Harhay Developments believes, despite higher interest rates, there is still demand for housing in Toronto. It will help fill that need with the launch of sales for its latest project in the west end, 9HUNDRED Signature Residences.
“There’s a lack of supply and increased demand as immigration continues,” Chris Harhay, president of Harhay Developments, told RENX.
He also noted, according to all indications, buyers will be in a lower interest rate environment by the time 9HUNDRED Signature Residences reaches its closing stage: “This is slated for occupancy in 2027,” Harhay said. “We anticipate that by then interest rates will come down.”
9HUNDRED is a master-planned community to be composed of four 20- and 21-storey buildings containing 836 units plus mixed-use space in Etobicoke’s Highway 427 and Eglinton Avenue West neighbourhood.
The first building will feature 161 residences, plus 56,000 square feet of office space, while Building 2 is to include 238 units, a day care and retail spaces.
The final two buildings at the site are to be completely residential.
Location near airport a business attractor
The development’s proximity to Toronto Pearson International Airport, roughly a 10-minute drive, should be a major draw for business, but that isn’t the only thing the developer believes will make 9HUNDRED attractive.
Harhay said the firm could hold onto any of 9HUNDRED’s offices as income-producing properties, although he added that isn’t set in stone.
“A large institutional user could come in and own this,” he said. “We’re big on mixed-use live-work-play. Regarding the office and commercial elements, an end-user could want to own, potentially, so we don’t know.”
As for the retail aspects, Harhay anticipates offering communal services that run the gamut from medical- or dentistry-related facilities, to pharmacies — but he said there’s emphasis on installing retail/commercial elements that will serve the community.
Initial condo pricing at $1,150 per sq. ft.
Condominium prices per square foot in Toronto proper run between $1,500-1,600, but 9HUNDRED has launched sales at $1,150 per square foot.
The individual residences range from one to three bedrooms, some with dens, and 428 to 1,371 square feet. Each unit in the initial phase is distinct in terms of its floor plan and design, despite the more affordable price point.
“Affordability is greater here and it’s a big reason we’re going forward,” Harhay said.
Real estate investors focus on developments’ appreciation potential, so the proximity to Toronto’s international airport is expected to be a bonus.
With its access to Highway 427, 9HUNDRED's tenants will be situated between Highway 401 to the north — as the TransCanada Highway, it is also North America’s busiest highway — and both the Queen Elizabeth Way and the Toronto-bound Gardiner Expressway to the south.
The 401 and QEW/Gardiner represent two of Toronto's most significant east-west transportation corridors.
Toronto's downtown core is close enough to enjoy any number of the city’s cultural events and Union Station, Canada’s largest and busiest transportation hub, is roughly 25 minutes by car.
It offers access to GO trains and buses, the Toronto Transit Commission subway system and VIA Rail service to cities like Montreal and Ottawa.
9HUNDRED will also offer easy access to the Eglinton Light Rail Transit line, which runs through 25 stations both at- and below-grade, connecting Toronto’s east to the international airport, from which the Union Pearson Express also travels downtown.
In short, 9HUNDRED’s triple-A transit access is all but guaranteed to entice end users and real estate investors alike, and in the current high interest rate environment — especially in tandem with a lower price per square foot — the immediate and intermediate deposit payments should be easier to absorb.
Property designed by Core Architects
The developer used Core Architects to create what Harhay wanted to be an iconic architecture for 9HUNDRED, since it will be among the first high-rise clusters Toronto-bound arrivals see en route to the core from Pearson airport.
In its 25th year, Harhay Developments always has several projects on the go, Harhay said. It has completed 14 developments of varying sizes.
Some of its more notable projects include:
Theatre Park, a 47-storey tower with 242 units on King Street opposite Roy Thomson Hall. Harhay said it is "notable because of the unique architecture, banding and pencil tower"; and
875 Queen St. East, a mixed-use building with 122 units which includes the Red Door women's shelter, "an excellent example of responsible urban intensification."
Currently, it is developing Kingsway Crescent, an eight-storey, 102-unit boutique condominium with a townhouse component in the northern part of Etobicoke’s Kingsway neighbourhood.
"The building is architecturally unlike any other building in this neighbourhood and will be complete this fall," Harhay said. "All of our buildings are boutique and unique in design."
75 on the Esplanade is the developer’s other current project. The 29-storey, 308-unit high-rise in Old Toronto is also being built with a unique exterior appearance, designed by architects-Alliance.