After decades of little purpose-built rental residential construction in Toronto, the last few years have seen many developers revisit the sector, and begin building apartment towers again. While a handful of developers have opened new rental buildings over the last few years, now there are in fact several dozen developers or landowners moving rental apartment proposals through the Toronto planning process, especially as infill projects at tower-in-the-park sites.

King Portland Centre, Toronto, AlliedREIT, RioCan, Hariri Pontarini ArchitectsLooking northwest to the King Portland Centre, before the latest design changes, image courtesy of Allied/RioCan

As the decreasing availability of land in the GTA has forced land prices up and made owning a single family home less affordable for large numbers of people, rental's comparative affordability has made it more attractive again, it bringing greater demand for the product. As of this Spring however, the provincial government's application of several measures to correct the real estate market, including a foreign buyer's tax and rent controls to all buildings—only buildings built before 1991 were affected before—has brought about both a slow down of home sales and corresponding drop in prices, and has changed the economics for the planned rental towers.

King Portland Centre, Toronto, AlliedREIT, RioCan, Hariri Pontarini ArchitectsThe King Street frontage at the King Portland Centre, image courtesy of Allied/RioCan

While many developers declared the rentals would be cancelled, little such results have been seen so far. Now, the first building of those that are being switched from rental to condo tenure is being marketed. A joint venture of Allied Properties REIT and RioCan REIT, King Portland Square at 620 King West is a 250,000 square foot 13-storey office and retail block, with a 15-storey residential portion on its north side, and is already under construction. The 130 residential suites, originally to come to the market as rentals, are now to be a condominium called 'Kingly'.

Kingly Condos at the King Portland Centre, Toronto, AlliedREIT, RioCan, HaririLooking southeast to the Kingly Condos entry, image courtesy of Allied/RioCan

With the beginning of marketing, new renderings of the Hariri Pontarini Architects design are giving us a better idea of how the building will look upon completion. While glass continues to predominate above street level on the commercial portion of the building, the residential portion will extend the brick found there up to the all but the very uppermost levels.

Kingly Condos at the King Portland Centre, Toronto, AlliedREIT, RioCan, HaririLooking southwest towards Kingly Condos, image courtesy of Allied/RioCan

The building is now in the registration phase. We expect to have more details to report as marketing kicks into higher gears. To learn more about the development, visit our database file for the King Portland Centre and Kingly Condos, linked below. To get in on the conversation, visit the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.