gbelan, this is true to a great extent. You can buy a good almost-new condo in many neighbourhoods, in the resale market, without waiting. On the other hand there will be demand for those new buildings which offer something which doesn't presently exist in the resale market, and therefore effectively have little or no direct competition.
A few examples which come to mind include: "Minto Midtown" at Yonge and Eglinton (no other buildings of this height in the area, and actually relatively few condos in this high-density location), Maple Leaf Square (sports tie-ins); new lofts in the Parkdale area (no competition at all in this district); "Skyy" at Broadview near Danforth (no other condos in a comparable location overlooking the Don Valley and within walking distance of Danforth), "Absolute" (amazing design), etc. etc.
Bottom line, IMHO: new condo projects which can offer "something new" in terms of location or concept will do well even in a more stagnant market. Those which are simply offering more of the "same old" may run into resistance.
I think new condo projects will always have their place in the market. As long as the market is healthy, investors will continue to purchase new as their investment will appreciate as the building gets built. Also, people who already own a house or a condo can buy in a new building and wait for several years for it to get built because it is part of their life plan.
We haven't seen any major projects getting cancelled yet and in this city I don't think that is going to happen in the next 12 - 24 months. One exception may be Trump but that has always been a gamble.
found this bit, buried in a G & M article from Feb 10th...hmmmm
Finally hitting the high note
Booked to sing at the Hummingbird, Denise Gillard witnesses the fruition of a dream for her children's choir, VAL ROSS writes
By VAL ROSS
Saturday, February 10, 2007 â€“ Print Edition, Page M1
She has a master's of divinity degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, a grandfather who fought at Vimy Ridge and was recommended for a Distinguished Conduct Medal, and a phalanx of ancestors in Nova Scotia graveyards from Springhill to Truro.
On her mother's side, one line goes back through nine generations of Loyalist stock and Mi'kmaq first nations. "Ten," her mother corrects her.
But Rev. Denise Gillard, 45, laughs and shrugs that she's not sure how the older folks are really counting.
"I'm Canadian, ninth or 10th generation," she says. "But people ask what island I'm from."
Meaning Caribbean island -- because if you're an African-Canadian, you must be from Jamaica, or so the reverend senses her white neighbours feel. As she talks, she sounds easygoing. But her message isn't. "I often feel I am not at home in my own country."
Tyra, 15, has been with TC3 since she was 8. She says what she likes is "performing and seeing the people's faces." Gabby, 13, who sings and dances with TC3, says, "I come to this because it's like my family. People come together and support each other."
Ms. Gillard listens approvingly, and then declares, with almost biblical cadence, that her group is open: "Whosoever will, may come."
But most of the kids who come to TC3 are Christian and black. Canada is home to more than 660,000 people of African descent. In Toronto, about one person in 15 (more than 300,000 people) is black.
The choir's centre is in Scarborough's Eglinton East/Kennedy Park district. Here, on an industrial street of small-scale manufacturing, wrecking yards, car mechanics and bargain outlets near the Lawrence East subway stop, is Ms. Gillard's congregation, the Living Hope Community Church, and TC3's rehearsal space. Every two weeks, TC3's full group, about 53 children and teens -- 80 per cent from single-parent families -- turn up to practise singing and dancing.
They also get fed and have academic tutoring; 11 TC3 "grads" have gone on to postsecondary education programs, from the University of Toronto to Ohio State. All this is accomplished in three rooms crammed with boxes, banners, keyboards and drums, costumes, a pulpit/lectern, a dining area and some used computers.
Coming up with the $1,600 a month in rent (plus utilities) for the place is an iffy thing for this group, but TC3's existence has always been a bit of a miracle.
In 2001, Ms. Gillard says, "I was pastoring a mission at a bigger church, but it was very challenging for me as a female." One day, she got a call from a Baptist minister in Detroit. "He said, 'God told me to call you and bring my choir up to Toronto.' " Ms. Gillard retorted: "Well, God didn't tell me anything!"
Lest she sound too rude, she agreed to help book the Detroit youth choir into various Toronto churches. "But I am Canadian! I kept asking local kids to be the opening act. I told them, we can't let these Americans show us up."
So TC3 was born, and made a joyful noise unto the Lord, and it was good, and as the Americans were heading back to Detroit, the reverend remarked, "I think God wants you to do this on a more permanent basis."
"God hasn't told me that, either," Ms. Gillard bristled. ("Americans . . . always tell us, 'Why don't you all just -- .' ")
Still, she decided he was on to something. For six years, TC3 survived through the support of parents and local businesses. More recently, it has had some provincial money through the African-Canadian Christian Network. When it gave concerts in Nova Scotia in 2001, and last year went to London, the kids raised their own airfare by selling chocolate bars and the like.
By now the group has done enough performances and developed enough of a profile that Helen Nestor, head of promotions at the Hummingbird Centre, was able to find TC3 by Googling "church," "choir" and "youth."
The Hummingbird is in the midst of finding a new mandate and a new audience. Its recent headlining of Iranian pop stars and Bollywood road shows is part of that strategy. No longer drawing WASP establishment ballet and opera fans -- those companies have moved to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts -- the former O'Keefe Centre has linked up with a developer, Castlepoint. The Hummingbird gets $15-million, while Castlepoint gets the right to construct a 360-unit condo tower designed by Daniel Libeskind (the sales centre will be open by June; construction should begin by the third quarter of 2008..) . If all goes well, the Hummingbird's old performance space is to be rebuilt as a new, interactive multicultural "arts lab" with a video/film theatre.
And Ms. Nestor and her boss, CEO Dan Brambilla, are inviting community groups who have never been through its weighty brass doors before to come in and make themselves at home. It's a big deal and a sign of Toronto's social evolution. The youth of TC3, practising for Feb. 27, can sense that.
"I've been with TC3 to London, Memphis, Vancouver, Detroit, but no matter where you are, it's always butterflies," says Chris Thorne, 22, president of the TC3 youth advisory committee and the group's bass player. "The Hummingbird is a pretty big deal. If you haven't already made it, well, it's a sign that you're well on your way."
good question, Canuck, I googled Castlepoint, found this article from the Post..don't think it was ever posted here, my apologies if it already was....it's an old article...
Castlepoint, Libeskind team up
Condo developer 'raised the bar' for Hummingbird
Saturday, September 16, 2006
It's not often you speak with a developer who has a graduate degree in philosophy and religion from Harvard or have a conversation with one determined to build projects that enhance the urban environment. Speaking with Alfredo Romano of Castlepoint Realty Group lets you do all of the above, as well as feel optimistic about the fate of the Hummingbird Centre, his company's next focus.
Alfredo's cousin, Mario Romano, started Castlepoint in 1987 with low-rise development and commercial property investments in mind. A year later, Alfredo joined the company as a partner and the corporate goals got gargantuan: to build what is still the largest condominium building in Canada, Palace Place, the nearly identical twin to Palace Pier on the Etobicoke waterfront.
"Quite a learning experience," Alfredo Romano said with a laugh. (Good to know a developer can have a sense of humour.) Like the dramatic redevelopment plans for the Hummingbird Centre, Palace Place was an especially bold move, considering two developers had failed in their attempts to get Palace Pier off the ground. When design and marketing were complete, Castlepoint teamed up with Bramalea Ltd. to construct it, and it was completed in 1992.
Since then, Castlepoint has become a major player and is now the largest private-sector stakeholder on the Toronto waterfront. "We've also been active elsewhere," said Mr. Romano, "building communities in South Unionville, Woodbridge, Brampton and East Vaughan." I'd say very active since these projects add up to more than 6,000 residential units, plus related commercial development and infrastructure.
Mr. Romano is someone who likes diverse challenges, not just ones that offer the biggest profit margin. He's gone to New York and Philadelphia, for instance, to find them and the Hummingbird Centre was just the kind of special situation that appeals to him.
The Hummingbird Centre began as O'Keefe Centre in 1960. (Its name changed in 1996, reflecting a donation by Hummingbird Ltd. to support capital upgrades.) British-born Canadian modernist Peter Dickinson was the original architect and its 3,200-seat hall has been the site for Broadway shows and the leading entertainers of the day. The National Ballet of Canada and the Canadian Opera Company called it home and when they planned a move to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the future of the Hummingbird Centre was in question. The city, the centre's owner, then hired Dan Brambilla, the centre's CEO, to run it, but more important, to find a way to make it economically viable when these two major tenants left.
Mr. Romano's involvement with the Hummingbird Centre began in 2003 when he met with Mr. Brambilla.
"He was looking for advice from several people about how best to develop the site and make use of the air rights," Mr. Romano recounted. "While we weren't thinking of this as a project for us then, I was very excited by Dan's concept for revitalizing the centre that would give Toronto's multicultural communities a performance home. Coming from New York, and after having worked in all parts of the GTA, I realized the importance this centre could have for Toronto."
A year or so later, after a formal request-for-proposal process, Castlepoint became the Hummingbird's developer, and its saviour, as it turns out.
"While the building was a heritage structure, it wasn't designated, and [getting that done] was one of our first initiatives. I recall some people, including a few on city council, wondering why we would do this and not just demolish it."
Castlepoint's initial proposal wasn't met with universal acceptance. "We had a higher, more slender tower on the property's southwest corner than we do now that resulted in issues with shadows. Our first proposal also built on top of the fly tower, which the current one does not." Rather than push ahead with the initial proposal, Castlepoint took an unexpected and inspired turn -- it changed architects. "We decided to raise the bar and speak to the world's most notable designers." Enter Daniel Libeskind, best known for his involvement with rebuilding the World Trade Center site and, locally, the Royal Ontario Museum's "crystal" addition.
"When Daniel Libeskind walked onto the site, he immediately understood what it needed and how the project could work and make the most of its heritage and urban context. He has an enormous intuitive ability. When we visited him in his New York studio, we were overwhelmed by the amount of study and the number of tower options that had been considered."
Mr. Libeskind's proposal creates what is described as a "swooping, sculptural" 50-storey glass tower with approximately 300 residential units, including some to be dedicated as homes for artists. This aspect of the project helps, to some extent, support the upgrading of the existing facilities and its rebirth as a cultural centre reflective of the diversity of Toronto. The non-residential component is to include a multimedia arts lab, a customizable event hall, a culture-based dining facility and a state-of-the-art video gaming space.
On July 25, city council approved Hummingbird's business plan and entered into the development contract with Castlepoint. The Libeskind design will now find its way through the normal planning process.
"Libeskind's design maintains [the centre's] character and adds something wonderful and new -- just like the nearby Calatrava atrium [in BCE Place] -- to the city," says Mr. Romano, "and this is the kind of legacy we want to build."
I loved this one line; "We got to build it, before New York and London does"
I actually hated this project in the beginning. The site is not all that amazing and appealing. As someone who walks down this stretch of Yonge Street to the GO Bus Terminal, its usually dead space. This project has the potential to brighten up this section and act as a gateway to both downtown to the north and to the waterfront to the south. A key link between the two. It has the potential to be a landmark for Toronto.
Also, after reading that presentation material for the first time, I like the overall new concept for the Hummingbird. AHA! Centre sounds kind of cheesy, however I like how it focus on everything that is Toronto and Canada and be the "link" to the rest of the world.
Furthermore, it appears that the Hummingbird Centre has helped expanded Toronto's live theatre scene by bringing in all these touring shows into the city. While no threat to the Mirvishes, its nice that there is another medium sized player on the block.
I don't think much attention will be paid to this project, until after the ROM and AGO projects are completed. Only then can the public and donors can really focus on what is going on at the Hummingbird.
I fell in love with this design the moment I laid my eyes on it, and prefer it to all the other projects going up in the city now, the Ritz, ACC development, College Park, and etc. I just tried to imagine what that part of the city would like with this tower and surface level design, and couldn't help but think that it's a five-star upgrade.
This project will brighten up that part of downtown Toronto, and will add a sleek, sexy looking glass tower to the city's skyline.
The design is totally original. In fact, I can't think of anything that I've seen anywhere that resembles the Hummingbird tower. When it's finally completed, we can look forward to Libiskind's Hummingbird being Toronto's new signature tower.
It is one of the nicer intersections downtown. However, I do have a concern about how the tower will interact with the Hummingbird, because I think the Hummingbird is one of Toronto's architectural gems. It is difficult to see from the picture but the interaction seems a little clumsy, and it might appear odd to have two landmark buildings practically on top of each other. I do think that a tower will be good for this site though, and I do like this tower. Just not sure yet if this is the tower for this site?