<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=390674378043480&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1"/> Two Keystone Developments Worth Knowing About - The Storey Team : Toronto Real Estate

The Storey Team : Toronto Real Estate

Two Keystone Developments Worth Knowing About

02 April 2018
Cam Woolfrey



We deal with a lot of investment questions.

Investing in Toronto can be a daunting experience just because of the initial price point, but if you read most expert analysis, and based on the expected economic fundamentals for the GTA going forward; the general consensus is that Toronto is going to be a fantastic city to buy real estate in for years to come.

When I start to bring clients out to view properties one of my first statements is usually, “I am going to be approaching looking at this property as an investment first on every home we go see”. In my opinion, that’s exactly how you want your realtor to be thinking because at the end of the day – style and “wants” are very subjective and everyone generally has slightly different taste based on their needs. That’s not to say I’m not trying to find you properties that you’re going to love aesthetically, but  at the end of the day you want to rely on your realtor heaviest for the aspects of real estate analysis that you have no way of knowing.  This can include market pricing, future development in the area, risk mitigation, and deal strategy among other incredibly important items that can be incredibly material in negotiations.

At the end of the day buying a home or investment property is one of the biggest financial decisions, if not the biggest, that most of our clients are going to be making in their lives. With that in mind, today I’d like to highlight some future development that is starting to take shape which I think are the keystone pieces to why investing on the east end is an incredibly smart move for anyone looking to hold GTA property for the next 5+ years.

These are the Lower Don Lands and East Harbour Developments.

It’s no secret that planned infrastructure usually has a positive effect on real estate prices, and Toronto is absolutely full of it. The Eglington Crosstown LRT has increased both residential and commercial investment activity in midtown, and the planned subway extension on the east end will surely do the same, but in my mind those are both dwarfed by what has been planned for what was up until now, a completely underutilised industrial area.



Let’s start with the Lower Don Lands. The Lower Don Lands is a 125 hectare (308 acre) area that runs from East Bayfront (the Parliament Street Slip) east to the Don Roadway and from West Don Lands (the rail corridor) south to the Ship Channel.  The centrepiece of the entire development is the re-naturalization of the Lower Don River and features a mash of both public space, residential development and commercial office/retail space. To give you some context the Cityplace development was only +/- 65 Acres so we’re talking about a development 5x that size. For those of you naysayers who believe that Toronto builds only glass giants and doesn’t care about public space, this massive project is proof that the city is changing its tune when it comes to being a world leader in sustainable development. Take a look at this video below which outlines the scope of the project.

So why is this such a big deal? The focus on quality of life combined with innovative world class buildings is a formula that promises to deliver one of the most incredible developments the world has ever seen. Although that sounds like a complete exaggeration, it may not be that far from the truth. Specifically, some of you will remember a 2017 announcement that a division of “Alphabet Inc.” – better known as Google, will be a major part of this development and have committed to a $50 million-dollar initial investment to create a “first of its kind” Smart City which intends to create people friendly areas that are completely connected to each other and will return tangible data that will help government and developers build the best possible developments based on real time information. I’m not even coming close to explaining the beauty of this project, but take a look for yourself here

Moving on to the East Harbour Development, which if it weren’t being planned by renowned developer First Gulf, could be mistaken as an extension of the Lower Don Lands development. This is where some more context can be brought to the developments as a whole as the plan has called for over 12,000,000 sq. ft. of commercial development (office retail and institutional) which will essentially serve as a second financial district for the city. To put that into non-real-estate terms, that’s an additional 50,000 jobs spread over 60 acres.



Transit is the key, and at the heart of the East Harbour development is a new multi-modal transit hub that will be the best served transit station outside of Union Station in the GTA. It will serve as the front door to the development, with the majority of people coming to the site arriving by transit. It will also include both local and regional transit connections, including Regional Express Rail, SmartTrack, Broadview LRT, Queen’s Quay LRT and the Relief Line subway.

Again, I can hardly expand on the development better than the site themselves without rambling more than I already have so, if you’d like more info on the project, check it out here.


So here comes the point of this entire post. Now that I’ve explained how massive these projects are, from an investment perspective; it’s a no brainer that want to be close to all of this. Currently the most expensive condo ownership real estate in the city is #1 - Yorkville and #2 -Financial District. If you were to ask me to simplify why this is, and boil it down to only one reason - Yorkville, it is a “quality of life” reason, and Financial District it is a “proximity to employment and transit” reason that makes these properties so desirable. When it comes to Lower Don Lands and East Harbour, both of these developments combine all of those aspects, and add an emphasis on open public space, technologically and world class construction.

Even more attractive in my mind would have to be freehold ownership, and looking at areas like Lesliville and the Beaches, while seemingly expensive right now, are primed to be great long term holds for the seasoned investor. The main reason for this is that they’re not building any more of them! I can say with almost certainty that the demand for a backyard and freehold ownership will never dwindle. Also, if you examine the city’s zoning map and development patterns, it’s condos, condos, condos in an attempt to try and keep up with the ballooning demand for housing in the city (which is showing no signs of slowing down). Pair that with detached housing having historically, the strongest appreciation in the core over a 10-year average, and you’ve got yourself a winning formula.

We say time and time again that real estate is a long term game, and these developments will take a long time to come to fruition (in the 5-15 year timeline), but what a perfect opportunity to understand the context of what is being built around you, and act on it. Again, at the end of the day this is my opinion based on fact, but we’re talking about a scale of development that has never been attempted in this city before. All I can say is that if I were a betting man I would be doubling down on lower East Side real estate.