After years of shrinking in size, condominium suites are getting larger and more families are opting to stay downtown and raise their children in condos, according to seven industry experts at recent roundtable discussion.
Jim Ritchie of Tridel said his company recently had success selling larger units at 101 Erskine, a project in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood. Peter Freed said Art Shoppe Lofts + Condos by Freed Developments and CD Capital offers units that can be scaled up and down for families.
Ritchie noted the condo construction industry has become very good at making suites more efficient and an 850-square-unit can now offer as much as an older 1,200 to 1,500-square-foot unit would have.
But downtown living for families also requires improved city infrastructure.
“With the population moving to the core, the city has not looked at the school system,” said Riz Dhanji of Canderel. “We see a lot of families who want to live downtown and we need to accommodate that.”
Marco Filice of Liberty Development Corp. and Ritchie said developers can help provide creative solutions. Filice suggested classrooms could be included in mixed-use developments and grow or shrink as class sizes demand, unlike a bricks-and-mortar school. Ritchie pointed out that his company built a high school in conjunction with a condo project.
Anson Kwok of Pinnacle International said daycares have been added at some condos but school age children’s needs haven’t been addressed. “It’s a case of the chicken and the egg. Do you build a school first or wait for the kids to come?”
Chris Wein of Great Gulf, who is raising his family in a downtown condo, said homeowners used to think that once kids got through daycare they would move to a house in the suburb. But a shift is underway with more families choosing to not commute, and stay downtown in condos.
As a parent raising two small children in a condo, Jared Menkes, of Menkes Developments, says condo boards can also make life difficult for families, such as requiring carriages to be brought inside via loading docks instead of front doors. But he said change is coming as more condos tailor amenities to children, including kids’ activity rooms and some have already added video gaming rooms.
“Child-friendly amenities are not that expensive to establish or maintain,” noted Wein, who added that many amenities are provided by the neighbourhood. “You can have a multitude of activities in areas where density has come back, amazing pockets of cultural amenities.”
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Toronto Real Estate Board - IDX Last Updated: 8/21/2017 1:20:33 AM