The transformation currently underway in Toronto is good news for Greybrook Realty Partners, judging by their recent level of activity.
“We’re not building that many more units on an annual basis than we were five or 10 years ago, but we’re seeing a different unit mix,” said chief executive officer Peter Politis, whose firm announced closings of two equity private placement offerings in Toronto last week. “Where it used to be 75 or 80 per cent single family houses 10 or 12 years ago, we’re now seeing 75 or 80 per cent condos.
“You can see the switch based on land constraints and the Greenbelt. We think this is the Manhattanization of Toronto and the new normal and we’re living through the city’s transformation point where single family housing has become a lot less affordable and a lot less can be developed based on supply, and high-rises are the future.”
Politis has been busy
Politis, a partner at Greybrook Capital and the president and CEO of Greybrook Realty Partners, is directly responsible for management of the firm’s Real Estate Private Equity division. He is involved in all aspects of the firm’s investing activities and transaction execution representing nearly $4 billion of aggregate completion value.
He joined Greybrook as a vice-president in the firm’s investment banking group more than 10 years ago, and has since been involved in the management and acquisition of numerous private equity real estate developments, reverse takeovers of publicly listed entities, as well as debt and equity financings within the Greybrook group of companies.
He was also involved in providing corporate advisory services to Greybrook portfolio companies including BrandProtect, Occulogix Inc. and TearLab Corporation.
To date, Greybrook Realty Partners has been involved with the financing, development and management of 50 residential development projects totalling approximately 14,000 units.
Junction Triangle property
Last week, Greybrook Realty Partners closed a $22.4-million placement of units of the Greybrook Bloor West Limited Partnership and the Greybrook Bloor West Trust that will be used to purchase an interest in an eight-acre property located in the Junction Triangle neighbourhood and fund the development of a mixed-used project.
The plan is to build 665 residential condominium units and freehold townhomes, and up to 550,000 square feet of retail and office space, in partnership with The Castlepoint Group.
The site is located near the Bloor subway line, GO Transit and the only intermediate stop on the newly launched Union Pearson Express airport rail link service. The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art will relocate to The Tower Automotive Building on the site. The 10-storey structure, built in 1919 and once the tallest building in Toronto, will be completely renovated.
Politis said the retrofit will start in the next three to four months and the new office space will be pre-leased before construction is expected to begin in the first or second quarter of next year. The townhouses will come to market in the next quarter.
Addition to Willowdale property
Greybrook Securities Inc. and Greybrook Realty Partners closed a $4.385-million placement of units of the Greybrook 181 Sheppard East Limited Partnership that will be used to purchase an interest in a property located at 181 Sheppard Ave. E. and develop a 152-unit mid-rise condominium project with a retail presence at grade. The project has an estimated completion value of $70 million.
Development will be conducted in collaboration with Stafford Homes. The property is adjacent to a parcel of land that’s jointly owned by an affiliate of Greybrook Realty Partners and a company within the Stafford Developments group of companies and will be part of a larger mixed-use development.
The site is in the Willowdale neighbourhood, which includes luxury condominiums, shopping centres, parkettes, playgrounds, an aquatic centre and Toronto Centre for the Arts.
Greybrook Securities Inc. and Greybrook Realty Partners Inc. announced the closing of a $7.18-million placement of units of the Greybrook Markham II Limited Partnership last month. Proceeds will be used to purchase an interest in a property in Markham, Ont. and fund a 118-unit master-planned residential townhome project in collaboration with Cityzen Development Group.
The property at 7350 Markham Rd. is located near major highways, shops, transit, parks and golf courses.
“Markham is one of the preeminent hot spots for building residential real estate, particularly townhouses and single family housing,” said Politis.
Mixed-use development at College and Spadina
A 15-storey condo at College Street and Spadina Avenue in Toronto that will have a 20,000-square-foot Independent City Market grocery store on the second floor, additional retail space and a community space is under construction and expected to be completed next year. Greybrook Realty Partners has $9.25 million in equity in the project, which will have an estimated value of $110 million upon completion.
“A walking city is a safe city,” said Politis.
“The more retail you have at grade is good for the city in general. It provides jobs and access, so you don’t have to go far if you need things. We think it complements a neighbourhood quite well.”
Yorkville and Liberty Village projects
Greybrook Realty Partners previously closed a $41.4-million placement to acquire and develop a site at the corner of Avenue Road and Yorkville Avenue in Toronto in partnership with Empire Communities. The project is in the development phase and will have a value upon completion of $400 million.
“It will have multi-floor retail with a very high end, luxury residential building above it,” said Politis.
Greybrook Realty Partners has been involved with completing 1,673 units since 2007 in Toronto’s Liberty Village neighbourhood that’s nestled between Exhibition Place, Dufferin Street, King Street and Strachan Avenue, and 320 more are under construction in its Garrison Point submarket.
“There used to be a learning curve with Liberty Village and you had to educate the buyer to a certain extent, but now the investment community and the buying pool knows it’s a community with families of all ages,” said Politis.
“It’s probably one of the tightest, if not the tightest, rental markets in the entire GTA from a price standpoint as well as an ability to garner tenants. You can get higher rent for a unit there than you can at Lakeshore and Yonge.”
Greybrook Realty Partners offers investors the ability to partner with developers and share in their value creation activities. It also provides asset management and advisory services to investors and landowners.
Greybrook Securities is an exempt market dealer registered in Ontario and other provinces and related to Greybrook Realty Partners. Investors are given access to participate on a project-by-project basis with a pre-determined development plan, developer partner and defined exit plan.