Thirty Six Zorra Condos – Interview with Altree Developments
Thirty Six Zorra Condos – Get Your Colour On
Roy Bhandari: Good morning, everybody. This is Roy Bhandari with talkcondo.com and we are at the Altree head office today joined by Jordan, Director of Operations of Altree and Zev Mandelbaum, the President and CEO of Altree Development. So thank you very much for your time.
Jordan Debrinca: Thank you.
Roy Bhandari: We’re here today to talk about Thirty Six Zorra Condos. I want to talk to Zev for a minute, because more than most developers, I think you’ve got a very interesting story. You are a third-generation developer. I can only imagine what those dinner conversations were growing up. So give us a quick run down on sort of your journey to get to where you are right now.
Zev Mandelbaum: Sure. So thank you, Roy. As you said, I’m a third-generation real estate developer. In my family, if you’re not in real estate development, there’s something wrong with you. So we are a very large family of real estate developers. My grandfather started a company in the ’50s called H&R Developments. H&R burgeoned into a bunch of companies. He had some really close friends at Olympia & York, and Medallion, and Fieldgate, which all later kind of married into the family in some way, shape or form, partnered up with our family.
Zev Mandelbaum: And as the transition went from one generation to the next, H&R split up into four primary companies. There’s my uncle Dave who owns a company called Davpart. My uncle George, who owns a company called Lindvest. And my father who owns a company called Lanterra. The family further rolled their commercial assets into a public REIT called H&R REIT, which my uncle Tom is the CEO of.
Zev Mandelbaum: So I grew up in every Sunday going to the sites, and seeing the buildings being built, riding scrapers, riding cranes. My first time I was 12 years old, I went to the top of this crane in Yorkville. And back then they weren’t so big on safety harnesses. And I remember looking at what was a very, very calm skyline of Toronto and noticing the buildings that my family built, and now it’s a completely different skyline than it was back then. And that’s what I grew up with. I grew up with lectures on Sunday about zoning and cap rates, and different types of building materials. So that very much was my childhood.
Roy Bhandari: Amazing.
Zev Mandelbaum: And when the time came for me, I started working in H&R, and then I worked at Lanterra, and after I got my training boots on, I started a company called Marlin Spring with my brother-in-laws. Marlin Spring became a very heavy builder. We brought many, many, many projects to market. I was doing all the development side of work and the acquisition side, and I brought my own Canvas to market, Canvas Condominiums, West Beach Condominiums, the Mack Condominium, Stockyards, along with Jordan, who’s been by my side for the last decade. And it has been a real amazing experience.
Zev Mandelbaum: And then when time came for me to say, I want to put my own stamp on this world, I decided the way to do that was just like my grandfather and father living in the shadow and seeing all the buildings they built. I wanted to build something of my own. So I built a company called Altree Developments. Altree, alt, the challenge of standard, and ree, high sense of excitement. So if you’re excited to challenge the standard, it’s Altree. And that’s really what we tried to do. Just create a company that’s challenging the standard, because it started off with sort of a low rise actually. Then it went into-
Roy Bhandari: A lot of the developers do, right. A lot of the developers do start off with the low rise and then transition up.
Zev Mandelbaum: And then my father growing up, working on 11 Wellesley on the Park, and the Britt, and the Murano, and Burano, and working on ICE condos at Maple Leaf Square, and the One Bedford. And I remember one of my first projects that I worked on was Waterpark City, which today is very different than it did when the Molson factory was there. And that’s really all I ever knew and ever wanted to be. So I had that burn to become a developer.
Roy Bhandari: Yeah, it’s in the blood.
Zev Mandelbaum: Very much.
Roy Bhandari: Awesome. So, you mentioned some powerhouse developers. Now it’s Altree. On the first project here at Thirty Six Zorra, you’ve also partnered with another major corporation. So talk to us a little bit about that process, Jordan, maybe you can touch on this as well. What did that process look like when you brought EllisDon into the fold here.
Jordan Debrinca: Zev will be able to talk more so on the partnership level stuff, and I’ll get into the product specifics.
Roy Bhandari: Sure, no problem.
Zev Mandelbaum: When when I started this project, I was looking for a major partner that had a similar view as me, but knowing that today everything comes down to how well you can build a building, and the constructability of a building, I wanted to be partnered with a company that was the best at building buildings.
Zev Mandelbaum: Now if your whole goal is to build a building, really what you want to do is you want to build a building that will stand the test of time, and to do that in today’s day and age where construction is so fierce and there are so many construction companies, you really want the best of the best. I had a relationship with EllisDon. In my family, construction is everyone does their own construction, but you don’t construct for one company to the other. It’s a very specific task. It’s catered to that project itself. And really what you want to do is you want to find a partner that’s best suited to help you construct that project.
Zev Mandelbaum: So at first I was looking for a GC, someone to come and build it, and then when I partnered with EllisDon, and that they were already doing so many P3 projects with the LRT, the Metrolinx, and they were looking to break into the residential market as capital partners, actual partner partners. And we hit it off, and I thought this would be a really good mix, because here you have a super entrepreneurial behemoth of a company just with so many employees and so much dedication, so much attention to detail and then you have a guy like me, who’s very good at developing the sites.
Zev Mandelbaum: So putting that partnership together, we have the ultimate team. We have the development expertise, we have the construction expertise, and we have two partners that are perfectly aligned. The success of the building [inaudible 00:05:55] built. And when the construction guy is married to the development, and the development is married to the construction, and you both have the common goals aligned to build a building, you know it’s going to get built.
Roy Bhandari: You said something very important there. It’s going to get built. The reason we spend so much time talking about Altree and EllisDon and the partnership and your history is because now more than ever, and we’ve said this a hundred times over the last 18, 24 months, the clients are so much more who the builder is, the and making sure it gets built is now front of mind for so many consumers and investors. And it’s one of the first questions we get asked, who is the builder? Are they reliable? Have they been around? Do they know what they’re doing? All these questions are questions that didn’t exist 24 months ago. So we hammer on it all the time, and to hear that story and to hear the partnership-
Zev Mandelbaum: So let me tell you, my family’s been in this business 70 years. I have three children, two little boys and a little girl and I’m certainly not going to end that legacy. We’re going to be here for another seventy years, so they can say my family has been building for 150 years. And EllisDon, and it’s not just EllisDon. EllisDon is also owned by the Smith family, which is partners in this project, is there for the growth of EllisDon, to continue that EllisDon has many projects and residential projects to build, because don’t forget they are a construction company. And that is their focus, that projects to build. That we are both dedicated to this being being built.
Roy Bhandari: For sure. Amazing. You said something, we were sat in this board room a week or two ago, and you said something, we asked you about pricing, where you land. And you said something that sort of stuck with me. You said we don’t know the pricing, because we have to do our costs another 30 times before we make sure. And that’s the sort of experience, that I assume comes from being around this world so many times. You want to be not sure, a thousand percent sure that you’ve got every checkbox marked, and-
Zev Mandelbaum: I can tell you the amount of detail that we spend on costing here, it would blow your mind. We don’t just check the costing. We don’t just tender the costing and go to budget trades. We do it independently. EllisDon does it independently. Our cost consultants do it independently. We do it independently. We ask everyone, and then we would go back. We can tell you every single door knob, how much it’s going to cost, what we’re going to buy, where we’re going to source it from, before we even go to sale.
Roy Bhandari: Awesome. We’re really excited to be working with you guys and, and I think you guys do an amazing job here.
Zev Mandelbaum: Thank you. I appreciate that.
Roy Bhandari: So let’s talk about, we’re going to shift gears and talk a little bit more about Zorra. Before I talk about the site itself, I want to talk about Etobicoke, because Etobicoke is going through, again, a really interesting transition. Again, something that you’ve highlighted before that I think is something that every investor should be paying attention to, is this idea of where the city has highlighted certain growth nodes. So I want you to talk to us a little bit about that, and where this fits in that picture.
Zev Mandelbaum: Sure. To understand Toronto and the way it works is you have to have a little bit of a zoning background. You have to understand planning, urban planning. Most cities in the world that were designed for urban planning are predicated upon understandable growth and where that growth has to come. Toronto was a city that was designed with different designations from neighborhoods to mixed use, and what that did was it created that there’s a lot of family low-rise homes that are single detached in the city of Toronto, and then there are outcroppings of growth where they’re allowed for mixed density.
Zev Mandelbaum: When there’s a city that there’s so much demand for product, there’s so much demand for homes that everyone is looking to build wherever they can build. You can’t fight city hall. Good luck. What you’re going to do is you’re going to go to wherever the zoning regulation allows you to build. And Toronto has always been about that. It’s been about communities, it’s been about specific areas, and anyone who knows the city of Toronto, the city of Toronto isn’t one city. It’s made up of many, many little communities.
Roy Bhandari: So this next piece that you’re going to say is like, I think it’s like an investment hack when you are looking forward. This is something that we’ve done internally for years. I think most recently, the one that comes to mind was over at Don Mills and Eglinton in one of your cousin companies, sister company, sorry-
Zev Mandelbaum: My uncle George. Lindvest.
Roy Bhandari: Yeah, Lindvest, they had a site at Don Mills and Eglinton, and that neighborhood was sort of outlined as a growth node, quote unquote. That was four or five years ago. Today, there’s a 60-acre brand new redevelopment happening across the road. So everybody who invested in that has gained huge.
Zev Mandelbaum: Right. I’ll let you know a little secret. In the 1970s and ’80s, my grandfather saw Don Mills and Eglinton coming. And he built on Wynford Drive, all the apartment buildings…
Roy Bhandari: Amazing.
Zev Mandelbaum: … back then, because he knew it was going to be until today, my family still owns those buildings.
Roy Bhandari: Amazing.
Zev Mandelbaum: That’s how they were able to predict where the growth was going and helped us. Those buildings are unbelievable buildings, in terms of value for this company.
Roy Bhandari: For sure. So yeah, I wanted to draw that parallel, because that was the most recent one that came to my mind, and the exact same thing is happening here right now. So with that in mind, just talk a little bit more about where the original growth nodes were and where this one fits into that.
Zev Mandelbaum: Sure. So City of Toronto official plan policy, which dictates where growth goes in the city has really created areas in Etobicoke for high density growth. Now there are three primary areas, aside from Sherway Gardens, which is a site onto its own for growth. And that is Etobicoke waterfront, Kipling Station, and the Queensway and Islington area, which you’ll see over here.
Zev Mandelbaum: Now what they did was they gave it a tremendous amount of mixed use designation to allow for high rise towers. What that allows is for density to come. And everyone knows that when density comes, density begets pricing, and pricing builds on pricing, and people build on neighborhoods, and neighborhoods build onto themselves. Case in point, I remember my first project that I invested in was the toy factory on Hanna Street in Liberty Village.
Zev Mandelbaum: Back then, Liberty Village was not the Liberty Village you know of today. I think we were around somewhere between 240 and 280 a square foot, for the monopoly unit that I bought, which today trades for 1100 a foot, just to think in terms of how that’s done. And what happened? Liberty Village was one building, two buildings, three buildings, it was the density node, and today, Liberty Village doesn’t have the greatest transit, and yet today it’s a Mecca place to be.
Zev Mandelbaum: City Place, very similar. First building, second building. Why? Because Toronto is an outcropping of cities, and once you have your community start off, once it starts growing, it compounds upon itself, and it drives value. It drives good investment.
Zev Mandelbaum: So the Etobicoke waterfront is pretty much done. There’s very few buildings left of value that is extremely expensive. Kipling Station, also pretty much done. Land is bought. I looked at Queensway Islington right away, saw that this was where I wanted to be. And I started this project three years ago, and I knew that I wanted to be here, because if you look at Kipling, Islington, Queensway, Gardiner, that section of the city is designated for high use zones. Three other developers already understood this.
Zev Mandelbaum: There was RioCan, who invested in this 22 extremely large Cineplex, with arcades and everything, including the Cara Food Groups, where they brought the Montanas, the Kelseys, and so on and so forth.
Roy Bhandari: So RioCan owns that.
Zev Mandelbaum: RioCan owns this, this is employment. This is an excuse, which is future towers coming, with all the Cara groups staying. I own this parcel, this parcel, and this parcel. And this is owned by Crombie, which owns Sobeys. And what they’re doing is they’re already site plan approved. They’re building their 50,000 square foot Sobeys here, which is currently right now in this mall. It’s being moved over to here. So it’ll have a major grocery anchor in this area, with the major Cineplex, with the restaurants over here, and the coffee shops and yoga shops over here.
Zev Mandelbaum: This is a rental building, that will become a rental building. It’s a rental community that they’re going to be building, and I believe I heard rumors that there may be a little retirement in here as well. This is owned by Remington’s, the IQ project. These four buildings are already built. There’s two 12s and two 24 story towers already built and constructed and occupied. This park is already built. We are expanding the parking lot. We can show you some renderings of that park, which is growing in which you can see, this park is an urban park. It’s going to be around 80 acres in size by the time it’s done, in the meantime, it’s about half built.
Roy Bhandari: And that’s at your doorstep, at Thirty Six Zorra.
Zev Mandelbaum: That’s completely at your door. You’re surrounded by that park, and that park has water features, kids’ play areas, jungle gyms. It has stadiums to sit at. We’re putting outdoor ping pong tables here, adult areas that are there for chess and checkers and whatnot.
Roy Bhandari: And I assume that’s very much inspired by the urban parks of the big cities around the world.
Zev Mandelbaum: Absolutely. We’ve taken this playbook directly from other cities. And there are cities like this that exists with this all outcropping, where you have very similar size from everywhere, from Chicago to Stockholm, all over this world. London has a really good neighborhood that compares to this as well. Our 36 story tower’s coming here and this is Conservatory Group, where this is in the future going to be a major, major redevelopment at play, because it’s mixed use, high density, but because it’s major, it takes time for it to go through planning.
Zev Mandelbaum: And then we have three more towers coming from [Irmington 00:15:00] . So we have here, just along the size of City Place, with the first building coming out.
Roy Bhandari: Yeah. I think as a broker and an investment advisor to my clients, this is really what I am very, very excited about. Exactly what you said. This is a huge parcel of land. This is effectively the first of what will probably be a dozen, 13, 14, 15 buildings over the next five to 10 years. So you are really getting in at the ground level here of this master plan redevelopment that includes retail. As you said, you’re next door already to the Cineplex and the restaurants, a brand new Sobeys, 50,000 is a huge anchor style grocery store.
Roy Bhandari: You’re going to have the residents, obviously you’ve got the residences already there and you’ve got this influx of all this new residents coming in. That’s really what gets us excited about this. You are the first of what is going to be, who knows how many buildings, a dozen, 14, 15.
Zev Mandelbaum: So it’s a huge amount of growth potential, and I like to say is when you look for a good investment, or at least when I look for good investment, I look for two things. Value today and value tomorrow. Value today means, today, is it a good investment? If this building was built and standing today, would you be in the black? Would you be making money on your rent? And the answer is yes. Why? Because unlike some other outcropping of areas that are to come, that don’t have the amenities, the amenities are already here. You have your cinemas, you have your restaurants, you have your shops, you have your groceries. Sobeys is here today. The parks are here today. This little TTC will take you straight to Sherway Gardens within two kilometers.
Zev Mandelbaum: You have all the amenities at your doorstep today. The rents are there. We’ve done rental comparisons. You’re making money today on your investments.
Roy Bhandari: Cashflow positive.
Zev Mandelbaum: Very cashflow positive. On a very conservative basis. So you have value today, yet you’re still at the beginning, at the cusp of something that will only compound in value.
Roy Bhandari: And you start to see why the city have highlighted this pocket as a growth node, because of all those things that you talked about. You talked about the connection to the transit lines, and the connection to the highways, the accessibility to the city. So you start to see all of this come into play.
Zev Mandelbaum: I see extreme accessibility to the city by way of something very interesting.
Roy Bhandari: We’re going to talk about that next. I know exactly where you’re going.
Zev Mandelbaum: The shuttle service.
Roy Bhandari: Yes.
Zev Mandelbaum: All right.
Roy Bhandari: Let’s talk specifically about Thirty Six Zorra now.
Zev Mandelbaum: Sure.
Roy Bhandari: So give us sort of the bird’s eye view of Thirty Six Zorra, how tall it is, how many units. Just give us the sort of the bird’s eye.
Jordan Debrinca: It’s a 36-story tower with a six story podium. We have 459 units in this building, and we have outdoor amenity on the seventh floor podium, indoor amenity on the seventh floor as well, so we have contiguous indoor and outdoor on the tower portion and above the podium. We have indoor amenity on the ground floor, as well.
Jordan Debrinca: We have a couple two story units on the ground floor, which I think is great from an end-user perspective. We have a really great mix of one bedrooms, two bedrooms and three bedrooms, and I’ll get into that into a second. Everyone keeps asking us, who do we think is going to really be buying here at Thirty Six Zorra, and I honestly think it’s really going to be a 50% end user, 50% investor, and that’s because we were able to design this building from the inside out, and I think it’s very important to talk about building something from the inside out, because when you build something from the inside out, or design something from the inside out, you’re really able to get optimal unit layouts.
Jordan Debrinca: And I think it’s something that we really strive on and what we placed a lot of importance on over the last few years that Zev and I have been working on this project. We have really, really great smaller investor units. We have some studio units, we have some two bedroom units that are 600 square feet, 575, 650, 2 bedroom and den suites.
Jordan Debrinca: And then we have a lot of the larger suites that are a little bit more on the end-user side that are spacious and being able to to captivate both of those users, I think, is extremely important. For this building, we have over 9,500 square feet of indoor amenity, and 9,500 square feet of outdoor amenity, which I think is absolutely huge for for this building. And this is actually one of the outdoor amenities that we have for this building, which I’ll get to in a second.
Jordan Debrinca: Let’s start on the ground floor. So we have a rather large gym with state-of-the-art fitness equipment. We have a separate room that can be used for personal training, for yoga, whatever have you that they would like to utilize it for, we have a pet wash that’s on the ground floor for pet-loving individuals. And we thought it was a really great place to put the gym, because you wouldn’t have to worry about residential underneath it and people dropping weights. There’s always that concern. So we put that on the ground floor.
Jordan Debrinca: There remainder of our indoor amenities on the actually the seventh floor, and it’s the beginning of the tower. And in that space is probably my most favorite part of the building, because we have jam packed so many things in there, while being usable space. Two of my favorite amenities for this building is we have a rec room that is going to be featuring different arcade games, ping pong tables. Really like a place where people can download and people can de-stress.
Jordan Debrinca: When we were putting the amenity design into this building, we really wanted to create a whole building that was a building where people could live, work and play, which is so fantastic, because the way that the world is going, people working from home, online businesses, it’s great to know that you have everything at the touch of your fingertips inside your home. So we have a rec room, which is absolutely amazing. We have a nice kids’ playroom. We have two guest suites for people who want to have their family and stuff come stay with them. We have co-ed saunas, which is on the seventh floor, which is adjacent to the outdoor amenities, which has the pool. We have a social lounge with a TV and a bar area to be able to facilitate a party type feature.
Jordan Debrinca: We have a party room for a little bit of more of a formal type dining room, which can also dub as a meeting space and a coworking space for people who work from home for the day. And we have a demo kitchen, just absolutely fantastic. We put a really big emphasis on this. We have a nice mirror above the island where people are able to cook food. And we thought it was a really great space for people to be able to host dinner parties, host a cooking class, bring a world-class chef in, and all that stuff. So I think that we really touched upon everything that you could do in terms of live, work, and play on the indoor side.
Roy Bhandari: Very, very urban feel.
Jordan Debrinca: Yes.
Roy Bhandari: Very, very urban.
Jordan Debrinca: Yes. And that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s going into that we’re in the 21st century, and the way that we’re living, and the way that everyone is living is changing and flipping to more a digital world, so being able to have that aspect of live, your suite, you come downstairs, you can work, you can also live and you can also play, which is really important. Everything at your fingertips.
Roy Bhandari: This is a next level amenity program for this neighborhood.
Jordan Debrinca: And we placed a lot of emphasis on that, because you can have, amenities, it’s not necessarily something that necessarily sells a building, but it’s an added feature. I think it’s something that’s really, really important for both end users and investors when they’re looking at which is the next condominium or investment to purchase. Adjacent to all of that amenity, we have your outdoor amenity, which has a barbecue area with dining tables for an outdoor al fresco dining situation. We have lounges with fire pits, with the backdrop of the city in your back. It faces east, so it’s fantastic. We have a sectioned-off kids’ area, which is fantastic for families.
Jordan Debrinca: Sitting at the lounging and being able to watch your kids in the kids’ area. We have a section of dog run, as well, for pet lovers. And then the biggest feature, obviously, is the outdoor pool, which is fantastic. You can see here it’s an elevated outdoor pool, overlooking the city skyline, and it’s absolutely fantastic. We have these cabanas, sun loungers. In all honesty, it feels like a resort feel, all in one. You know when you go to a resort, you have everything all in one. Sometimes you don’t even need to leave your resort. That’s what we kind of tried to plan for this building.
Jordan Debrinca: Another added feature of this development is we also have an onsite park that is just to the north of the site, which aids towards the park land right outside your doorstep. And as Zev was mentioning, it’s more of an urban feel. We have beautiful wood lounging seats. We have some concrete elements, there’s nature, there’s trees. And then we brought this fun element, which kind of plays on the inside of the building. We have areas for ping pong tables, and areas where people can go and play chess, and it really plays on the whole aspect of what we’re going for the whole building, which is an area where you can live, work, and play.
Roy Bhandari: Awesome.
Jordan Debrinca: Yeah.
Roy Bhandari: That was a lot to-
Jordan Debrinca: It was a lot in one.
Roy Bhandari: A lot to unpack. One of the other very interesting amenities is, you sort of alluded to it earlier, is the shuttle service.
Jordan Debrinca: Yes.
Roy Bhandari: So talk to us a little bit about that, because for me this is like, it’s so simple that it’s genius, and you almost wonder why this doesn’t exist everywhere. But just give us a rundown on that.
Jordan Debrinca: Sure. So as Zev was mentioning, when we look at an area, we look at the overarching planning structure, and we see the transit network, what’s coming, proposed developments, and all that fun stuff. So looking on the Queensway, there is a TTC bus that runs fairly frequently. It goes both East and West. It goes to Sherway Gardens, it brings you up the Queensway, up until the area of Roncesvalles.
Jordan Debrinca: And what we were thinking about now, and building a development that is a well-rounded development that’s able for people to live, work, and play, it’s the level of convenience. And I think one of the things that, as you mentioned, which seems like an absolute genius idea, which isn’t necessarily instilled in a lot of buildings, is an idea of a direct shuttle service. And when we were thinking about it, we were saying, how can we bring something, our location isn’t necessarily on the TTC, on the subway stops, and the transit and subway station is a major part of people’s lives, because it’s how they get into work, how they get in and out of the city.
Jordan Debrinca: So what we were thinking as an aspect that was going to be specific to this development, is offering a direct shuttle service, which takes residents of Thirty Six Zorra, or future residents of Thirty Six Zorra, to and from Kipling Station at peak hours in the morning and peak hours in the evening. We’re right in the middle of where Islington Station is and where Kipling Station is, one’s an eight-minute drive, one’s a six-minute drive. And the reason why we picked Kipling, is Kipling is becoming the new hub.
Jordan Debrinca: There is a GO Station there. There’s a GO train there that takes you right to Union Station in one stop, and it is the start of the TTC station, which is the first stop on the line that brings you downtown, and they are doing major renovations to the Kipling Station, because it is going to be the hub of Etobicoke. So offering that to our residents of this building, I think, is something extremely important, because it adds that level of convenience. It takes that aspect of, a lot of developments, you have to walk to the subway station, or you have to drive to the subway station and leave your car there.
Jordan Debrinca: Here, where we have a shuttle service that picks you up right at the tip of Thirty Six Zorra’s lobby entrance. Going to be bringing people to and from the station in peak hours in the morning and peak hours in the evening, it just creates that level of stress off of somebody where you know they have to wake up, they have to give the added time of them getting in their car, going to the underground, picking up the car, going to the station, and it creates that level of stress-free environment.
Jordan Debrinca: And the fact that we were able to offer something and the maintenance fees of this building are still being able to be under 60 cents a square foot, which I think is something that’s unheard of in this type of development, given all the competition and stuff that’s in the air. And I don’t know if you want to touch upon that a little bit more?
Zev Mandelbaum: Yeah. Well, we thought of this a while ago, and we priced it with many different companies and shuttle services until we found the optimal formula that works. There are a few other projects that do do it, and it’s becoming more and more prevalent, where the city’s growing faster than the infrastructure. We all know that, and as people, we can do it ourselves better. We can do it ourselves more optimally. So why wouldn’t we? And as you do that, it grows upon itself. Just like the sharing economy with Uber changed the world, the way people commute, so too, shuttle services are commuting and changing the way people live in condominiums.
Zev Mandelbaum: Now, what happens is within eight minutes you’re at Kipling Station, which to Jordan’s point is on the Bloor Line. So you’re on the subway line. It’s also the last stop, like you said, from Kipling Station to Union Station. It’s on the GO Train and the GO Bus. So you have the collusion of the major transit hub that gets you downtown within 15 minutes.
Zev Mandelbaum: And that idea of I don’t have to walk anywhere. I don’t have to walk like in the rain 10 minutes when it’s raining, and snowing, and negative 20 in February, to the subway station. No, no. I’m not advertising on the subway station. I’m advertising that you never have to go outside to get to the subway station, which I think is a tremendous, tremendous addition here. And to be able to say that we can run it more efficiently, and I think that’s a beautiful concept of direct service.
Roy Bhandari: Yep, it’s a great concept.
Zev Mandelbaum: It’s direct. It’s exclusive. Exclusive to Thirty Six Zorra residents.
Jordan Debrinca: We live in a day and age where time is so important. Time is the one thing you can’t get back, and anything that we could do to make everyone’s life a little bit more efficient, I think, is something that we strive for. And I think an idea doesn’t become an idea unless it’s proven. And as I’ve mentioned, there’s more and more developers who are in more and more projects who are going into it.
Jordan Debrinca: The one thing that we can hope is that we will be the pioneering of this, in this specific area, between Kipling and Islington, and all the future growth of the next 10 to 15 years will eventually buy into the idea as well, to create a more efficient node, I think, is a great-
Zev Mandelbaum: And we’ve had talks about developers, and eventually, there’s going to be a full service shuttle service here that’s just going to go every five minutes back and forth, because that’s what the demand is.
Roy Bhandari: Yeah. And I think the thing that I love about that in this project, it just shows the level of detail that you guys go to, in terms of making sure, like I said, every every box is checked, and it’s that level of detail that makes good projects great projects. So that’s one of the reasons that we think it’s a great little feature. Amenities with… We’ve got everything we need in the building. Let’s talk about the suites. Again, when we sat here a couple of weeks ago, you’d mentioned you’d been working on floor plans for two, three years.
Jordan Debrinca: Yes.
Roy Bhandari: And again, it speaks to the level of fine detail of every square inch of the building. So talk to us about the floor plans. We’ve seen a handful of the floor plans. We’re very, very excited about them. I think there’s one that we call the genius floor plan where I think it’s 600 and change square feet, two bedroom and den, but laid out immaculately. No wasted space. So talk to us a little bit about the floor plans and what we can expect there.
Jordan Debrinca: Sure. So we have a great mix of one bedrooms and two bedrooms, and then there’s obviously the mandated three bedrooms, which we have incorporated into the building, and are very, very functional. Our tower has a great mix. We have, it’s honestly an equal split between one bedrooms and dens, and two bedrooms and larger. The tower is more so focused on, I would say, and that’s why I say our building is more so 50% end user, 50% investor, because I think the tower kind of lends itself more towards an investor suite, just because the tower is 750 square meter plates, and the way that you break it up is more so conducive of that.
Jordan Debrinca: In the podium, we have more of the end-user suites, because you have the little bit of the larger suites where you’re able to more functioning space in them, which is extremely important to an end user.
Jordan Debrinca: When you’re looking at buildings, the mandate of an end user and the mandate of an investor are totally different, and you know this better than we do. So when we’re able to have a little bit more space on the units in the podium, we were able to get a little bit more comfortable living area and comfortable bedrooms, and this and that. We placed a really big importance on making sure that each unit in his building is livable.
Jordan Debrinca: Even our studios, I think our smallest unit in the building is 440 square feet. It has a 17 foot living, dining, sleeping area, which is absolutely unheard of for a studio. Normally you get your studios that are nine feet, and you kind of have to work in that. So we placed a really big emphasis on making sure that everything is really usable.
Jordan Debrinca: And majority of the units in this building also have outdoor space, which I think is really important, just because of the quaint nature of the building, how it has that little wave thing, the balconies are very, very unique and each balcony, each tower floor plan has a different spot wherever you are in the tower floor plate, I think it’s fantastic.
Jordan Debrinca: But we have a really great mix of one bedrooms, two bedrooms, three bedrooms, and we’re really excited. The units range from 440 square feet all the way up to 1,300. So a really, really great mix of unit sizes and suite numbers that we’re really excited to bring on the market.
Zev Mandelbaum: So Jordan’s points, which you spoke of earlier, one of the advantages of working on this project for so long and being one of the earlier ones, is that you design the building from the inside out, and by doing that you get the perfect layouts.
Zev Mandelbaum: Each unit and each square foot is perfect, because you’re not constrained to make a tower shape, because you have to respect all the other distance separations in a shape that doesn’t work for the units. You make the perfect rectangle, and to Jordan’s point, your design inside out, those unit layouts are perfect. So you could buy a 600 square foot, where 50 square feet of that is a hallway that you can’t barely use, or you can buy 600 square feet where every inch of it is perfect space. And I think that’s a huge advantage that this project has.
Roy Bhandari: Excellent. So just to wrap everything up, we talked about Zev as a third-generation developer who’s seen development through his entire life, Altree and EllisDon working together. A really, really interesting pocket of development in Etobicoke that has huge potential, identified as a growth node with a dozen plus buildings coming in the future. We’ve got a great location. We’ve got Thirty Six Zorra, that’s chock-full of amenities. We’ve got the really neat shuttle service that almost feels like you’ve got direct connection to the subway and downtown Toronto. We’ve got amazing suites, amazing floor plans, amazing suite mix. Is there anything I missed? Is there anything that I didn’t say that you wanted to talk about?
Zev Mandelbaum: There’s one thing I do want to talk about. So again, I grew up in a development family. And this happened with ICE towers. ICE I and ICE II, and South Tower, North Tower, next to Air Canada Centre, that… Oh, sorry, did I call it the Air Canada Centre? What’s it called [crosstalk 00:32:42]. It’s always going to be the Air Canada Centre to me, I’m sorry, Scotia, no matter how much you paid for that.
Zev Mandelbaum: And the top of ICE had those little, they look like Swiss cheese hats, and it was an architectural element the architects’ alliance wanted, and my father told me, he says that when you make a building, make it iconic. And if you spend time on the iconic architecture, no matter how much extra it costs, you will be driving value to that building forever more.
Zev Mandelbaum: And if you look at ICE today, is always in every picture of downtown Toronto, because of those hats, because it stands out. And I remember at the time that one of the partners was saying, “Why spend the extra money?” And my father said, “When you make an iconic building, it will have value forever.” So one of the things that we wanted to do, even though it is very expensive, and we could’ve done a simpler building, we wanted to make this building iconic.
Zev Mandelbaum: This is a building when you come down to Toronto, and drive along the Gardiner, what are you going to see? Right away, you’re going to see this building. This building is going to be almost a crown entering Toronto forevermore, and we wanted it to stand out.
Zev Mandelbaum: So we went to Graziani + Corazza who also designed Aura, that one tower, which was also iconic with the drippy lights, you can see it everywhere at night. Anybody at night can show you where or even during the day, and we said we want something iconic. We want something that will drive value, because everyone will know that that’s the iconic building that it’s in.
Zev Mandelbaum: So we designed Thirty Six Zorra with these wavy balconies that intersect that are wrap around, so you get twice as much balcony space as a typical building, which is a lot more costly, and we use these materials to kind of give it this wave. And when it’s done, it’s going to be super iconic, because it is very rare to find a building in Etobicoke that brings the amount of architecture that we’re bringing here.
Roy Bhandari: Awesome.
Zev Mandelbaum: So if you want to buy in a building that everyone’s going to know is Thirty Six Zorra, and everyone’s going to say, “Oh, you’re in the Thirty Six Zorra building?” Right away, it’s going to command a premium.
Roy Bhandari: Awesome.
Jordan Debrinca: And we are happy to spend the money on this extra stuff.
Roy Bhandari: That was good. Actually, there was one other thing that we didn’t talk about, because of where the building is situated, the views from here are unreal.
Zev Mandelbaum: Oh yeah, absolutely. We took drone photography. You get the whole downtown, you get the Etobicoke waterfront, and you get the water. To the upper floors, it’s almost as if you’re living directly on the water with these crazy views, and more importantly, you have views all the way around.
Roy Bhandari: Yeah, for sure. Amazing. I think that about covers it. We are really, really excited to bring our investors to this project.
Zev Mandelbaum: And we’re very excited to work with you.
Roy Bhandari: Thank you very much. If our investors are interested, what do they got to do?
Zev Mandelbaum: They should reach out to Roy. We’ll work with [inaudible 00:35:07] We have a sales office onsite, it’s absolutely stunning. It’s almost 5,000 square feet. It has a model suite inside of it, a scale model, and tremendous amount of detail. Jordan built it here with tremendous amounts of detail, and we’re very excited to be able to present it.
Roy Bhandari: Amazing. We’re excited. Thank you very much for your time.
Zev Mandelbaum: Thank you.
Roy Bhandari: Thank you very much.
Jordan Debrinca: Thank you.
Roy Bhandari: Great, thank you.