Big changes are coming to Toronto Ward 8 - York West. Of the over 50,000 people living in the York West area, 60% now use public transit. Thousands more commute to and from the area to attend classes at York University. By 2020, an estimated 19,000 more people will populate the area, along with new retail, businesses, institutions and job opportunities. During that same time time period, 11,000 new students are expected to enrol at York U per year, a tremendous boost in traffic for the area. The $2.6 billion Spadina subway extension now under-construction—along with a planned $1 billion LRT line along Finch—will tremendously improve transit and traffic in the area.

All of this change will spur development at Keele and Finch and the surrounding area, and has primed the market for projects like the University Heights Professional & Medical Centre, an 8-storey, 180,000 square-foot commercial development planned for Finch Avenue at Tangiers Road, just east of Keele Street.

University Heights Professional and Medical Centre, Real Wealth, ACK ArchitectsLooking west, University Heights Professional Centre, image courtesy of Real Wealth Group of Companies

Developed by the Real Wealth Group of Companies, approximately one third of the ACK Architects-designed building will be dedicated to retail use. Ground floor retail, including a major pharmacy as anchor retail tenant, will front on busy Finch Avenue. The project also features a second floor retail mezzanine and an attractive, accessible green roof designed to meet the environmentally rigorous Tier 2 Toronto Green Standards. 

University Heights Professional and Medical Centre, Real Wealth, ACK ArchitectsGreen roof, University Heights Professional and Medical Centre, image courtesy of Real Wealth Group of Companies

While many commercial developments lease space out to tenants, retail and commercial space at the University Heights Centre is available for purchase. As the value of land in the area is poised to appreciate greatly over the next several years, purchasers of commercial and retail space here will not only be protected from rent increases, they will enjoy the improving value of their investment. The Keele and Finch intersection's future as an intermodal transit hub will also allow investors to buy space now at a low cost, and lease it out according to market demand. 

Four short kilometres to the south, Keele and Wilson is home to a number of institutional facilities, including the newly opened Forensic Services and Coroners Complex and the $1.75 billion Humber River "super hospital" now under construction. Medical professionals often look for office space located in proximity to medical institutions, and for this reason the upper five storeys of the building will house medical and professional office space. 

University Heights Professional and Medical Centre, Real Wealth, ACK ArchitectsMedical office space, University Heights Professional and Medical Centre, image courtesy of Real Wealth Group of Companies

The planned Finch West LRT and the under-construction Spadina subway extension are expected to greatly increase growth in both commercial and retail development in the area. Studies have found that office buildings standing within 500m of rapid transit not only see half the vacancy rates of buildings outside the area, but also ask 38% higher net rental rates. In a video released a month ago, Ward 8 Councillor Anthony Perruzza discussed the bright future of the Keele and Finch neighbourhood, from transit to development to business growth within the area. The video can be seen below.

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