Bloor & Dufferin | 160m | 47s | Capital Developments | Hariri Pontarini

jaco_says

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Mid-rises are the single most expensive built form in this city. So while we need more of them, to think we can replace towers with them is foolish. Unless the goal is to build a city for only the ultra-wealthy, in which case that path is the best one.
 

ponyboy

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Perhaps being less accepting of tall towers would motivate more midrise, tipping the balance for some developers to consider midrise. But we have been unable to hold firm on a elevation plan because of the successful appeals for increased height, and many are philosophically opposed to even trying for those strict restrictions. I would rather Toronto not become a mega populated city. I personally think midsize cities are the most livable places, combining the benefits of some density and critical mass, but the global economy seems to be creating the megacity regions. Can we do more to direct population growth to other cities, or are too many leaders too invested in a growth-based mindset?

As far as the missing middle argument, an important entry point for a motivated politician should be to identify which primary schools are at undercapacity, and then to direct intensification along the avenues of the catchment to build the kind of apartments and condos that families want. In some of our low density beloved neighborhoods, like the Seaton village or the Annex, many families would love to live there, and these communities also suffer from undercapacity schools. Perhaps a deal can be made -- neighbourhood schools wont be closed if the community gets behind 10-year avenue intensification plans with as of right zoning. It would protect the leafy low rise interior of neighbourhoods, add in a midrise zone along avenues, with some point towers at major intersections, and save schools from being closed by boosting the number of kids in the area.
 
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Northern Light

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Globe and Mail columnist and UT member @AlexBozikovic has a column up today on the issue of parking and the TDSB.

It's a good one, and it discusses the issue w/particular reference to the proposed redevelopment here.

I think he makes a persuasive case on an issue I've championed for years...... that the TDSB needs to abandon providing free parking to teachers.

I don't object to parking on-site, if the the economics support it, and it's underground, but surface parking or free parking is simply wrong-headed and a misuse of taxpayer's money to boot!

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/can...ds-a-lesson-on-the-high-cost-of-free-parking/
 

maestro

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Mid-rises are the single most expensive built form in this city. So while we need more of them, to think we can replace towers with them is foolish. Unless the goal is to build a city for only the ultra-wealthy, in which case that path is the best one.

In an ideal real estate market, high rises are the most cost effective form in a downtown or city centre type environment. A midrise shouldn't be more expensive than a 50 storey or an 80 storey skyscraper that takes vast sums of institutional capital and 3 to 5 times longer to develop. Midrises aren't being built in part because we have runaway real estate speculation and planning policy that sympathizes with the speculation. Real estate values are capped accordingly in parts of the city where asking above and beyond current density and/or height limits is a fools errand. Dozens of midrises are going up in these areas and I can't think of a single one selling in the ultra wealthy range.
 

Bentley

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In an ideal real estate market, high rises are the most cost effective form in a downtown or city centre type environment. A midrise shouldn't be more expensive than a 50 storey or an 80 storey skyscraper that takes vast sums of institutional capital and 3 to 5 times longer to develop. Midrises aren't being built in part because we have runaway real estate speculation and planning policy that sympathizes with the speculation. Real estate values are capped accordingly in parts of the city where asking above and beyond current density and/or height limits is a fools errand. Dozens of midrises are going up in these areas and I can't think of a single one selling in the ultra wealthy range.

I don't think I'd agree. Mid-rises as a product type are riskier to build for a few reasons.

First, as a smaller project there is less profit in absolute dollars to be made, and less contingency, and so unforeseen problems have a much greater impact on a mid-rise than a high rise. For example, if you happen to identify contaminated soils after you demo your site and do more boreholes, and it costs you a million dollars, that million is a direct hit to your bottom line. On a project that might make a 10 million dollar profit vs a 50 million dollar profit, the impact is 10% to the profit line vs 2%. Doesn't take many of those problems (which happen in different forms on almost every project) to erode any profits away.

Second, your budgets naturally get smaller for everything. What happens if the mid-rise site (which is often in a less desirable location and needs more marketing dollars to sell) doesn't sell as quickly as expected. Spend another 250k on advertising.

Third, from a design standpoint, mid-rises tend to not be typical in nature. They have setbacks and elevation changes. High-rises are almost entirely copy and paste for the majority of the floors. So your soft costs and fees on a PSF basis are usually smaller on a high rise, and your construction efficiency is better, so you get better trade pricing.

Fourth, the construction market is so busy that most quality trades only want to do large scale projects. So you get stuck with B and C trades who screw things up, and end up costing you money, time, etc. This is not even counting the pricing risks mentioned above due to the product type being atypical in nature.

Fifth, the types of investors willing to invest in mid-rises as a result are a lower tier. Higher cost of capital, which means less profit potential on a deal. The majority of mid-rise builders are less sophisticated so they might be willing to take a smaller return. They are often the ones who don't last very long in the industry. This is not a hard and fast rule as there are a few who have carved out their niche, but if you look at the builders doing a lot of mid-rise they're probably not the top 10 names you'd think of in Toronto development.

The only way mid-rises can become a viable category to move the needle on solving supply constraints is if as of right zoning is implemented along all avenues. There should be a standard methodology (ie. 45 degree angular plane to the neighbourhood and height of the width of the right of way). If by doing that a developer can shave 18 months from their schedule and go straight to market, that smaller margin project that gets built in 24-36 months instead of 42-60 months can make a lot more financial sense on an IRR basis. This could help attract better capital into that product type, and get larger scale developers pushing that product type more as it may end up being less headaches and risk.
 

WislaHD

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In addition to the above, amenities and maintenance in mid-rises cost the same as in a high-rise on a per-sqft basis, yet it is spread amongst fewer units, ergo, mid-rise tenants typically have higher maintenance fees.
 

AHK

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In addition to the above, amenities and maintenance in mid-rises cost the same as in a high-rise on a per-sqft basis, yet it is spread amongst fewer units, ergo, mid-rise tenants typically have higher maintenance fees.

Sorry - but this just does not make sense to me. If the costs are the same on a square foot basis between mid and high rise buildings, and assuming there is, on average, little difference in unit sizes between the two, how would that translate into 'typically have higher maintenance fees' in mid-rise buildings?
 

WislaHD

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Sorry - but this just does not make sense to me. If the costs are the same on a square foot basis between mid and high rise buildings, and assuming there is, on average, little difference in unit sizes between the two, how would that translate into 'typically have higher maintenance fees' in mid-rise buildings?

From a physical infrastructure point of view, a mid rise building and a high rise building typically share many of the same costs. For instance, you will require elevators regardless if the building is 11 storeys or 30 storeys. (The 30 storey building may require more elevators, but the elevator core is being built regardless)

From an amenities perspective, a concierge in your building lobby or a swimming pool costs the same whether it is in a mid rise building or a high rise buildings.

The difference between a mid rise and a high rise, is that you can divide the (typically similar) costs of infrastructure and amenities between 500 units or 100 units.
 

Northern Light

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Perhaps I might contribute to this sub thread.

Let me start by saying I am no expert whatsoever in the area of construction costs, beyond a the simple home reno.

So I am not making any assertions based on my own knowledge, but rather sharing something I ran across online that seems somewhat expert (though perhaps others my correct me)

From this blog:

https://torontorealtyblog.com/blog/...fUGC_08tZ6uon8CUlVPaKkyzrqJAU8Jgx19eTbZi2A00k

Though apparently originally from an Altus Group database:

 

WislaHD

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Perhaps I might contribute to this sub thread.

Let me start by saying I am no expert whatsoever in the area of construction costs, beyond a the simple home reno.

So I am not making any assertions based on my own knowledge, but rather sharing something I ran across online that seems somewhat expert (though perhaps others my correct me)

From this blog:

https://torontorealtyblog.com/blog/...fUGC_08tZ6uon8CUlVPaKkyzrqJAU8Jgx19eTbZi2A00k

Though apparently originally from an Altus Group database:

This is measuring hard construction costs.

Developers use Altus Group to influence their hard cost price estimates within their pro formas. I've been told that the min and max of their price ranges might include outliers, so taking the average of the range is most accurate.

As per the above, the hard construction costs for mid rises is about the same as up to 40 storey high rises. So you have the same costs, but forego upwards to 30 storeys worth of profit.
 

Jaye101

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This is measuring hard construction costs.

Developers use Altus Group to influence their hard cost price estimates within their pro formas. I've been told that the min and max of their price ranges might include outliers, so taking the average of the range is most accurate.

As per the above, the hard construction costs for mid rises is about the same as up to 40 storey high rises. So you have the same costs, but forego upwards to 30 storeys worth of profit.
Is this also true for wood framed buildings? I believe Ontario recently allowed wood framed buildings to be up to 6 storeys for this very reason. Though I'm not familiar with the hard numbers.
 

WislaHD

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Is this also true for wood framed buildings? I believe Ontario recently allowed wood framed buildings to be up to 6 storeys for this very reason. Though I'm not familiar with the hard numbers.

In theory, wood-frame would be cheaper.

The problem as I understand it is that we don't yet have the industrial capacity to mass-produce the materials in Canada to take advantage of the cost-savings, so current wood-frame projects are importing the material from Europe, which is pretty expensive.

But that could change quickly if the demand for it emerges.
 

innsertnamehere

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Wood has structural limitations that makes it difficult to use on many mid rise sites - it's very difficult to transfer loads compared to concrete, so the structural design of the buildings generally needs to be much simpler. Things like Mid-rise Avenues stepping to rear neighbourhoods is really difficult to do in wood - they need to more or less be 6 storey slab buildings.
 

WislaHD

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Wood has structural limitations that makes it difficult to use on many mid rise sites - it's very difficult to transfer loads compared to concrete, so the structural design of the buildings generally needs to be much simpler. Things like Mid-rise Avenues stepping to rear neighbourhoods is really difficult to do in wood - they need to more or less be 6 storey slab buildings.
Indeed. The biggest limiting factor being the elevator cores. Once you pour a concrete elevator core, you may as well do the whole thing in concrete.
 

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