The development industry and the various other industries that support it, ranging from public relations to construction and architecture, play an integral role in building our city. We cover all of these topics regularly on the front page of UrbanToronto, and our new Insider Q&A feature delves deeper into the world of these industries by getting to know some of the movers and shakers who design, build and market the countless projects reshaping our city. 

This week, we chatted with Mazyar Mortazavi, President and CEO of TAS, the developer behind the recently built M5V development at King and Spadina, as well as new projects like Duke in The Junction and Kingston&Co in Scarborough. TAS has been on the development scene since 1983, when they got their start as a custom home builder, and in the time since, the developer has gone on to launch a real estate fund, and has been recognized with multiple industry awards, including a Green Home Builder of the Year win at the 34th Annual BILD Awards.

 Mazyar Mortazavi of TASMazyar Mortazavi, image courtesy of TAS

UT: How did you start in the business?

MM: Our business was started in 1983 by my parents Babak and Tooran. Over the first two decades our primary focus was design and building custom homes. In 2002, we started with our first development project ZED, and since then our focus has shifted from building single family homes to creating homes in multi-unit buildings. 

What is your role at your company?

I love making a good espresso, figuring out the next piece of dirt we are buying, and sitting in on the design meetings. 

How about your design/work inspirations?

Travel is an incredible source of inspiration. It is expansive and reflective. 

Tell us about any current projects you are currently involved with.

We are excited about the start of construction on our Duke project. Duke has really told our story as community-engaged developers. Our partnership with Paul and Micah (behind SMASH) in creating the Junction Flea, our collaboration with Mason Studio as the interior design firm in conjunction with local furniture makers and artisans, and the projects we have done with the Junction BIA have been at the heart of our Shaping Beautiful Cities™ mantra.

In the east end, our Kingston&Co project started sales this past summer and really builds on this community-focused engagement. Kingston&Co is all about community and neighbourhood and sheds light on one of the city’s most connected and diverse spots, Kingston Road Village, just steps to the beach with a local main street vibe and only minutes to the downtown core.

How about your future plans?

We have a number of projects in the pipeline and are excited to be rolling those out. 

What is your favourite project that you aren't associated with?

I'm really excited about the Canary District/Pan-Am Village project. It will play an integral part of connecting the city from East to West to North. 

What is your opinion on the current state of the Toronto or Markham or etc, market?

Toronto is the greatest city in the world. It is a growing city making it a place of ample opportunity. 

In your opinion, what is the current biggest issue facing Toronto/GTA?

Our pride of place. As Torontonians, we need to chin-up our city and lead with a pride of place. We have been growing very quickly and while we are not getting everything perfect, we are quick to recognize this and begin to address it. 

Out of the Argos, Blue Jays, FC, Maple Leafs or Raptors, which is your favourite professional sports franchise?

I prefer mythology over palaeontology, bird watching over dendrology and love fried chicken.  

It is often said that one can pick a different Toronto restaurant for every meal of every day of the year, and still have many spots left to visit. What is your favourite restaurant?

What night? Actinolite and Buca Yorkville. 

Favourite thing to do in the city?

Wander. 

We thank Mazyar for taking the time to answer our questions, and look forward to future work from TAS. We will return soon with another Q&A session with one of the many insiders in Toronto's development scene.