Office condo set for Toronto’s north Yonge strip

York Mills mixed-use office project will reflect natural landscape of the Don River
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
By Rebecca Melnyk

Yonge Park Plaza will offer companies the opportunity to own office space within a hotel setting, when the seven-storey glass building rises at the corner of Yonge Street and York Mills Road, near the North York business corridor in Toronto. In an area with not much opportunity to own commercial units and a lack of hotels, the Gupta Group is dually responding to both issues with its amentity-rich, mixed-use development.

Set by the Don River and currently serving as a parking lot, site plans call for an office condo of approximately 250,000 square feet, a 250-room full-service Hilton Hotel and about 20,000 square feet of retail. Construction is expected to begin by the end of this year.

“There’s a huge demand of people who want to own their own office so they don’t have to move or see rents going up,” says Steve Gupta, president of the Gupta Group. “I think it’s very attractive in Europe; it happens a lot, but in Canada this is almost new. There’s a great demand and a lot of people are already interested to buy space here.”

Convenience figures high in the Gupta Group’s strategy to develop 2.1 acres on the 3.2-acre site, which is zoned for office space. The property offers direct TTC subway tunnel access from within the building to York Mills Station and swift access to the 401 and Toronto Pearson International Airport. Three major hospitals situated nearby and a surrounding residential community of white-collar professionals, help target an array of potential tenants from doctors and lawyers to business people and beyond.

While the concept of quality customer service isn’t new to office building operations, the hotel portion will enhance the office tenant experience with hospitality elements.

“Most office buildings die after 5 p.m.,” says Gupta. “What we want to create by adding a hotel is a lifestyle, so there is life in the evening. Also, office condo owners can have visiting business associates stay in the hotel.”

Other amenities include fitness and business centres, a rooftop restaurant and bar overlooking a golf course and an expansive ravine landscape, along with an executive concierge lounge.

“Depending on who buys the space and who is managing, we want to make sure the service we provide them is a concierge, upscale, hotel-like service,” he adds. “If they need to rent any hotel boardroom, they can have an excellent meeting there. In the evening, if they want to have a drink, they can go to the top of the building and bring clients.

Potential owners will invest well according to the developers as property values are increasing along the Yonge Street corridor in this prestigious neighbourhood. Other general benefits to ownership run the gamut, from avoiding rising rental rates and profiting from capital investments to evading the cost and time constraints of a big move.

“If you have 500,000 square feet at the end of your lease five years from now, your neighbour may want to expand and bump you,” says Gupta, whose Easton Office at 3100 Steeles Avenue has been bumped three times. “If you don’t get a new lease, you’ll have to move elsewhere.”

Sustainability will also add value since the project is targeting LEED Gold, with several features optimizing energy use. Meanwhile, Page + Steele IBI Group Architects, lead architects on the project, are designing a building to bring the natural landscape inside, with a 10-storey glass atrium in the centre of the building, open to the sky.

According to Mansoor Kazerouni, executive vice-president at Page + Steele IBI Group Architects, the organic forms of the building are intended to reflect the lines of the adjacent river bank and dense foliage surrounding the site.

“The blue glass tone on the hotel portion will be reminiscent of the waters of the Don River on the west side of the site,” he notes, adding that the asymmetrical vertical white glass elements on the hotel façades will resemble tree branches, while frit pattern on glass in the office will have a warm wood-like colour tone, intended to complement the adjacent foliage.

Completion is set for 2019.

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