At Toronto’s northwest gateway, where Highway 427 and Eglinton Ave. converge, the view from a speeding car is pretty humdrum. But Kamar Kazmi knows a vibrant neighbourhood exists just south of the major thoroughfares. “I absolutely love Etobicoke,” says Kazmi.
That’s why he has bought a condo at the 9Hundred Signature Residences, to be built as part of a master-planned community at 900 The East Mall, close to the 427/Eglinton intersection.
“I grew up here and currently live in the area. I was sitting on the sidelines for a bit, but I wanted to purchase when this development came along. The main reason is the proximity to amenities and the highways. It’s got great shopping, parks, beautiful walking and cycling trails nearby,” he says.
Kazmi owns an investment property in Welland, but wanted to buy a home for himself. His sister, Zeba Kazmi, a real estate agent who specializes in pre-construction condo sales, alerted him about the 9Hundred condos in his beloved West Deane neighbourhood.
“I am living with my family and am helping to care for my elderly father. The condo is in proximity to the home where I now live. It’s literally down the street.” Kazmi’s been following other Harhay developments, and enjoys the work of II x IV Design, the interior design firm for the 9Hundred.
Says Chris Harhay, president of Harhay Developments: “We’re really excited about this one. The design is iconic, it’s going to be like a sculpture. We saw this as the northwest gateway to Toronto and a site where we could make a mark and elevate architecture in the neighbourhood. When we were having the first design meeting with Deni Poletti of Core Architects and his team, the Raptors were winning the NBA championships and Drake was at every game. We said, ‘If Drake gets off a private jet at Pearson Airport and drives down the 427 into Toronto, ours will be the first buildings he’ll see.’ ”
That conversation inspired Poletti to send Harhay a video clip of the proposed design, featuring ‘Drake drive-by’ views. Currently, there is a three-storey office building on the site and a large parking lot and when it’s redeveloped as the 9Hundred, there will be four twisting residential towers, retail and office space and an on-site daycare. Three of the towers will twist and torque, with floor plans that shift as they ascend.
Each floor plan is unique, and buyers can “curate” their suites to reflect their own tastes.
Kazmi is excited about having the chance to add his own touches to his 570-square-foot unit, which will have a bedroom, a den and a bathroom and another smaller one.
He says he’s incorporating some elements in that reflect the natural scenery in the neighbourhood. “I hope to use reclaimed wood accent tables and blue tones on the wall that represent the ravine close by, and gold accents to reflect the setting sun. My suite has floor-to-ceiling windows and I look forward to finding finishes that will bring the outdoors in and keep my future home intimate.”
He can walk the trails he enjoys at West Deane Park or cycle to Centennial Park from his condo. There will be a large park on site and access to the adjacent ravine and bike path along Eglinton.
Kazmi plans to host family and friends at his condo. “There will be a two-piece bathroom beside the den, so I can use the den as a guest room and let guests have their own bathroom. The layout will allow for future customization. I can easily build a walk-in closet or I can put up a door to separate the living area from the half bathroom and den.”
He works in insurance sales from home most of the time and says if he needs a break during the day, he can use the fitness centre, lounge or terrace, or work from the co-working spaces if he wants a change of scenery.
“It has great highway access, great access to the future LRT. It’s close to Sherway mall and the airport,” says Harhay. “As you go west, you pass corporate centres and business parks and what struck me was the high level of employment there and people needing housing close to that.” As well as the 427 and Gardiner Expressway, Etobicoke has UP Express, MiWay and TTC bus transit, streetcars, four GO stations and three subway stations. Workers commuting to Mississauga use the Renforth station, eight minutes by bus from the 9Hundred.
Kazmi is looking forward to having his own home in the neighbourhood that means so much to him. “I have always seen Etobicoke as urban, yet suburban, so I feel I’m getting the opportunity to buy into the best of both worlds.”