Netanel Ben-Or, Vice President of Development and Marketing at Elad Canada Inc., is a key part of the company’s team that is bringing master-planned communities to life in Toronto and Montreal. His responsibilities include the conceptual design of Elad Canada’s developments and the marketing and positioning of the residences. He is a strong proponent of the company’s commitment to offering buyers outstanding value in neighbourhoods that are much greater than the sum of their parts.
BuzzBuzzHome: Emerald City is located in the Parkway Forest area of North York. Why is this neighbourhood undergoing such a major transformation?
Netanel Ben-Or: The City of Toronto recognized the fact that the area was built up decades ago, at a time when urban design accommodated vehicles instead of pedestrian traffic. When subway access arrived, the goal became to increase the number of residents in the area. This meant planning for walkability and a social infrastructure that would serve new and existing residents. We worked closely with the planning department’s North York office to come up with a design that would accomplish these goals.
NB: The company’s vision for Canada is to identify land that can accommodate master-planned communities. Rather than build a condominium here and there, we believe in offering buyers the complete package, a true community where they can feel “at home” beyond their suites. Right now, we are concentrating on Toronto and Montréal. In Toronto, the Sheppard-Don Mills location is ideal. When we purchased the land in 2004, we were excited by its potential. Living on the subway line close to Highways 404, the Don Valley Parkway and 401, as well as across from Fairview Mall, is incredible. There are many existing amenities in the area such as schools, parks and services, and we are adding more.
BBH: One of the big attractions is the Parkway Forest Community Centre. How does that fit into Elad Canada’s vision?
NB: As I mentioned, our company is all about creating homes for people in the broad sense of the word, and having amenities within walking distance is critical to our master plan. The new community centre is under construction. At approximately 50,000 square feet, it will offer a variety of opportunities to the neighbourhood residents including an outdoor pool with a pavilion, a well-equipped gymnasium with a yoga room, an aerobics and dance studio and a rooftop garden. The opening is slated for 2014. This is an important part of Elad Canada’s contribution as part of the development process with the city to take this area forward in a positive, exciting direction. Residents of all ages will benefit from the centre.
BBH: Speaking of all ages, who exactly is buying at Emerald City? Describe your target market.
NB: Our purchasers come from multicultural backgrounds and include first-time buyers, young families, professional couples and empty-nesters. Emerald City’s Block A, which is well on its way to completion, includes three towers: Emerald City, Emerald City 2 and Dream Tower. We also recently introduced Biyu, a chic, modern 13-storey boutique condominium to be launched in 2014. All of the condominiums have their own amenities, which range from a swimming pool to a gym, yoga studio, screening room, party space and barbecue patio with a lounge area.
Overall, suites at Emerald City range from one-bedroom designs at 500 square feet to two- and three-bedroom penthouses at 1,200 and 1,300 square feet. We even have a collection of 11 three-storey townhomes that average 2,000 square feet in size and offer access to the amenities in the adjacent Dream Tower. The townhomes feature modern, open-concept designs and include underground parking. People who want the ultimate in convenient condo living in a midtown location find a lot of choice at Emerald City. There are even immediate occupancies available in the first tower.
BBH: How affordable are these suites and townhomes?
NB: Emerald City offers the best value in North York. Tower suites begin in price from $255,900 and the three-bedroom townhomes from $669,990, which is phenomenal in an area where million-dollar low-rise homes are so prevalent.
BBH: We’ve heard that Douglas Coupland is working on the public art for Emerald City. What can you tell us about this?
NB: We are tremendously excited that Canadian novelist and visual artist Douglas Coupland has designed “Four Seasons” – four massive cones that will be one of Toronto’s largest comprehensive public art installations by a single artist. This will also be the first major permanent public art project in Ward 33 – Don Valley East. The cones will range from 48 to 60 feet in height. Coupland has designed them with horizontal bands of bright colours based on Laurentian pencil crayons, to reflect the optimism and joy that children experience when they open a box of these drawing utensils. The first piece of art will be installed by the end of this year, and the second half will go up in early 2014. In my opinion, this will be one of the most striking art displays in Toronto.
BBH: Sounds like future residents have plenty to look forward to in the next few years.
NB: Certainly. We’re excited and proud of the outcome of the first three towers and looking forward to continue and develop this fabulous North York community.
Thanks for buzzing with us, Netanel!