Toronto’s downtown Garden District is getting a residential investment that will, in turn, create a $1-million donation to neighbour Ryerson University.
New condo development Dundas Square Gardens plans nearly 1,000 condo units — and revitalization — for the area. The site, at Dundas and Jarvis Sts., is just east of the iconic, city-block Dundas Square, and bordered by Carlton, Sherbourne, Queen and Yonge Sts.
“It’s walking distance from the busiest corner in the city of Toronto, which is Yonge and Dundas. You can walk five minutes to the subway,” said builder Steve Gupta, CEO and chairman of Easton’s Group.
“The reason I bought this site in ’97 is I had a vision that one day Jarvis St. would change. This street was once the Bridle Path of Toronto. The city moved to the west a little bit and this was ignored,” said Gupta. “I think it’s about time to rejuvenate this street and we are, as builders, trying to change the landscape of that corner.”
The planned 48-storey Dundas Tower and 16-storey Garden Tower, totaling 978 units, are in pre-registration and will open for sales next month. Prices start at $199,998 — $299,998 for two bedrooms.
Dundas Tower will be mixed-use, with retail on the first two floors. Among its highlights will be the third-floor, 17-foot-high Sky Lobby intended for use as a “social space.” It also features a party room, kitchen, bar and lounge plus full gym, sauna and yoga room on the 18th floor where, outside, residents can enjoy an infinity pool, hot tub, barbeque areas and fire pit.
Additionally distinct, five garden terraces will be scattered between Dundas Tower’s third and 18th floors, and encompass 16,000 square feet.
“All universities and hospitals need entrepreneurs to help them.”
The site was formerly the RCMP’s Ontario detachment headquarters and was remade into a Hilton hotel belonging to Easton’s. The company owns 16 hotels across the province and in 2012 launched the two-tower development, King Blue Condos, at King and Peter Sts.
Gupta credits his company’s expertise in the hotel industry for adding the key ingredient to their latest endeavour. “We’re bringing our hospitality experience to the condominium, creating social space like the third-floor Sky Lobby,” he said.
“I honestly believe that, with this building, the whole east will open up for other developers. This location will be a gateway to the east.
Easton’s is a family business and Steve’s daughters Reetu and Shelley are involved in the development of Dundas Square Gardens.
“Because we’re in hospitality, we know what our guests would want and we’re translating that into what our buyers would want,” said Reetu, vice-president of sales and marketing.
She notes the new condo towers will have “a transit and walking score of 100 per cent.
“In terms of that area, it’s in dire need of residences. Ryerson, as well, has expanded so vastly over the last couple of years — they have a business school and they’re looking at creating a health school there as well.”
Situated close to Ryerson University, George Brown College’s St. James Campus and St. Michael’s Hospital, Dundas Square Gardens positions itself as an ideal residence for students and staff who don’t want to spend time commuting.
Large balconies and terraces will be offered as a draw for purchasers of units on Dundas Tower’s south, east and west sides. Depending on unit size, terraces will range up to 200 square feet.
“Basically, you’re in the middle of downtown Toronto and you still have a backyard — a huge backyard,” said Shelley, Easton’s executive director of finance and condo development. “It’s a really unique set up for a downtown property.”
“We’re trying to make our product an amenity for the neighbourhood, as opposed to vice versa,” added Reetu.
Interior design firm Munge Leung has created ultra-urban suites with laminate flooring throughout and large windows, as well as European-style bathroom sinks, wooden cabinetry and porcelain tiled bathroom floors. Kitchens are equipped with porcelain backsplashes, quartz-stone countertops, laminate wood cabinetry, undermount lighting and integrated appliances.
Dundas Square Gardens was designed by the award-winning firm, Page + Steele IBI Group Architects, whom Gupta has worked with for over 20 years. Its “lantern” design, aided by varying balcony sizes on the building’s three sides, will offer a changing profile from different angles.
“We wanted to create something that’s very iconic, that people will look at when they drive by,” said Gupta.
Easton’s plans to donate $1 million of its sales revenues to Ryerson University — roughly $1,000 per condo unit in Dundas Square Garden’s pair of towers.
“This was an offer from Steve to us, and a very generous one, that we’re very pleased with,” said Sheldon Levy, Ryerson’s president and vice-chancellor. “(It’s) primarily going to be used to support bursaries for students that have a financial need. They’re going to be the direct beneficiaries of the philanthropy.”
Despite the provincial financial aid program, Levy says, demand for assistance outpaces available resources.
“Without these types of donations, to be very candid, a number of young people who deserve an opportunity would find it difficult to take advantage,” Levy added.
In return for his donation, Ryerson will name a 500-seat lecture theatre in its Ted Rogers School of Management building after Gupta.
“All universities and hospitals need entrepreneurs to help them,” said Gupta. “There’s an old saying: If you’re looking one year down the road you plant flowers; if you’re looking 10 years down the road you plant a tree; if you’re looking 100 years down the road you educate a generation.”
DUNDAS SQUARE GARDENS
Location: 200 Dundas St. E., Toronto
Developer: Easton’s Group
Architect: Page + Steele IBI Group Architects
Price: $199,900 to $299,900
Contact: 416-645-8575, dundassquaregardens.com