Outdoor space, which is a perennial consideration when buying a home, is getting a lot of attention these days in the luxury real estate market.
Potential buyers are asking more questions, not only about the size of balconies but their utility. People want to know if there are parks and trails nearby in addition to what shops are within walking distance of their new home.
It’s yet another effect of the lingering coronavirus pandemic, where fresh air and exercise such as walking have been touted as a tool to battle the deadly virus and buttress minds beset by the fog of lengthy stays indoors due to health regulations.
There are plenty of options available to satisfy those needs for those shopping in the luxury real estate market.
Striking vistas abound, parks and trails are steps away and balconies often seem to offer as many features outside as the condos do inside.
“The very first question we’re getting before we even talk about anything in terms of what the building offers is ‘what’s the outdoor space?’,” says Janice Fox, broker of record with Hazelton Real Estate for Menkes Development’s 77 Clarendon project.
For example, clients want plenty of space in which to cook and dine, she says. They’re also quizzing her about what’s beyond the doorstep too in an apparent interest in keeping fit.
“It seems to be less questions about walkability to restaurants or to theatres or galleries and more about ‘if I’m out for my daily walk what is there?’ Vales, paths, parks, that kind of thing.”
Menkes’ 77 Clarendon has plenty to offer since it is perched atop the Nordheimer Ravine and its park system, which includes public tennis courts and an abundance of walking trails.
“It’s very green, very pretty,” Fox says. “It’s a great place if you have a dog and you’re still only a 10-minute walk into Yorkville or into Forest Hill.”
Mitchell Abrahams, president of The Benvenuto Group/Malen Capital Corp., says proximity to the Cedarville Ravine and trails is a plus offered by his Monza Condos project on St. Clair Avenue West.
“The area is a pretty special place to live because it’s steps from the Wychwood Barns, which is like a real local amenity with a weekend organic farmers market, splash pads, dog runs, beach volleyball – that kind of stuff,” he says. “I think times like this focus buyers on how livable and walkable both their building and their neighbourhood is.”
He says, for example, that there are plenty of places to pick up something to munch on while taking a pleasant stroll.
“People go for a walk, they get into nature in a safe way. They can take the ravine and hook into the beltline system and walk the trails of the city. These are all things that we appreciate more during these times when we’re limited on what we can do for recreation.”
The ability to explore the outdoor surroundings is offered by the environmentally friendly Field House in Regent Park as well.
“Field House is really in the centre of it all,” says Tiffany Wood, director of sales for The Daniels Corporation, which is building the eco-urban townhome project. “It is a great hub for exploring surrounding neighbourhoods like Corktown, Cabbagetown, Leslieville, Riverdale and the Beaches.
“There is an incredible collection of amenities, including 2.8 acres of athletic grounds, Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre, arts and culture. In addition to all of these great nearby amenities, Field House offers outdoor terrace space that ranges from 230 square feet to 265 square feet and outdoor patio space that ranges from 158 square feet to 387 square feet. You have your own private outdoor sanctuary.”
North Drive co-founder and partner Jordan Morassutti says his 36 Birch project is close to nature and also helps to bring it into the living spaces. Functional balconies and terraces are long and deep. Infrastructure such as irrigation planters are supplied so that residents can create their own oases.
“The idea of a wraparound balcony that’s only five feet deep doesn’t appeal to our audience,” Morassutti says.
“What they’re looking for with outdoor space is depth such that there’s really utility and where they can have separately programmed outdoor spaces. The idea of outdoor dining separate from outdoor lounge is something that we’re seeing serious interest in.”
He says that there is also considerable interest in outdoor kitchens on the terraces of the sky suites.
Connecting the indoors with the outdoors is an important part of the design of Minto Communities’ Oakvillage project, says Matthew Brown, director of project development. “We’re very conscientious through the design process that the indoor amenities are not positioned and designed in isolation of the outdoor amenities,
“The two have to work very cohesively and collaboratively together, so in Oakvillage every indoor amenity has an outdoor amenity component directly adjacent to it so it’s both visually and physically connected to the outside, and really trying to connect people to the outdoors.”
For example, there is a garden inside the main lobby as well as ancillary garden spaces. The party room has a direct connection to the outdoors with an exterior terrace that includes lounge space and barbeques. The gym looks down onto the lobby garden and out to gardens at the front of the building.
Large balconies are designed to leverage views. There is also a pond with a path around it, trails nearby and a park is also planned.
“The pond is literally right at your doorstep,” Brown says. “You walk out and the pond is right there. “It’s really special.”
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.