Nowadays Prime Downtown lots available for redevelopment are becoming increasingly scarce – Liberty Village is nearly built up, Regent Park has almost competed 3 of its 5 phases, West Donlands also known as Canary District is nearly finished as well. In addition to land scarcity, as any development progresses though different stages of completion the price continues to rise. Affordability is becoming the biggest roadblock to homeownership in downtown Toronto with pre-construction price per square foot starting at $1,100 PSF all the way up to $1,700 PSF.
Urbanation is reporting that as of Q4 2018 there is a record-high gap ($375 PSF) in average pre-con price per square foot between city of Toronto launches and suburban GTA. As a result, it is beneficial to take a look outside of the city core and identify future opportunities for growth. Gentrification of Downsview park strikes me as the next exciting and major undertaking that will take place over the course of the next decade, and it’s still within city boundary! As with any revitalization project, it always pays to get in early.
Let’s take a deeper look at this North Toronto area. Downsview is located just North of the 401, approximately a 40 minute TTC ride from Union subway station. Downsview is serviced by 3 TTC subway stations – Wilson, Sheppard West, Downsview Park as well as a GO Train hub – called Downsview Park. This GO train will deliver riders to Union station in just 20 minutes by the way.
The lands are shared by a handful of owners such as Canada Lands Company, Public Sector Pension Investment Board (who bought the land from Bombardier for $817 Million in 2018), City of Toronto, BUILD Toronto and National Defense. Total land equals to 1,310 acres, 43% of which belong to CLC. Within its own parcels, Canada Lands Company is developing 5 district plans. See District image map to the right taken from the Toronto Star. The Canada Lands Company and City of Toronto are planning for 42,000 new jobs and residents within these five new districts.
At this stage despite the sale of the Bombardier lands which are an enormous 375 acres, these lands cannot yet be developed. Bombardier is expected to stay here for the next 5 years and the land will require rezoning. From the insights currently available the city is reluctant to allow PSP to rezone former airport lands to allow residential development because The employments lands are the backbone of the city of Toronto’s tax base. The city would lose much more in commercial tax revenues than the value of the property if the lands were to be converted to homes. High-tech manufacturing and an office hub are what the city will target for airport lands. In the meantime, the Downsview lands is where the majority of residential development will take place. Most of that development will be low and mid-rise due to the current airport height restrictions.
You’ll be happy to know that the largest portion of Downsview lands is allocated to parkland – 290 acres. These urban parklands are three quarters the size of High Park and equate to Toronto’s second largest park. Downsview Park integrates a mix of forests, ponds, trails, active and passive play areas, sports fields, gardens and related uses. Sports enthusiasts will probably be familiar with Downsview Park’s sports complex “The Hangar”, a (485,000-square-foot) multi-purpose facility offering several indoor and outdoor fields, as well as soccer leagues. Toronto FC training grounds are located here as well.
Why is all of the information I have provided above relevant?
The tremendous growth in the pipeline for Downsview cannot be ignored. A major influx of AAA employers, retailers and residential, proximity to York University Keele Campus as well as Toronto’s largest attraction – Yorkdale Mall makes Downsview the ideal investment locale. What’s more important is the pricing. The average PPSF for new development is hovering around $800 PSF including parking. This is truly a strong value proposition for anyone with foresight, knowledge and patience.
At this time there is limited development taking place in Downsview park however there is an excellent option available literally right across the pond! Keeley Condominiums is a fantastic boutique project by TAS that deserves your attention. Offering unobstructed views of the Downsview Park Pond, and a ravine at the rear, the location is truly inspiring.
View the project link here – https://rightcondos.com/websites/rightcondos/keeley-condos/
Contact me if you’re interested in discussing this opportunity.