Jac Condos by Graywood Developments and Phantom Developments: Official Website

New downtown JAC Condos designed to bridge ‘disconnect’ between developer and residents

New downtown JAC Condos designed to bridge ‘disconnect’ between developer and residents

Toronto Star - Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021

As an architectural science student at Ryerson University, Caleb Culmone has paid close attention to the new condo developments going up around his school.

“There is a disconnect between the community and the developers who don’t have direct contact with the people who live there,” said Culmone, who’s in his final year of the program.

That propelled him to join a design study group looking at a new neighbourhood project, JAC Condos. The event was hosted by builders Graywood Developments and Phantom Developments, with the co-operation of Ryerson’s School of Architecture.

Held early last year, before the pandemic hit Canada, and attended by about 30 students, the design charrette invited architecture students’ suggestions and criticisms about the 34-storey tower coming to the Jarvis and Carlton Sts. intersection that gives the building its name. JAC Condos will be 200 metres from Ryerson and while it’s not part of university’s housing portfolio or exclusively a student condo, it will be popular for off-campus housing.

Graywood senior vice-president of development Neil Pattison, describes the downtown JAC site as “centre ice.” As well as its proximity to Ryerson, it’s across from Allan Gardens, an east-downtown park with conservatories, an off-leash dog park and playground, and JAC “will have fantastic views of the park, which is an oasis in downtown.”

Pattison himself attended Ryerson two decades ago and lived in the Neill Wycik student residence close to where JAC will stand. “I’ve known this neighbourhood for 20 years and, as an urban planner, I believe in downtown.

“It was a very attractive site and for me personally, it allows me to give back to the downtown east. It’s a full circle story for me.”

While the students had many typical condo features on their wish-lists (media lounge, rooftop terrace, party room, gym and in-suite laundry), a few of their suggestions surprised the development team.

“What caught us unaware was their need for quiet space,” said Pattison. “Obviously, with Ryerson being downtown, there’s a lot of hustle and bustle. Students wanted to come home and switch off.

“So, we created a quiet library space, and included meditation rooms and a yoga studio where people can go and pray, or switch off and work by themselves, and have quiet contemplative spaces.” The students also prioritized outdoor space and three outdoor areas are now included in the design: a ground-level area connected to the co-working space and coffee bar, plus rooftop spaces on the seventh and eighth floors with views overlooking Allan Gardens.

“Coffee shops are very important to students — they like to sit there and use their laptops, so they needed a power source and USB ports. They wanted places that are open late at night,” added Pattison.

Those social-area amenities will be in the part of the condo project whose design will incorporate a recreated 1902 Beaux Arts mansion. The heritage building originally on the site was damaged by fires in 2016 and 2019, leaving only two walls safely intact. The recreated heritage house will be integrated with JAC’s podium and tower, and will house a technology lounge, coffee bar, library, flex spaces for working and studying, a serenity room, yoga studio, gaming and movie room, bar, arts and crafts studio and multi-purpose room.

“Most developers don’t consult with students about what they want,” said Valerie Bruce, associate director, housing operations and administration for Ryerson. “Students wants and expectations have changed quite a lot. They want nice amenities and nice fixtures, but they are looking for the best value for their dollar and I think some would sacrifice high-end finishes for lower rent.”

Many amenities in the new development are those that other condos have never considered, said Culmone. “JAC Condos opens up like a European piazza and kind of invites you in, allows you to sit down and enjoy the park,” says Culmone. “It’s almost tourist-like with terraces for lively activities.

“There will be a firepit lounge that I’m very excited about it. I went to architecture school in Sudbury and there was a lot of consideration about how Indigenous peoples socialize, and we had a giant fireplace that we gathered around and shared stories each day.”

Recent Ryerson interior design graduate John Liu, who was hired by Toronto design firm Tomas Pearce, was thrilled to learn his firm would be working on JAC Condos. “When I was asked if I wanted to be involved, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t contain myself.”

During his five years at Ryerson, Liu says there were study areas but they filled up quickly. “When the Student Learning Centre was built, every time I went there, there was no private space and it was crowded.

“One of the things that I love about JAC is that the coffee shop, tech space and workspace are part of the heritage building, like the residents’ little private Starbucks. They can come in, have coffee, do work and it’s a much more private space,” said Liu. “Everybody works at different levels and by providing different tiers of privacy, it will enhance student life.”

He said the e-sports lounge with its game stations will go over well, as he noticed while he was at Ryerson how many students would “find pockets of spaces to set up a gaming area” at Ryerson.

Liu also sees the arts and crafts room as a popular amenity. “It gives a giant space where students more oriented in architecture or the arts can build models and have tools, and don’t have to trek to Ryerson, and have peace of mind their work is safe at home.

Armando Benlezrah, a builder in Miami who lives in Toronto eight months of the year, bought a unit for his daughter, Ninette, who is studying criminology at Ryerson. “When I saw JAC, I thought it was unbelievable. I loved the high ceilings, the landscaping, the courtyard.

“I like downtown Toronto and you can’t find a better downtown anywhere. You see the action, you see the beauty of the city and it’s very safe.”

Benlezrah said his daughter was equally impressed: “My daughter went to see many, many projects and fell in love with this one. The views are great. The location is ideal. It’s going to be amazing for young people.”



Jac Condos could appreciate 8 times faster than nearby condos

Jac Condos could appreciate 8 times faster than nearby condos

Canadian Real Estate Magazine – November 12, 2020

New condominium launches have decelerated as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, but well-placed, well-priced developments in downtown Toronto proffer opportunities the city’s red-hot market hasn’t seen in years.

Jac Condos, in the Jarvis and Carlton area, is a 34-storey high-rise overlooking the burgeoning downtown skyline, located next to Ryerson University and College Station on the TTC line.

Interestingly, because Jac is built on a five-hectare park at Allan Gardens, its value will appreciate at least 1.5 times faster than similar projects placed elsewhere.

“Jac makes sense for a condo investor because the most important thing for appreciation over the years is transit, and this place is by everything, including College Station, the 506 streetcar, and two major highways,” said Kelly Liu, a sales agent with Baker Real Estate. “Being on the park gives residents the flexibility to do anything downtown Toronto offers, like visiting the Eaton Centre, which is a seven-minute walk away, hanging out in the Village, going to hockey and baseball games, and, of course, entertainment.”

Most importantly, Jac is located in an area with rich market fundamentals. According to Urbanation data, 37% of all jobs in the City of Toronto are in the downtown core. There were 276,610 new jobs created in Toronto between 2009 and 2019, a 21.4% increase over the decade, and 37% of all jobs in the city are downtown.

The downtown region has added over 100,000 jobs since 2014, representing a 4.2% annual increase, which is above the 2.5% City of Toronto average. In fact, the office category has driven job growth in downtown Toronto, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it comprises two-thirds of employment downtown. While pandemic-induced job losses have been in the food service industry, it represents a small overall decrease in downtown Toronto employment.

Toronto’s tech industry, for which 63% of all jobs are downtown, is booming, with job growth surging by 85% between 2014 and 2019, again demonstrating that the pandemic isn’t much affecting downtown office employment. On the contrary, downtown employment is projected to grow.

There is 8.7 million square feet of office space under construction in downtown Toronto, much of which is pre-leased, and prior to the pandemic the area had a 1% office vacancy rate—North America’s lowest. Moreover, there’s another 27.5 million square feet in the development pipeline, which will manifest in tens of thousands of new jobs in downtown Toronto in the next few years and 3.2 million square feet of positive absorption.

The condo rental market took a hit recently because the pandemic effectively shut Canada’s door to immigration, but that will soon be rectified, according to the federal government.

“To compensate for the shortfall and ensure Canada has the workers it needs to fill crucial labour market gaps and remain competitive on the world stage, the 2021 to 2023 levels plan aims to continue welcoming immigrants at a rate of about 1% of the population of Canada, including 401,000 permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023,” said a statement from the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. “The previous plan set targets of 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022.”

Downtown Toronto doesn’t have much unsold new condo inventory, with over 90% of units presold, noted Urbanation, meaning that prices will keep rising, especially with a dearth of development space. Although the pandemic scuttled new project launches, supply will become severely restricted within five years.

Rental prices in Toronto have increased by 8% annually over the last five years, and condo values have appreciated by 13% a year over the last half-decade, while those located near Jac Condos increased eight times faster than other central Toronto condos.

With Ryerson University—which has 36,000 students, many of whom choose to live near campus—literally a two-minute walk away, Jac’s developers, Graywood Developments and Phantom Developments, consulted with the school on its amenity package. Parents often opt for their young adult children to live in condos because of how secure entry into the buildings are, and because of how much higher the quality of finishes are compared to the city’s purpose-built rental stock.

In addition to students, Jac was designed with young professionals in mind, and there will be no shortage of those in the coming years, especially in 2024 when the building is slated for occupancy, says its developer.

“Toronto is subject to mega population growth; it’s growing exceptionally fast with over 400,000 people slated to immigrate to the city in the coming years on an annual basis, with 85% of our province’s growth coming through immigration, and with 35% of those people likely to land in Toronto, many of whom will live downtown,” said Stephen Price, president and CEO of Graywood Developments.

“The best job opportunities exist in downtown Toronto, whether in tech, the healthcare field, financial services, professional services and education, We have a long-term housing shortage in downtown Toronto, with quality sites diminishing. The value of product brought to market will continue growing over time.”

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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.

Developers tag along with university’s growth

Developers tag along with university’s growth

The Globe & Mail - October 14, 2020

On Labour Day weekend in 2019, a heritage house at 314 Jarvis St., in Toronto caught fire. It looked like Neil Pattison’s plan to combine the historic site with a new development had gone up in flames.

Just a few months earlier, Graywood and Phantom Developments had bought the mansion, built in the late 1800s. They planned to preserve it and build JAC Condos, a 34-storey residential building, behind it.

But as Graywood’s senior vice-president of development, Mr. Pattison was eager to save what little remained after the fire; two façades. The remnants were an “integral part of the redevelopment,” he says.

The surviving fragments of the heritage house are a reminder reminiscent of the street’s ritzy past. In the 1880s, Jarvis Street was the premier address in Toronto, a long tree-lined avenue of unattached, single-family mansions inhabited by the city’s business elite. But by the 1920s the neighbourhood had shifted. The previous generation having died off, the homes they left behind were too grand for most buyers and they were gradually converted, one by one, into boarding and rooming houses populated by young adults who were mainly clerks and salespeople.

Now, Jarvis Street anchors the eastern side of burgeoning Ryerson University. As the university expands and its campus population grows, ancillary development is again changing the face of the neighbourhood. Within a 15-minute walk of Ryerson, there are currently 35,000 housing units – a figure expected to nearly double in the next 10 years, according to the university’s master plan released in July.

In the past several years, three large condominium projects have put down roots around Jarvis and Dundas streets, just southeast of Ryerson’s campus, including, Dundas Square Gardens, Pace Condos and Grid Condos.

Meanwhile, the university’s population has doubled since 2008 to its current count of 45,000 students and is forecasting expanding to 60,000 in the long-term. Yet, there are only 1,153 beds on campus – enough for 2.5 per cent of the Ryerson student population.

The number of beds could soon increase to 1,742. This summer, the university submitted a rezoning application to the city for a 44-storey, 700,000 square foot tower at 202 Jarvis St., adding to the southeast quadrant’s growth.

“Ryerson is proposing, I think, probably the largest project that the university would ever undertake,” says Molly Anthony, Ryerson’s director of real estate.

The first 13 floors would be dedicated to classrooms and research laboratories while the remaining 29-storeys would be for residential use with over 500 dormitory-style beds and “hopefully a variety of price points,” says Ms. Anthony. The plans include 120 square foot “nano suites” with large amenity spaces to balance out the small personal spaces.

A Ryerson commissioned urbanMetrics study in 2019 found that there were nearly three times more condo units than purpose-built rentals in the vicinity of the university and the rent for condo units was on average 45 per cent higher than rental apartments.

“While this potential and significant intensification of the area provides additional stock,” Ryerson’s master plan reads, “affordability may continue to be a challenge in any new development if land and construction costs continue to rise along the same trajectory as the past decade.”

The push to increase the number of affordable beds on campus is a challenge for a growing urban community that’s landlocked and has a historic shortage of space.

Across Canada, campus housing is sparse. There are only 121,164 beds on university campuses, leaving demand in excess of 416,000, according to the Real Estate Investment Network’s (REIN) University Effect Report.

314 Jarvis Street in the 1970s. The heritage house was built in the late 1800s.

The number of university students in Canada has increased, but so have government funding cutbacks, which has crimped the building of student housing. The REIN report makes clear there is increased demand, but little supply in the student-housing sector.

Some private developers have seen this as an opportunity.

“People are starting to notice the east side of the city,” says Jason Lam, CentreCourt’s vice-president of sales and marketing.

Over the past 10 years, CentreCourt has launched seven condominium buildings in Toronto’s east core – two of which are on Jarvis Street, with another situated between Church and Jarvis streets.

Mr. Lam comfortably estimates that, at minimum, Ryerson students and affiliates inhabit 25 to 50 per cent of buildings in the eastern core. In addition to the major advantage of developing near a university, proximity to Yonge St. and the subway are crucial features, too, he notes.

REIN’s University Effect Report, published in 2019, suggests that the presence of a university has a stabilizing effect on housing prices. It found that for every one kilometre a house is closer to a university, its price increases by one per cent.

The pandemic has shifted demand and created more risk, says Jennifer Hunt, REIN’s vice-president of research, because many students don’t have to be on-campus and there are far less international students than usual seeking housing. “Everything is stalled, but I believe that the demand will return,” Ms. Hunt says.

For her, tailoring strategically to a niche market is essential to mitigating risk, especially now. This includes identifying a particular university program and researching its duration and required in-class time, in order to effectively target students’ needs.

For example, Ms. Hunt has a student rental building in Abbotsford, B.C., that directly tailors to a four-year program for aircraft pilots – something that can’t be taught over Zoom.

Earlier this year, Graywood and Phantom Developments sat down with Ryerson architecture students to gain firsthand feedback on their JAC Condos designs. The goal was for students to shape the building, which is expecting occupancy in 2024.

Their insights led to plans for shared co-working spaces and study nooks, music and gardening rooms, a bar available for rent, rooftop patio and an arts and crafts area for school projects. Many units will have multiple bedrooms to accommodate roommates.

In the consultation, students also expressed the need for quiet space. Returning to Jarvis’ roots, the heritage house will be reconstructed and serve as a contemplative space for meditation and silent studying.

A two-storey glass corridor will attach the standalone mansion to the condominium – both literally and figuratively connecting the old Jarvis to the new.

Personality and charm; An old jarvis mansion tucked into the base of a new Ryerson condo will be a place for student residents to chill

Personality and charm; An old jarvis mansion tucked into the base of a new Ryerson condo will be a place for student residents to chill

The National Post – August 22, 2020

Last Labour Day, Neil Pattison, the vice-president of project management at Graywood Developments, got a call from Samuel Choy, a senior building inspector at the City of Toronto. Choy told him a fire was raging at one of Graywood’s sites, in a heritage house on Jarvis Street, just south of Carlton, that was being incorporated into the base of an upcoming condominium. “It was significantly damaged,” says Pattison. “The fire crew wanted to rip the thing down.” But Pattison flew into damage-control mode to see what could be done to preserve the 5,000-square-foot structure.Over the next week, a machine operator “removed the balance of the building with surgical precision the biggest back hoe you have ever seen,” says Pattison. The north and the east facades were retained, and the dwelling, built in 1902, earned a historical plaque in the process. (The house is one of the few remaining mansions along Jarvis, similar in scale to the nearby Keg mansion.)

Today, the site is a shell of steel and reinforcing blockwork. The basement has been temporarily filled to ensure the remnants of the building last for two years, at which time Graywood, in conjunction with Phantom Developer, will build JAC Condos around it, tying in the old mansion with the new podium tower. Designed by Turner Fleischer Architects, the 34-storey, 489-suite building is slated for occupancy in summer 2024. Starting in the $400s, suites range from 335-square-foot studios to three-bedroom configurations. The condo will be built beside Okuda San Miguel’s 23-storey mural Equilibrium. “The mural has this pattern of prismatic shapes,” says Pattison. To complement it, JAC’s exterior will have extruded metal panels treated with a special paint that changes colours with the sun. As for that old house, restoring it will be a royal hassle, but according to Pattison it’s worth it. Heritage architecture adds personality and charm, he says. Graywood is doing something similar at their Wonder Condominiums in Leslieville, where the old Weston bread factory stood. With Wonder, “it was important to preserve the heritage fabric, as it is a prominent landmark building,” says Pattison.

In JAC’s case, the mansion hearkens back to the neighbourhood’s heyday. “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,” says Pattison.

The area the heritage structure occupies will be a low-key zone, where residents can hang out in a quiet library, a co-working space, meditation rooms and a yoga studio. The amenities mix is the result of a roundtable discussion the developer held with 30 students at nearby Ryerson. Since they’re the target demographic, Pattison felt their input was invaluable. Brian Woodrow, a senior designer at Tomas Pearce – the firm dressing the condo’s interiors – is a Ryerson graduate from the Interior School of Design, so he made the connection.

Hearing the students wanted “a quiet space was a surprise for us,” says Pattison. “They want to come home and switch off.” The most popular request, however, was for in-suite laundry, a luxury missing from dorm rooms. Apart from the chill spaces, common areas will also include a media room, gardening room, fitness studio and dogwashing station that pet owners access through a side door so as not to dirty the lobby. After all, this condo is made for Rover – Allan Gardens is across the street.

The spectacular historic park rambles over 13 acres and has a leash-free area, a playground and that wonderful dome-shaped glass conservatory filled with fine flowers, tropical vines and showy succulents. There’s even a pond with fish and turtles. Walk through and you’ll hear the sound of trickling water – a chill space in its own right. Prices starting in the $400,000s.

For more information, visit www.jaccondos.com.

Phantom building Torontos 8 Cumberland and JAC Condos

Phantom building Torontos 8 Cumberland and JAC Condos

The Real Estate News Exchange (RENX) - Sept. 5, 2020

Phantom Developments might not have a high profile, but the family-owned Toronto company is doing its part to redraw portions of the city’s skyline with its high-rise condo developments.

The company was founded by the father of Phantom principal Henry Strasser more than 50 years ago. Its origins are in a successful apparel company which first spun off S&A Developments and then Phantom, as housing grew in importance over hosiery.

“The apparel business was the bread and butter,” Strasser told RENX. “That’s what kept it all together and then we started to buy properties and we eventually sold the apparel business and we started to focus on the real estate side.”

Phantom has two major high-rise projects currently on the go, and its previous developments include: 1001 Bay Street Condos; the Emerald Gates townhouse complex in the Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue West neighbourhood; Jade Condominiums and Tea Garden Condominiums in North York’s Bayview Village neighbourhood; and Jade Waterfront Condos at 2175 Lake Shore Blvd. W. in Etobicoke.

“We try to do one project every year,” Strasser said. “We always have four or five projects in the pipeline that we’re either putting offers in for purchase, or we’ve tied up.”

8 Cumberland

Phantom partnered with Great Gulf on 8 Cumberland, comprised of a 51-storey condo tower atop a three-storey podium. It’s located on a narrow site on the corner of Yonge and Cumberland Streets in the upscale Yorkville neighbourhood.

“Anything that’s more complicated to build, like narrow sites, we generally do a partnership with an entity that has a construction arm,” said Strasser, noting Phantom usually goes it alone when developing condo projects of under 400 units.

Eighty per cent of 8 Cumberland’s suites sold in six days, with the remainder being held back, according to Strasser. Those remaining units, aside from some penthouse suites, will go on sale in September.

“We have approximately 400 units there,” said Strasser. “We did have less, but we made some units smaller in the last year; those we’ve held back. We thought they were a little too big so we made them smaller.”

The architectsAlliance-designed building features one- and two-bedroom suites and two floors of indoor and outdoor amenities.

These include: a plunge pool; an outdoor terrace with a barbecue lounge; a fitness lounge; and a pet park. The podium will feature a retail element and will be made up of restored heritage facades of century-old Victorian brick.

The underground parking levels have been completed and construction is almost at grade.

The target completion date is November 2024. Retail leasing likely won’t start until two years before residential occupancy.

JAC Condos

The latest project from Phantom is a 50/50 partnership with Graywood Developments on the 34-storey, 489-unit JAC Condos on the site of a former heritage home at 314 Jarvis St.

Phantom purchased the site in June 2018 and started looking for a development partner. Graywood was approached and a deal was reached in a month, according to Strasser.

“They’re very good and have a construction arm, and our expertise is more on the sales, marketing and development side,” he said.

The location at Jarvis and Carlton Streets, across from the five-acre Allan Gardens park, is close to shopping, restaurants, entertainment, hospitals, Ryerson University and the financial core.

JAC Condos will feature a wide range of suite sizes, starting with 340-square-foot studios and growing incrementally to three-bedroom-and-den units of more than 800 square feet.

Pricing starts in the mid-$400,000s and will go up to $1.13 million for the largest three-bedroom units.

There will also be five townhouses of approximately 1,300 square feet priced at around $1.5 million.

Despite a fire late last year, the facade of the original 1902 Beaux Arts heritage house on the site was saved and will be integrated into a recreation of the original structure. It will merge with a new podium and tower designed by Turner Fleischer.

The new-build podium will be clad in brick and feature the building lobby, complete with an outdoor courtyard, fireside lounge and a gallery space. The restored heritage house will feature the original north and east sides, with the rest being rebuilt.

The house will feature amenities including: a technology lounge; a coffee bar; a library; flex spaces for working and learning; a serenity room; a yoga studio; a gaming and movie room; a bar; a multi-purpose room; and an arts and crafts studio.

A private laneway behind the house will feature dedicated bicycle parking and direct access to the building.

Strasser said JAC Condos sales were opened early to the brokerage community and “family and friends.”

Ideally he’d like to see a brisk initial 75 per cent sell-through, allowing construction to start next March or April, with occupancy in early 2024.

Whitby townhomes and adding to the pipeline

Phantom also owns a site at Sebastian Street and Taunton Road in Whitby, Ont., where it plans to launch sales for an 80-townhome development within the year.

The company uses its own money and bank financing to fund its acquisitions and developments.

While it hasn’t closed on any new acquisitions, Strasser said Phantom is very interested in two sites on Sheppard: one between Bathurst and Yonge; and the other near Bayview Avenue.

Phantom is also looking at downtown Toronto sites appropriate for condos with about 250 units.

S&A Developments

S&A Developments owns a commercial and industrial portfolio of more than two million square feet of leased space that it’s built up over the years. Much of it is in suburban Richmond Hill, just north of Toronto.

S&A has owned 16 acres of raw land at East Beaver Creek Road and Highway 7 in nearby Markham for several years.

Strasser said its future development involves a 10-year plan with potentially multiple uses, including a hotel, industrial, commercial and retail.


Credit: Phantom building Toronto’s 8 Cumberland and JAC Condos

Buyer-friendly deposit structure at JAC condos

Buyer-friendly deposit structure at JAC condos

MyHomePage.Ca - August 23, 2020

JAC Condos at Jarvis and Carlton is getting ready to launch with a buyer-friendly deposit structure.

Graywood and Phantom are offering a generous limited time offer deposit structure that calls for five per cent of the purchase price to be paid in 2020; five per cent in 2021; five per cent in 2022 and the remaining five per cent at closing.

The project plan includes keeping the facade of the original 1902 Beaux Arts heritage house (inset) despite a fire late last year. The facade will be merged with a new podium-tower designed by Turner Fleischer Architects.

Units range from studios to three-bedroom suites, with pricing starting in the $400,000s.

The condo is less than 200 metres from Ryerson and right across the street from Allan Gardens.


Credit: #Inside the GTA

Jarvis ̸ Carlton developers unphased by heritage mansion fire

Jarvis ̸ Carlton developers unphased by heritage mansion fire

Construct Connect - August 20, 2020

JAC CONDOS — The podium component at Toronto’s JAC Condos will have two sections, one a complete new build clad in brick and featuring the building lobby, fireside lounge and a gallery space, and the other a restored heritage house that retains the original north and east facades of the 1902 building, with the rest being rebuilt.

The team of Graywood Developments and Phantom Developments has used a recent fire that destroyed much of the heritage component of its $300-million, 34-storey JAC Condos project in downtown Toronto as a catalyst to create a whole new type of amenity space that will better serve the community, says a vice-president with Graywood.

The fire last Sept. 1 laid waste to most of the signature 1902 Beaux Arts mansion at Jarvis and Carlton, with only two walls left standing. Graywood’s VP of development Neil Pattison got a call, turned on his television and saw the firms’ 5,000-square-foot heritage home in flames.

But Graywood has handled important heritage projects before and Pattison knew exactly what the priorities for action were. When he showed up on the scene, the police and fire department were still onsite, and his first order of business was to convince the fire team not to level the two facades.

“Fire wanted access to the basement, they were concerned there could be people inside the building,” recounted Pattison recently, a day after he hosted a Zoom meeting to showcase the project to 300 agents. “They were ready with the backhoe, saying rip everything down.

“And I said, ‘wait a minute guys, this property has been designated, you can’t just tear it down.’ I know from experience you have to work with Heritage (Toronto). If you think you are going to speed up the process by knocking the building down, and getting away with something, it doesn’t work that way, it takes longer.”

Over the next week the developers worked with heritage and conservation architects and also with building engineers, who advised on stabilizing the remaining walls. Steel beams were installed behind and in front of the two walls for support, bracing was added and steel caps installed to cover the exposed bricks so water wouldn’t cause any further damage — given that construction is not due to start until March 2021.

JAC CONDOS — Despite a fire late last year, two sections of the facade of the original 1902 Beaux Arts heritage house were saved and will be integrated into a recreation of the original structure. Pictured: the 5,000-square-foot mansion with its ornate wooden porch in its glory days.

The mansion had been used for retail and office before another fire, in 2016, caused it to be shuttered, and that was the use originally proposed for the new project. But the developers, no longer fettered by the frame of the existing mansion, began contemplating new options.

“After the fire happened, knowing that we had to rebuild the space with modern construction technologies, we got to thinking — it is going to be open span, so we can create this unique aspect of the building where we have this great amenity program in this heritage building,” Pattison explained.

The property is a short walk from Ryerson University and Allan Gardens is right across the street, so the developer set about to create a new sense of “placemaking,” explained Pattison. They devoted a night to consulting with Ryerson students — who might one day become owners or renters of a JAC condo — and found, among typical ideas such as an arts space, bar and music venue, that there was a call for a “contemplative space.”

So The Mansion Club was born. Among other uses it will have personal areas, study nooks, meditation rooms, a yoga studio and programming typical of a library.

“That space is going to be a place where they can switch off from the connected world and have time to decompress,” said Pattison.

There are ample CAD drawings of the mansion available and the developers plan to rebuild the mansion exactly as it was, including a wooden porch set atop a stone base in one of the two standing facades.

JAC CONDOS — The JAC Condos tower (left) contains design elements complementing the nearby Equilibrium mural and Allan Gardens, located across the street. Interiors are by Tomas Pearce.

“Hopefully we can build back the grandeur of that Jarvis Street mansion with that porch,” said Pattison.

“Our future residents will be able to sit in that porch and watch life going on across the street at Allan Gardens.”

The recreated mansion will merge with the new tower designed by Turner Fleischer Architects. Lead architect Russell Fleischer said in a statement that the design of the tower, which will sit atop a 10-storey brick-clad podium, draws inspiration from another neighbourhood landmark, the Equilibrium mural, completed in 2018 by Spanish street artist Okuda San Miguel, which dominates the street as part of a student residence a few doors down.

Fleischer decided to incorporate patterns of prismatic modules into two facades of the tower to complement the mural, and special iridescent paint that changes colour depending on the angle of the viewer will be used.

“It certainly brightens that corner of the world,” said Pattison of the mural. “Because it has such a positive impact on the community, we thought we better tap into that somehow.”

The downtown development sector is starting to return, Pattison said, with a couple of recent launches, and he feels there is some traction in the market.

As a concession to the uncertainty created by the pandemic, the developers are allotting six months to reach the sales goal of 70 per cent units sold, double the usual.

Credit: Jarvis/Carlton developers unphased by heritage mansion fire

After two fires, a heritage rose rises from the ashes on Jarvis Street

After two fires, a heritage rose rises from the ashes on Jarvis Street

The Globe & Mail - March 9, 2020

It’s not often that one experiences a heritage emergency.

But, last Labour Day, it happened to Graywood Developments’ Neil Pattison.

The September sun beating down on his heavy coat, the fire marshal said that the wall at 314 Jarvis St. had to come down; his people needed to get inside to check for evidence of arson, and, perhaps, for victims.

For Mr. Pattison, it wasn’t so cut-and-dried. That wall – and most of the rest of the handsome 1902 house near the corner of Jarvis and Carlton Streets – was designated as heritage, and therefore protected from demolition. And, since the house had already survived an earlier fire in January, 2016, Mr. Pattison didn’t want an unsympathetic backhoe ripping into what remained.

Fire crews attend the scene of a fire at 314 Jarvis St. in September, 2019.

The police detectives weren’t making things any easier. They were peppering Mr. Pattison with questions, hoping he’d slip up and say something incriminating – don’t most developers want to be rid of problematic historical buildings?

The thing is, Mr. Pattison, a vice-president at Graywood, isn’t like most developers. After acquiring the property in July, 2019, with Phantom Developments, he’d spent the summer strategizing with his colleagues on how best to incorporate the Beaux-Arts house – once owned by two very prominent Torontonians – into a new condominium development. Should it be retail? An office? An amenities space?

However, with the fire marshal breathing down his neck, those questions had to be shelved for the time being. What was needed was a heritage professional to show up, and quickly.

“It was quite the intense experience,” Mr. Pattison said on a cold February morning a few weeks ago.

A rendering of the condo development to be built adjacent to 314 Jarvis St.

Thankfully, Joe Muller, program manager at the city’s Heritage Preservation Services, was only a phone call, and bicycle ride, away.

After much back-and-forth with Mr. Muller, a cherry picker deposited a Graywood engineer and architect Chris Borgal of Goldsmith Borgal & Co. into the charred ruin from above. While Mr. Borgal pointed to what was heritage and what was not, the engineer tagged what needed to be removed for safety’s sake and what needed to be reinforced, regardless of heritage, while fire professionals and Mr. Pattison cooled their jets in the empty lot beside the house.

“This happens at a glacial pace,” Mr. Pattison explained. “It took us all day to say, ‘okay you can take this wall down,’ because they had to go back to city hall and get the approval.”

They are important walls. Designed for Dr. Charles Sheard (1857-1929) when in his mid-40s and Toronto’s chief medical officer (sources suggest – but can’t confirm – his architect brother, Matthew, was responsible), the home was one of many along Jarvis – the city’s Champs-Élysées in the late-1800s and early-1900s – occupied by the professional classes. The upper portion of the street was reserved for the very rich. When Dr. Sheard purchased the property as a newlywed in 1885, it had been a much smaller wood-framed home that he and wife Virna (née Stanton) occupied; four sons by the turn of the century meant a larger house was necessary.

The home, seen here in the 1980s, would eventually become a rooming house and remained so until 2016.

Just before that home was constructed, Mrs. Sheard (1862-1943) saw her first poems and stories published, many of them in The Globe and Mail. By the time the couple were picking out furnishings, her second book, A Maid of Many Moods, was published. While Mrs. Sheard would achieve great status as author and poet – penning five volumes of poetry – by the time she was widowed, the status of her beloved neighbourhood was changing. A 10-storey apartment house, Frontenac Arms, was being constructed just to the south (it became a hotel, and still is today) and many of her neighbour’s homes had been converted to rooming houses. After the Second World War, this trend would increase as the city struggled with a housing shortage.

Eventually, the Sheard residence would succumb as well and have much of its interior unsympathetically rejigged; it would remain a rooming house until the 2016 fire.

The owners at that time, Toronto Ward 13 councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam said, were “horribly combative” and “didn’t care about the Sheard heritage house.”

The curved front porch will be reconstructed to precise specifications.

“When 314 Jarvis went up in flames, it felt like a big middle finger to the city and neighbourhood,” she continued. “Toronto Fire, Toronto Building, City Planning and my office were all dealing with the owners and they did the minimum to keep the house safe.” In contrast, Graywood/Phantom “has been proactive in their communication, courteous to their neighbours and responsive to city requests.”

Perhaps that’s because Mr. Pattison is a self-confessed “nerd” when it comes to history. While only a coffered ceiling, some moulding, a small staircase, and the ornate radiators remained when he first walked through, the plan was “to preserve the entire structure, all four walls, and try and reinstate some of the original pieces back into it.” The second fire, however, destroyed most of that, and the need to gain access to the basement (no bodies or evidence of arson was found) means Graywood/Phantom had to switch gears.

Only the north and east walls remain standing.

So, today, the keen aficionado who finds herself walking past will notice only the north and east walls standing. After the backhoe had its way with the south wall and the rear, west-facing wall was deemed too weakened, a compromise was made with the city: Document those walls with detailed architectural drawings and then take them down. The curved-and-columned front porch will get the same treatment, although in that case samples have been saved in order to reproduce it to exact specifications (the original roofline and dormer window will also be rebuilt.) If our aficionado looks closer, she’ll note waterproof caps on exposed walls, cinder block and steel bracing added here-and-there for reinforcement, and replaced or re-pointed brick.

“What you see today, all the fire damage and all the restoration,” finished Mr. Pattison, “it’s about half a million dollars’ worth that’s been sunk into this.”

From glorious to glum, and from almost-lost to rising, literally, from the ashes, one could say a rose will soon return to Jarvis Street. Well, Ms. Sheard may have put it that way:

From out the limbo where lost roses go

The place we may not see,

With all its petals sweet and half-ablow,

– “The Gleaner,” 1913

Credit: After two fires, a heritage rose rises from the ashes on Jarvis Street