The topping off celebration for the 54-storey condo tower from his firm and Lifetime Developments was a week away, all 798 units had been sold as of mid-2012, and construction was ahead of schedule.
“We were under construction by the end of 2012, and we’re going to deliver the project three-and-a-half years from starting construction,” Virani tells BuzzBuzzHome News from the building’s exposed 49th floor.
Virani is understandably enthusiastic about what’s taking place at 70 Temperance Street, but it wasn’t so long ago that the piece of real estate was viewed less optimistically.
“Various players before us couldn’t figure out what to do with the site or make the numbers work on the site,” recalls Virani, who says the property changed hands a number of times since 2005.
The land, used as a parking lot before CentreCourt and Lifetime took the helm, had remained dormant, he points out. At the time, people had reservations about the surrounding area. “There was this impression that the financial core was dead at night,” Virani remembers.
He credits the intuition of Mel Pearl and Sam Herzog, the principals at Lifetime, for seeing the potential in the community. “Mel and Sam have made a lifetime — no pun intended — of figuring out what’s going to happen next in the city and figuring out what areas of the city are the next to emerge,” says Virani.
“It took a lot of vision and courage on their part as well as from Andrew [Hoffman] and myself at CentreCourt,” he says.
The move has paid off, with the Bay-Adelaide area reinventing itself in the past several years as a nightlife destination. Even a glance down Temperance Street from INDX reveals the changes afoot; upscale restaurant The Chase/The Chase Fish & Oyster, which the Globe & Mail named one of Toronto’s best new restaurants of 2013, set up shop here.
“What we’ve seen in the last four years while this project’s been on the way, is just this transformation of the neighbourhood,” says Virani.
Residents at INDX won’t even need to set foot on Temperance to find themselves in a posh, cosmopolitan environment. Virani explains the terrace will have a “moody New York supper club vibe,” and the party room is “going to look and feel like a bar.”
There will also be a 3,000 square-foot gym — “Nobody in here will need to have a gym membership outside of here,” said Virani — and a poker room, golf simulator and putting green.
Though the crane will remain standing until the new year, and it will be summer before residents move in, Virani appears ready to start from scratch all over again.
“I think if we had the opportunity to do another three of these developments of this scale in this area right now, we would jump all over it,” he says.
The official INDX topping off celebration will be held on Friday, November 27th.