We are project managers and development consultants. We specialise residential low rise developments in the City of Toronto.
Our mission is to help people transition to sustainable living. We believe sustainable buildings and homes can be more comfortable and rewarding.
Summary of our Development Process
Property development is a process of developing a vision to improve a property and then making that vision a reality. Creating a project vision is an important first step in creating a successful development. Making that vision a reality is by clearly articulating the project and marketing it to regulators, neighbors, and prospective project participants like investors, consultants and trades to create a project team. Executing the vision is by project managing the team to a successful completion.
All phases of property development require a wide range of skills, including project management, marketing, research , finance, construction, and others. The process starts by developing the project vision, discovering the highest and best use and negotiating entitlement (zoning approval) for the project. Ancillary to this function is developing a business plan for the project, including costs, benefits, and timelines to completion.
At the conclusion of the entitlement phase, you may choose to sell the property capturing the value created during the zoning approval stage or carry on to completion, occupancy and closeout using the plan developed.
Discovering the highest and best use, requires a period of open minded brainstorming. In most cases, we can confine ourselves to residential uses, however options still remain, including developing homes, townhouses, stacked towns, apartments, or some combination, in various building forms in freehold, condominium, or rental form of tenure.
The development prospect for a property may be altered by squaring off the property by acquiring the bit at the rear occupied by the rundown garage and owned by St. Mathews Anglican Church. Discussions should be started with the church to determine what cost the acquisition might be to determine whether it adds value to the development. Similarly, access from First Ave. or West Ave. might improve site utilization so it would be wise to explore whether any access could be acquired and at what cost.
Modeling and Business plan
Modeling means picturing both built form and financial modeling of the options developed by brainstorming, by modeling the project to determine the best candidate. At first the modeling will be very simple, using rules of thumb and simplified assumptions. After we have what we believe to be a realistic plan, we can approach Municipal Planning staff using the “Pre-Application Consultation” format.
Zoning Approval phase
Once we have decided on our highest and best use, and had a meeting with the city to gauge acceptability we will prepare an application in the agreed form.
The minimum application required will likely be a Site Plan Control application and a Rezoning. We may need an Official Plan amendment as well. In addition, depending on the form of tenure of the finished project, we may need a Plan of Subdivision, or a Plan of Condominium. All of these submissions require detailed plans and reports, and most of them require special consultants, for instance, surveyors for either plan of condominium or plan of subdivision, legal consultants, civil engineering, arborist, geotechnical etc.
Our approach is to develop strategies , drawings and plans in house and outsource to consultants only as needed. However the list of needed consultants is long, and unavoidable, for instance in the case of Surveyors, or lawyers.
During the zoning approval stage it is wise to have a community information strategy, beyond what the City mandates. In this way you might mitigate opposition, and build support at the political level for the project.
The Real Estate Market has been strong, especially in Toronto. Developing property is much easier in a rising market, but nothing goes forever. In my opinion, a lot of caution should be used in predicting prices and the sales or rental environment going forward. It is wise to re-assess at every step.
At the time of this writing real estate prices at the retail level are still holding up, interest rates have (dramatically in some cases) lowered, but residential rents are down 5-10%. In the case of development land, prices are softening a bit.