Roy Bhandari interviewing Shamez Virani

Zen Condos Video Interview – TalkCondo Discuss Zen King West with Shamez Virani

  • Roy Bhandari, Platinum Agent for Zen Condos get a rare opportunity to discuss Zen King West Condos with Shamez Virani, the President of CentreCourt Developments
  • Roy highlights the “CentreCourt Magic Formula” which has helped the developer sell out each and every condo project they have bought to market in a very quick timeline.  Shamez highlights why their philosophy on condo development has earned them to consistently delivery record sales
  • Discussion on why CentreCourt projects are also delivering very highly on the the resale market, with two of their four condo projects in the top 25 of all condos in Toronto on a per square foot basis, and their condos consistently outrank nearby condos by other developers
  • Discussion on the emerging trend of tech companies setting up shop in King West Village
  • Shamez highlights the millennial demographic being a key target market for rentals and sales of Zen Condos
  • Discussion on how Zen Condos has been designed with this user in mind, and everything from the suites, amenities and retail has been designed to reflect that
  • How you can get front of line access to Zen Condos by registering with TalkCondo.  Click the button below and register for Platinum VIP Access

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Full Transcript:

Roy Bhandari: Hi everybody. Today, we’re joined by Shamez Virani, the President of CentreCourt Developments. We’re going to talk today about Zen Condominiums, which is the latest new condominium project that CentreCourt is bringing downtown. First of all, as always, thank you for your time.

Zen King West Condos Arial Night

Shamez Virani: Thanks for having me.

Roy Bhandari: [00:00:30] We always appreciate it. So we are going to talk about a few things today. We’re going to obviously talk about Zen. We’re going to talk about King West Village. I have to start by talking about CentreCourt’s success.

In our world, we call it the CentreCourt magic formula. Whatever you guys are doing, you’re doing it exceptionally well. Not just on the pre-construction side, but also on the condos or on the resale side. You just came off the back of, I believe it was the fastest selling [00:01:00] new condo launch in the GTA ever recorded. Is that correct? With Transit City.

Shamez Virani: That’s correct. Yeah.

Roy Bhandari: Unbelievable success. It’s not something that you guys have done one or twice. This is a recurring theme now. It’s important to understand that this kind of sales success is not normal. You guys have sold out buildings where guys across the road have not. You think about access, you think about [inaudible 00:01:24], you guys have sold out and others haven’t, so you guys are really speaking to that investor, investor community. What [00:01:30] is it about your products that you think that has this kind of success?

Shamez Virani: I would say that it comes down to a simple philosophy that we really follow, and that is that we look at your clients, our buyers as partners. We don’t look at them as purchasers or condo investors or people that might live in our building someday. We really look at them as partners.

When we think about what they’re saying to us, when they come and put 20% deposits up on a project that we bring to market, what they’re really saying is, “You know what, [00:02:00] CentreCourt? We trust you. We trust you with probably our single greatest investment that we’re going to be making, and we trust that you’re going to deliver on everything you say you’re going to deliver on and the timeframe you say you’re going to deliver it on, and you’re going to help us realize our financial and real estate objectives.”

When you put it into that lens and when we think about the partnership that we form with all of these buyers as they purchase in our projects early on, we feel a huge, huge level of responsibility to deliver for [00:02:30] those partners of ours. The same way we look at it on our partners who help finance the deals and develop the properties, we really look at the buyers as our partners. So we say to ourselves, simply put, if our partners over the run long don’t make more money than other developments they could invest in, so that project across the street or that other developer down the street, if people, our partners that are buyers don’t continuously make more money buying in our projects than they do than other developers, then long term, we’re not going to be [00:03:00] a successful business

It’s been really interesting. You and I have known each other for five or six years now. Really from the beginning of when we launched our first few projects, and at that time, we were often having to explain to people that we are going to deliver on what we say. You’re going to have great outcomes. You’re going to have great results. Join us, trust us, come experience a condo development with us.

Today, fast forward, we’ve now delivered four projects of which you guys have been actively participating in all of them. It brings me a tremendous amount of pleasure [00:03:30] to know that those projects have more than exceeded the expectations that our partners, our buyers have set out when they went into the deal.

Or said another way, if you polled our buyers and you polled the other, the agents that recommended our project to their clients at the time and you said now four or five years later, we’ve completed the project. We’ve delivered the unit. They’ve seen everything that we stand for and that we deliver on, and you ask those individuals or those agents, “Would you recommend this project?” [00:04:00] Or, “Would you invest in this project if you could go back in time?” They would unequivocally say, “Yes.”

That, to me, is the single greatest test. If they believe that they made the right decision when they entered our project because if you look at Peter Street or Karma or INDX or Core and you compared them to the other projects that sold at the same time, the projects we were going heads up against and we at the time were thinking, “How do we attract buyers from that project to our project?” If you went fast forward to today, and you said, “How do you feel about making the decision [00:04:30] to buy at Peter Street versus Project X or Karma versus Project Y?” How would they feel? They’d feel like it was the right decision.

That’s all we stand for is that we will deliver on everything that we commit to. We will make it our number one, two, and three priority to ensure that our buyers, our partners do well in what they realize on. If you look at what we’ve delivered in the last few years, I think we more than met that objective.

Roy Bhandari: There’s a couple of things I want to jump on this. Number one is trust. You mentioned [00:05:00] you have to put the product out there that investors have to trust, and you got into this point especially with our investors now, which I think every business, no matter what you sell and what [inaudible 00:05:09] and that’s our investors are coming to us and saying, “Let me know when the next CentreCourt project is. We want to invest there,” without knowing anything about the project, but you’ve got that, you’ve earned that trust over the last few years.

You talked about how well the condominiums are doing on the resale, and it’s not just all words at this point. We’ve actually got data to back up what you’re saying. [00:05:30] I’m going to geek out on you a little bit. I don’t even know if you track this stuff, but we definitely track this stuff. If you look at … There’s about 2,400 condominiums in Toronto. CentreCourt occupy two out the top 25 in terms of the highest per square foot price on the resale market. If you strip away Yorkville from that equation, Yorkville is traditionally the luxury market, you occupy the number one spot, the highest traded per square foot price on the resale market [00:06:00] with Karma condominiums and also the number six spot with INDX. Core Condominium is trading significantly higher than everything else in its corridor.

These numbers really speak to the fact that it’s not just the investors that understand what you guys are bringing to the table, but it’s also real people who are putting down their money to live in these buildings that are really resonating with your floor plans, your amenities, your retail. So again, it comes down to … My [00:06:30] question is: what is it that you guys do so well on a product side that feel as though you’re getting these results?

Shamez Virani: I’d say there’s two things. The first is that we listen. We listen. We talk to folks such as yourself who are completely plugged into the market, who are on the ground, who know exactly what it is that drives returns for their investors. We say, “What is it that in today’s market, when you’re out there either renting or reselling the property, what is it in today’s market that’s really driving value, that is the indication [00:07:00] of what will be successful in the market?” And if we just open our ears and listen, and for a second, just understand what’s happening on the ground, then it is our responsibility to simply fill the void of product that’s not there.

So we spend a ton of time on the front end. We buy our piece of land. We may have an idea for what we envision being there and what the product type will be and how we want to bring it to market, but before we go too far, we spend a lot of time doing market research. So we try to understand what’s happening in the market right now and see where there are areas and opportunities [00:07:30] for the right product mix. So that’s the first thing.

And then, we design a whole program, a product type, a marketing campaign, suite designs, layouts, finishes, amenities, entirely centered around what is it that the market needs right now. And once we do that, we set a vision, a plan, a path for the project. We go to market. History has shown that we have picked the right spots as the market has indicated by the fact that we’ve had the most successful launches, year after year after year. So we got it right on the front end. That’s [00:08:00] part one.

The second part of what we do is we deliver, and we don’t change after we’ve put it out there. If you looked at, and I take great pride in this. If you looked at each of our renderings that we’ve ever put it out there and put it next to our actually completed projects, and we do this for every single rendering as a means to keep ourselves honest. We have never value-engineered a design of any of our buildings. We have never changed something after the fact.

You and I know as well as anyone that in the condo world, you can sell one thing and deliver something totally different. In a rising market, [00:08:30] nobody faults you for that. That’s sort of an accepted norm. We have said as a discipline strategy that we are not going to make changes. Everything that we promise our buyers on the front end, everything we tell them that’s going to be great about this project, has to actually be great about it in the end. The drawings, the finishes, the renderings that we put forward to the market, we deliver on.

If you look at our product type, the package we put forward, you can believe in it. If you believe in it and you understand what we’re doing with it, you can believe [00:09:00] in it on the front end, and you can feel confident that it’s going to be delivered on the back end.

Roy Bhandari: I think it’s great. I think you guys have a lot to be proud of with where you’ve come in the last seven years.

Shamez Virani: Thank you. Thank you.

Roy Bhandari: So let’s switch gears to Zen Condos. Zen Condos is the latest CentreCourt project located in King West Village.

Zen King West Condos Rendering

You talked a little bit about how you put your ear to the ground and you listen. I’ve seen a lot of that in Zen Condos. You talk a lot about figuring out who is going to live in the building in the end. You guys [00:09:30] have put together a building now that matches where you think the market is going. I want you to talk a little bit about the millennials who you guys talk about being the next group of people who are going to live in a building like this, so talk a little bit about that. Talk a little bit about the tech sector within King West Village, and then we’ll transition into Zen.

Shamez Virani: Sure. Yeah, so I think like we always try to do, we really want to spend a lot of time understanding who’s the demographic that’s going to live in the building. Far too often, if you look at a condo project, whether [00:10:00] it be in [inaudible 00:10:00] or Mississauga or downtown Toronto or anywhere across the GTA, and you picked up its brochure, you wouldn’t be able to tell who’s this actually for. It could be for a grandparent. I could be for somebody in school. It could be for young professionals. Somebody in their 40’s.

Roy Bhandari: Sometimes, it all catchalls, right? [crosstalk 00:10:16]

Shamez Virani: They try to be all things to everybody. And I think that’s the norm in condo marketing is you don’t want to, almost you don’t want to identify who’s going to be in the building because you want to try to have as broad a reach as possible. This is the common thinking. This is the opposite of our thinking and of our strategy.

[00:10:30] Our strategy is the more defined you can be about understanding who ultimately is going to live here, the more you can design suites, amenities, a design, a marketing campaign, everything that really tailors and targets towards that demographic.

So when we had the opportunity to buy one of the last remaining sites in the King West Village, we immediately were very, very focused on it because we know very well what’s happening in the area. We’re incredibly amazed [00:11:00] by what’s happening in this area and the development of this node and this neighbourhood. It’s really become the heart of the millennial tech, creative sector of the city.

You’re seeing it in terms of, if you looked in the last 10 years, and took the last decade as a point of comparison and picked all the sort of neighbourhoods of the city around the downtown core, in the downtown core, and you just observed how those neighbourhoods progressed in terms of their value on a price per square foot basis, in terms of the density that’s been brought onto the market, [00:11:30] in terms of the rents that the neighbourhood’s charging, there’s no neighbourhood that’s performed even close to the way that the King West Village has.

Roy Bhandari: I can speak to that. Sorry to cut you off, but within myself, I own investment condominiums in the King West Village. The increase in rents over the last couple of years have just been unbelievable.

Shamez Virani: Absolutely. And you’re seeing rents now that rival Yorkville.

Roy Bhandari: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Shamez Virani: It’s arguable where the more expensive neighbourhood is in terms of renting. For people who are born and raised in Toronto who have observed this market, to think about how much the King West Village [00:12:00] has grown in the last 10 years, sometimes surprises people. And to a lot people who aren’t in the know, who didn’t live in the area … I also lived in the area not too long ago, so I’ve a very personable connection to what’s happening in the neighbourhood.

But for those that don’t actively spend a lot of time there, I encourage them to go down there. Spend a Saturday evening. Go for dinner in King West neighbourhood, and you’ll see a side of the city that you probably didn’t even know existed in the city at all. What you’re seeing is the young millennial generation, the generation that spends far more of their money on food, [00:12:30] entertainment, nightlife, experiential events, events themselves, sporting events, like to be outside, like to be engaged in what’s happening in the neighbourhood. They’re increasingly flocking to neighbourhoods like King West Village because the quality of life, because of the amenities that it offers, the restaurants that it offers, the different entertainment options it offers.

And more recently, in sort of the last five years, the big trend in the area has been employment. The number of major technology companies, whether it be Spotify or Universal Music [00:13:00] or Uber, there’s a real trend, a real shift. The office leasing guys will tell you this firsthand of these great tech companies starting to headquarter themselves in the King West Village because they know that this millennial demographic likes to live close to where they work and likes to play close to where they live and work.

King West Village has now become a 24/7 lifestyle neighbourhood. It’s one of the few in the city that really has employment, nightlife, entertainment, and residential living, all [00:13:30] in one area where people in the neighbourhood walk to everything that they do. They’re fully connected. They don’t spend a lot of time commuting. They really believe in enjoying life, being out there, and experiencing what the neighbourhood has to offer. The King West Village has really become that premier location, premier neighbourhood in the city that’s driving massive appreciation in value, massive appreciation in rental rates. Try finding a rental unit in King West Village.

Roy Bhandari: Oh, no. I know.

Shamez Virani: It’s near impossible. I mean there’s very little to no product that’s out there, and even on the rental [00:14:00] side, they’re gone in a matter of hours, let alone days.

Roy Bhandari: Yeah, we just had a unit come up, and we rented it without putting it on the market. Somebody we knew wanted to live in the area, and it was done and the rates [inaudible 00:14:10]. Like you said, myself, I used to live in the neighbourhood up until very recently, and I asked my wife, “What is it that you miss about the neighbourhood?” She started listing off this long laundry list of things that she missed that it’s a shopping on Queens Street. It’s the food, the restaurants along King Street. You’re steps from the waterfront. So you’re in this really great area. [00:14:30] We’ve seen it grow to where it is, but what we’ve seen is that we don’t see an awful lot of new condo projects in this hub. My question to you is: where do you see it moving forward?

Shamez Virani: The reality is there’s very limited amount of new land in the King West Village area for residential development. I think seeing what’s happened over the last 10 years, year after year, a few developers have been lucky enough to get their hands on sites that they can bring to market, but part of what makes this neighbourhood so great is there’s a scarcity aspect to it. There’s not [00:15:00] an unlimited supply of new properties coming onto the market. There’s not a huge backlog of new projects that you’re going to see in the next number of years or even that are actively under construction today because simply one of the aspects that makes this a great neighbourhood is that it’s got an aspect of, it’s not endless. It’s confined into a specific area, so you’re either in King West Village or you’re in another neighbourhood entirely in the way that’s sort of the downtown west is developing.

So when we saw the site for Zen King West come to market, we [00:15:30] immediately got excited and interested because just like for your clients, there’s not a lot of options to buy in the neighbourhood. For us, there’s not a lot of options to develop, so we recognized that this is neighbourhood that’s entirely transformed to being Toronto’s premier residential neighbourhood. There’s not more properties like this going to be coming to market in the years ahead. We need to act fast. We needed to sort of realize that this was a really rare opportunity to bring a project of this scale and of this caliber to market. That, for us, was a real [00:16:00] leading indicator of where we wanted to go.

So what I see sort of looking to the future of the neighbourhood is you’re going to see very little new residential being brought on, which means for those that own in the neighbourhood, higher appreciation in price, higher appreciation in rental rates, lower vacancy. Just less supply to compete with. But at the same time, you’re seeing this massive trend of technology companies headquartering in the King West Village neighbourhood. Because they’re going to be setting up shop there and hiring more people who want to be there, there’s going [00:16:30] to be an increase in demand for residential there.

Roy Bhandari: For sure.

Shamez Virani: So you’ve got an increase in the demand. You’ve got a reduction in the supply because there’s not a lot of new sites that are going to be coming to market, which will ultimately lead to even further appreciation in both pricing and in terms of rents.

Roy Bhandari: Yeah. That’s what every investor wants, right? Tight supply, lots of demand.

Shamez Virani: And you’ve got a perfect of sort of neighbourhood storm happening here of those two things. Yes. Yeah.

Roy Bhandari: For sure. That’s awesome. So let’s talk specifically about Zen. The name, Zen. Obviously, with the name, there’s [00:17:00] a certain demographic that you guys have in mind. Talk to us a little bit about what Zen brings to the table.

Shamez Virani: Sure. So a part of the exploration on the front end is about who do we see living here and trying to understand who that individual is. When we looked at King West and we looked at everything that’s happening in the neighbourhood, which we’ve spoken about, we realized that there’s a real, young, professional, high-achieving demographic that lives, works, and plays in the King West. These are people from the top universities across the world. People [00:17:30] who are going for the high-end technology, high-paying jobs, who have a real propensity to enjoy life. Who do very well by their career, but enjoy playing hard as well. They’re individuals who really want to truly balance life, but it’s centered around their career, their ambition, and their motivation.

So realizing that that’s the nature of the people that will live at Zen King West, we tried to take it a step further. We tried to say what are the things that we could do inside this project, inside this development that would genuinely [00:18:00] make the quality of life of these individuals better? What are the types of amenities that we can create in this environment that will actually make people want to live at Zen King West versus the project across the street or down the road? What are the things, the same we talked about on Core, Karma, INDX, what are the things that can make sure that five years from now, when these units are built and people are living in them and they’ve got a real DNA of the building, what are things that we can do to really ensure that Zen King West stands above [00:18:30] the rest?

When we thought about that, we thought about the number one thing outside of work that matters to this demographic that lives at Zen King West is health and wellness. They’re the type of people who religiously will spend time in the gym every single day. Who mediate. Who practice yoga. Who believe in a world where there’s a lot of stress and anxiety associated with growing in your career and achieving the things that you want, but the way you achieve great outcomes is by getting your inner zen. Getting your inner peace, your inner balance by a combination [00:19:00] of both health and mental wellness.

On the health side, we deiced that we’re going to have a health package that is unrivaled in the city, that is the single best gym and fitness package that’s been done to date. We started by saying to ourselves, “What is something that we could do that would add value that’s not seen in condos across the city?” We came up with a really creative idea of a running track, an outdoor running track. So the first of its kind across any condo building that we’re aware of in the world, [00:19:30] people at Zen King West are going to have a 200-meter running track on the outside of their building. So those periods of time in the Toronto climate where you can be outside and running, but you don’t want to compete with traffic or people on the street, it’s often difficult to run in downtown Toronto. To give people an outdoor running track is going to give them an amenity and a lifestyle feature that they can’t even find in the city, let alone in their condo.

Roy Bhandari: Probably have views all the way around. Spectacular views.

Shamez Virani: Oh, all the way around. To the south, you’ll see the water. To the east, you’ll see the city. It’s [00:20:00] going to be like, it’s going to be something that people genuinely talk about in this building, and you know that building in King West that has that running track? That’s what they’re going to remember in terms of something that’s unique about the amenity package. So that was a totally outside the box idea, but one that we think the vast majority of residents at Zen King West are going to use regularly as an amenity to help them find their inner zen, to help them find their physical wellness.

In addition to that, we’ve got a gym that’s going to be about 3,000-square feet, which as you know is multiples of the size of the typical condo [00:20:30] gym with the best equipment, with the best fitness facilities that are going to essentially mean that anybody who lives in the building won’t have a gym membership to whatever gym that they’re at. They’re going to realize, “I can save that $100, $250 every month and utilize the great gym that’s in our building.”

And then the last thing, and this is something that we’re really excited about and think is going to add another element of just luxury, value, quality and again, be an amenity that people use regularly, is the Zen spa. So we’re going to take [00:21:00] about 3,000-square feet of space and turn it into a spa like you’ve never seen before in a condo in the King West Village.

Zen King West Condos Interior Spa

We’re going to have both hot and cold plunge pools. We’re going to have wading pools for people to relax. We’re going to have cabanas where they can enjoy and do some work or read. We’re going to have a hot tub. We’re going to have a sauna, a steam, a whole bunch of amenities that really will create an environment like a five-star spa facility in your building.

Zen King West Condos Interior Spa

So after you’re done a long day or maybe [00:21:30] before you’re about to start a long day, you can have a workout, and then you can have an amazing relaxation environment that makes you feel like you’ve traveled to some exotic location where you’re in a five-star luxury hotel.

Roy Bhandari: Yeah, I was going to say, it sounds like five-star hotel kind of service.

Shamez Virani: It’s inspired by the amenities of the five-star hotels you see around the world because hotels are in some ways, designed for similar demographics. Typically, who’s in a hotel, in a five-star hotel is somebody who’s working really hard. Is there for a work trip. Is kind of career motivated, and they need somewhere to have relaxation [00:22:00] and downtime. We’re giving an environment at Zen King West that’s going to be quite unlike anything else.

So when you combine the athletic facilities and the running track with the spa, we think we’ve created two incredible amenities that will really drive value and impact the lifestyle and enjoyment and quality of life of the people that live at Zen King West.

Roy Bhandari: That’s great. I think it’s really exciting. So broad strokes. We’re a 32-story building. 481 suites. I [00:22:30] have no doubt that the floor plans are going to be analyzed over and every square inch will be thoughtfully designed. What would you tell us about the floor plans and the floor plate and what can we expect there?

Shamez Virani: I think as you’ve come to learn about our philosophy and our approach to development, it all starts by designing the inside first. So we spend a countless number of hours really figuring out how can we maximize the efficiency of all of our suites. What I mean by efficiency is you can look at two floor plans, [00:23:00] both of the same square footage. Say, 650-square feet each. One floor plan has a ton of wasted space, corridors, maybe odd conditions that lead to unusable space. Another floor plan of the same size could be tremendously efficient, offer much better quality of life, maybe add a second bedroom or a second bathroom where you’re looking at the two floor plans and saying, “Yeah, they’re both 650-square feet, but this one over here is infinitely better than this one over here.”

Roy Bhandari: Yeah. We see that all the time myself.

Shamez Virani: And really, [00:23:30] it starts with the philosophy of how you design the building. So we design by saying, “What is the optimal suite mix?” And then, we create that suite mix, and then we design the building around that suite mix.

So when we looked at Zen King West and we tried to understand sort of where’s the market heading, as we’ve seen and I think as you can observe on the ground, on the rental market today, because of the increase in pricing in the city, because of the increase in rental rates throughout the city, co-tenancy habitation is far more common. You’re seeing a lot more roommate situations where people are realizing, in [00:24:00] order to afford living downtown, I’ve got to have a roommate. We’ve got to have two sources of income sort of supporting the cost of living. That’s a normal natural progression that you see in London, in New York-

Roy Bhandari: [crosstalk 00:24:10]

Shamez Virani: … and Tokyo and Shanghai, all across the world, and Toronto is very much at that level today.
So in realizing that, what we realize is we have to come up with really efficient suite designs. Primarily, two-bedroom and one plus dens that could accommodate cohabitation. Two individuals living in there, sharing the space together. It’s a very common thing in the King West Village [00:24:30] where rents are at the astronomical highs that they’re at today. You’re seeing two young professionals team up, live together for a period of time in their life, and sort of share the space.

So in designing that, we very much kind of kept that theme in mind, so you’re not going to see small studios or small one-bedrooms. You’re going to see really efficient two-bedrooms and one plus dens, predominantly, that are really designed for that cotenancy in mind, while maintaining a size and an end price point that really allows for huge [00:25:00] upside in terms of the cash flow that somebody could generate owning a unit at Zen King West and renting it out to the young professional millennial demographic that’ll pay these high rents, but while still kind of keeping it in an efficient price point, end price point that allows for great returns, bottom line returns.

Roy Bhandari: Great. One other thing that I want to talk to you about is that we just learned that the retail space at ground level is going to be, and again, retail is another area that CentreCourt really excel. We just learned that you’re going to have [00:25:30] an iQ at the ground level. So again, talk to us about the importance of that, and again, how it ties into this demographic.

Shamez Virani: Yeah. Absolutely. So you’re bang on. Our view on retail and our view on what happens on the ground floor whether it be the lobby or the retail in a building is that it should be for the benefit of the building. It should be an amenity that people in the building utilize. We don’t want to put a 7-Eleven or a bank or even a dry cleaner that’s a neighbourhood amenity. We want something that really is a building amenity. That something that everybody in [00:26:00] the building says, “I’m really-

Roy Bhandari: It’s a key distinction as well. A very key distinction.

Shamez Virani: Yeah. No, it absolutely is because for us, we could take the, sort of call it the profit motivator rather than just say, “Let’s just find the highest rent tenant that we can get and we’re just going to generate the most rent.” We don’t look at it that way at all. We actually look at it by saying, “Who is the short list of people or businesses that we want in this building that speaks to the demographic of this building, that speaks to sort of what this building is all about and the people that live in this building? What is that, that we can put into our building that’s going to add [00:26:30] value, add quality of life, improve outcomes for people that live in the building?”

When we were thinking about this health and wellness, the idea of Zen again comes back to the physical and the mental state. This demographic, this young professional demographic views food as a very different thing than 10, 20 years ago. Food is about fuel. It’s about what will push your body and your mind to achieve the best. It’s all about organic, locally-sourced, fresh, health foods that are [00:27:00] not heavy in cholesterol, that are not heavy in additives and preservatives, that are not, essentially the exact opposite of fast food, of yesteryear. McDonald’s and Burger Kings and A&Ws are not loved among this demographic. In fact, they’re revolting against that and really going for a much more culinary, fresh food-based lifestyle.

So when we thought about that, we thought about who is out there that really serves this demographic and what they’re looking for in this quality of food that’s got a, still at a grab- [00:27:30] and-go basis because the lifestyle of the people that live at Zen King West is fast. They’re not sitting around for a two-hour dinner there. They want their good quality food, and they want it right away. We looked and surveyed sort of the landscape of who was out there. One food supplier, one food vendor, iQ Foods, really stuck out to us amongst the rest.

Zen King West Condos Ground

iQ Foods, if you’re not familiar with them, is a Toronto-based company. They’ve grown in the last five years to now be the leader in downtown Toronto on health-conscious food. They have five [00:28:00] locations throughout the downtown core, all of which if you walked in at lunch or dinner time, get ready to wait in a really long line. They have almost like a cult following of young professionals in the city who all love iQ. When you go downtown Toronto and you ask any young professional you run into, “Do you like iQ Foods?” Almost to a person, they’re going the say, “I love iQ Foods. It’s great. I wish there were more. I wish there was more closer to me.”

So this partnership that we have with iQ Foods, to bring them into the bottom of Zen King West. They’re going to have about 3,000-square feet. [00:28:30] They’re going to have not only food, but they’re going to have a juice bar. It really is about providing a resource to individuals that live in the building where I can see them eating there multiple times a week, grab and go on the way out for breakfast, coming back in at the end of a busy day, before they’re going to work out, they want to get some fuel. They’re going to have high-quality food, high-quality beverage in their building that’s going to sort of continue this feeling and theme of wellness, health, and mental wellness in Zen.

Roy Bhandari: That’s great. I’m excited. I’m excited. So [00:29:00] if the investors are interested in buying, what do they have to do?

Shamez Virani: Well, they have to be [inaudible 00:29:07] with you, first thing because there’s-

Roy Bhandari: My favourite answer every time.

Shamez Virani: This is the reality. I mean as we’ve seen project after project after project, if everything we’re envisioning about this project is right and if you’re right in your outlook that we’ve continued to be the best performer in the market year after year after year, it’s a matter of there’s not going to be enough units to [00:29:30] supply the demand that we’re seeing for this project. Early indications in terms of registrations and the level of excitement and anticipation, it’s building.

Granted, it’s August. We’re seeing a level of excitement that tells us early indication this is going to be another blowout success, quick sell-out period. So if people are interested, I’d say there’s a bit of time right now to do your homework. Understand what we’re talking about, all the value of King West Village, all the unique elements of Zen King West. Understand the project because when it does comes to market [00:30:00] and when your clients have a chance to act, they can’t think too long. If they think too long, as you’ve seen project after project, it ends up resulting in not being able to purchase [inaudible 00:30:11] so stick close to you, keep your ear to the ground, and act fast when the opportunity arises is the advice I would give to your clients.

Roy Bhandari: Great. Thank you very much for your time today.

Shamez Virani: Yeah, thank you for having me.

Roy Bhandari: Always appreciated. Thank you very much.

Shamez Virani: Thank you. Thank you.

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