One developer, two midtown projects, one goal: Associating the Menkes name with Yorkville luxury
Murray Menkes started building houses more than 60 years ago, later branching out into office and condominium development as well. But with so much of the company’s efforts concentrated on North York – it has developed office and retail space and more than 5,000 condominium units in the North Yonge corridor – the name Menkes Developments hasn’t been well known south of Highway 401.
With the introduction of two new luxury projects in the Yorkville and Annex neighbourhoods, however, and several others recently completed or in the works, that’s starting to change.
“The Four Seasons Private Residences and Pears on the Avenue are obviously luxury projects in a geographic area that hasn’t historically been the company’s focus,” says Mimi Ng, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing for Menkes’ residential business. “But it feels like downtown is becoming more and more home to us, and we want to make each project special and unique for our buyers.”
Neighbourhood living, in style
Pears on the Avenue sits at the union of two of Toronto’s best neighbourhoods: tony Yorkville, with its upscale dining and posh retailers, and the Annex, the leafy home to University of Toronto professors and students living in grand Victorian residences and post-modern apartments.
“The location has been really well received because there is a great deal of demand to live in that part of town, but not a lot of options for people looking for condo living,” Ng says. “And the building itself will fit right in. It’s not too imposing. It’s small and intimate, and everyone will know everyone.”
The 175 condominium units at Pears on the Avenue – which is situated on a former luxury car dealership at the northwest corner of Avenue Road and Pears Avenue – are 75 per cent sold out. But there are still two-bedroom units starting at $595,900 and a 2,700-square-foot suite that’s priced at $2.95 million.
What’s new just this month is the release of the project’s five street-level townhouses, which fit right in with the residential tone of Pears Avenue.
“The great thing about the townhouse offering is that you get the best of both worlds,” Ng says. “You have the opportunity to be part of a larger condominium building, with all the amenities it offers, but you’re living in your own private single-family residence.”
Those amenities include a 24-hour concierge, a reception room with a catering kitchen and bar, an indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, showers, gym and change room, as well as a screening room and a landscaped terrace for entertaining or enjoying a summer night in solitude.
Priced at $2.695 million, each townhouse has a private rooftop terrace that can accommodate a hot tub, three levels of living space, three bedrooms and direct access to their parking spot in the underground garage.
Initial feedback has indicated that the townhouses are being coveted by a range of buyers, most notably downsizing boomers who already live in and love the neighbourhood, and have grown or almost-grown kids.
“As much as we talk about empty nesters enjoying it when their kids leave home, they also want their kids to feel that they can come home and spend time with them,” Ng says. “The townhouses are all three-bedroom homes, so there are plenty of different ways they can be used.”
All the best, at your beck and call
Still in the luxury category, but with a very different look and feel, is Menkes’ Four Seasons Private Residences.
Consisting of two towers and attached to Toronto’s new Four Season’s hotel at Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue, the Four Seasons Private Residences made headlines last fall when one unit sold for $28 million.
“Living at the Four Seasons means living in total luxury,” Ng says. “You have a valets, doormen and concierge service, and you have the option of housekeeping services, in-residence dining for yourself and your guests, as well as a 30,000-square-foot spa, pool and gym facility.”
The West Tower, which is 55 storeys high, is comprised of hotel facilities and guest rooms up to the 23 floor, and 100 private residences from floors 24 to 55. The East Tower, which is 26 storeys, contains 110 private residences. The two towers are joined by an elevated pedestrian bridge on the 9 floor.
The project is more than 95 per cent sold out, with units remaining in the range of $1.9 million to $2.7 million.
As for who has bought so far, Ng says about 80 per cent of the buyers are Canadian, with most of those hailing from Southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area.
“There was a distinct component of purchasers who already lived in Toronto in a single family residence in Rosedale or Forest Hill,” Ng said. “They’re downsizing into a different lifestyle, a condominium lifestyle, even though they’re moving into fairly large units at the Four Seasons, some as big as 5,000 square feet.”
There were also buyers who were already living in condominiums but wanted to upgrade to something newer or larger or in a better location with better views.
The association with the Canada-based, international five-star hotel brand also attracted buyers, Ng says.
“It was real eye-opener to see how strongly the residential hotel brand resonated with so many people,” Ng said. “A potential buyer would say, ‘My daughter’s wedding was at the Four Seasons,’ or ‘My mother used to have afternoon tea at the Studio Café in the Four Seasons eveyr week.’
“So there was an emotional connection there and a ready-made buyer market when we opened our doors,” Ng said.
Pears on the Avenue:
Four Seasons Private Residences: Two high-rise luxury condominium residences attached to the Four Seasons hotel.