August 12, 2010
Today on Buzz Talk we sit down with Jason Fane, founder of
A condo and apartment development veteran, Jason tells us why Charles St. is one of the best residential streets in Toronto and how
is only going to improve its reputation.
What part of Toronto do you live in?
I’m on Bloor St. between Bay and Avenue Rd. I’ve had apartments in that stretch for 40 years now.
Are you a Tim Hortons or a Starbucks guy?
Easy question. I go to Tim Hortons probably thirty times for every time I go to a Starbucks.
What was your first job?
When I was about 10 a friend and I would knock on people’s doors in the winter and offer to shovel their snow. It was tough work, especially when you’re not that big, so I’ve developed a lot of respect for the maintenance people who do this kind of work all the time.
How did you get started in the development business?
When I was in business school I net leased a rooming house. I lived in part of it and rented out the rest of it and I was able to live rent-free, which for a student was extremely appealing.
Subsequently I started buying rooming houses and small apartment buildings and then larger ones, and then I started building apartments in existing buildings. The first that I built from the ground up was in 1985, so I guess I’ve been building apartments now for more than 25 years.
What’s the best part about your job now?
There are two things that I’m really enjoying about developing Chaz. The first is that it’s a wonderful creative process. You don’t start with nothing but basically you point up and it’s just a piece of sky and then you create what will be a great building and a great place to live for several hundred people.
The second thing I’m enjoying is that there’s just such a wealth of talent in Toronto and I’ve tried to hire the very best in all the categories for this project. Everyone is so knowledgeable and I learn so much from every meeting.
On the flip-side, what do you find to be the least enjoyable aspect of your job?
I have projects not just in Toronto, but also in other cities. Sometimes I consider it a great luxury to be in one place for a whole week.
Chaz will be located at Yonge and Bloor, what draws you to that part of the city?
First of all, Yonge and Bloor has pretty much everything right there.
Secondly, either right there or a five minute walk away you’ve got the best of Canada in so many areas.
You’ve got the University of Toronto, the ROM, Bloor Street shopping, it’s something people can’t get elsewhere. It’s a medical centre, a government centre and there’s a tremendous number of restaurants all within a few blocks.
The third thing is it has the best subway service in the entire city.
What’s happened on Charles St. over the last eight or ten years, it’s become one of the top residential streets in all of Toronto. It’s so close to everything, but it still has a very nice residential feel.
When I bought the site in the mid-90s I knew it was a great location but I didn’t know when it would be the right time to do something, now all the pieces have come together.
What are some of the best features of the building itself?
We have this fabulous design. The architecture was done by Page and Steele, who I think is Toronto’s leading condo architect. It’s a glass tower with a stone podium made with real Ontario stone.
We have eight corner apartments on each floor with fabulous panoramic views.
It’s got an absolutely magnificent amenities package. We have the Chaz Club [located on the 36th and 37th floors], which has some great advantages to the resident.
You can go out with some friends for drinks and have a great view at a few places in the city but you’ll be spending $300 in a night. With the Chaz Club, you can bring your own drinks so you’ll be saving a lot of money and if it’s too hot or too cold outside, you don’t even have to leave the building.