we had a chance to sit down with Edward Sonshine of RioCan, and Jordan and Todd and Howard. They said a few things that really stuck in my mind about what’s happening in Toronto. Give us a quick overview from your side of the table on what’s happening in Toronto and what makes it so special, and why we believe that to be happening going forward.
Amanda Milborne: For sure. There’s such strong market fundamentals with, if you look at our immigration, we have between 120-150,000 people coming to Toronto every year, so that creates a demand for about 40,000 new housing units a year. That has happened for the last 20 years and will continue for the next. You layer on top of that our booming tech sector, and Toronto is one of the most attractive places for new technology and new companies to invest in. We actually have a shortage of office space in the downtown core and over a million square feet of office space under construction that’s already pre-leased-
Roy Bhandari: Which is unbelievable. That’s-
Amanda Milborne: That’s unprecedented in North America. There’s no other North American market that has those strong fundamentals.
Roy Bhandari: Again, I just want to just highlight a couple of things that really stood out to me from what Ed was talking about. He talked about one of his big sites down on Front Street-
Lee Koutsaris: The Well.
Roy Bhandari: … The Well, and the the building that’s being developed there. It’s already 80% pre-leased. What he said that was so interesting was that they leased to companies that didn’t exist six years ago. That really stuck in my mind, and it’s just highlighting the growth of this tech boom. The other thing is that these companies, they can go into any city they want. I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, in over the last 12, 18 months, Toronto added more tech jobs than the next four cities combined in North America. These are big cities. New York, San Francisco, Washington and Denver, I believe are the four.
Amanda Milborne: I think the thing that sets us apart from those markets is that we’re Canadian, and Canada is becoming increasingly attractive on the international scale. We are safe. We are not the US. We are still very undervalued on a world level, and especially if you compare luxury prices in Toronto to luxury prices all around the world, we are thousands of dollars per square foot below some of those high, high end markets that are, you know, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, London. We are not even close to the stratosphere on price that they have.
Roy Bhandari: I’m going to touch on one more thing and then we’re going to move on, and that’s that there is a scarcity of land in Toronto. You’ve got the Greenbelt to the North and you’ve got the Lake to the South. There is that scarcity, and the reason we keep highlighting these tech jobs is that with tech jobs come skilled workers and with skilled workers come high salaries and with high salaries come …
Amanda Milborne: Disposable income and all the layers that we [crosstalk 00:07:21]-
Roy Bhandari: Yeah, and this is where we’re headed. We keep hammering on this fact, because there is that progression and we’re living through the progression right now. This is the time to really get into this marketplace because I think it’s a really unique time that we’re sort of living through.
Amanda Milborne: It’s a unique time, and it’s also a unique address, because if you look at Yorkville specifically, we’re sort of at the forefront in where the convergence of these high end tech jobs, as well as disposable income. The average household income in Yorkville is $220,000 compared to average disposable income in Toronto between 50 and 120,000, so these are affluent individuals. A lot of them are double income, no kids, a little bit older demographic. People have disposable income and they’re living a very luxurious lifestyle, and we’re trying to deliver a product that will deliver a very efficient and diverse range of product that will help match that lifestyle.
Roy Bhandari: For sure. Let’s talk about Yorkville. Yorkville is the preeminent neighborhood in Toronto. It’s where two major subway lines intersect, Yonge and Bloor. It is where you’ll find the best hotels, where you’ll find the best restaurants, where you’ll find the best shopping. Obviously, you’ve got Bloor Street, you’ve got Mink Mile, you’ve got all the best brands that are known globally. Help me out here. You probably know them better than I do, but this neighborhood is only getting better.
Lee Koutsaris: Right. Well, I think the big things on … Let’s say someone was moving here from New York, and you took a map of the city of Toronto and you were to circle where the transit hub of Toronto is, where they Bloor Line and Yonge Line meet. You’re circling Yorkville. You’re circling where the best hospitals are, the best private schools are, the best shopping is. To your point, the best restaurants, the best cultural facilities. The best university, University of Toronto. Our government building. Our court systems. So everything is within a radius from Yorkville.
Lee Koutsaris: I think there’s a reason Yorkville is so famous. I think there’s a reason Yorkville’s address has come to where it be and that’s because of the best of the best of Toronto is within a short distance of it. Because of that, you get this residential high-rise neighborhood, now it’s become, of luxury, from the Four Seasons to other high end hotel living, the Windsor Arms, One St. Thomas. This is all hovering around this little small proximity of this very exclusive now high-rise community that just has this lifestyle to it that is catering to where Toronto’s moving to, which is people are choosing to live in high-rise living.
Roy Bhandari: Yes. One of the other things that I wanted to sort of highlight about Yorkville that we see from our side of the table on the sales side is that there’s almost no product on the preconstruction side. Like if you want to buy a condo in Yorkville today, a new condo in Yorkville, the price of entry is probably close to $2 million right now. That’s probably the cheapest unit you can buy today in Yorkville proper. A lot of the reasons for that is because when towers like 11YB come up with the cheaper price points, they get gobbled up very, very, very quickly. There’s definitely a demand for this kind of product. So that scarcity of availability is very, very important. The other thing I wanted to now focus on is the address itself, 11 Yorkville. It is on Yorkville Avenue.
Amanda Milborne: Directly across from the Four Seasons Hotel.
Roy Bhandari: Opposite the Four Seasons.
Amanda Milborne: We are going to be adding … Also, we’re going to be a tower in a park. We’re adding a 14-meter park to the site that did not exist before. So that is valuable green space that we are going to be surrounded by on all sides. It’s really going to make and ground this building in Yorkville in this address in a really, really special way.
Roy Bhandari: Interesting. The other thing I wanted to highlight about Yorkville Avenue is that as you look forward, there’s not an awful lot of space available to do more towers.
Amanda Milborne: There’s no more sites. This is the last site with a Yorkville address.
Roy Bhandari: This is it.
Lee Koutsaris: About four years ago, back in 2014, Howard started assembling the site. The site was assembled over years. It took from 2014, I want to say, till, I think 2017, to get the last piece. The owners saw where Yorkville was going and they saw that there was a scarcity and an opportunity. They took advantage of it and spent countless years assembling these sites and putting this amazing condominium together using the expertise of the three companies, and it zoned and approved. To your point, between Bay and Yonge now, this will be the last Yorkville address that can be approved. And then between Avenue to Bay, as you know, it’s heritage. So as long as that heritage policy stays in place, there won’t be any development happening along Yorkville. So you could argue it’s the last site that’ll have a Yorkville address.
Roy Bhandari: Which is amazing. Amazing opportunity.
Lee Koutsaris: Yes. It’s amazing.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent. I want to speak specifically about the condominium now. You already sort of alluded to the fact that it’s going to have 40,000 square foot of retail-
Lee Koutsaris: On two floors.
Roy Bhandari: … on two floors. It’s going to be a 62 story condominium. Give us sort of a bird’s eye view of [crosstalk 00:12:18]-
Amanda Milborne: Sure. We can go up bottom to top, if you want.
Roy Bhandari: Sure. That works for me.
Amanda Milborne: We have two stories of retail on the ground floor, which will include high end boutiques, luxury retail. We can’t speak to specific brands, just due to our time. We will also be targeting a restaurant, longterm holding with a high end restaurant on two floors with mez level.
Roy Bhandari: Again, you did allude to this earlier, but having RioCan as a partner on this is like putting rocket fuel on the retail.
Lee Koutsaris: Yes, because they [crosstalk 00:12:40]-
Amanda Milborne: This is not going to be your Dollarama, your nail salon, your dry cleaner retail. This is going to be triple A Yorkville level retail that will be longterm owned and operated by RioCan Living.
Roy Bhandari: And that’s important. We find that time and time again, buildings with high quality retail always outperform buildings with not so high quality tenants.
Amanda Milborne: They’re attracting better tenants. Gives it legs to the building, for sure.
Lee Koutsaris: [crosstalk 00:13:05]-
Roy Bhandari: Further animates Yorkville Avenue.
Lee Koutsaris: Also, because in a sense, when you live in a condominium and where the frontage is retail, in the sense that retail is your billboard for where you live and it states where you live. So to have a high end retailer at your front door elevates your home experience in where you live and the sense of pride in bringing someone there and going home everyday. We’re very conscientious of that, so we’ll make sure your welcome home every day fits with the lifestyle of Yorkville and what that should be.
Roy Bhandari: Amazing.
Amanda Milborne: We have two levels of amenity floors. In our lobby, we’re going to have a double height lobby with 24 hour concierge and-
Roy Bhandari: I just saw the rendering of the lobby.
Amanda Milborne: … and a day porter service.
Lee Koutsaris: Stunning.
Amanda Milborne: The day porter service will as an enhanced level of luxury that doesn’t add a lot to your maintenance fees, but gives a level of luxury and convenience. So if you’re out shopping and you bring in your groceries or your your boutique bags, the day porter can run that up … you just drop it off in the lobby and the day porter can run it up to your suite, put it in your fridge, put it away, and that way your hands are free to go off and continue your day. Two levels of amenity space on the third and fourth floor. The third floor includes an outdoor terrace that is fully landscaped with barbecues and planters, featuring a 25 meter indoor/outdoor swimming pool.
Roy Bhandari: Indoor/outdoor?
Lee Koutsaris: Indoor/outdoor infinity swimming pool. [crosstalk 00:14:22]-
Amanda Milborne: Yes, infinity swimming pool.
Roy Bhandari: It just keeps getting better.
Lee Koutsaris: Well, that’s a huge investment from the builders to make an amenity. That’s above and beyond. Again, speaking to the caliber of the building. It’s unique. Other people are not offering that in their sales program right now. It speaks to the lifestyle of Yorkville in being able to relax after home and enjoy a pool 12 months a year, outside looking to a view of downtown. So it speaks to what this building needs to offer, because luxury goes beyond just having beautiful finishes. It’s a luxurious lifestyle.
Roy Bhandari: For sure. 100%.
Amanda Milborne: We’ve really tried to pack our program with thoughtful amenities that are going to cater to the residents of this building, both investors and end-users alike. We have an incredible party room and piano lounge with wine tasting facilities. We have a beautiful full service gym with yoga and separate facilities for weights and cardio. We have a coworking space that’s built out like a high end business center, like a WeWork or industry leaders so that-
Roy Bhandari: We’re seeing that become a very, very important amenity.
Amanda Milborne: As we see the way that people work and live change, and the fusion between the 24 hour city and the fact that everyone’s day looks different, creating those spaces, especially in a shared building like a condominium, are so important to make sure that residents can live and work in the way that they choose. Because everybody and how that looks changes. We’re also catering to a very robust program in that we will have a children’s room, a theater room, saunas, change rooms, a wet amenity. So a really, really robust program, as well as an indoor Zen garden. So we’re creating animated spaces, as well as calm spaces.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent. The amenities are incredible. Talk to me about the residential suites themselves.
Amanda Milborne: Absolutely. The first residential floor starts on five, and the first five floors from five to nine are luxury rental. Then the first residential condominium begins on floor 10. We have our cru collection of suites from floors 10 to 39, our premier cru collection from 40 to 54, and our grand cru from 55 and above.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent. So there’s three unique collections?
Lee Koutsaris: Yes.
Amanda Milborne: There’s three unique collections of suites, and there’s a few differences between those suite collections, the biggest difference being the ceiling height. We have nine foot ceilings, nine foot six ceilings, and then 10 foot ceilings on the top eight floors.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent.
Amanda Milborne: There are three floors of terraces, very unique opportunities. Most of our suites-
Roy Bhandari: That’s where the sort of building cuts in. Yeah.
Amanda Milborne: … where the building cuts back. We’ll be offering five Miele appliances, as well as a wine fridge in our beverage island.
Roy Bhandari: That’s standard.
Amanda Milborne: Yeah, as standard.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent.
Lee Koutsaris: That ties back to, we have the cru residences and cruise inspired amenities, so the idea was again that Yorkville has this entertainment aspect to it and liking to enjoy the finer things in life. So when we were designing the suites we thought it was important to bring in that enjoying, entertaining, relaxing, to put a wine fridge in. We’re also doing a stemware shelf system into the island and then into the [inaudible 00:17:13] doing like an entertainment beverage center. The idea is again to host, relax, have friends over. The overall theme of the amenities and color palette when you look through them, they have like deep burgundies, we’re using velvets, we’re using warm and sultry. Then we also played off of … and you’ll see in the sales office, because we are building a spectacular sales office … we added a crystal element into our features and finishes.
Roy Bhandari: Very nice.
Lee Koutsaris: So you’ll see crystal light chandelier’s in the wine room. I know other people are doing wine rooms. This wine room has an elevated feel to it, and it has again these crystal chandeliers that play to this tie back to richness of the cru and grand cru.
Amanda Milborne: So when you visit our sales office we’re actually going to have the crystal chandelier that’s been specially fabricated for the project. It will live in the sales office and then be stored and reconstructed in our amenity spaces and our lobby. This is a custom design art piece that’s for 11 Yorkville.
Roy Bhandari: Amazing. I do have to ask you, you’ve said the word cru a lot. Can you explain to us what that ties back into?
Amanda Milborne: Cru is a high end designation for the most high end wines. Premier cru and grand cru are the two designations for very high wines that come from the Burgundy region in France. It really represents the best of the best. So cru is, we believe that 11YV has the best of the best, and we’ve tried to design a suite program that’s going to deliver the best of the best of our total offering to your clients. Our suite sizes range from 400-
Roy Bhandari: That was my next question.
Amanda Milborne: … to just over 1100 square feet in the traditional program that runs all the way to the top of the building, and then we will have some combination suites available at at the top in the 1400 to 1700 square foot range. But again, we’re offering very, very efficient plans in this diverse range so that there’s going to be something for everyone, for your clients.
Roy Bhandari: Well, you do see that the building has a very square feel to it, which leads to very efficient and excellent floor plans.
Amanda Milborne: Absolutely.
Lee Koutsaris: I’ll add two more of the things about the suites that are interesting. One, what we tried to do within the one bedroom area is we definitely tried to offer varying sizes of one bedrooms. So we tried to do the smaller one bedroom, but we also have a larger one bedroom that a professional couple wants a south facing view that they’re going to be able to buy and enjoy. And then our corner units have double corners whereby-
Roy Bhandari: Oh, neat.
Lee Koutsaris: … It is neat, because we have the how we did the inside of the balcony. So if you’re in your master bedroom, you’ll have the view of the CN Tower in that corner, and then your balcony, and then when you’re in your living room, you’ll also have the same view. So it’s a unique opportunity to enjoy the view from two different rooms in the building.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent. We talked about … I’m just going back to the beginning. We talked about the all-star development team of RioCan, Capital Developments and Metropia. We talked about Yorkville, the number one, undisputed number one neighborhood in the city, a very unique address. With Yorkville Avenue, you probably won’t be able to ever get it ever again. This is the last opportunity to get a Yorkville Avenue address. We talked about the building itself and 40,000 square foot of retail leased by RioCan. We’ve got amazing lobby and amenities. Excellent suites, excellent finishes that really speak to this level of buyer and sophistication. What did I miss?
Amanda Milborne: Our park.
Roy Bhandari: Oh, yeah, the 14-meter park.
Amanda Milborne: Our 14-meter park designed by Janet Rosenberg & Associates. It’s going to be adding some much-needed green space to this environment.
Roy Bhandari: Amazing.
Amanda Milborne: Being grounded there and being surrounded on all sides, this is going to become an iconic address in Toronto.
Roy Bhandari: Awesome. We’re excited. I know a lot of our investors are excited about this address. If our investors are interested in buying a unit at 11 Yorkville, what do they have to do?
Amanda Milborne: The best thing to do is to stay in touch with you and we will be-
Lee Koutsaris: September 12th.
Amanda Milborne: Pardon?
Lee Koutsaris: September 12th.
Amanda Milborne: September 12th is our launch event.
Roy Bhandari: September 12th. So September 12th is when the floor plans and the prices will be released-
Amanda Milborne: When floor plans and prices are going to be available. So they should mark their date in the calendar, get in touch with you on that date, and hopefully make themselves available 10 days to two weeks later to come in and sign up at 11 Yorkville.
Roy Bhandari: Great. Thank you very much, guys. I really appreciate your time. Thank you.
Lee Koutsaris: Thank you.
Amanda Milborne: Thanks very much.
Lee Koutsaris: Thank you.