Partners have been a primary ingredient in Westdale Properties’ long-term success, and that’s continuing with several new and ongoing development projects across the Greater Toronto Area, Canada and in parts of the United States.
Partners spread the risk associated with developments and have enabled Westdale to become involved in real estate opportunities it wouldn’t otherwise have been able to take on.
“Individually we’re one drop, and together we’re an ocean,” Westdale chief operating officer Mitchell Cohen told RENX. “That’s why we forge these really good partnerships that continue. We have multiple partners and we do more deals and more deals with our stable of partners.”
Toronto-based Westdale employs more than 1,500 and has owned, managed and developed real estate across North America for almost 70 years. Its Canadian portfolio includes close to 7,000 residential units and more than 2.5 million square feet of retail, commercial and industrial spaces.
Those numbers are growing through its development partnerships.
Westdale and Reserve Properties
Westdale is partners with Toronto-based Reserve Properties on two major Toronto condos, including one development which has just broken ground.
The majority of suites will be variations of one-bedroom units, followed by two-bedroom units, three-bedroom units and studios. Prices ranged from $450,000 to more than $1.5 million and the units are almost all sold.
Construction should also begin in the next few months on Untitled, a condo with 33- and 21-storey towers and a shared podium. It will contain 751 one-, two- and three-bedroom units and 30,000 square feet of amenity space at 110 Broadway Ave.
The units are more than 80 per cent sold.
Untitled will also include a 36-storey, 412-unit purpose-built rental apartment at 100 Broadway Ave. which is in the pre-construction phase. The building will include retail at grade.
The two companies are also partnering on 2128 Yonge Street Condos, a proposed 13-storey, 79-unit building south of Eglinton near Hillsdale Avenue that’s in the pre-construction phase. The site has been used as a sales centre for Line 5 and Untitled to this point.
Madison Group partnership
Westdale is partners with Toronto-based Madison Group and Adler Investments on Nobu Residences, a 47-storey twin tower development on Mercer Street in downtown Toronto where all 650 condo units are sold.
The base of the two towers will retain the brick façade of the original Pilkington Glass Factory and art deco elements from the early 1900s. Construction is up to ground level.
“Bringing a brand to this project was also very beneficial,” said Cohen. “We all bring a certain skill set to the table and what we try to do is bring smarter people to the table than us, because we’ll benefit in the long run.”
The Nobu Residences partnership with Madison led to the two companies joining forces to redevelop Toronto’s The Capitol Event Theatre, which has been used as an event space for the past several years. It will become a mid-rise condo that will keep some of the building’s heritage aspects.
The project at 2492 Yonge St., on the corner of Castlefield Avenue, hasn’t yet been launched.
Dream, Great Gulf and the Gehry project
The 74-storey east tower and 84-storey west tower to be built on King Street West between the Royal Alexandra Theatre and Princess of Wales Theatre will have approximately 2,000 condo suites and 150,000 square feet of commercial space.
Marketing and sales for the project will start next year, with construction likely to follow in 2023. No timeline has been announced for how long it will take to build the two towers.
Westdale is partners with Lanterra Developments on 31 Parliament Condominiums, an Arquitectonica-designed 428-unit building in downtown Toronto. Sales are ongoing and Cohen is hopeful construction will start in late spring.
The five-building, 486-unit residential rental development with 23,000 square feet of commercial space at 1072 West Side Ave. in Jersey City, N.J. is near the Journal Square Transportation Center and the Mana Contemporary museum.
All 309 residential units are sold and the building at 203 College St. in downtown Toronto is nearing completion.
Westdale is partners with Toronto-based Fieldgate Urban on a proposed mid-rise condo on Bogert Avenue, near Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue West, in North York.
Cohen said the project, Westdale’s first in Toronto north of Highway 401, is in the municipal approvals process.
main + main in Ottawa
With Toronto-based main + main, Westdale is also involved in three Ottawa-area multifamily projects.
“We’re glad to remain in the Ottawa market,” said Cohen. “We’ve been there for a long time in the commercial and retail space, but this is our first in the residential space.”
Albert + Lyon at 400 Albert St. is an IBI Group-designed project comprised of 18-, 28- and 33-storey towers and a mixed-use podium with 600,000 square feet of retail space. The site is across the street from a light rail transit station.
It’s hoped that municipal approvals can be finalized and that construction can start in the next six months.
Cohen said one building will be a condominium, one will be a hotel and he’s unsure if the third will be a condo or purpose-built rental apartment.
“Our core business is multifamily rental, but we like to have flexibility. And with partners, we always have a lot of flexibility.”
Westdale and main + main will also submit plans for municipal approval for two other projects: a condo overlooking the Rideau Canal; and two residential towers in Kanata.
Place Doree Real Estate Holdings
Westdale and Montreal-based Place Doree Real Estate Holdings plan to develop a site into a mixed-use multiresidential project at the corner of Rideau Street and King Edward Avenue near Ottawa’s downtown Byward Market.
Cohen said it could either be a condo or rental building.
IN8 Developments and Harlo Capital
Westdale is partnered with Waterloo-based IN8 Developments and Toronto-based Harlo Capital on three projects in Kitchener and two in Hamilton in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region of southern Ontario.
Construction has begun on the SRM Architects-designed, 39-storey DTK Condos, at 32 Duke St., which will be the tallest building in Kitchener. The project is sold out and occupancy is expected in about four years.
“That’s an exciting project that anchors downtown and takes advantage of the city’s brand new LRT,” said Cohen. “We’re really thrilled about that project.”
Construction began in the first quarter of 2019 on a 0.8-acre site at 74 Frederick St. that will have 494 condo units upon completion, which is set for Q3 2022.
The partners have a 0.57-acre site at 30 Francis St. S. for a 515-unit condo located 500 metres from a transit hub where GO Transit regional train and bus services, Via Rail, light rail transit, and other ground-oriented transportation will converge. Completion is anticipated for Q4 2026.
Westdale, IN8 and Harlo will redevelop Hamilton City Centre to transform the retail and office property into a mixed-use community to continue the revitalization of James Street. They plan a phased development of multiple towers on the 3.54-acre downtown site at 77 James St.
IN8 and Springer Group of Companies
Westdale, IN8 and family-owned Springer Group of Companies from Kingston are partnering on two condos in the Eastern Ontario city.
The 10-storey, 325-unit Sage Kingston at 652 Princess St., not far from Queen’s University, is under construction and should be ready for occupancy within the year. Suite sizes range from 413 to 779 square feet and amenities will include an atrium, a social lounge, a fitness centre and a rooftop patio.
The three companies hope to get municipal approvals within six months for a mid-rise condo project called Capitol Condos on the site of the former Capitol Theatre at 223 Princess St.
“We believe this project is going to be the catalyst for a revival in downtown Kingston on Princess Street,” said Cohen. “Bringing some residential into your core gives you a solution for getting some vibrancy.”
Westdale and Starfish Properties own more than 20 retail, commercial and heritage properties in downtown Halifax.
They recently completed a 22-storey condo called The Roy, which kept the façade of the heritage office building it replaced, in the Nova Scotia capital. People are moving in and sales are continuing in what’s traditionally been more of a rental market than a condo market.
“Halifax is the only market I know of where people don’t buy off plans,” said Cohen. “Sometimes it’s a little speculative and we’re fine with that. Steady wins the race. We’re steady with our sales. The building is up and people can go and kick tires.”
Westdale and Starfish are also partners on a Toronto property near Eglinton Avenue West and Caledonia Road that used to be occupied by school, home and office stationery product manufacturer Hilroy. It’s now the headquarters for extreme weather outerwear maker Canada Goose.
“We would never have wanted to roll up our sleeves and move dirt around and redevelop a site like that, but Starfish was up for the challenge and asked us if we wanted to be partners,” said Cohen. “We said ‘Sure.’ ”
Cedar Capital Partners
Westdale owns and manages close to 47,000 residential units in 200 properties in 30 cities, as well as 1.8 million square feet of retail and commercial space, in the U.S.
It recently became involved with Cedar Capital Partners, which has offices in New York and London, U.K., in two more American properties. Cedar Capital has invested more than US$4 billion in the hospitality sector since 2004.
Sundance Mountain Resort near Provo, Utah was purchased from actor/director Robert Redford in December. Improvements to the all-season resort — including two new lifts, upgraded and enhanced snowmaking, additional parking and Creekside building renovations — will take place this spring.
“We don’t know a lot about the hospitality business and they do, and it’s better done by a team,” said Cohen.