Revitalizing a neighbourhood

Meet the investors that are currently creating Toronto’s next hot spot.

For the past 20 years, the intersection of Yonge and St. Clair has acted almost exclusively as a transit hub for the affluent neighbourhoods surrounding it, including Forest Hill and Rosedale.

That’s about to change.

“For the last 30 years it’s kind of gone sideways whereas surrounding neighbourhoods have improved. Our goal is to bring it back to some form of former glory,” Lucas Manuel, managing director of Slate Advisors, told Canadian Real Estate Wealth. “To do that first we bought everything there, which helps. We own all four corners and eight office buildings in total. Effectively that allows us … to make changes fast and not rely on our neighbours to come along for the ride.”

Slate, itself, currently has an occupancy rate of 95% within its buildings, and those that aren’t currently occupied are being kept vacant to allow for flexibility as the vision evolves, according to Manuel.

That vision is one that will transform the area into a go-to neighbourhood as opposed to a strict thoroughfare.

“They’re dying to have a good restaurant that they can go to, so that’s a huge focus of ours. On one of the corners, the northwest corner, we’re looking to put a big restaurant. Other locations as well,” Manuel said. “One doesn’t do it but once you get critical mass and give people a choice people will start coming back to Yonge and St. Clair.”

Slate has a master plan for the entire neighbourhood, and it is actively working with developers and other property owners to revitalize the area.

They are currently in talks to develop a business improvement area (BIA) to address some of the area’s needs.

The entire overhaul is being done in phases, with the northeast corner expected to be completed by Christmas. The rest has a target of 2018.

And once those are completed, and other developers hop on board, there is nothing stopping the area from experiencing a retail and, indeed, further residential development.

“Nothing has interfered with the upward mobility of pricing in Rosedale and Forest Hill. It would be nice to think all the things we do kind of support that,” Manuel said. “What we’ve heard from residents in those neighbourhoods is a lot of excitement.”
 

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