It’s pretty well documented that we love Lakeside Residences and the entire re-development at East Bayfront and if you have been following our Release Radar Weekly Roundtables, you will know that we can’t stop talking about this one.
We have many clients that have invested in this area dating back to Monde Condos back in 2011 and we continue to believe in the vision as it becomes a reality.
We’re excited this neighbourhood because we see so much potential for our investors. It is a prime waterfront community in Toronto done right.
Lakeside Park Suites is the third release of the first Lakeside Tower and represents incredible value for investors with pricing 20-40% below nearby condominiums.
We go in depth and talk about the 5 reasons to invest at Lakeside Residences.
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TalkCondo Release Radar 026: Transcript
Roy Bhandari: Welcome to a very special episode of the TalkCondo Release Radar where today we’re about the top five reasons to get excited for the Lakeside Residences Park Suites. This is one of our favorite condominium projects. We’ve talked about it a lot in last episodes. We are now at launch time so, we want to really talk about why we’re so excited about this one. So Amit, give us a quick rundown of sort of the thousand foot overview of what this project is.
Amit Bhandari: Sure. It’s by one of the largest developers on the planet called Greenland. It’s located in East Bayfront. East Bayfront itself is between lower Sherbourne and Parliament. So, it’s within that stretch. A key stretch as well. It’s a very, very important part of the city. This is the third release of the first phase. It’s called the Park Suites. Called it Park Suites because it’s going to be facing the north part of Sherbourne Common Park. That’s the building itself.
Roy Bhandari: Perfect. We’re going to talk about the top five reasons that we’re excited.
Amit Bhandari: Sure.
Reason #1 – Price & Value
Roy Bhandari: First reason is price.
Amit Bhandari: Yeah.
Roy Bhandari: This is always one of the best things to get excited about for a new condominium project, especially for investors. Price points. We’re at a time now in downtown Toronto where prices are escalating. We’re in a time where $1,000 a foot is the norm.
Amit Bhandari: On a resale side too, which is very important to highlight.
Roy Bhandari: Yeah, in the city, in new condominium and resale we’re actually [blowing 00:01:43] by $1,200, $1,300 a foot in many cases as well. The first one is price. Amit, give us a quick run down on where we’re at with pricing here and why we’re so excited about price.
Roy Bhandari: But, before you do that, what I want to do here is really highlight, you mentioned, this is the third release of Lakeside. Talk to me about where that is in relation to the first two buildings they did and how that plays [crosstalk 00:02:05].
Amit Bhandari: Sure. First of all, it’s tremendous value when it comes to the price point here. The initial release was very much investor focused, I’d say. That was the first release, the initial release, called the City Suites. Then, you had the second release of suites, which was the Sky Suites, which was in the Tower. So, you did have a few suites int here that was geared more towards the end user. Some, obviously geared towards the investor crowd and you did see a little bit of a price bump because of the-
Roy Bhandari: [crosstalk 00:02:34] views are getting better.
Amit Bhandari: Exactly. You’ve got, you know, spectacular views of the city. You’ve got spectacular views of the actual development itself on the west side. The east side you have the beautiful park. Looking south you’ve got potentially lake views. South, obviously you’re going to get tremendous views as well. It was priced accordingly.
Amit Bhandari: This third release, the Park Suite release, I think is going to be very similar to the original, the initial release, which was the City Suites where you’re going to have smaller suites. You’re going to have a lot more value driven pricing.
Roy Bhandari: Yeah. So, the parallels are there with the City Suites-
Amit Bhandari: Exactly.
Roy Bhandari: … between parallel and park. The main parallels are, number one, it’s on the lower floors. Two is-
Amit Bhandari: Two to 15.
Roy Bhandari: Two to 15 floors. The second parallel is that the suite sizes are going to be smaller, more geared toward those investors. Number three is that price point. So, we’re going back to the price point as the number one reason that we’re excited here. The price points we’re expecting to be more in line with the City Suites.
Roy Bhandari: In terms of the numbers that we’ve been given, we’ve been told to expect around $1,000 per square foot. Again, in this area, we’re seeing …
Amit Bhandari: Neighboring projects, they are around 20 to 40% higher in some cases. How I mentioned before, in terms of value proposition, this has a lot of that, a lot of that. I think all of us, we agree that there’s a lot of upside here. So, if you’re able to get into something like the Park Suites, which by the way, I think are going to be equally as good as say, some of the Sky Suites residences in terms of views. You’re going to have access to the same amenities, everything-
Roy Bhandari: Suite finishes?
Amit Bhandari: Suite finishes. The retail courtyard. Everything. You’re going to have access to all of that. It’s not going to change because you’re paying less. You’re going to have access to all of that. So, in terms of value prop, I think this is fantastic.
Mike Santos: That price point’s important from an investor’s standpoint-
Amit Bhandari: Absolutely.
Mike Santos: … because projects that, you mentioned 20 to 40% higher, there’s not as much investor providence in those. People are looking to get into this neighborhood because of the reasons we’re going to talk about. Lakeside has become a huge, huge attraction, draw for them. That’s why City Suites was blow out in terms of demand and we expect the same from Park as well.
Amit Bhandari: Yeah, I agree.
Roy Bhandari: What we’re saying right now is that first release, City Suites, which is very similar to Park Suites, sold out in a weekend. It was in and out. There was a lot of buyers that tried to get in that couldn’t. There was just too much demand on that one. The second release, which is the Sky Suites, is about 80% right now. We’re looking at larger suites available. Now, again, we’re going back to that investor friendly. We’re expecting a lot of demand on this one.
Amit Bhandari: Absolutely.
Reason #2 – Master Planned Community
Roy Bhandari: Transitioning now into reason number two, you mentioned the upsides. The second reason that we’re really excited about Lakeside is the master planned community. There’s a lot of subheadings in this section. We talk about master plans a lot.
Amit Bhandari: We love master plans.
Roy Bhandari: Before we talk about what they’re actually doing here. It’s important to understand why we get excited when we see a master plan. It’s a tried and trusted, and over, and over, and over again we see buyers that buy early into a multi phased development. When they buy early, you’re really locking in that price.
Amit Bhandari: They’ll reap the rewards of the overall growth.
Roy Bhandari: Yeah, and the general strategy is you buy the first one, the second one will be more expensive than the first, the third will be more expensive than the previous, and so on and so forth. We’ve seen this time, and time, and time again. Just over the last few years, some of the big multi phase redevelopments. Regent Park. The guys we met said earlier Regent Park are laughing all the way to the bank. We’ve got anywhere in the east-
Amit Bhandari: Liberty village.
Roy Bhandari: Liberty Village. The east side of Toronto. There’s so many example of this and it’s such a trusted method of investing and strategy of investing, which is why we get so excited.
Roy Bhandari: Transitioning a little bit, over there to the side is that there’s a very big difference between a good master plan and bad master plan. It’s being able to identify those ones that have the potential, where the growth is going to happen that, that becomes so important. I know you’ve looked into this a little bit, so …
Amit Bhandari: Yeah, we spoke about this a little bit where we said we’ve got five pillars, what would make a successful neighborhood. The five that, I think we think would generally make a neighborhood successful more so than others, is if they have number one, jobs. Number two, education space. Number three, retail space. Number four, public space. Number five, obviously for everyone, a place to live so, residences. I think-
Roy Bhandari: I think in a nutshell, just to simplify all that down to five pillars is that people want things to do in the community. They need to work. They need to live. They need to play.
Mike Santos: It’s a city within a community. You would not have to leave your community to do everything that-
Amit Bhandari: To do things, yeah. Absolutely.
Roy Bhandari: I think it’s important to highlight these because there’s so many examples of master plans in Toronto that are not [crosstalk 00:07:48] so well.
Amit Bhandari: Missing a couple of the pillars, let’s just say that.
Mike Santos: The big component of that is that those, necessarily, didn’t have a long term vision, whereas in east Bayfront, we have waterfront Toronto that has developed an entire vision for this community. That’s the difference. Some of those things that we’re going to talk about next come from a point where we’ve been able to plan for everything in a much longer term aspect. So, you’re going to get all of those things there that make east Bayfront and Lakeside specifically a good master plan.
Roy Bhandari: I think this all boils down to one thing. When you’re parking your money in a condominium investment, you want to be in an area where you’re going to see that growth. When we see these “bad master plans,” we do tend to see prices flatline or not rising as fast as some of the better ones.
Mike Santos: For sure.
Roy Bhandari: You mentioned the five pillars of a great master plan. I want to talk now about the ones that really do make east Bayfront really special in our eyes. The first one is retail. Retail being shops, basically. There’s been a big component here. You mentioned waterfront Toronto overseeing this whole development. Give us a quick run down on how retail plays a role.
Amit Bhandari: It plays a huge role. Basically, when they created the plan for, or the vision for this neighborhood, they said that, “Look, a retail and public space has to be a very, very key component of this entire neighborhood.” So, I guess it was mandated that every single development must have double height retail.
Roy Bhandari: On the ground level?
Amit Bhandari: On the ground level. That, in terms of sort of walk-ability, and creating a life within a neighborhood …
Roy Bhandari: Community.
Amit Bhandari: Yeah, community feel. These two things, especially retail, play a big, big part, because if you’re in a neighborhood, you mentioned this a couple weeks ago, where there’s just a dry cleaner and a dentist, but nothing much else to do, you’re not going to see people wanting to walk around, grab a coffee, do this and do that. It’s a space and a place to enjoy the neighborhood-
Mike Santos: What makes the double height retail so different?
Amit Bhandari: You don’t tend to see that very often. There’s more of a grander feel to the whole space itself.
Mike Santos: So, it’s double floors, 18 to 20 foot [crosstalk 00:10:13]?
Amit Bhandari: Exactly. They’ve been mandated to have this dedicated strip of every single [crosstalk 00:10:19]-
Mike Santos: It looks a lot sharper too.
Amit Bhandari: It looks phenomenal. Think, Yorkville-esque is the kind of feel that they’re trying to do here.
Roy Bhandari: Again, I think it’s always important to draw parallels.
Amit Bhandari: Yes.
Roy Bhandari: I always remember being in a neighborhood, one of these master plans where, we had a friend there. We went there, I was hungry and I wanted to grab a bite to eat. There was literally nowhere to get good and we’re talking about a downtown location. I actually had to go to the Esso station to get a sandwich, that was the only thing nearby. When you go down and it’s got this sort of dead feel, it makes a huge impact.
Amit Bhandari: Nobody wants to be there.
Roy Bhandari: Again, drawing the parallels, compare that to a distillery district where they’ve put such and emphasis on the retail space and the live. You go there any time of day, there’s people everywhere. Again, these are reflected in real estate values. We see these areas where they have the dentist or the dry cleaner, for lack of a better word but that kind of retail, and we do tend to see a bit of a flatlining on pricing.
Mike Santos: Yeah. For sure.
Amit Bhandari: Properties tend to sit more. There’s not as much activity in terms of demand. Versus the other side where you have all this life and people want to be there. People want to genuinely be there because there’s all this life.
Roy Bhandari: Just sticking on retail for another minute is, we know a couple of builders that have sold projects in this area have really anchored on that retail. We look at Daniels just next door. They’ve actually branded it The Yard where they’re going to have four towers. Every single building’s going to have its own internal courtyard with grocery stores and coffee shops. They’ve really branded this retail space, which is going to be a connection and connect to Lakeside as well. We’re really seeing the development embrace this [crosstalk 00:12:05].
Amit Bhandari: Even Lakeside itself, though, will have its own courtyard-
Roy Bhandari: Yeah, its own courtyard with-
Amit Bhandari: … between Napoleon, the Sky Suites, and then, the future Towers. It’s going to have its own retail courtyard-
Roy Bhandari: Yeah, for sure.
Amit Bhandari: … where all the life is going to be.
Roy Bhandari: For sure. Then, transitioning to the next big piece of the puzzle here is public space. Again, another major pillar on what makes a great master planned community is public space. A lot of thought, a lot of some of the best architects and landscape architects in the world are designing some of the spaces here. Give us a quick run down on the big public spaces.
Amit Bhandari: The one is right now, that people can actually go to and enjoy, Sugar Beach being probably the most prominent one right now. That itself is going to be extended further north as well, which is a fantastic addition. I really, really enjoy it. You do have the Promenade as well.
Roy Bhandari: The Promenade’s fantastic. [crosstalk 00:12:53]
Mike Santos: I think that’s what makes this different is that, when we talk about future developments, we’re always talking about what’s going to come, what’s going to come. But, you can-
Amit Bhandari: You can enjoy it.
Mike Santos: … actually go and see it now and get a feel for it.
Amit Bhandari: You can go and see it and enjoy it.
Mike Santos: You don’t usually get it. You usually get your condos and then things get built up. But, it’s there first and being expanded and then [crosstalk 00:13:10].
Roy Bhandari: We’ve been selling this neighborhood since 2010, when it was just like that. It was a [crosstalk 00:13:16] a mound of dirt. Even then, we saw the vision. Watching it come to reality has been an amazing thing. It’s really surpassed what we even thought-
Amit Bhandari: I was just going to say that, last summer when we all got together, the family got together and where did we all went?
Roy Bhandari: To the waterfront.
Amit Bhandari: We went to east Bayfront. We went to the waterfront. Sugar Beach being one of them. The Promenade being one of them where we took a wander. There’s all the [crosstalk 00:13:42]-
Mike Santos: About a half kilometer.
Roy Bhandari: Huge.
Mike Santos: It’s an entire redevelopment.
Amit Bhandari: Then, the other big part right now is the Sherbourne Common Park, which it’s separate right now. You’ve got the northern portion, which has these beautiful water features. Then, you have the south portion, the southern portion, which is just all green. It’s just a huge big park.
Mike Santos: This is where Park Suites is going to be facing.
Amit Bhandari: Exactly. You’re going to see all this greenery. Then, moving down into the future, there’s also competitions going on right now for the next parks that are going into this area. We were talking earlier about neighborhoods that we can work, live, and play. This ticks all those boxes because you can genuinely, you will be able to do all those things and it ultimately attracts people.
Mike Santos: That term tends to get over used in a lot of projects-
Amit Bhandari: I know it does.
Mike Santos: … but, you can actually, genuinely say this and it be very, very true.
Roy Bhandari: Well, transitioning into the work, live, play, you mentioned a couple of the other pillars. One being education and the other being jobs, which are obviously tied closely together. We’re talking about employment centers and we’re talking about demand for rentals and demand for people to live nearby. So, I do tie these closely together. But, talk to us about what this area has.
Amit Bhandari: Before anything, let’s talk about what’s already there because you have two huge employment centers already with George Brown Campus, which actually is expanding. I believe there’s four designs now that they’ve finalized on. It’s going to be called The Arbor. They’re going for a very eco friendly, wooden design for it. It’s just north of the current building. Huge draw for employment. Then, literally beside it is Corus Entertainment. To the north of Corus Entertainment, you’re going to have Menkes Innovation Center, which is another brand new, spectacularly designed building that will employ the tech sector mostly.
Roy Bhandari: We can talk for hours on the tech sector growth of Toronto but, I think this one’s an important piece to talk about because the Innovation Center is designed specifically to attract those tech jobs. What do tech jobs attract? Very high paying employees.
Amit Bhandari: Very highly skilled individuals.
Roy Bhandari: Exactly.
Amit Bhandari: Very highly paid individuals. Menkes is just one of the pieces of the puzzle. Just north of the Menkes site is Daniels two office towers as well.
Mike Santos: Another big piece, going back to the tech sector really quickly and the high paying jobs, those people aren’t traveling-
Amit Bhandari: No, they want the convenience.
Mike Santos: … want the convenience of being right in where-
Amit Bhandari: Live, work, play.
Mike Santos: Yeah, it’s heightened, this feels like it, in terms of tech jobs. Having that there and then, of course we’ve got the big guy.
Roy Bhandari: Let’s trans-
Amit Bhandari: Actually, before that, before that, the other big employment piece here is all the retail.
Roy Bhandari: Right.
Mike Santos: yeah.
Amit Bhandari: Every single building is going to have double height retail. Every single building has to have retail. They’re all places where people are going to work.
Roy Bhandari: You’ve mentioned the perfect transition into technology before you ruined it but …
Amit Bhandari: I’m sorry.
Reason #3 – Steps to Google Lands
Roy Bhandari: The number three reason that we’re really excited about Lakeside and it’s community is obviously the big Google announcement that took place a few months ago.
Amit Bhandari: Huge.
Roy Bhandari: Before we talk about what Google is doing, again, I just want to emphasize the importance of having that employment center nearby.
Amit Bhandari: Even before this announcement, we’ve said this before, even before we heard it was announced and confirmed that Google were coming here, we absolutely adore this neighborhood. This is probably one of our, the favorite emerging neighborhoods ever, I think for us. Then, once the Google announcement came, that was for us like, how can it get any better than this.
Amit Bhandari: The other big thing for me is, is Google as a company, just the sheer size and magnitude of what Google is, they could have picked anywhere in the GTA to settle, wherever they wanted to be. The fact that they chose downtown Toronto, the fact that they chose east Bayfront to have their headquarters and to have their parent company establish whatever they’re doing is huge. It says a lot about what the city is doing with this neighborhood. It says a lot about what’s happening within the neighborhood as well, for me.
Roy Bhandari: Again, I think it’s so important to highlight that Google brings along with it, high paying, high skilled, tech workers that don’t want to drive half an hour or-
Amit Bhandari: Convenience. They want the convenience.
Roy Bhandari: They want to be nearby.
Mike Santos: It’s walking distance.
Roy Bhandari: [crosstalk 00:18:31] practically next door. It’s over the park and Google lands begin. You’re literally steps to this huge Google headquarters.
Amit Bhandari: It’s huge. It’s incredibly important and I have said that before, that we love this neighborhood but the fact that Google are coming here is-
Mike Santos: It puts it over the top. It puts it over the top.
Amit Bhandari: … it changes everything. It changes everything completely.
Reason #4 – Global Developer
Roy Bhandari: Right, excellent. The number four reason that we’re very, very excited about Lakeside is Greenland Developments, one of the largest builders on the planet. Give us a run down on Greenland.
Amit Bhandari: I covered this a couple of weeks ago during a Release Radar. They’re a Fortune 500 company. Perhaps one of the largest real estate development companies on the planet. Just going to fire off some facts for them. They cover four continents, nine countries including USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and 13 cities. They are huge. I know you went to the-
Roy Bhandari: Yeah, we were fortunate enough to be invited to sit down with Henry Cao, the President of Greenland. Some of the insights that he shared about development, that we weren’t aware of ourselves, were amazing. He mentioned specifically the Brooklyn project. They’re building 16 towers in Brooklyn. A $4 billion redevelopment down there. In order to make this project work, they have to build a platform that they can build on top of. When they were going in and competing for this piece of land, they were one of only a couple of builders in the world that had the expertise to do this kind of work. You mentioned they’re in four continents.
Amit Bhandari: They’re global.
Roy Bhandari: He was also quick to highlight that they’ve built three of the top 10 tallest buildings in the world. You’re dealing with a serious, serious builder that is-
Mike Santos: Yeah, for someone to take on the task of this kind of community, these are the big boys of the-
Roy Bhandari: Yeah, it’s interesting. That’s a nice transition actually because within the east Bayfront, taking it back out, the developers that are involved in easy Bayfront-
Amit Bhandari: Yeah, they’re top tier.
Roy Bhandari: … are the best of the best. They’re a who’s who of Toronto condominium development.
Amit Bhandari: They’ve been a big part of the growth of Toronto in terms of resident and commercial real estate.
Roy Bhandari: Just rattling off some names, we mentioned Greenland, across the road is Great Gulf. Across the road the other side is Daniels. To the south is Tridel. Menkes are building some of the commercial space. We’re talking the real who’s who of-
Mike Santos: The real deal.
Roy Bhandari: … Toronto developers that are building this vision out.
Amit Bhandari: This is all by design. Going back to the history of it, this whole parcel of land for the city was perhaps the most prime piece. Then, they dubbed it the crown jewel. If they’re going to call it the crown jewel, they need to have all these top tier people involved. Again, it’s all by design. It’s all by design.
Roy Bhandari: For sure.
Mike Santos: Yeah.
Reason #5 – High Quality Project Details
Roy Bhandari: Then, the number five reason that we’re really excited for Lakeside is the project itself. It’s a funny one to end on but, it’s so true. We haven’t even mentioned, we’ve talked about the master plan but, this is a waterfront community. A pure waterfront community.
Amit Bhandari: Itself. You’re in a multifaceted, multi phased master plan community but, the development itself. So, we narrowed it down even further. It’s itself a masterpiece.
Roy Bhandari: It’s a master plan within a master plan.
Amit Bhandari: Yeah.
Mike Santos: Yeah.
Roy Bhandari: It’s like the [inception 00:22:06] of master plan [crosstalk 00:22:08]. I wanted to talk about the project itself. Give us a quick run down of how tall it is. Give us a quick run down of the amenities and what to expect with Lakeside.
Amit Bhandari: In terms of the amenities, you do have your standard amenities. You delved deep into the amenities but, you’ve got your swimming pool.
Mike Santos: Roof top. It’s a roof top-
Amit Bhandari: Yeah, roof top, sorry. You’ve got your yoga studios. You’ve got your gyms. You will have the retail space in the courtyard as well. Big, big feature. I always love when there’s retail in a building. The building itself, there was the back portion of the City Suites, which was the [podium 00:22:44], which was 15 stories. Then, you have the front portion, which is now the Park Suites, again, 15 stories. Then, you have the 49 stories tower.
Roy Bhandari: 49 story tower? So it’s 49-
Amit Bhandari: Inclusive. Inclusive total. The next portion of Park Suites, we mentioned this before, 260 odd suites. There’s going to be two to 15. It’s a great development. It’s really, really good. It’ll be very well built. Greenland-
Mike Santos: That’s where the roof top is by the way. On top [crosstalk 00:23:10] of the 15th floor podium. Right.
Roy Bhandari: One of the things I wanted, again, it was a story that Henry shared at the dinner. He mentioned that when they were designing Lakeside, instead of going out and hiring and architect and building what they built, what they actually did was they hired three architects including a very, very prominent, star architectural firm from around the world that’s built some … I can’t name the name. I was told I can’t say who it is. They built some of the most prominent buildings around the world. What they did was they actually held a competition between the three architects. They paid three architects and then, based on the three designs of what they had planned for the master plan, they picked the best one. This is where the Hariri Pontarini architecture comes from. It’s incredibly well thought out.
Roy Bhandari: Again, you see this level of detail that Greenland go into to pick out the designs for how this building comes into play. Again, this is an unusual strategy. We see competitions from time to time but for them to hire three architects to bring back your best designs and this is the one that they land on. Just to talk about Hariri, they did one, Bloor. They did the Shangri-La. They’ve done some incredible buildings around the city.
Mike Santos: Beyond the design, people are obviously very interested in the floor plans themselves.
Amit Bhandari: Yeah, fantastic floor plans.
Mike Santos: The floor plans themselves for the first two phases were really nice, especially the City Suites investors. Really nice clean, square lines.
Amit Bhandari: Absolutely.
Mike Santos: The Sky Tower was beautifully designed in terms of large units as well.
Amit Bhandari: A couple of our clients, end users, plan to actually live in the building.
Mike Santos: It’s actually been a good mix in terms of that.
Amit Bhandari: Absolutely.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent. We talked about the five reasons that we’re really excited about Lakeside. We talked about the price point, obviously one of the best things to be excited about. We talked about the waterfront master planned community with amazing retial, public space, and jobs. We transitioned into the Google, the third reason that we’re excited. We’re next door to the brand new Google lands. Number four reason was Greenland Developments were the biggest developers in the world. Then, finally, the project itself was the number five reason to be excited.
Roy Bhandari: We’re getting really close into the launch timeframe. Now is the time to reach out to the team if you have any questions. Lakeside Residences, if you’re interested, reach out to us and we’ll be sure to get you in.