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Real Estate Bisnow
January 8, 2012  
Timbercreek LTile3
York's Secret Weapon:
An Alum

It’ll be a special homecoming for Campus Suites president and avid cyclist Henry Morton. “30 years ago, as a York U student, I proposed a residence that went nowhere."
"Now, having done lots of US projects [in 10 states], I finally get to do one in Canada.” Pond’s Edge, to be unveiled with detailed drawings in the coming weeks, will eventually include 2,200 beds, serious rec facilities, 20k SF of retail, and a parking garage. (When we went to college, we were lucky if the shower worked three days out of the week.) It’s a major step up from basic dormitories and aims to boost the on-campus population at no cost to York. The 770-bed Phase 1 is slated to open in August 2015. Campus Suites and partner Forum Equity were named “preferred proponents” last summer, and have since fulfilled York’s requirements.
Bisnow (PropManage)

Leaked Plans Talk Of The Town
Preliminary drawings of Pinnacle’s plans for five new towers at 1-7 Yonge are creating buzz, even if the Vancouver developer and Hariri Pontarini Architects won’t comment. One inside source says finding the leaker is a priority. A development consultant tells us the leak provides “a useful sense of the scale needed to earn adequate returns with speculators driving downtown site prices.” Pinnacle paid $255M for the block last July, including the 41-year-old Star tower. Chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat said recently Toronto must consider policies to stifle site speculation and encourage developers to build mid-rises on OP-designated avenues outside the core. Pinnacle’s inclusion of a 98-storey tower has some excited about a possible end to First Canadian Place’s 40-year run as Toronto’s tallest building (CN Tower excluded).

Hope Amid 29% Leasing Drop
Pent-up demand will be key to whether 2013 is a happy new year, according to TREB senior market analyst Jason Mercer. “Our industrial data are a barometer for the broader export market,” he says, adding that strong loonie and uncertainty among trading partners would explain the 29% leasing activity decline from Q4 2011. “But we’re seeing positive signs south of the border on both housing and employment.” (Many would be satisfied to never again hear the 2012 catch-phrase ‘fiscal cliff’). “Canada has diversified its trading relationships and the US is a consumer economy coming out of a long slump, so firms should be optimistic.” Jason also sees second-half hope in residential condos because unit completions are down and those deterred by tougher mortgage rules last year will get to work with bigger down-payments.

Record Crowds At Yorkdale
It’s too early to talk actual sales figures, but Yorkdale’s expansion is getting the credit for record holiday crowds at Oxford’s 1.6M SF flagship mall. “And it’s been incredibly busy ever since Christmas,” Yorkdale GM Anthony Casalanguida adds. “I guess, people have to spend those gift cards.” (Here's a stat we've made up: if a person doesn't spend a gift card within 14 days, they are 72% more likely to find it in a random shoebox four years later.) December traffic was up 15% from last year and was 7% better than the old record set in 2006. “We had our best Boxing Day ever, with 12% more visitors than 2011,” Anthony says. “Even with 200 additional spots and a new high-tech system to help people stash their wheels, he admits parking was tight, especially on Boxing Day. The expansion opened Nov. 16 with 30 new stores over 145k SF, including Canada’s first Microsoft and Tesla outlets.

Hockey’s New Lease On Life
At the risk of typecasting Triovest SVP Mike Pelyk as mere ex-athlete, it seemed timely, with the NHL back, to visit our resident hockey expert. “Players and owners didn’t really lose,” says the veteran of eight Maple Leafs seasons and 31 years in CRE. But he notes rink, restaurant and parking lot employees, as well as business owners nearby who rent space, got hurt. “Hockey will return to normal in Canada,” says the retail-leasing specialist who prepared for his second career by completing a post-grad business degree at York. “I’ll be back in the alumni box at the ACC; it’s five minutes from the office.” Does he cheer for the perennially inept Leafs? “Of course; what do you think?” (Actually, we think they should have dropped the gloves to settle things months ago.)
For those who’ve forgotten how to play, go to the net with your stick on the ice and good things will happen. It also helps to email stephen.wickens@bisnow.com.
First Canadian RTile
Colliers (191Credit) TO
Harbour Mortgage (Puzzle)
NewAcre (Distressed) TO
WS (C2) TO
Microsoft (Share)
Bisnow (Writer2)
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