Penthouses Put International Buyers on Top of the Heap

Upper-level units at Canderel's Aura, YC Condos aimed at global market
July 14, 2015 Updated: July 14, 2015

When it comes to luxury real estate in Toronto, things don’t get much more exclusive than a penthouse at Aura, the 80-storey behemoth at the northwest corner of Yonge and Gerrard Sts.

“It’s definitely a unique property,” Riz Dhanji, vice-president of sales and marketing for Canderel, the building’s developer, tells Epoch Times in an interview, noting that work is wrapping up on the three remaining top-floor suites, which range from 2,100 square feet to 3,055 square feet, and are priced from $2.4 million to $4 million.

“Not many people can say they live on the top floor of Canada’s tallest condo.”

Penthouses at Aura have 12.5-foot ceilings, two fireplaces, and engineered wood flooring, and offer unobstructed views of the downtown skyline and lake beyond.

Kitchens come with custom cabinetry, granite countertops, and a backsplash made from marble, coloured glass, or limestone. Appliances include Sub-Zero refrigerator and under-counter wine fridge, 36-inch Wolf gas cooktop, wall oven, and built-in microwave. There’s a Miele dishwasher and stacked washer and dryer, as well.

Bathrooms have custom cabinetry, Kohler fixtures, marble tile, and heated flooring in the master ensuite. There’s also a freestanding bathtub, and a rain-shower head and four wall-mounted body spray jets in the frameless glass shower.

Aura has a fitness centre, 24-hour concierge, and three guest suites. Several restaurants are located at the tower’s base, as are retailers Marshalls and Bed Bath & Beyond, among others.
The primary target market for the penthouses, Dhanji says, is overseas buyers from the Middle East, mainland China, Hong Kong, Russia, and Eastern Europe, who are accustomed to condo living and want to own a prestigious property in downtown Toronto.

“It’s impossible to find a $1-million house in the city,” he explains, “and a $2 million house closer to the city will get you around 2,300 square feet—not much value for a house that size, and it’s a lot of work to get it up to a half-decent size.”

Buyers of Aura’s top-level suites—which are also being catered toward local buyers looking to downsize or professionals seeking a pad in the city centre—”want that urban feel and lifestyle,” adds Dhanji, “and money’s not really an issue for them. They just want to buy prize properties, so when friends come to visit they can say they live in the most iconic building in Toronto.”

Just north of Aura, construction is underway on Canderel’s YC Condos, a 66-storey tower at Yonge and Grenville that’s slated for a 2017 completion.

The building has five floors of penthouses: 37 upper-level suites total, 36 of which have been sold. The units range from 1,000 to 1,500 square feet, targeting purchasers in search of spacious digs.

“We knew there was demand for larger suites,” says Dhanji, noting the bulk of the penthouses at YC sold in the first six months after going on the market. “There’s not enough supply in the Bay-Yonge-College area, and there are a lot of doctors and dentists and other professionals who work in the area, and a lot of people downsizing who are looking for larger suites and just can’t find them.”

The condo has the distinction of being the first in Canada to offer Samsung digital home technology, with doors that can be unlocked via mobile phone, cameras that monitor in-suite activity, and digital blinds, among other features. Amenities at YC Condos include a fitness centre, party room, and infinity pool on the top floor, Aqua 66.

Below that, the remaining available penthouse unit at YC is a two-storey, 1,500-square-foot sky loft on the 64th and 65th floors with 10-foot ceilings on both floors and floor-to-celling windows.

“It’s like having your own little semi-detached townhouse, but in the sky,” Dhanji says, noting the unit, released several weeks ago, is priced at $1.45 million (parking is extra). The suite has engineered wood flooring, Miele kitchen appliances, and quartz countertops.

And, like Aura, YC Condos is attracting an array of purchasers from around the world. “The project got lots of exposure overseas,” says Dhanji, pointing to Toronto’s rising profile on the international real estate stage.

“It’s never going to be New York, but we’re getting to a stage where people really want to live here and set up base here—and they love condo living.”

Ryan Starr is a Toronto-based freelance journalist.