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July 25, 2010
There are many advantages to buying a new home of any kind, including a suite in a condominium. Tarion Warranty coverage, the fact that everything is clean and fresh and unused by others, fantastic amenities, luxurious features – the list of benefits is long and impressive. There is also the fact that today’s condos are built to higher design and construction standards than they were 20 years ago, and frankly, they will age better.
So much about modern buildings is different from when condominiums were introduced in Toronto in the early 1980s. Today, some of those buildings appear quite dated and tired looking. The original condos were really more like collections of apartments with one or two amenities for the residents’ use, maybe a swimming pool or gym in a poorly lit basement. On average, suites were larger than they are in our new buildings, but there was a lot of wasted space in them. Forward-thinking builders avoid that scenario with well-designed suites that maximize every square foot. They also design condominium exteriors with stunning, timeless appeal.
The change has been in response to an educated buying public, who demand the latest in construction techniques, features, finishes and amenities. New buildings offer incredible amenities in bright spaces with large windows. Rather than being relegated to a dingy basement, today’s pools in condominiums are on higher floors that receive ample natural light, and many even open onto an outdoor sunning deck. Designed to be an extension of owners’ living spaces, amenities may include fabulous party rooms, games and theatre screening rooms, guest rooms, and even virtual golf and pet spas.
Today’s condominium design is outstanding, with striking lobbies that reflect the exterior architecture to create a streamlined look. And whatever your tastes, there is a condominium in the Greater Toronto Area that will feel like “home” to you. Gorgeous and sophisticated, the choices include sleek modern glass towers, traditional European-style brick buildings with pre-cast arches and intricate masonry trim, and everything in between. The materials in these condominiums wear well, and weather our Toronto elements efficiently. The designs are enhancing Toronto’s skyline, and I believe they will look as stunning decades from now as they do today.
Landscaping plays a major role in why modern condominiums are increasingly appealing. The older buildings tended to have plainer immediate surroundings, but current condominiums have lovely landscaping details and focal points such as courtyards and park-like grounds. The landscape architect is an integral part of the design team for many developers today. They understand that the money invested in these natural details will be well worth it as the plant material matures. In both low-rise and high-rise real estate, well-done landscaping can contribute to the value of these homes.
And let’s talk “green.” Modern condo design includes environmentally friendly features that will help to carry these new buildings into the future in a more sustainable way than ever before. There are many third-party rating systems such as ENERGY STAR® for low-rise homes and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for condos. Plus, Ontario Building Code has been changed to incorporate so many energy-saving, environmentally friendly criteria that it is catching up to these independent rating systems. I believe it’s only a matter of time until all condominium developers are building to the LEED standard.
Today’s condominium buildings are competing for value with great design and fabulous amenities and finishes. It’s always fascinating to see what developers come up with architecturally to vary the skyline and carry residents into the future in style. In a decade or two, I am sure the media will be commenting on how beautifully these buildings stood the test of time.
Other Articles by Barbara Lawlor:
Barbara Lawlor is president of Baker Real Estate Incorporated and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com