Newmarket Gets Much-Needed Infusion of New Rental
The Rose Corp broke ground last week on 212 Davis Apartments, the first privately funded purpose-built rental project in York Region since the '80s. The development will help solve a serious supply issue and spur a transformation of Newmarket's core.
Rose Corp surveyed Newmarket’s rental market and found aging buildings with wait lists and subpar basement suites commanding inordinately high rents, says EVP Daniel Berholz, second from right, with Matthew Fishman and Sam Reisman, Newmarket Mayor Tony Van Bynen and Martin Simon at the event. The firm has purchased and redeveloped rental properties before, but 212 Davis—a 15-storey building with 225 units—is its first ground-up purpose-built rental project. Daniel says they'd looked at building a condo, but the numbers "weren’t intriguing.”
Newmarket and York Region went out of their way to make 212 Davis happen, seeing it as key to creating an animated transit-oriented city centre along the Yonge Street-Davis Drive corridor. The project's a block from Yonge and next to a station on the new VIVA bus rapid transit line. Southlake Regional Health Centre is down the street. Building rental is riskier than condos, where pre-construction sales augment financing. But Daniel says Newmarket and York Region are deferring development charge payments and other municipal fees for 36 months and not requiring underground parking, helping “make the numbers work.”
Units at 212 Davis will have in-suite laundry, dishwashers and central air, and amenities include a fitness centre, resident lounge and outdoor terrace. The building, opening in 2017, will reuse stormwater for irrigation and have electric vehicle charging stations and three-stream recycling. Daniel notes the project’s target market is young professionals working in Newmarket (“who don’t want to live elsewhere, or in their parents’ basement”), young families, and downsizing homeowners who want to rent but still live in nice digs. “They’re moving to other places because they can’t find something in Newmarket.”
A number of developers have been shifting into purpose-built rental, but Daniel notes 212 Davis has been in the works since Rose Corp tied up the land back in 2012. In the past, his firm would buy tired rental stock, spruce it up and sell it for a profit, but Newmarket represents a new direction. “We realized in hindsight we probably would have been better off holding on to those projects; we probably would’ve made a lot more money.” So the plan is to keep 212 Davis in its portfolio. "And we’d love to find other projects in this vein. We find the 905 quite fascinating.”