88 Queen Condos – Rarely Offered Core Downtown Location

88 Queen Condos is a brand new condominium launching on February 12.

88 Queen Condos - Phase 2 Rendering

The condominium is part of a four tower re-development of an entire City block just steps to the Financial District.  The first tower (88 North Condos) is occupying later this year.

Hey Google!

Google recently announced that they will be occupying 18 floors and 400,000 sq.ft. of office space at 65 King Street East, just a few minutes walk from 88 Queen.  This is a massive boost for investors of 88 Queen.

We have been highlighting the growth of the tech sector in Toronto for a number of years.  Toronto is now the number 3 tech market in North America, and by far the fastest growing.

This is bringing high quality, high payment jobs to the City.

As more and more tech companies set up shop in Toronto, we believe this is only going to continue to put upwards pressure on prices and rents.

In the video we discuss:

  • St. Thomas Developments history as a developer with huge international pedigree
  • The development of 1 St. Thomas, one of the most sought after developments in Toronto (and former home of Drake)
  • The world class location, just steps to the Financial District, Two Subway Stations, St. Lawrence Market and so much more
  • The emergence of the East Side of Yonge
  • An incredible “Retail Mews” that will anchor four towers to the ground level
  • The meticulous thought and design that goes into each floor plan
  • How you can get first access to this one of a kind opportunity

88 Queen Condos – Interview with ManLing Lau & Brodie Townley

88 Queen Condos – Transcript

Amit Bhandari: Hey there, everyone. It’s Amit Bhandari of TalkCondo.com. Today, we’re at Market Vision HQ. We are sitting with Brodie Townley, who is the Director of Development. And ManLing Lau, who is the VP of Sales. Both, thank you very much. We’re here to talk about 88 Queen. So guys, thank you so much once again.

88 Queen Condos - Phase 2 Rendering

ManLing Lau: Thank you, Amit.

Brodie Townley: My pleasure.

Amit Bhandari: I’m going to jump right in. What I’m going to do is, I’m going to do bullet points as to the kind of things that I’d like to talk about.

Brodie Townley: Sure.

ManLing Lau: Right.

Amit Bhandari: Obviously, first thing I want to talk about is the developer.

88 Queen Condos - Phase 2 Infinity Pool with Breath Taking Views of Downtown Toronto

ManLing Lau: Yes.

Amit Bhandari: They are a very prominent developer, global developer that developed in multiple areas and done multiple things. Then I want to talk about the neighborhood, because the neighborhood is a key ingredient in all of this I feel.

88 Queen Condos - Phase 2 Relax Amongst Living Walls and Floating Hammocks

Amit Bhandari: And obviously, location, location, location. This is triple A. And then I want to go into the building, the development itself, because it’s a fairly substantial development taking up a city block pretty much. So there’s a lot of elements in there that I’d like to talk about.

Amit Bhandari: Jumping right in, development. A company that’s involved here, St. Thomas, are a huge development company. One of the most prominent buildings that are in Toronto is one I believe, that it’s probably the most luxurious building in all of Toronto, One St. Thomas. That is actually apparently favored by a lot of celebrities. And of course, neighboring that is 7 St. Thomas. If you could just talk about the developers from your side.

88 Queen Condos - Phase 2 Rendering

Brodie Townley: I’ll give you a bit of a background on St. Thomas Development. So first project here in Toronto was Ellipse One and Two, which is a tower condo high-rise by Scarborough Town Center.

Amit Bhandari: Okay.

Brodie Townley: We’ve had a long lasting relationship with them, and we see their quality of work and the types of partners that they hire and the overall development team. From the architect to the interior designers, they hire best-in-class.

Amit Bhandari: Yep.

Brodie Townley: In One St. Thomas, which is a landmark building in Toronto by Robert Stern. That building set a new standard of quality in the Yorkville area. And if we talk about some of their commercial buildings, 7 St. Thomas which was designed by Hariri Pontarini, who’s going to be designing 88 Queen.

Amit Bhandari: Wonderful.

Brodie Townley: The quality of work that you see there is a quality of work that you’re going to see with 88 Queen, going forward.

88 Queen Condos - Phase 2 Final Rendering

Brodie Townley: In terms of a bit of a background on the development site at 88 Queen, they purchased this site as a full city block. So from Queen to Shuter, Mutual, and Dalhousie.

Amit Bhandari: Yes.

Brodie Townley: 88 North was launched in the middle of 2016, which is taking occupancy in actually, March… was the first building in this overall master-planned community. They saw really the benefit of the East End, which hasn’t seen as much development as comparable to either the Downtown core or the West End.

88 Queen Condos Party Room Kitchen

Amit Bhandari: West of Yonge, yeah.

Brodie Townley: And that’s something that this developer saw, and that we’ve seen. Obviously, this market has been rising. But 88 Queen is in an area that is still developing. There’s a lot of applications and there’s a lot of growth. That’s what we feel with this project, is that there’s a lot more that this area has to let grow.

Amit Bhandari: Absolutely. I actually want to talk about the developments of the East Side when we come to the location.

Brodie Townley: Sure.

Amit Bhandari: As well. So you mentioned earlier about some developments in China or Hong Kong that they’ve also worked on, some high-end product out there that you wanted to touch on as well.

ManLing Lau: They did work on a lot of… They actually work on a lot of high-end hotels and customized homes.

Brodie Townley: A lot of his boutique hotels also have had a really good team involved. He’s actually had a landmark building over there designed by Robert Stern.

Amit Bhandari: Right.

Brodie Townley: So he hires best-in-class. His attention to detailing and quality is really uncomparable to a lot of developers. He takes a lot of passion in not just the facade of the building, but also the interior.

88 Queen Condos Party Room Lounge

Amit Bhandari: Interior, yeah. I say, it’s so important because knowing if you bring an investor client in there… This should be music to the clients’ ears. Because if there’s a best-in-class team that’s working on a particular development, it goes to show that the attention to detail to demand, future demand, potential future demand, is going to show ultimately in the numbers. So that’s what we always like to see.

88 Queen Condos - Phase 2 Rendering

Amit Bhandari: We briefly touched on location. I actually want to delve deeper into that. You talked about that, the growth of the East Side. That’s been happening quite a lot recently. You mentioned a lot of the applications. There’s been a ton, a lot of applications. You are seeing the shift over to that East Side, as well. If you wanted to talk a bit more about that shift over.

Brodie Townley: I think that there’s been an explosive growth in the West End, and there’s a lot of land that is there to be developed in the East End. We actually like to see applications come in, because it shows that there’s obviously faith in the overall area.

Amit Bhandari: Absolutely.

Brodie Townley: When we launched 88 North, at that time, prices were where they are and prices are where they’re at now. But you can see the difference of how the area has changed and how land has been purchased, it’s been assembled.

Brodie Townley: Developers have come in and seen what St. Thomas Developments saw when they purchased this large parcel. Given its location to both transit, the downtown financial core, walking distance to Queen Subway Station, walking distance to the St. Lawrence Market.

Brodie Townley: There’s a lot there that is going to change over time, and that we’ve seen, including areas that are being gentrified.

Amit Bhandari: Yes.

Brodie Townley: That’s how we see it, and that’s how we see it in the future.

Amit Bhandari: Absolutely. You glossed over the transit access, but it’s a big deal here.

Brodie Townley: The trans… I mean, as-

Amit Bhandari: We can see in the pictures, you can see the streetcars just down the road.

Brodie Townley: We’re actually three streetcar stops if you don’t want to walk, right from Queen Subway Station. Transit location, that’s a huge driver for whether it’s an end user, whether it’s an investor. I mean, location, location, location is one of the most important things that people tend to look at. The location at 88 Queen is… You have access to great restaurants. You have great access to hospitals.

Amit Bhandari: Yep.

Brodie Townley: Whether you’re a nurse or a doctor. It’s so close to everything.

Amit Bhandari: Or a student at Ryerson, perhaps.

Brodie Townley: Yeah. Walk ability is a really important point that I think we want to get across, is that the area’s changing. There’s a lot more commercial. And ManLing will speak a bit more about the commercial element to this project as well.

Amit Bhandari: I want to pause on that, because I want to also talk about the tenant pool. You’ve mentioned a few very large institutions. You’ve got the hospitals. We’ve got Eaton Center. We’ve got Ryerson University. But on top of that, we’ve seeing the huge growth of the tech sector.

Brodie Townley: Correct.

Amit Bhandari: In a massive way. And given its proximity to I guess, this tech district almost, there’s a huge tenant pool.

Brodie Townley: Of course.

Amit Bhandari: Again, something that investors would love. But if you wanted to talk about the-

Brodie Townley: I think as we all know, Toronto’s the financial hub. It’s the tech hub of Canada. We’ve seen huge inflows of immigration from people that either need to find accommodation to rent, or they want to purchase. Some of the biggest names… Google, Oracle, Facebook-

Amit Bhandari: Yeah. Uber.

Brodie Townley: … are all in a downtown core, and they’re all walking distance to where we are, if you want to work at one of the big banks. There’s a lot of innovation occurring within Toronto right now. I think that they’re constantly growing and they’re constantly getting bigger, and they’re constantly hiring. A lot of those people want to be close to work, right?

Amit Bhandari: Absolutely.

Brodie Townley: They don’t want to be coming in from far aways out of the city. There’s always this… We hear about low vacancy over rates. We hear about there’s not enough supply. I think that we can see that with how well buildings like these rent when they start to get occupied, and what type of people come into them.

Brodie Townley: That’s why our floor plans are not just… The building isn’t designed from the outside in. It’s actually designed from the inside out, where a large emphasis and attention to detail is given to the floor plan, so we can accommodate these types of people that are coming into this area.

Amit Bhandari: Wonderful. We’ve actually got a little bit of a story. An anecdote where one of our clients, who owns a unit not too far from 88 Queen, who released their unit to a 23-year-old. First job out of university, and he’s on $150,000.

Brodie Townley: Yeah.

ManLing Lau: Wow.

Amit Bhandari: He’s a tech employee.

Brodie Townley: Yeah.

Amit Bhandari: It shows as the kind of direction that this area, or the future of this area, which direction is heading in.

Brodie Townley: Yeah, of course.

Amit Bhandari: It’s heading into an area where it is going to attract individuals at a high earning rate.

Brodie Townley: Yes.

Amit Bhandari: Very highly skilled, which is ultimately going to attract more individuals of that caliber, which is ultimately going to put an upward pressure on both rent and appreciation.

Brodie Townley: Yeah, of course.

Amit Bhandari: We can see that here, because you had kind of alluded to it where the vast majority of development has happened West of Yonge, but now we’re seeing this East of Yonge. Maybe it may see a shift in demand more over to the East. Especially with developments like this, because this caters to a whole host of different people.

Brodie Townley: To talk to your point about what type of people are renting in this area. We’re steps from St. Michael’s Hospital.

Amit Bhandari: Right.

Brodie Townley: For 88 North, we had tremendous success selling out that building. But some of our purchasers were actually nurses.

ManLing Lau: And doctors.

Amit Bhandari: Right.

ManLing Lau: Yes.

Brodie Townley: They are doctors. It’s those types of people that we see coming into here, because it’s a convenience.

Amit Bhandari: Absolutely.

Brodie Townley: It’s a convenience walking to work. It’s a convenience walking to the hospital. It’s not like a few subway rides, it’s literally at your front door.

Amit Bhandari: And on top of that, it’s an easy walk to say, restaurants.

Brodie Townley: Oh, of course.

Amit Bhandari: It’s an easy walk to Eaton Center.

Brodie Townley: Yes.

Amit Bhandari: It’s a cool little package for an individual if they want to either invest here or live here. It has everything for everybody.

Brodie Townley: Yes.

ManLing Lau: It’s even close to the financial core.

Amit Bhandari: Yes, of course. Yeah, which is also a huge, huge tenant pool.

ManLing Lau: That’s right.

Amit Bhandari: And of course, a whole host of incredible companies as well.

ManLing Lau: Yeah.

Amit Bhandari: And then of course, it’s just literally a short minute walk to Yonge Street as well.

ManLing Lau: Yes.

Amit Bhandari: Three, four-minute walk to Yonge Street. If you wanted to get anywhere else, you’ve got again, like I was mentioning here, you’ve got the streetcar that are-

ManLing Lau: Running 24/7.

Amit Bhandari: Running 24/7.

ManLing Lau: On Queen Street.

Brodie Townley: Yeah.

ManLing Lau: Yes.

Amit Bhandari: Yeah.

ManLing Lau: No other streetcars is doing that.

Amit Bhandari: Yeah. Accessibility to transit, accessibility to neighborhood amenities. This is a killer location, it really is.

Amit Bhandari: I wanted to go into the development, itself.

ManLing Lau: Sure.

Amit Bhandari: This is I guess, the next phase of 88 Queen. The development, first phase, obviously. We’ve mentioned a couple of times, the North Tower. This is going to be the South Tower. This is going to be the last opportunity to essentially buy in this development.

Amit Bhandari: But I wanted to start off at the ground level. Because what the developers are doing here is an incredible retail mews.

ManLing Lau: Yes.

Amit Bhandari: So if you wanted to talk about that, because I think it’s phenomenal, including the park as well.

ManLing Lau: Right. For the ground level on 88 Queen, we will have cafes, boutiques, restaurants, lots of… It’s all glass, as you can see from here in the picture. There will be a middle area that would actually lead you into the city block, into the whole community, where you will see the pops, the parks, and then it leads you into the other buildings. Then it eventually will lead you into 88 North or First building.

Amit Bhandari: Yeah, it’s like a network.

ManLing Lau: Yes.

Amit Bhandari: It’s exposed to the elements, I noticed.

ManLing Lau: That’s right.

Amit Bhandari: So it is outdoor, but it’s like a set of walkways, essentially.

ManLing Lau: Correct.

Amit Bhandari: Through the entire development, which I thought was incredible.

ManLing Lau: Yes.

Amit Bhandari: And it’s one of those features where you don’t see this kind of stuff.

ManLing Lau: No. No, and I think that was something that I think the city wanted us, wanted the builder, to create. Actually, HPA, they wanted that as well, and so did the developers. So they came up with a whole new development for just the city block, with the retail at the ground. Then there’s more parks and mews and sitting areas that would just lead right into the community.

Amit Bhandari: Again, it’s these kinds of amenities that it can be enjoyed by anybody.

ManLing Lau: Yes.

Amit Bhandari: But for a resident in the building, for a tenant who’s living in it, it’s right at their doorstep.

ManLing Lau: Exactly.

Amit Bhandari: So you have a retail complex essentially, with public space. You have transit access. It checks a lot of boxes, this kind of development.

Amit Bhandari: I wanted to go into the building, itself. If you could detail, tell us about the building itself. How tall the unit mix, that kind of-

ManLing Lau: Yes. On the ground level, we talked about the retail. Then on the second to the fifth floor, we have office space. One the sixth to seventh floor, we have our amenities. It’s two levels. Then on our eighth floor, we’ll have residential up to the 51st floor.

Amit Bhandari: Okay, 8 to 51.

ManLing Lau: Yes.

Amit Bhandari: Okay.

ManLing Lau: 8 to 51.

Amit Bhandari: What kind of suite mix are we looking at?

ManLing Lau: We’re looking at a really good suite mix. We’re looking at anywhere from a one-bedrooms up to three-bedrooms. So our smallest suite in this building is 518 square feet.

Amit Bhandari: Okay.

ManLing Lau: Then we have one-bedroom and dens that are starting at 623 square feet. Then we have our two-bedrooms starting at approximately 767 square feet.

Amit Bhandari: Okay.

ManLing Lau: Then we have a two-bedroom and a den which is on a higher floor, on a higher floor portion of the building, that’s about 1,095 square feet.

Amit Bhandari: Okay.

ManLing Lau: Then we have one three-bedroom unit. Actually, no. Two three-bedroom units that are on the corner, that are starting from 767 square feet. It’s unbelievable. You know, as I mentioned, we start at one-bedrooms. We don’t have any studios.

Amit Bhandari: Okay.

ManLing Lau: I think the reason why we don’t have any studios in this building is, the developer is very meticulous about his units.

Amit Bhandari: Okay.

ManLing Lau: He literally works on it himself, in Hong Kong.

Amit Bhandari: Right.

ManLing Lau: He would move a wall here, just to make a little bit more room for either your bedroom or your living area or your den. I think one of the reasons why he didn’t put any studios in is because he thinks about people who are actually living there.

Amit Bhandari: Right.

Brodie Townley: I think when St. Thomas Developments did on St. Thomas… I think the smallest one-bedroom was well over 1,000 square feet.

Amit Bhandari: Right.

Brodie Townley: Predominantly larger suites in still a tower building, but a really big emphasis on livability.

Amit Bhandari: Yeah.

Brodie Townley: We know that a lot of our purchasers and people who are going to be renting here are going to be coming from the financial core. They could be students. But maybe it’s a student that then turns into working downtown.

Amit Bhandari: Yes, absolutely.

Brodie Townley: St. Thomas Developments, the developer, they’re very thought-driven in terms of the function of space and the function of use. Not just having a box and thinking I’m going to be here for a year. To think, how can I grow within here? We have very functional one-in dens with two bathrooms where the den is well enough to be a size of a bedroom.

Amit Bhandari: Right.

Brodie Townley: You know, where two people can live without having to share one bathroom. Every suite in this project has a balcony. So those are things that this developer really thinks about.

Amit Bhandari: I guess it does speak to the developer, because One St. Thomas was I guess, created with a specific buyer profile in mind.

Brodie Townley: Correct, yeah.

Amit Bhandari: It elevates the luxuriousness of the building, if that is even a word. But it just elevates the building as a whole. Especially when the smallest size is a 1,000 something. It sort of sets the tone up nicely for 88 Queen as well, because they do have kind of a vision, kind of an idea in mind for this building. The kind of population that would potentially want to live in this building.

Brodie Townley: Of course.

Amit Bhandari: We’ve gone through a lot of stuff here. It’s not one of those straightforward developments, because there’s a lot going on. From the incredible developers who have tremendous pedigree, creating one of the most luxurious buildings in all of Toronto, liked by celebrities and sports stars and whatnot. But they’ve also built commercial buildings. The neighboring building, obviously. Then they’ve got a lot of pedigree out in Hong Kong. Luxury housing, luxury hotels.

Amit Bhandari: Then we spoke about the location. Having access to pretty much the entire city, because you’ve got a streetcar at your doorstep. But then you’re also a short walk to Yonge Street, as well as Queen Subway Station, and Yonge and Dundas Station as well. So you’re sandwiched in between.

Amit Bhandari: Then you also have easy access to a whole host of incredible neighbored amenities. Eaton Center, Ryerson University, the hospitals. So you have a huge potential tenant pool, that if an investor were to look at this with a keen eye, they can see that there is a lot of boxes that this checks.

Amit Bhandari: Then we spoke about the development itself taking up a city block, with an incredible retail upgrade with the retail mews and public space with the public parks. The building itself with its amenity spaces, and a really unique, really nice mix of units.

Amit Bhandari: We’re really excited. I think it’s a tremendous-

Brodie Townley: So are we.

Amit Bhandari: Tremendous development. If we have clients that are interested, what would you recommend they do?

Brodie Townley: We really think that your clients should be reaching out to you too.

Amit Bhandari: Sure.

ManLing Lau: Yes. Definitely, call Roy and Amit.

Amit Bhandari: Okay. Awesome. Well, thank you so much. Brodie, very nice chatting with you. ManLing, so nice chatting with you.

ManLing Lau: Thank you. Thank you for having us.