Leaside’s condo boom: The LRT is reshaping our mid-section

Little did we know the Eglinton LRT was going to have such a big impact in Leaside. We should prepare ourselves to see the highest population growth since the incorporation of the town back in 1913. The development of the town of Leaside took over 40 years, as there were many different circumstances that negatively affected it. Now, the single LRT under construction is set to catapult Leaside’s growth to records never seen before. With the addition of just seven projects, the number of new condos in mid-rise buildings will reach 4,021 units, surpassing the number of detached houses in the Leaside-Bennington area of 3,625 dwellings. The shocking aspect is that this could only take a couple of years as typically the lifecycle of a condo project is five years from launch; by 2022 we will see the first large projects reach completion.

The perimeter of the neighbourhood has given up to the pressure of the City of Toronto intensification plan, and Southvale now has two 7-storey boutique buildings, Leaside Manors with 67 units and Upper House with 74 condos on the go, this last one slated for completion in 2018. An interesting project comprising a historical Neo Gothic building built in 1928 will be part of the mixed use at 146-150 Laird Dr. that will have 179 rental retirement suites and 109 seniors condos. Because of the height restrictions in this area, these three buildings will have a lower impact to the surroundings, though shadows to the west and north side will affect the houses nearby.

With two new subway stations under construction on the Eglinton LRT at Laird and Bayview, developers have been actively seeking approvals and have already started marketing the first stages of their projects. These three major players are going to change the shape and lifestyle of our low-rise neighbourhood. Fortunately, they will be concentrated on the Eglinton corridor, most of them on the south side whose shadows will not affect the single-family homes:

Leaside Centre by RioCan REIT with 7 buildings from 6 to 34 floors and 1,435 units.

Brentcliffe Eglinton by Diamond Group with 3 buildings from 16 to 28 floors and 985 units.

Sunnybrook Plaza by RioCan REIT with 2 buildings of 13 and 19 storeys and 426 units.

Architecturally, most of these developments are following the same scheme with a lower podium serving as a base for retail and smaller suites that will support the towers above. As the projects are still in the design and approval stages, the details of the urban components and the way they will interact with the surroundings are not yet available for comment. The biggest impact of these developments will be to the local traffic and community infrastructure, as the number of dwellings will be increased by 62%.

We can all participate in the town hall meetings to provide feedback and challenge what we feel will affect our daily lives but bear in mind, these condos are here to stay and are required to support taxpayers’ huge investment in transit infrastructure.

Condo living will offer entry level access to those who have been priced out of the area’s single family homes.

Leasiders should take this opportunity to invest in their own neighbourhood. There will be larger suites catering to the right-sizers who will transition from single-family homes to condo living with building amenities to appeal to baby boomers and the aging population. There will be more peace of mind for snow birds flying south when living in a condo since they’ll be able to simply close the door and allow the property manager to take care of the asset while they are away. Small suites are also a good starting option to help our kids getting into the real estate market and living close to family and friends.

Finally, investing in pre-construction condos is a great opportunity to create wealth, as the price appreciation has been constant over the past years.

Alex Pino, Arch FRI Broker, is Senior VP, Sales for Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. You can reach him at .