Like a seemingly endless number of Toronto developers, Marlin Spring Developments is making their mark on the city with new-build condos. Mid-rise projects like the Danforth's Canvas Codominium and Queen East's WestBeach Condominiums are gradually filling out the firm's growing portfolio, which also includes a number of new townhouse communities across the GTA, as well as a property in Texas. Northeast of Eglinton and Black Creek Drive, however, the company has added another element to its operations, revitalizing a trio of mid-century apartment buildings to add refreshed housing stock to the city's west end.
Situated at the edge of Keelesdale's Coronation Park on Clearview Heights, Marlin Spring's three rental buildings are immediately west of Trethewey Drive and two blocks north of Eglinton. Featuring a total of 115 renovated units, the 3.5-storey Clearview buildings are situated on a 1.7 acre lot encircled by Greentree Crescent to the south.
Now administered by Marlin Spring's own property management arm and Artisan Property Management, Marlin Spring COO Zev Mandelbaum argues that the retrofit of existing properties offered a number of potential advantages compared to a redevelopment of the site. "The opportunity to purchase assets below replacement costs is compelling in a market like ours where new construction apartments are selling at a vast premium to already existing apartments, Mandelbaum explains. "We look for opportunities where we can buy a building that can be re-outfitted to be on par with the newly constructed units in the same area."
Outfitted with new appliances, the one- and two- bedroom suites—which average at about 850 ft²—offer relatively large living spaces compared to Toronto's new-build condos and apartments. "Renters can enjoy larger units," Mandelbaum notes, "but with new amenities and at a lower price than at competitive new buildings."
Additionally, Mandelbaum stresses that the secure tenancy and centralized management of older apartment buildings offers residents more structured and predictable tenancies compared to condo rentals. Meanwhile, with the Crosstown LRT set to re-shape the Eglinton corridor, Mandelbaum adds that the area is likely to see more growth in the future, with infrastructure and streetscape improvements likely in the coming years.
In a condo-dominated market where purpose-built rentals are gradually becoming more common, Marlin Spring's approach adds another element to the evolution of Toronto's housing stock. While the retrofits of older buildings are already fairly commonplace, the company's diversification—combining new-build condos and townhomes with retrofits—is arguably symptomatic of a property market where rising prices are making the retrofits of older properties more attractive to developers.
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