Booming real estate can further enrich the culture of a rising urban neighbourhood
Written by Kristin Reed
"If you build it, they will come.” This age-old adage rings true, especially when applied to cities like Toronto, where a commanding number of new or proposed residential and commercial developments are doing their best to answer the demands of a rapidly spiking population.
According to numbers released by Statistics Canada for the 2016 census, the population (of what the government agency refers to as the census metropolitan area of Toronto) increased by 6.2 percent since the last census in 2011.
When looking at numbers like these, it’s important to look at the communities that they’re made of.
Take for instance King West – one of Toronto’s busiest and in-demand neighbourhoods of residence, which has been deemed the city’s “entertainment district” for good reason. With world-class theatres, bars, and restaurants (and a mere 15 minute walk to the financial core), the centrifugal main-vein plays host to some of the city’s hottest and most sought-after real estate for a simple reason: people want to be where the action is.
A project that is right smack-dab where the action is while appealing to the appropriated “live where you work” lifestyle is the King Portland Centre.
Presented by heavyweight Canadian real estate investment trust companies (REITS), Allied Properties and RioCan, the split 15-storey office and 15-storey residential buildings are located in the heart of King West and coming to market this fall through PSR Brokerage.
LEED Platinum certified — which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — the site includes quaint interior courtyards, street-level restaurants, high-end residential condo units with premium east facing city views and tree-lined neighborhood views over Adelaide Street to the north, and finally, class-A commerical office space facing King Street. With top-tier design and location, two major Canadian companies - ecommerce giant Shopify and big box bookstore Indigo – have both signed on as a tenants, anchoring the commericial aspect of the project with their corporate head offices.
Indeed, Toronto developers are building it – and the people have come – in droves, to live and work within the city of Toronto and more specifically, the King West area.
Considered an important downtown ‘spine’ — connecting many neighbourhoods with the largest concentration of jobs in the city, region and entire country — King West naturally plays host to the busiest transit surface route in all of Toronto, carrying an estimated 65,000 public transportation riders and 20,000 drivers on any given weekday.
It’s pretty clear that the cat is out of the bag - Toronto is an incredible place to live and work.
With the population of the city of Toronto growing by the minute, developers like the aforementioned Allied Properties and RioCan cultivate micro-communities within the city by building innovative mixed-use structures for current and future citizens to live and work within. On top of that, the projects these developers design enrich surrounding communities with bustling retail opportunity, beautifully maintained public spaces, and enlightened architecture, which together add even deeper appeal to an already vibrant neighbourhood.
And of course – once a prosperous community is established – it needs to be greased by efficient infrastructure to remain vibrant and sustain growth into the future.
Take the “King Street Pilot Study” – a program designed by the City of Toronto and aimed for implementation this fall 2017. It estimates that the King Street corridor will continue to see significant population and employment growth in the coming decades, leading to further demand on these already heavily congested transit routes.
The response? Much needed operational changes to improve streetcar service along it’s busiest route in the city.
Modifications include allowing all-door loading (to become more effective with the new low-floor streetcars), adding supplemental buses, extending turning and on-street parking restrictions, optimizing transit stop locations and route running times, adding route supervisors, as well as improving night service.
When simple measures are introduced to improve transit reliability, enhance the public realm, and increase safety and support businesses in densely populated areas of a city under a rapid pace of new development, everybody wins. Because after all – a well-designed city is a happy city, no matter what neighborhood you live in.