Yonge St Corridor is getting more and more condo proposals…and this is a good thing. The area needs more residents to balance all the commercial and retail uses. Now Yonge and Queen has been an area that has been the focus of some speculation, especially since 197-205 Yonge St have been vacant for years. In a January 2011 article in the Globe and Mail, titled “Toronto’s most vulnerable vacancies,” the reporters say the following:

  1. The buildings are made of grey limestone
  2. The architects also have designed Convocation Hall, the Royal Ontario Museum and the MaRS Discovery District building
  3. The building was built in 1905
  4. Was designated as a heritage building in 1990

This is why I took a second look when I saw the following Tweet from the Mod Developments Twitter account (@moddevelopments): [blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/moddevelopments/status/142100381944647680″] In the picture in question is an archive photo of Yonge and Queen from the early part of 19th century owned by the CEO of Mod Developments Gary Switzer.

Yonge and Queen St - Archive Photo

Now why would Gary have the picture and why is this important? The reason is simple: Mod has struck a deal with the folks in Montreal that owns 197 Yonge St (apparently these are the same folks who own Parasuco as well) and they are set to develop it. Buying the site makes perfect sense, Gary is a veteran in our industry, and is newly formed Mod Developments, seems to have created a nice niche taking heritage buildings and working them in the facade of the podium of a tower (like he did on 5 St. Joseph). I’m totally psyched about this project. It has a great location (walkscore of 97) and is not even 20 ft away from the subway station. This condo will be especially attractive to the investor community in Toronto and will no doubt sell out quick (think RCMI or Karma condos). Checking the listing brokerage for the site, Avison and Young, 197-201 Yonge St has been for sale for some time (at least since late 2004). So it seems that with Karma selling extremely well hitting $700+ per square foot well and the new density developers have been asking for along Yonge St, the team at Mod Developmetns felt it was the right time to pull the trigger to make a deal happen.

197-199 Yonge St

Other projects seem to pushing the envelope with heights including: 501 Yonge St asking for 192 m and 58 Storeys 460 Yonge St asking for 198.5 m and 60 Storeys I’m definitely interested to see the renderings of the existing building and how the incorporate the columns. Since the building is designated as a heritage building, its a non starter that it would be demolished and Mod has done well with the heritage buildings just up the road. Expect pricing to follow along with the Karma’s mark, and it could be more as the site will be more challenging to develop on (increased costs due to the challenges of getting construction crews to build on the smaller footprint, preserving the heritage building etc). To balance this, Mod must be going at least 60 Storeys. Just like the famous baby boomer quote: 50 is the new 30. I’ll watch this with great interest.