Azura Condos – Interview with Matt Young
Azura Condos – Highlights
We asked Matt Young from Capital Developments what are the top reasons to consider Azura Condos and he answered:
- The transit oriented location just steps to Yonge & Finch
- Incredible suite design with every square inch accounted for
- A unique tapered design which allows for 74% of the units to have a southern exposure
- High design condominiums in a location that has been crying out for this kind of “downtown vibe” living
- The amenities that cater to specific demographics that they see coming to this location
- How you can get front of line VIP Access to Azura Condos
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Azura Condos – Bringing Design to North York: Transcript
Roy Bhandari: Welcome everybody. My name is Roy Bhandari with TalkCondo.com. Today, we’re joined by the Vice President of Capital Developments, Matt Young. We’re here today to talk about Azura Condominiums. Matt, thank you so much for your time. We know it’s always tight this time of year, especially with new launches going on and [inaudible 00:00:31].
Matt Young: Well, thanks for coming. Appreciate it.
Roy Bhandari: Today, obviously we’re gonna talk about Azura, but I do wanna touch on Capital Developments. You guys have had a very, very busy last 12, 18 months. The last time we sat down, we were talking about E2 Condominiums. Talk us through that launch. That one was amazing.
Matt Young: Yeah, that project was fantastic. We launched at the end of 2017. We had a lot of hype and a lot of momentum. It ended up being a great success. I think we sold it out. I think the entire project got sold out within a few months, before we released our penthouses. It was a fantastic project.
Roy Bhandari: Yeah. We loved that one.
Matt Young: We appreciate you guys supporting the project.
Roy Bhandari: Obviously on the sale side, you’ve been busy. You’ve also been equally as busy on the development side. I know you guys have completed a couple of projects and are well underway on a couple of others. Just give us an update on where you guys are at.
Matt Young: Yeah. I mean, we’ve been actively building our pipeline over the last few years. One of the biggest things we purchased was Bloor and Dufferin, which is a seven and a half acre site at the southwest corner of Bloor and Dufferin. Which will be over a million and a half square feet of area, and six or seven different buildings. It’s gonna be a very exciting master plan.
Matt Young: And then, we also purchased a property at 11 Yorkville, which is gonna be coming out later this year. Azura was another one that we purchased. We’ve got a few other things we’re working on right now, too. We’ve been pretty busy.
Roy Bhandari: Amazing. I do wanna transition into Azura. That’s why we’re here to talk, what we’re here to talk about today. For Azura Condominiums, before we dive in, give us sort of the bird’s-eye view. Where is it located? How many stories, how many suites? Give us the overall picture of what we’re looking at.
Matt Young: Yeah. So the address is 15 Holmes Avenue. It’s just south of Yonge and Finch, just off of Yonge Street in North York. The area’s a really, really dynamic area, very active, very vibrant. The site itself is a four minute walk to the subway. And it’s also sitting directly on what’s going to be a new public park. So it’s a really, really great location. It’s accessible to every area in the city very quickly.
Roy Bhandari: Amazing.
Matt Young: Yeah.
Roy Bhandari: So, if you were an investor in the market today, what would be the top three reasons that, in your mind, an investor would look at Azura Condominiums?
Matt Young: Like with any real estate, I think location is always most important. So we think we’ve got a really amazing location, with that access to the transit, and with a park on site, and in such a great, growing neighborhood.
Matt Young: The other thing I think is really important is the actual product you’re buying. What is the unit layout? What is the space you’re going to live in? So with this building, we tried to maximize the most efficient units. We actually looked at all of our best selling units from past projects, and took the best units in each category and plugged them into the floor plate. That’s how we built our floor plate.
Matt Young: The other thing that we tried to really do is maximize the amount of south views in the building. So by doing it the way we did, and tapering the building to the south, which you’ll see, we ended up getting 74% of the units with a south view.
Roy Bhandari: Wow.
Matt Young: Which is fantastic. Everybody knows south views in Toronto are always the most in demand, so that’s what we tried to do on this one.
Matt Young: The other thing that’s really amazing about the building is the amenities. With the amenities comes a lot of things. The location is also amenity. The access to the parks is amenity. But the amenities within the building are stunning. It’s one of the nicest buildings I’ve ever been a part of. All of the amenities on the ground floor have double height ceilings. It’s gonna feel very luxurious when you walk through the entry, walk through the lobby. We’ve got amenities for everybody. We’ve got a kids’ playroom. We’ve got a fantastic gym. We’ve got multiple different party rooms. A chef kitchen. An outdoor terrace. Dog washing stations. There’s something for everybody in the project.
Matt Young: So I think when you buy a unit in this building, you’re gonna have a total offering that really stands out from the market.
Roy Bhandari: Awesome. So just to recap what you just said. The three big items you would talk about would be: location, the suites, and the amenities.
Matt Young: Absolutely.
Roy Bhandari: I wanna break those down a little bit one by one. First one, location. You mentioned the subway. It’s interesting to me that you mentioned a couple of the other sites that you guys have been working on, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they are all very transit oriented.
Matt Young: Yes.
Roy Bhandari: That’s obviously an important factor.
Matt Young: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean, every single project we look at, there’s a few key criteria that would make us want to work on a project. Having access to transit is the most important thing for us. Everything we’ve done has had access to some sort of higher order transit. Whether it’s subways, Crosstown LRT, both. That to us is a priority.
Roy Bhandari: Yeah, that’s great. So I know this area, and sticking in the location pocket right now, another thing that I noticed in this area is that it seems to be an area that’s crying out for this modern, downtown style vibe condominium. Is that something you can speak to?
Matt Young: Yeah, for sure. I mean, when we bought the site, we did a walk around the neighborhood. We immediately noticed that a lot of the buildings felt a little older, maybe design was less of a focus. Everything we do, we try and really deliver a whole package, and that includes really great architectural design. As we worked on this building, that doesn’t mean that the function of the building shouldn’t be as efficient and as functional as possible. But I think you can do function with beautiful form as well. That’s really what we tried to do here.
Matt Young: It was actually similar to when we did 155 Redpath. Trying to … The whole campaign there was bringing design to Midtown. It’s very similar here, bringing design up to North York.
Roy Bhandari: For sure. The location obviously, being at Yonge Street, right on Yonge Street … You mentioned a few minutes to Finch Station. This whole package really starts to come together and you can … It’s clear why you guys put location at the front.
Roy Bhandari: I do want to transition to the suite mix. Floor plans are obviously, can make or break a project. We’ve seen projects launch recently in otherwise great locations, otherwise priced very well, but if they don’t get the floor plan piece right, that project can very quickly fall apart. There’s a few off the top of my head that I can think of that, they had all the pieces there, but the floor plans weren’t what they should have been. And as a result, the project didn’t, wasn’t as successful as it should have been.
Roy Bhandari: So what we do see more and more, is that the developers that do pay attention to this excellent floor plan design … We all know what makes a good and a bad floor plan, but putting that at the top, we see more often than not, that it does result in a successful project. Is that something, again, that you can just touch on? On your side, from your side of the table.
Matt Young: Yeah. I mean, look, that is the product people are buying. Any purchaser who’s buying in a building, they are buying a layout, they’re buying a unit, they’re buying a home. It has to be functional. In some cases, projects maybe have not the best floor plans because of the overall development design, or other constraints that were happening. We always try and prioritize product design. That is the most important thing for us.
Matt Young: So in this project we actually spent a huge amount of time analyzing all of our past projects. What were the floor plans that sold? We had a large enough site that we had some flexibility in terms of how we could design our floor plate. We looked at all of the past projects we did, what designs sold the best, what was in the most demand. We’ve spoken to agents like yourselves who have given us great feedback. We’ve taken all that, internalized it, and built a product mix that makes sense for the market.
Matt Young: I think, honestly, in this building, there isn’t a single bad floor plan in the entire project.
Roy Bhandari: Awesome. You mentioned the unique sort of tapered design, where it gives every, not every, 74% of the units-
Matt Young: 74% of the units have a south view.
Roy Bhandari: Have a southern exposure. There’s an amazing rendering of one of the units that are further north in the building, overlooking the, I call it the Hollywood view of Toronto, that downtown skyline view. That’s something that a lot of the units will be able to get.
Matt Young: Yeah. I mean, that rendering that we released is actually the northeast corner unit. It’s an actual 3D model of someone standing on the balcony. You can very clearly see as the building tapers in, you get this broad south view. It’s not just someone standing over the balcony to look south, but you actually get a clear picture of it.
Matt Young: That was completely intentional. We just know in Toronto, it’s a market where maximizing sunlight is really important. If you can offer more south views, you’re basically offering value back to the purchaser. So that was a priority for us.
Roy Bhandari: For sure. Anything else on the suites you wanted to touch on that we didn’t highlight?
Matt Young: I guess the other thing is, having suites that are really efficient is important, I think. Whether you’re an investor, or even an end user, I think everyone today is more cost conscious. Delivering really, really efficient suite layouts, and also very livable layouts is important. In this case, every single unit in the building has bedrooms on windows. And every single unit in the building has balconies. These are just everyday things that sometimes get taken for granted. We wanted to make sure that that was included in all suites so there was really nothing that was unsellable, and nothing that was unlivable in the project.
Matt Young: Even in terms of the sizes of the units, we wanted to make sure that they were designed in a way to maximize the efficiency. So we’re literally looking down to inches on floor plans. Where to put walls, where to put windows. Gaining inches to make sure that everything is sized appropriately and sized efficiently, so ultimately we can bring end prices down and make it more affordable for people.
Roy Bhandari: A lot of times we refer to that as building the building from the inside out. Focus on the floor plans and then build the envelope around it. As opposed to the opposite, which is design the exterior and then hopefully make the floor plans work.
Matt Young: Exactly. That’s exactly how we thought.
Roy Bhandari: Transitioning into number three which you talked about, was amenities. A couple of key amenities that we see time and time again are number one, gym. Probably the most used amenity in any building. Then number two is, that we seen an increased importance in, is a grand lobby. Can you talk to us about those key features first, before we transition into all the other stuff that you guys have?
Matt Young: Yeah. Well, we totally agree on the lobby. I think especially today, the lobby is really the entrance to your home. It needs to feel substantial and when friends come over, family comes to visit, you want them to feel wowed an impressed. For us, a couple things we did to try and do that, number one, we raised the ceiling heights in the lobby substantially. So it’s double height ceilings. It feels very, very grand. Number two, the entire exterior elevation of the lobby is a beautiful curtain wall design, so it’s got this amazing jewel box look when you drive up to the building, which is exciting.
Matt Young: And then the other thing is the interior design is stunning. I think IBI did a fantastic job on the interior design, giving it a very luxurious but warm feeling. Something that’s not alienating to anybody, but is also going to stand the test of time, and feel classic in years to come. So we’re very, very excited about how the design came out. You guys have seen the rendering.
Roy Bhandari: Yeah.
Matt Young: I think it turned out well.
Roy Bhandari: I think it turned out really well. [inaudible 00:11:58].
Matt Young: Yeah, that’s what our plan is to deliver.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent.
Matt Young: And then in terms of the gym, again, we know that gyms are always one of the most used amenities in any building. We try and deliver gyms that would mean anybody in the building can use it, and nobody would need to go get a fitness club membership if you live in a Capital building with one of our gyms.
Matt Young: We have full weight areas, yoga areas, full cardio areas. We’ve tried to add new, different things into gyms. Whether it’s TRX bands, or things related to other kind of fitness trends, whatever is popular at the time. Every single gym we’ve done has followed that same guideline. So if you look at 155 Redpath, which is now closed and occupied, the gym is one of the most beautiful gyms I’ve seen in the city of Toronto. And 150 Redpath will be very similar. Art Shoppe has got one of the most amazing gyms, as well. We try and kind of replicate that. That’s one of the standards we put in every project. And we’ve done that here as well.
Roy Bhandari: So you mentioned … There was a whole laundry list of amenities. Which are the ones that are exciting to you, outside of the ones that we already talked about?
Matt Young: Well one of the really unique ones is this kids’ playroom, which is really interesting.
Roy Bhandari: Is that a shift because of demographics? You’re seeing more families buying and having that?
Matt Young: For sure. We did a lot of research early on and we found a lot of younger families were living in this area. A lot of the single family homes in this area a quite expensive.
Roy Bhandari: Right.
Matt Young: So trying to offer product that young families could actually raise children in, I though was really important. One of the really cool things about it is that the kids’ playroom is located in between the party room and the gym. We actually have vision glazing between the party and the gym into the kids’ playroom. So the idea … In people with their busy lifestyle today, you could go get a workout in, bring your child down. They could play in the room and you can still have sight lines on your child while you workout, and they could still be safe in the playroom. Or if you’re renting out the party room and you’ve got friends, and they’re all bringing their kids, there’s a place to put the kids and a place for the adults to have their event.
Matt Young: So we tried to make it very livable. It wasn’t just about plugging in a kids’ playroom wherever it could fit, but how does it function within the whole project.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent. You mentioned something while you were talking there, but one of the things that we look for, for our investors is, when you see a situation … And you glossed over it but what you said was, that single family residential homes in the area are very expensive. When you’ve got that situation where you got a high rise in an area which is otherwise unaffordable for many, many people, you’re able to get into this area at a more affordable price.
Roy Bhandari: As an investment, that kind of product is always something that we look for. We see it time and time again. Again, it’s one of those key features that we look to find for our investors, so I’m glad you mentioned that.
Matt Young: Yep, for sure.
Roy Bhandari: Just as we wrap up now, where are we in terms of price point in this condominium?
Matt Young: So we haven’t officially priced the building yet.
Roy Bhandari: We are early, right? We are still very early, still.
Matt Young: It’s still very early and we haven’t priced it yet. But I’d what I’d say is, every time we launch a project, we always try and leave some skin on the bone. We never try and squeeze every drop of juice out of the orange because we really try and build loyalty with the agents, the brokers, and purchasers. We’ve had a lot of purchasers who have purchased in all of our projects and it’s because they’ve seen us deliver, and they’ve seen us leave value on the table. So they feel like it’s a good investment. That’s something we’d rather be known for than trying to squeeze every ounce out of the project.
Matt Young: So while we haven’t priced it yet, we think when we do come out, it’s going to be a very, very competitive project. I think the overall package is going to really stand out compared to anything else in the market. We think it’s going to be the best value in the market as well.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent. So if our investors, our clients, our buyers are interested in purchasing a unit at Azura Condominiums, what do they gotta do?
Matt Young: Well I think the obviously thing is get in touch with you guys. You guys have supported our projects from day one, and we’ve always had a really good relationship. The way projects are sold today is, brokers who have relationships and who have access are able to get in early. And you guys will be able to do that. So anyone who wants to get access should reach out to you guys, and they’ll hear more once we know.
Roy Bhandari: Great. Thank you very much, Matt. We’re really excited.
Matt Young: Thank you. Appreciate-