High-end developers respond to heightened interest in mental and physical well-being, indoors and out
On the heels of a global pandemic, more Canadians are taking a greater interest in the health and safety of their environment and their homes. Toronto’s luxury real estate industry is responding with innovative solutions that are breathing new life into how luxury properties are designed, inside and out.
According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) Canada’s wellness real estate sector saw a 240-per-cent increase in growth between 2017 and 2020, making the country second among recent world leaders. The GWI defines wellness real estate as properties that incorporate intentional wellness elements into their designs, materials and building, as well as in their amenities and services. This could mean anything from top-of-the-line air purification systems to fitness facilities or an abundance of green space.
Toronto’s third-generation developer Altree Developments is known for challenging the status quo with groundbreaking advances in the properties it develops. Jordan DeBrincat, the company’s vice-president, says Altree believes the pandemic is contributing to more buyers wanting sustainable and safe outdoor spaces.
“With this shift in focus, not only do we have our landscape architects plan and lay out our outdoor spaces, but we also involve our interior designers from the planning stage to make sure our outdoor spaces are functional and practical from a living perspective,” DeBrincat says.
Altree is breaking new ground with its latest development, Forest Hill Private Residences. The nine-storey building at 2 Forest Hill Rd. in Toronto will feature a serene outdoor oasis nestled to the rear of the building that is complete with green walls and an outdoor fireplace, perfect for relaxing and recovering from the challenges of life in a pandemic.
In the east end of the city, Altree’s Highland Commons’ outdoor space is a virtual playground featuring an outdoor pool, full-size basketball court, outdoor chess and ping pong play areas, as well as a private garden and dining area. “Since we have now gone through almost three winters with this pandemic, as soon as the weather gets nicer, people are looking to get outside and stay outside,” DeBrincat says.
The Rockport Group in Toronto is redefining outdoor space with innovative initiatives such as The Urban Yard, which was initially developed by the company for its George Condos and Towns project in the Leslieville neighbourhood. The inspiration for urban yards came from Rockport’s research and understanding that Torontonians love their backyards and time outdoors. The Urban Yard concept has since been incorporated into its project at Yonge Street and Manor Road, The Davisville, where patios and terraces naturally become an extension of living space. Ultra-deep, recessed balconies or ‘yards’ offer room for patio furniture, plants and a children’s play area. Suites with urban yards or patios include a gas hookup for barbecues and heaters and electricity for sparkling lights in the evenings.
The team at Armour Heights Developments is taking the health and safety of buyers to new levels with greater attention to outdoor spaces at its properties, such as 89 Avenue Yorkville.
“Many of our clients are focused on the outdoor space just as much as their interior suite,” says president Frank Mazzotta.
“We are working with our landscape architect to incorporate items on the terraces such as water features and lush gardens. The spacious terraces offer inset balconies to accommodate dining for eight to 10 people. Firepits and outdoor bars have also been designed, and there is an option for an infinity edge pool off the upper penthouse.”
Green space abounds at 89 Avenue with a discrete and private entrance at the back of the building from Hazelton Lane meticulously manicured with greenery and a quiet seating area for residents to enjoy.
Cailey Heaps, president and chief executive officer of real estate firm Heaps Estrin in Toronto, says today’s buyers of luxury properties are not only looking for larger outdoor spaces, but they are also interested in homes with clean air and clean water. “Air quality has become much more topical among our buyers since the start of the pandemic,” Heaps says.
With indoor air and water quality fast becoming an imperative for buyers, Armour Heights has taken great care to incorporate systems and technologies that support clean air, clean water and a safe environment for buyers of residences at 89 Avenue. Mazzotta says the building’s HVAC system uses a variable refrigerant flow system that includes a built-in humidifier and air quality control filtration.
“Every suite will include a water purification system and a steam generator that converts the shower into a steam spa. The shower enclosures include a digital thermostat to control the water temperature,” Mazzotta says.
As a desire for better health and state of mind filters into buying decisions, luxury living in the Greater Toronto Area is emerging as the lifestyle of choice. This bodes well for luxury real estate developers who are making health and wellness an integral part of their business model.
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.