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Sneak Peek: Chartwell, Daniels Launch Active-Seniors Project In Regent Park

Chartwell Retirement Residences and The Daniels Corp just broke ground on a 332-unit rental building in revitalized Regent Park—Chartwell's first project of this scale targeting the rapidly growing active-retiree segment.

Groundbreaking for The Sumach by Chartwell, a JV between Chartwell, Welltower and Daniels

Bisnow was on hand for the dirt-turn Tuesday, and snapped Chartwell planning/development VP Christian Fisker, communication VP Sharon Henderson and CEO Brent Binions with Daniels VP Martin Blake, Chartwell marketing VP Maxime Camerlain and Daniels marketing VP Simona Annibale. The Sumach by Chartwell will be 12 storeys and amenity-rich (pet spa, outdoor terrace and BBQ, bike racks) with 5,500 SF of street-level retail, including a restaurant and café/bistro. The project—with Welltower Inc, North America’s largest senior healthcare REIT, as a partner—represents a $100M investment.

The Sumach by Chartwell in Regent Park, Toronto

The Sumach kicks off Phase 3 of Daniels and Toronto Community Housing’s Regent Park revitalization, a 69-acre urban renewal that is Canada’s largest mixed-income development (nine buildings are under construction). It marks Chartwell’s first large-scale seniors independent living project in the GTA. “It’s exactly the kind of site we’ve been looking for here,” Brent Binions says, noting his firm, the nation's largest senior housing operator (185 communities in four provinces), has dozens of active-retiree-focused projects in Quebec but none in Ontario, where its 8,800 suites nevertheless make it a top player.

Chartwell CEO Brent Binions and Daniels VP Martin Blake on the site of The Sumach by Chartwell senior housing project.

Services like housekeeping, laundry and meals will be a la carte at The Sumach (opening in 2018), so residents don’t pay for what they don’t use, Brent explains. In Regent Park, there are options aplenty, including a six-acre central park, an aquatic centre (below), an arts/culture centre, a 60k SF community centre, and a St. Michaels Hospital-sponsored healthcare centre, plus a growing retail roster. “There’s activity constantly surrounding you,” notes Daniels VP Martin Blake, snapped above with Brent, who says Chartwell is eyeing several other GTA opportunities, including more with Daniels. “It’s a perfect marriage.”

Regent Park Aquatic Centre in Toronto, a centrepiece of the revitalization effort

Brent says he's pushing hard for Chartwell to expand in Ontario because there's a massive demographic wave coming, and not nearly enough housing to absorb it. Canada has 425,000 senior housing suites at the moment; over the next 20 years, at today’s capture rate (the number of people currently living in senior housing), there’ll be need for 600,000 suites on top of that base, just to break even. So there’s “tremendous opportunity” to cater to the boom’s active front end, aka Zoomers, a segment it’s been hugely successful at targeting in Quebec, says Brent. “And it’s a model we think will fill a missing niche in this marketplace.”