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M5V Condominiums 
375 King Street West, Toronto
Developer: Lifetime Developments, TAS

M5V Condominiums | 119m | 35s | Lifetime | Core Architects | Page 4

Discussion in 'Buildings' started by AlvinofDiaspar, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. cassiusa

    cassiusa Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    ^ I do that every time I fill out one of those info sheets.

  2. mazyar

    mazyar Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn


    I came across the site when I did a search on Google for M5Vlife.

    We will add on our registrant list. We will also do a posting on our blog about this blog and skyscraper as well. I think it is really important to bring greater attention to forums such as this one.

    As for the 'city having balls'....

    We strongly believe that the City should set very strong and clear mandates. Our concern is over the inconsistency of the position the city takes and that often the various mandates set out are not complimentary. As an example, improved urban infrastructure, such as transit, requires population densities, as for M5V, this project sits on a major city artery, high density on this site supports other mandates such as transit.

    The above point is further supported in that urabn considerations such as shadows and the higher proposed density do not have a more adverse affect than those permitted.

    We have developed an extensive shadow study showing the as of right vs 20 stories, vs the proposed building. This is what gives support to our proposal. We will see if there is a way of posting some of them here so that they are legible.

    Another consideration....

    Too often we are caught up on the discussion over height. I think that there is far too little consideration given to street condition and the relationship that building create at the grade level. The concern over urban impact is far more relevant at the ground than up in the sky, not to say that any height works anywhere, but considering the hang-ups over height, the issues at grade have far greater impact. At M5V we have created a courtyard entrance that takes its cue from the courtyard entrances further West of Spadina. The proposed double height commercial space that steps back from the property line help further animate the grade level.

  3. caltrane74

    caltrane74 Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    Wow!. Talk about a forum making an impact on developers. This is good. Everyone on this forum seems more concerned with how the buildings which get developed impact on the street more than they care about hieght.

    At least thats the opinion I get. The neighbourhoods with the best vibe around Toronto are the ones with no skyscrapers. So there you go.
  4. Citywriter

    Citywriter Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    The height regime in this case seems to be very clear. Unfortunately the city -- undercut by the OMB -- has no power to enforce it. Mazyar, how is it possible that you couldn't build profitably at 20 storeys? What are the fixed costs? The land?

    True enough, and it's good to hear this. But Mazyar, while you are now building with quality design and with respect to such considerations, other developers are not. And by pushing through M5V successfully you are helping encourage land valuations and business plans that make the stated zoning meaningless. How can you call on the city to set the rules if you (like your competitors) are working to subvert them whenever possible?
  5. Mike in TO

    Mike in TO Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    It already is - it was put in place a few decades ago. Until the City gets around to updating its zoning in a conformity exercise with the OP, PPS and other provincial regulations, the zoning is pretty much meaningless.

    The cost of doing business right downtown is getting very high - not profitable at 20s sounds fairly reasonable - most other new developments in this area require a significant number of units to make the margins work.

    No one is going to give you proprietary information in a public forum - don't bother asking for a cost breakdown, it's kind of rude actually.
  6. maxy505

    maxy505 Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    Here's one reason developers look for more profit that is minimally necessary to start a project: RISK. Don't forget that a developer can lose his shirt if the housing market tanks at the wrong time. Perhaps a 20s building would be profitable today, but might not be in 2-3 years.
  7. Citywriter

    Citywriter Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    Well, it's not like developers are struggling to break even these days.

    And as several people have pointed out, there are plenty of midrise buildings in the area facing the same cost pressures. "Glas" is 100 metres away, and will build on a smaller, logistically tricky site.

    "The cost of doing business" is driven, to a degree, by land costs based on the idea that the OMB will allow much higher density than the city wants. Mazyar, am I wrong?
  8. Mike in TO

    Mike in TO Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    Harry Stinson.... sorry couldn't resist.
  9. mazyar

    mazyar Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    this is real great....

    i get somewhat concerned reading some of the comments as the generalities can cause frustration on either side - public, city and developer. this is a complex industry and both the parameters and variables are broad that applying one set of comments across the board would not apply. sounds like the developer setting himself up to justify what he is doing.....

    i am glad that someone did make the comment about the associated risk (i also appreciate the comment on disclosure, yet if you don't ask you'll never know). that is a huge part of this business. literally millions are spent upfront in hopes of sales of a product whose cost is so volatile (the construction industry) and undetermined at the time of its sale - serious risk. there is the risk of increased costs, market down turn, fluctuating financial costs, etc. these are real risk on large sums of money. the developer deserves to make money, i will not be apologetic about that, but there is so much to be desired when it comes to the integrity of developments in the city.

    developer's beef>>>>

    in creating M5V, we spent over 18 months in preparation (factor in the cost of carrying the land costs, consultants, marketing, etc.) the front end of this process was focused on quantifying market demand and product positioning. we engaged several focus groups and developed an extensive online survey (over 1300 respondents) as well as our blog. the feedback and comments were amazing - we heard what people liked and what frustrated them, what they wanted to see changed and how they felt we could do things differently.
    M5V is a response to all these things and we are confident that the project is truly unique in every way. this difference is not a marketing effort, it is in the product offering and the experience that makes this project different. from the presentation center to the marketing materials, M5V has been considered in every aspect. our difference starts with the project naming and branding, the marketing materials set the tone of the project - a uniquely eclectic feel. the experience at M5V begins virtually online with our website ( - the new site will be launched on Friday) and the opportunities provided on the site. our presentation center is a complete departure from the traditional sales office and so is our team who play the role of lifestyle facilitators helping home buyers identify what they need as opposed to selling price/foot and unit sizes. the presentation center is curated by Edward Day Gallery and has a breadth of art work. our cafe approach ensures that visitors to M5V have the opportunity to relax and enjoy the experience. the presentation center will be the first LEED certified sales office in Canada if not NA, we are targeting Silver.

    (i am making a point here and not using this as marketing space)

    the building itself is different. the King elevation is designed with a curtain glass facade, while all the other elevations have been designed to respond to their particular condition. the majority of suites have expansive 6' balconies and the cantilevered balconies on the north and east elevation further articulate the building unique design (this means it costs a lot of money as its not the same). the design also incorporates a building that has six corners, it undulates to enhance the design and the quality of the living spaces within it. the building has been designed with numerous sustainable features such as an HRV system, grey water recycling, high efficiency mechanical systems, green power consumption, etc.

    so what's the point? apples to apples please and thank you.

    yes, we could have built a profitable 20 storey box on one of the most prominent streets of a city whose global reputation is only being enhanced. the frustration comes from the fact that no matter how much you strive to improve the way things are done, the challenges persist and no thought is given to what makes cities beautiful and what can be done to improve Toronto to continue its way to becoming a first class city. at TAS, we have made the commitment to put our money where our mouth. so often we here complaints that this is so cumbersome and that the consumer does not appreciate the added time and efforts made, well, we beg to differ. we believe that as leaders, it is our role to take the time to show that there is a better way to doing the same old and that with time, improvements will be made. this is said with an in-depth understanding of urban morphology and city building (amongst our immediate family of four we have 5 masters degrees in architecture and a planning degree).

    as for the city and the planning process, there is much to do. hopefully M5V will be an example that will be seen as a positive change and that it will provide a lesson in that there is so much to be gained when we look at a project in its entirety.

    thanks for your patience...

  10. mazyar

    mazyar Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    ""The cost of doing business" is driven, to a degree, by land costs based on the idea that the OMB will allow much higher density than the city wants. Mazyar, am I wrong?"

    Yes and no. When we purchased this site, the TIFF building had been approved for 42 storeys and the second phase of the Hudson was at the final stages of negotiation on its now approved 32 storeys. Were we crazy to make application for a 34 storey building whose urban impact is pretty much the same as what is as of right?

    It has to be understood that the OMB is a court who basis its decisions on planning principles. When so many projects are getting approved at the OMB does not make you wonder who's case is repeatedly losing and why?

    M5V and Glas are completely different - please read my other response. Glas is larger site, it is bound by lanes on two sides and a street, it is mid-block and faces completely different urban conditions. apples to apples when comparing please, please, please.

  11. Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    Actually I find it to be a very frustrating trend. But probably not for the same reasons you do. What bothers me about it is that so many projects that go to the OMB do get approved which basically means that a city can develop all the guidelines it wants for city growth but in the end are powerless, more or less, if a developer does not agree with the city. If more and more buildings are approved at the OMB, there is a danger that developers will simply ignore city planning guidelines and plan for a defacto tribunal in front of the OMB.

    I am all for sound planning policy, but, cities should be allowed, for the most part, to dictate how they want to grow and in what form that growth will take. Yes there will always be exceptions to the rule and some developments that are rejected by cities are in fact sound. But if more and more developments just go to the OMB all it does is minimize its importance as a quasi-judicial tribunal to help resolve disputes and become a place where developers can avoid city policies.

    Which leads me to a question. How much do developers actually work with the city and the communities before they put their plans forward to city council? Just from my own perspective and what I see happening, it seems that if so many projects are going to the OMB, there has to be some party, or parties, that are not effectively communicating with the others and thus making the process lengthier and more difficult than it need be. I am not to say developers are entirely at fault, but, it does seem in cases that developers ignore the city and communities they are building in and avoid doing any kind of public consultation (and by this I do not mean marketing research but meeting with neighbors and residents who have no itention of buying but will be impacted by the new development). Perhaps you can offer some thoughts on this subject and offer some insight on how your own company approaches planning and dealing with communities and the city.
  12. Citywriter

    Citywriter Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    Fair enough.

    And I think this has been very interesting for everybody. Thank you, Mazyar.

    Still, the point remains: you decided to build a high-end and genuinely innovative project (for which TAS is charging very decent prices, by the way).

    The city's current planning system should recognize quality. It's a shame that it does not. But I the OMB shouldn't be the place where planning details are ultimately hashed out, in an unpredictable, adversarial forum. It makes a joke of the planning department.

    If nobody takes Toronto planning seriously to begin with, where will we get the political will to build a new system on implementation of a clear and coherent official plan?
  13. EnviroTO

    EnviroTO Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    Unfortunately city council and the planning department don't need the OMB to make a joke out of them since there is often opposition to project that fit perfectly with the goals of the Official Plan being blocked due to height or community opposition. If the city would take the Official Plan to the next step and show how the goals of the Official Plan will be met in terms of target building heights, how current anomolies in height will be incorporated into the plan, providing something similar to what has been created for the East Bayfront and West Don Lands, then getting a building through council wouldn't be so problematic. If such a master plan existed for the already developed properties across the city then it would be easy to say whether something fits or doesn't fit the plan, but if zoning on most properties is simply left at whatever its current use is despite an official plan which contradicts that zoning because the plan is for intensification, then it shouldn't be a surprise that the OMB throws out most of the city's objections.

    For example Minto at Eglinton... why on earth would height be restricted on a building at a subway station surrounded by high-rises in one of only five areas in the city designated as "Centres"? Why wouldn't a tall building be approved half a block south of the BMO building in the CBD? The city has some sort of aversion to tall buildings that throws everything in the Official Plan out the window.
  14. Mike in TO

    Mike in TO Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn

    ^ I agree with Enviro, the city makes a mockery of the planning system with politicians constantly pandering to organizated ratepayer opposition. There have been many examples of projects that the planning department recommended for approval only to have council reject the application. With the way the current system works, the OMB is needed to ensure that planning policies (both municipal and provincial) are adhered to. At the OMB, municipal planners are often brought in to testify against the decision made by their own council.

    For better of for worse the city is its own worst enemy and the OMB is an essential part of the planning process. It is the only forum where expert testimony and evidence is adequately reviewed by decision makers - I just don't believe that council is properly informed of the decisions they are voting for, especially in these marathon meeting with 215 items on the agenda (they usually just vote the same way as the local politician).

    To add to Enviro's comments - the zoning throughout Toronto is horribly out-of-date. The province is going to require a conformity exercise with the O.P. and recent provincial planning reforms, which may help the situation. Unfortunately Toronto's current zoning is set in the past, whereas zoning should be a blueprint for what is envisioned for the future.
  15. 3Dementia

    3Dementia Guest

    Re: M5V - the developer's turn


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