After many years of building luxury custom homes throughout the GTA under the Shyamora Luxury Homes name, Moninder Khudal is jumping on the condo boom bandwagon with the launch of On The Danforth Condos.
Developed by Shyamora sister company, DIAM Developments, the project will be the newest condominium in the up-and-coming East Danforth neighbourhood. The 136-unit condo will offer a suite of amenities and will feature some unique motion-inspired architecture.
We spoke with Moninder Khudal, President and CEO of DIAM Developments about his experiences in Canadian real estate and to learn more about his first foray into condominium development.
BuzzBuzzHome: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Moninder Khudal: I came to Canada 14 years ago with humble beginnings — like the majority of immigrants to this country — with an MBA in Marketing and an MBA in Finance.
BBH: How and when did you get into real estate?
MK: My background was in finance, so I went into the finance industry and set up a mortgage brokerage firm. Since we were only dealing with real estate financing, we set up a real estate brokerage at the same time. This was a little over 11 years ago. But overall I have been in real estate — buying, selling — for 14 years altogether.
BBH: How was DIAM Developments formed?
MK: We have been building luxury custom homes under the Shyamora Luxury Homes Inc. brand. When the opportunity came along to get into the production side of development, we created the DIAM Developments brand as a sister company to Shyamora.
Shyamora will continue to focus on building luxury custom homes, while DIAM Developments will be more on the condo and home production side of the business.
BBH: You started your real estate career building high end custom homes. Which communities have you built in?
MK: With luxury homes, you cannot build huge subdivisions with hundreds of lots, because there isn’t a market for it, so most of our homes are in-fill projects.
One of our latest projects is a collection of luxury townhomes in downtown Oakville called London Towns. There’s only three available, priced from $2.5 million and feature architecture inspired by the prestigious Georgian homes in London, England.
We’ve also built homes all over the GTA including Lorne Park and Mineola in Mississauga et cetera. We also have a model home under construction in Kleinburg where we plan to do 25 luxury homes over a period of time.
BBH: What is it about building homes that appeals to you the most?
MK: It feels so good when you see a place that’s just a piece of land or an old deteriorated property, and then you do something so creative and beautiful and you see that change happening. You feel like you’re a part of the neighbourhood’s history and that you have contributed to the community.
BBH: On The Danforth Condos is your first foray in condominium development. Why did you decide to go in that direction?
MK: Luxury custom homes only represents a small portion of the Canadian real estate market. In order to grow and increase the dollar value of our business, we had to enter the production side of the business, and that is what DIAM Developments is for.
There are also a lot of opportunities in the city for development, particularly in this area since its an up-and-coming neighbourhood.
BBH: What are the major differences between building low rise custom homes and a mid-rise condominium building?
MK: This is our first condominium project so I can’t speak to past experience, but so far, I would say the biggest difference is related to mass. When you do luxury homes, its individual properties that we work on. With On The Danforth Condos, we are dealing with 136 units, so everything is on a larger scale. All the home building components are examined at one time, from building design to individual suite design.
I know that once we start construction, we may start to see more differences, or new processes and challenges, but challenges are to be met, so we’re not worried about those things.
BBH: Could you tell us a bit more about the On The Danforth Condos? Who is the development’s target demographic? What are the amenities it will have to offer?
MK: On The Danforth Condos will have 136 units starting from approximately 400 square feet and up, and will have a wide array of amenities including a gym, huge party room, ground floor retail, a beautiful lobby, bike storage, and even a pet spa.
Units above the fourth floor will also have unobstructed views of the lake on the south side, and all suites will have huge balconies or terraces.
Our target demographic includes singles, couples, as well as empty nesters since we have larger units, with plenty of outdoor areas. The project is also located within walking distance to two subways stations so its great for students.
BBH: Why did you choose the east Danforth location to build your first condominium project?
MK: Choosing a location is always a major business decision. You have to look for where the greater opportunities are. Like I mentioned earlier, this location is a great up-and-coming area. The moment we found out that there was an opportunity available there, we grabbed it.
It also provides an opportunity to create value for people to live there because they are getting into the community at this stage.
BBH: The building features some unique motion-inspired architectural details. Can you tell us about those features and the overall design of the project?
MK:The design uses a lot of L- and U- shapes in the brick that makes the building look like it’s in motion as the eye moves along its facade. The L-shapes can also be seen in the rear of the building where the stacked terraces are, and will also continue inside the lobby.
A lot of thought has also been put toward the exterior colours of the building. Since it will be located beside an existing hydro building we wanted to use a colour that complements the character of that building and that would fit well in the neighbourhood.
Thanks for buzzing with us Moninder!