28 Jan Market News: ‘We’re seeing a return to normalcy’
After more than 30 years in business—first working in the low-rise market before starting to develop condominium projects a decade ago—Lifetime Developments is certainly keeping busy, with a number of buildings in the works. There’s The Four Seasons Private Residences and Liberty Market Lofts (both in the midst of occupancy); Bisha Hotel & Residences, Karma and The Bond Condominiums (all under construction); and INDX, starting construction in 2014. They’re also planning to launch a boutique project at Spadina and St. Clair later this year. Brian Brown is Lifetime’s vice-president.
Q What’s your approach to starting a new project, or finding a property you want to develop?
A We’ve always been focused on making sure we find top-notch sites. As a result, we’ve been conservative in our original evaluation of sites, wanting to choose properties that reflect the right locations and the right type of projects. On average, I would say in a month we look at 10 different opportunities and of those 10 we quite often only look at one very carefully. And in a lot of cases, they’re not specific to a neighbourhood, they’re not specific to a size—they just have to be the right type of project for us.
Q With all of the growth Toronto has been seeing, do you think we’re running out of those really viable properties?
A There are still some great opportunities, for both very tall buildings and also more boutique-style buildings—we enjoy building both. We’ve been looking at some emerging neighbourhoods that we think will have great potential in the very near future.
Q What do you see for the market in 2013?
A I think 2013 is still going to be very strong—there’s still great interest and we still are experiencing strong traffic. There are buyers out there, and they’re looking for the right product at the right price. The last decade has been very strong and the last few years have been at the peak of where I think the sales cycle can go. What we’re experiencing now is a return to normalcy, which is something that is very good and more manageable.
Q What about the next five to 10 years? How will Toronto evolve?
A The exciting thing is that a lot of the changes that are happening we’re going to really experience in the next five years, because there are so many sites that are under construction. It’s not until these buildings are finished and people move in that the neighbourhood actually changes. So in the next five years, Toronto’s neighbourhoods are going to be completely different than they are right now.