Jac Condos by Graywood Developments and Phantom Developments: Official Website

Back to school

Back to school

Toronto Sun – October 19, 2020

JAC Condos: Targeting future students of Ryerson U

The tower is called JAC Condos and while not part of Ryerson University’s expanding housing portfolio, there will be a close affinity to the school when it opens for occupancy in the summer of 2024.

The 34-storey condo being built at the corner of Jarvis St. and Carlton St. by Graywood Group and Phantom Developments, has been designed with students in mind.

Couples with young children or retired grandparents looking to downsize and move to the downtown core would be best to look elsewhere, unless of course they want to purchase a unit for investment purposes, which many people already have.

Sales launched in August and according to Neil Pattison, vice president of development at Graywood, upwards of 60 per cent of the 458 units have already been sold, largely because of the proximity to a school that opened in 1948 as Ryerson Institute of Technology.

Much has changed since then including in 2002 when it became a full-fledged university, a move that saw a marked increase in the student population, which, in turn, has resulted in a need for more housing.An example of that is the school’s most recent Master Plan, which projects by 2030, there will be at least 50 office and condo towers in the immediate vicinity with a current population of 63,000 increasing to 100,000.

There are, says Pattison, some interesting purchasing scenarios arise when it comes to student housing units. One involves parents themselves purchasing a unit and instead of shelling out thousands of dollars in accommodation costs, they receive income from their son or daughter’s roommates in the form of rent. At the end of a four-year course they have an asset they can either sell or continue to own.

With JAC where pricing starts in the mid-$400,000s, there is also some history to go along with it as the initial design involved preserving a mansion that in a past era would have housed members of the landed gentry when Jarvis St. was lined with mansions owned by the rich.

“Jarvis was a grand promenade, where prominent people lived up until 1930,” says Pattison. Then the moneyed moved to Rosedale, and Jarvis “changed into this mishmash of rooming houses and apartment buildings.

Our plan is to bring back the grandeur and splendour of this property, so we’re going to rebuild the house how it was.” The heritage house’s brick exterior is a nod to the past, while “the interior is going to be wide-open spaces.”

While the street itself has gone through many changes, the goal of JAC all along, says Pattison, who knows nearby Ryerson well having graduated from it with a degree in urban planning, was to fully preserve the former mansion located just south of Carleton.

Those plans were almost totally nixed last year when the structure caught fire and extensive damage occurred.

“Trespassers caused the blaze,” says Pattison. “We preserved everything we could and stabilized what’s left on the site right now. What it has done is given us the ability to fully reconstruct and restore that heritage mansion.

“That is where we are putting our amenity offerings. Those quiet spaces will be in the mansion, which will appear to be a separate structure, but will be connected through the underground and two-level connection into the main building.”

The quiet spaces, he refers to, came about as a result of a roundtable discussion held earlier this year involving a group of students from Ryerson’s Department of Architectural Science.

“We lured them in with free pizza and free beer,” Pattison recalls. “This was pre-COVID 19 days, early in the New Year.

“We brought our interior designers out who gave them an presentation on the overall look-and -feel of the building and where it will be located, and then we turned the floor over to them asking them as students, what did they want in a student accommodation.”

Not surprising, the list of wants included games rooms, multi-purpose rooms and co-working spaces, but “what was most interesting to us was they came back and said to us that we also want quiet spaces. We want contemplative space. We want meditation rooms.

“We want a place to get away from it all, switch off and pull all the wires out and take a breather from today’s hectic lives especially attending an urban institution downtown like Ryerson. It’s loud, it’s noisy, and there are lots of people.

“We took that on board and programmed into our amenity package these quiet, contemplated spaces. We have a quiet library, meditation rooms and a yoga studio. That was a nice takeaway from the working group session.”

By the numbers

  • Since 2008, the number of enrolled students at Ryerson has grown by 50 per cent. There are currently 45,000 attending and the long-term projection is for 60,000 students to attend on a full-time basis.
  • The Ryerson University Master Plan projects there will be at least 50 office and condo towers in the immediate vicinity by 2030.
  • By the start of the next decade, total population of the area known as Downtown East is expected to rise from today’s count of 65,000 to 100,000.
  • The university is in the business of building new buildings including a new 28-storey structure at Church and Dundas that contains both lecture halls and residences.
  • Ryerson has four residence buildings available to their students: Pitman Hall, the International Living and Learning Centre, HOEM, and the Daphne Cockwell Complex.
  • Completion date for the 34-storey JAC is expected to be the spring of 2024.
  • Among the amenities will be a quiet library, meditation rooms and yoga studio.