How a Toronto Developer is Addressing the Housing Crisis with an Ultra-Sustainable, Long-Term Building Plan
A rental apartment building plan unlike any in North America, Well Grounded Real Estate’s 1925 Victoria Park is already being hailed as “the new poster child for sustainable design.” The innovative project, designed with award winning architecture firm PARTISANS, will feature exterior single-loaded corridors that will allow natural light and ventilation on both sides of the units.
The unique design will surround a central courtyard and feature lots of greenery – including a green roof – in a style that is currently more common in Europe but rarely seen in North America. Overall, the building is designed to achieve Tier 4 performance, the highest environmental standard developed and recognized by the City of Toronto, and will be the first multi-residential building in the city to do so.
“The rental market in Toronto remains hot as there is incredible demand for all types of housing,” says Gabriel Diamond, Vice President at Well Grounded. “It’s not as common to develop a rental apartment building, but there is a huge need for purpose-built rentals.”
Unlike many developers, the family-owned Well Grounded plans to own and operate the building for the long haul, so the building is designed with life cycle costing in mind. “If we have to spend more today to ensure costs are controlled in year 14 or in year 50, that’s what we’re looking to do,” says Diamond.
That means it’s also important to design the project with the local community in mind. While the response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive, project leaders wanted to ensure they could collect feedback from community members regarding desired retail for the site and neighborhood amenities, as well as allow them to ask questions about the development plans.
“A lot of times there is a built-in idea that landlord and tenant, developer and neighbor can never work together and that they have a contentious relationship,” says Diamond. “coUrbanize provides a platform for our team to directly and continuously engage with the community throughout the development process outside of formalized channels such as committee meetings or town halls.”
The project team put up physical signage at the site, sent out notes to neighbors including 3D models of the plans, and launched their website on the coUrbanize platform in July. Although the approvals process isn’t expected until mid next year, Diamond says the buzz around the project is tremendous – in fact, there is already a waitlist for apartments.
Using coUrbanize, Well Grounded is:
- Informing neighbors and industry contacts about the design and benefits of the project
- Soliciting community feedback about retail and amenities
- Allowing community members to ask questions and share any concerns, so developer and neighbor can work together for the best outcome
Well Grounded’s project at 1925 Victoria Park Avenue in Toronto will create a mixed-use, purpose-built rental apartment building that represents the highest standards of sustainability recognized by the City of Toronto, reaching TGS Tier 4 standards. Learn more about the project here.