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OMB Settlement Leads to Design, Usage Changes at 470 Wilson

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New renderings have appeared in Toronto developer Collecdev’s resubmission of their mixed-use proposal at 470 Wilson. Designed by gh3 architects, the project is a collection of 3 buildings comprised of office, condo, rental and retail uses. The building will bring 555 residential units to the Wilson and Faywood intersection—right next to Wilson Subway Station, Allen Road and the 401. The condo portion of the project lies in Buildings A and B which share a connected podium level, while Building C houses the rental component of the development.

470 Wilson, Collecdev, gh3The newly refined design by gh3 Architects, image courtesy of Collecdev

Originally proposed in December of 2016, the developer appealed the project to the OMB after community consultations and a lack of decision from City Council within the required time frame. A pre-hearing was scheduled for early 2018 after which a settlement decision was reached in August of this year. This lead to a number of changes in the unit mix and retail spaces, as well as the introduction of an office component. 

The OMB settlement reduced the number of units from 623 to 555. 394 of these units are condominiums, while 161 are for rental purposes. The developer is required to replace the units lost in the demolition of the two 4-storey rental apartment buildings currently on site. 103 of these rental units will be designated for affordable housing. 112 townhome units were initially proposed along the north face of the development, however these units have been removed entirely in the latest application.

470 Wilson, Collecdev, gh3The ground floor architectural plans of buildings A and B, image courtesy of Collecdev

During the negotiations that formed this resubmission, 1,184 square metres of office space were added in building B of the development. The on-site four storey office building will be demolished as well, so the provision of new office space will ensure that the area retains that mix of uses. The retail component, which is located in building C on the eastern-most portion of the site, has been greatly reduced from 669 m2 to 214 m2. 

470 Wilson, Collecdev, gh3The ground floor architectural plans of building C, image courtesy of Collecddev

Several Live-Work units have been added to the Wilson Avenue frontage. This type of unit allows professionals to combine a retail or office use with their personal living space using a modular partition. A service business, such as a real estate agent or accountant, could operate a small practice in one of these units.

470 Wilson, Collecdev, gh3The live work units and condo lobby entrance on the Wilson frontage, image by Collecdev

The height of Building A has been reduced from 13 to 12 storeys – or 36.5 metres, while buildings B and C have retained their previously proposed 12 storey elevation. The north elevation of all the buildings have step-backs reaching down to three storeys at the building’s lowest point, within the 45° angular plane which addresses the low-rise homes to the north. Green roofs and residential terraces sit atop each step-back. The building will feature 1862 m2 of green roof coverage.

470 Wilson, Collecdev, gh3Green roofs and terraced set backs on the north side of Building A, image courtesy of Collecdev

As the functions within the complex have changed, so has the architectural expression. gh3 architects have introduced more articulation in the massing. The Wilson streetwall is now more articulated to break up the more imposing streetwall of the previous design. The unique sawtooth design of the original roofline (see below) is no longer incorporated in the latest iteration. The motif of the white metal grid framing of recessed balconies that dominated the previous design has been retained, and some projecting private balconies have been added to the western elevation.

470 Wilson, Collecdev, gh3The old design of the building before the alterations, image courtesy of 470 Wilson, Collecdev

Stay tuned for more news as the proposal completes the planning process and heads to the sales and construction phases. In the meantime, you can find more renderings in our dataBase file for the project, linked below. Tell us what you think by getting involved with the associated Forum thread, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Real Estate

Montreal real-estate prices climbing much faster than Toronto or Vancouver: study

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MONTREAL — The cost of housing per square foot has skyrocketed in Montreal while other cities saw little change over the last year, according to a new national survey.

The study found that condominium prices in downtown Montreal are up 13.5 per cent from last year to, on average, $805 per square foot.

That’s not as high as other cities, but it’s catching up — and Montreal’s rate of growth is outpacing other major Canadian cities.

Toronto’s condo prices grew to $1083 per square foot, an increase of just under 10 per cent, according to the study. In Vancouver, where you can find some of Canada’s most expensive condo prices, rates are down 4 per cent to $1192 per square foot.

To make the comparisons, Canadian real estate giant Century 21 collected data from real estate boards across the country to calculate the home costs per square foot.

“It’s important to compare apple to apples,” said Todd Shyiak, the company’s vice president of operations.

Montreal’s rise was even more explosive for detached homes and townhouses.

Detached houses in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose to $958 per square foot, 40 per cent up from last year.

“It’s wild,” said Century 21 broker Angela Langtry. She says the pandemic raised demand.

“People had a lot of time to figure out they don’t like the home they’re in,” she said. “They all want pools.”

There was a big spike in sales, she noted, following a pause in brokerage during the spring, at the peak of the pandemic.

Experts say the pandemic will push people into the suburbs as they search for affordable housing and home office space.

“A huge portion of our society’s housing needs changed overnight,” said Shyiak. People “no longer need to be 10 minutes from the office.”

He says that could mean less demand for condos in the future. “People want their own front door,” he said.

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Real Estate

Carttera buys prime downtown Montreal development site

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Carttera has acquired a prime downtown Montreal site at 1455 De La Montagne St. which will mark its third development on the thoroughfare.

“We think it’s probably one of the best, if not the best, locations in the whole city,” Carttera founding partner Jim Tadeson told RENX. “We’ve had great success on De La Montagne.”

The two earlier projects are: L’Avenue, a building with 393 residential units, 84,000 square feet of office space and 34,000 square feet of retail that was developed with Broccolini and occupied in 2017; and Arbora Residences, a two-phase development with 434 rental and condominium units in three buildings being built in partnership with Oxford Properties.

Thursday’s latest acquisition, for $48.5 million from 630745 Ontario, is a 31,750-square-foot surface parking lot with flexible mixed-use zoning on the corner of De La Montagne and De Maisonneuve Boulevard West.

The site is near the Vogue Hotel Montreal Downtown, the new Four Seasons Hotel Montreal and high-end retail.

“It’s zoned for up to 203,000 square feet of density, which we’re going to take advantage of,” said Tadeson. “Our vision for the site is a condominium project with some retail.”

Since there is no demolition required and no heritage issues to contend with, Toronto-based Carttera plans to move ahead quickly with the luxury project.

It’s in the concept design phase and Tadeson said it could take six months or more before it’s prepared to make a submission to the city.

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Real Estate

Montreal Has the Hottest Real Estate Market in Canada Right Now

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If you thought Toronto’s real estate market was on fire, it’s time for a second take, because the market in Montreal is the hottest in all of Canada right now.

A newly-released annual report from CENTURY 21 Canada reveals that, following an early-spring decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales numbers are bouncing back and house prices across the country are maintaining their strength. The study compared the price per square foot of properties sold between January 1 and June 30 of this year, compared to the same period last year.

In Toronto and Vancouver, unsurprisingly, prices remain high. But while regions across the country are seeing varied stories when it comes to their housing market fluctuations, Montreal stands out — there, prices have increased dramatically since 2019. While the numbers remain lower than Toronto and Vancouver, that housing market is proving to be the country’s strongest right now.

In Quebec’s largest city, prices have increased significantly since last year, particularly in the downtown detached house and townhouse markets. For example, the price of a detached house in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose 42.14% to $958 per square foot, while townhouses went up 44% to $768, and condos, 13.55% to $805. Comparatively, in Toronto and Vancouver, prices saw more modest increases or, in some cases, even declines.

“Even though real estate in Quebec was not considered an essential service, we have seen strong demand and a jump in prices in 2020,” said Mohamad Al-Hajj, owner of CENTURY 21 Immo-Plus in Montreal.

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