In this Year of the Rooster, those who work hard will reap rewards in their careers and financial investments.
One of the best investments in the Toronto area is real estate and the market will continue to be strong, whether buyers are purchasing as an investment or as a place to live, predicts Christopher Wein, president of Great Gulf Homes. He foresees Chinese buyers playing an important role locally and worldwide.
“I think the Chinese (investor) market will continue to grow and blossom and ultimately, China will be one of the most important real estate powers on the globe,” Wein told the Epoch Times. “We at Great Gulf want to find innovative ways we can work together on the business and customer service side.”
Great Gulf is one of Canada’s largest builders, with condo and low-rise projects in Ontario and Alberta. It also builds in major U.S. cities including Dallas, Texas, Washington D.C. and West Palm Beach, Florida with low-rise communities under its Ashton Woods label and high-rises under the Great Gulf banner. It also operates First Gulf, a company that develops and builds office, mixed-use, retail and industrial properties in the United States and Canada, and Tucker HiRise, a construction management firm.
Great Gulf is not only one of Canada’s largest building and development companies, but one of its most innovative. Great Gulf’s low-rise homes are built at the H+ME Technology manufacturing facility where floors and wall panels are precision-engineered. The homes are made and assembled in the plant, where materials are protected from the elements, stored in a controlled environment and delivered by flatbed trucks to home sites where they are constructed onsite in two days. It’s the only factory of this kind in North America.
Great Gulf also built the first Active House in Canada, in partnership with H+ME Technology, superkül architecture of Toronto and Europe’s Active House Alliance. The first house in Thorold is constructed of factory-built wood panels and includes as much natural light as possible, with 14 skylights and 23 windows. A second home built in Etobicoke is the first certified Active House in the world. Even windowless rooms have daylight provided by sun-tunnels. It also has two heat-recovery ventilators to provide a constant source of fresh air, and water-saving and sustainable features. Great Gulf hopes to bring some of the Active House’s features to some of its low-rise communities.
The company is also demonstrating its commitment to ‘green’ building by hiring an executive director of sustainability and energy efficiency to explore ways to improve its buildings and to work with other stakeholders and the ministry of environment.
Great Gulf has created some of Toronto’s most noteworthy condo projects, such as Number One Bloor at the iconic Yonge and Bloor intersection, that will be one of the city’s tallest buildings. The first floors are occupied. Monde condo, designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Sadfie, is under construction along the downtown Toronto waterfront, as is Yonge + Rich in the popular Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood. Coming condo projects include Home, geared to end-users at 48 Power St., Spadina at 101 Spadina and 8 Cumberland in Toronto. New low-rise communities are coming to Holland Landing and Whitby.
Wein predicted while the market will be healthy in 2017, there are challenges, such as the lack of supply of land available for development and the time it takes to get approval so projects can get to market.
“Demand will continue to outstrip supply,” Wein said. “Eventually, we’ll hit the affordability wall and demand will soften, but that will strengthen the rental market and we’ll see more purpose-built new rental buildings.”
Tracy Hanes is a Toronto area based freelance writer.