Toronto’s commercial real estate projects have reached new heights in 2018, and trends indicate further growth in the coming year. This forecast is attractive to investors looking to develop new, income-producing properties that will continue to change the landscape of downtown Toronto and the GTA. Fueled by a boost in changing business trends, with an increased focus on technology, companies in the commercial real estate industry are developing new ways to adapt to the demand.
Michael Beattie, a Toronto-based business executive who specializes in construction and operations management, speaks to Toronto’s growing tech sector. “Toronto’s tech industry is very strong right now and has been for a number of years,” says Michael Beattie. “The city is actually one of the the fastest growing hubs for tech jobs in Canada. That, in turn, has added to commercial real estate demand in the GTA.”
In fact, Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify Inc. recently announced the company’s plans for a new real estate development in downtown Toronto. Shopify’s Vice President told the media about their plans to remain a significant part of the city’s tech industry. In 2019, the company will be expanding to become the anchor tenant at The Well, a seven building development project a few blocks from King Street.
Technology isn’t the only area influencing Toronto’s commercial real estate market. Innovative thinking is also taking the forefront in future development projects through projects like the joint effort by Waterfront Toronto and Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to complete Sidewalk Toronto, a new urban community on the Waterfront. “What’s really unique about this project is Sidewalk’s effort to get the entire community involved, bringing together different ideas on essentially, how to build a neighborhood,” comments Beattie.
Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, spoke of the SideWalk project, noting it as one of the most technologically advanced projects in North America. The goal of the SideWalk development is to create a destination for people, companies, startups and organizations to devise solutions for the challenges facing cities, such as energy use, housing affordability, and transportation.
The Kings Club Development, which is set to open in 2019, is also anticipated. The development will take over a section of Toronto’s King Street West and will feature a block-long, three story podium designed to be the focal point of the community. It will include a large Longo’s grocery store, a Shoppers Drug Mart and a range of stores, restaurants, services and office space. There will also be three towers of rental apartments that rise above the complex in addition to a park-like landscape and iron railway bridge over King Street.
Mentioning other anticipated developments, Michael Beattie adds, “The city has proposed a new commuter bike bath running parallel to the rail to the lakeshore. There are also talk of constructing a new King-Liberty train station in 2020 behind the development.” The train station would give commuters another option to get around the city.
A survey by PWC Canada indicates Canadian developers and investors should focus their attention on three following areas as trends emerge in 2019: warehousing and fulfilment, senior lifestyle housing and the multi-family market.