Westlake Condos (The Onni Group) - Real Estate -

Hi all, recently I found out my mother bought a pre-construction condo from Onni (Fortune at Fort York). Looking up the developer online, it doesn't look like their reputation is the best... So as people with first hand experience with Onni, I'd like to know what your opinions are about the build quality, and management of the place.

Not sure why their reputation is not the best. I couldn't be happier with how Onni has handled everything with Westlake Encore. From the time of purchasing the pre-construction to the time the condo was registered, all my interactions with them were superb. A few things that I can conclude about them based on Encore building and a few apartments I've been to in the older Westlake buildings:
- Build quality is solid. No floods, fires, major elevator issues or any other groin pains new condos go through in the first years. The subcontractors they hire seem to be better than average.
- Materials are cheap but elegant. You won't have the flashiest lobby or the prettiest elevator, but they will still be aesthetically pleasing.
- Good amenity selection. My building has common spaces for all ages and all the amenities are actually being heavily used.
- Excellent value for money. The finishes are not the most expensive, the architecture is non-existent, the window-wall cladding is what it is, but all those savings are passed down to the buyer. You'd be hard pressed to find similar quality build for such 'low' money (low by Toronto standards, that is).
- Very few things wrong upon delivery. I had very few minor complaints during my PDI, everything was perfect by the time I moved in. The only issue I ever had with my unit is one of the outlets blew up. Onni had the electrician down to fix it the very next morning. Nothing to report on my Tarion whatsoever.
- The building is actually ready for use once you move in. Unlike with other developers, you don't have to live at a construction site for a year after your occupancy. All the common areas are finished, most amenities are done, exterior landscaping is done. They were only putting finishing touches to things like parking levels and bike storage rooms for a couple of months after I moved in and that's it.
- Onni has carefully curated the tenants of the retail podiums. Very good selection in my opinion.
- The bad: Onni hired First Service Residential as the management company. FSR has been nothing but a pain after they took over from Onni. In fact, our condo board is getting rid of most of the FSR services. Hopefully we ax them altogether at some point. But this is the thing, the management of the building is not controlled by Onni and the board is free to change the management company if they are bad.

So overall, I am very impressed with Onni's entrance into the Toronto market. I would buy another pre-construction from them in a heartbeat. But I hear they are having trouble getting their hands on any more land in the city. In any case, Fortune is a good buy in my humble opinion.
A copy of my post in a thread discussing floor layouts

A couple of floor plans from Westlake Encore. One seemed good on paper and turned out to be great in reality. One seemed good on paper, but turned out to be not so great in reality.


First, the 800 sq.ft. 2 bed 2 bath unit.

You can find the PDI photos in my post here. This is the one that looks decent on paper but isn't quite as nice in real life. It's not a bad layout to live in and I'll leave its pros for you to figure out. But I will give you the cons that might not be very apparent from the floor plan:
- Bedrooms are tiny. Once a queen size bed is in, it's hard to walk around it. And forget about fitting in any other piece of furniture. Bedside tables is all you get in either of the bedrooms.
- Foyer and the hallway to the kitchen/living space feels narrow, crammed and is simply a waste of space.
- The walk-in closet feels more crammed than the one in the smaller 600 sq.ft. unit.
- In general, lack of storage space
- Kitchen is pretty much nonfunctional. Between all the appliances taking up most of the kitchen, there is almost no cupboard/pantry space left
- The living room is crammed. Due to lack of solid walls, the furniture layout is forced upon you. There is no physical space for any additional storage besides a TV stand and maybe something small above the TV.
- A corner unit with a major SE exposure and a less major SW exposure. Can be a scorcher on bright summer days.
- HVAC is right next to the bedroom (a concern for light sleepers)

Now onto the 600 sq.ft. 1 bed + den 1 bath unit.
In my personal humble opinion, this layout is one of the best ways to optimize the limited space you have. Here are the pros I see in it:

- The foyer/den room is very spacious
- The foyer/den area is kind of separated from the living/kitchen area so when you come into the apartment, your'e not immediately everywhere at once. Yet it doesn't create any wasted space with hallways.
- The bedroom, while it doesn't seem too much bigger than the 800 sq.ft. master bedroom, it is big enough here to be able to fit a dresser and still walk comfortably around a queen size bed.

- Kitchen/living room area feels a lot more spacious than the 2-bed layout.

- Kitchen can be psychologically separated from the living room by putting a bar/island between the two. This solution does not destroy the open concept and spaciousness the area offers.
- The kitchen is fully functional, lots of pantry/cupboard space

- The balcony is not too big nor is it too small.

- The den is spacious enough for it to be converted to a small child's bedroom. So for a tiny 600 sq.ft. apartment, this layout actually offers a livable option for a young family. Here's an example:

- Only one side of the unit has window walls; SW exposure. Plenty of light but it's rarely too bright/hot in the unit as the result.

- The walk-in closet feels more spacious than the 2 bedroom unit
- Lots of solid walls
- HVAC is away from bedroom/living room areas

As the result, I personally think that the 600 sq.ft. unit is actually much more livable than the 800 sq.ft. unit. If you're willing to sacrifice the 2nd bathroom and the 2nd bedroom privacy, you get a 1.5 bedroom unit where you don't feel crammed all the time and where you have solid walls around which you can put your furniture in any way you'd like.