I was in there 2 weeks ago and Minto staff told me that they are withholding from further sales until February 2009 because they needed to do some redesign (as people were complaining suite layouts were too long and narrow - which THEY ARE), but they did say that all sales that have already went through would not be cancelled ...
hmmm ... really shows the harsh times
I just called the sales office, and their voicemail say "office closed for Christmas holidays beginning Decmeber 1st and reopening in early 2009"
yeah, i went to the sales office a week ago to pick up some info for my clients and sign on the door said they were closed for the christmas season until january. Closing a sales centre for over a month is never a good sign.
If you're going to be entirely redesigning the suites, you're going to want to totally change the sales office, maybe even the name of the project, so I am not surprised the place has been stripped: if it comes back to life, Minto will need a complete relaunch.
Yeah, looks like they are going to re-design and downsize?
REAL ESTATE: DOWNTOWN PROJECT PAUSED
Tremor signals correction in condo city
JOHN BARBER email@example.com
December 10, 2008
The global housing collapse made its first, tentative appearance in Toronto this week when a major developer quietly dismantled the recently created sales centre for a yet-to-be built, 300-unit condominium project on fashionable King Street West.
MintoUrban Communities Inc. "paused" development of its Minto King West project as a result of slow sales and tightening credit, according to senior vice-president Chris Sherriff-Scott.
"We had no problem having people come in, we just couldn't get them to make a decision," he said.
"I don't think anyone would disagree that we launched that project at the worst possible time, judged in terms of where the stock market went and where people's perception of real estate has gone since then," he added.
But the Minto pause is not the sensational failure many in the industry are predicting. Despite that, dozens of cranes continue to sling granite countertops into the clouds above Toronto, still North America's leading "condo city."
Minto plans to separate the King West project into two smaller buildings that can be financed independently, according to Mr. Sherriff-Scott, because it is easier to sell 65 per cent of any building's apartments prior to construction, as lenders typically demand, when there are fewer units to sell.
"Dividing it into two phases will allow us to get our financing and start the job in a more rational fashion than trying to wait out a conventional sales program achieving in excess of 160 sales," he said, promising to return to market with a "rationalized" version of the King West project by early spring.
"We had sales but it was just too slow."
Similar concerns are stalling plans for other large projects, according to veteran condominium broker Brad Lamb. "The problem now is there's no appetite in the market to gobble up one single project of 400 units," he said. "It would just take you so long to sell, that kind of project won't be happening in Toronto for quite a while."
The slump is the result of real-estate investors, as opposed to "end users," leaving the market, according to Mr. Lamb. But there is no glut of unsold apartments in Toronto, he said, with many soon-to-be-finished buildings sold out and willing buyers closing their deals as planned.
"There's no question we got broadsided, but Toronto is standing up better than any city," he said.
The broker's comments echo assurances made this week by Stephen Dupuis, head of the Building Industry and Land Development Association, who told The Globe that the slump was "an orderly correction ... consistent with the business cycle." He added: "There is not a single project I'm aware of that has actually had to come off the market."
But that was before Minto pulled its King West project back. The result is continuing unease: Industry players who speak with confidence in public continue to speculate about an imminent, high-profile failure.
Bazis International, a Kazakhstan-based company developing a $450-million landmark tower at the corner of Yonge and Bloor, was forced to find new lenders this fall following the demise of New York's Lehman Brothers, with which it had partnered to acquire the land. With Bazis deflecting rumours of its building's demise, marketing for similarly ambitious projects announced in its aftermath has quietly disappeared.
I do think we'll see more projects cancelled...and that's a good thing. I have a feeling that a lot of investor bought condos from 2007 will be built and back on the market for resale by 2010 and a bunch of cancellations now will mitigate the possible further erosion of the market.