Quality of Life a Top Priority at Soul Condos

FRAM Building Group's latest project is near transit, Fairview Mall
April 23, 2015 Updated: April 27, 2015

Frank Giannone wants residents at his condo projects to enjoy a top-notch quality of life. It’s a focus reflected in the name FRAM Building Group has given its latest development: Soul Condos

“It means the soul of a person, basically,” explains the company’s chief in an interview with Epoch Times at its Port Credit headquarters. “We want to connect where people live with how they live and how they feel.”

FRAM’s had plenty of experience with the matter. Giannone and his team are the residential builders behind the Shops at Don Mills, the pedestrian-friendly mixed-use mega-project it’s co-developing with Cadillac Fairview—a GTA game-changer.

Residents at Soul Condos (150 Fairview Mall Dr.) will enjoy excellent transit options: the community’s a short stroll from Don Mills TTC subway station and a York Region Transit terminal. It’s also situated across the road from one of North York’s top malls. And the condo itself boasts an array of amenities, including a gym, games room, outdoor lounges and a one-acre central park that’ll knit the new community together.

“I’m a big believer that if you’re giving customers a pedestrian-focused neighbourhood with good amenities around it, they’ll live a better quality of life,” Giannone says.

Soul launched in January and at last tally 70 percent of its 213 units had been sold. A second building, dubbed Connect—at 128 Fairview Mall Dr.—was released in March, and half of its 209 units were sold as of mid-April. Many of the purchasers at the 7.2 acre master-planned development, which will include five buildings and 74 townhouses, have been Chinese locals living in North York or Scarborough, according to Johnson Cheng with Cornerstone Marketing Realty, who’s managing the development’s sales.

It’s only one of several projects on FRAM’s crowded slate at the moment.

Back at Shops at Don Mills, the firm is under construction on Flaire Condos, the latest residential phase. The project will comprise two 11-storey towers linked by a four-storey podium with a rooftop terrace. (One of the towers is sold out; and a quarter of the 296 total units remain.) Flaire is the third building in a residential development that ultimately will comprise 2,000 units and seven buildings. Two more restaurants will be coming to the retail plaza soon, Giannone says, though he won’t dish on who it’ll be.

An announcement will be made shortly by Cadillac Fairview.

Also at Shops Don Mills, FRAM has converted the landmark 1970 office tower at 75 The Donway W into LivLofts, a 14-storey loft-style residence that preserves the building’s best design features and blends them with a contemporary urban aesthetic. A highlight is LivLofts’ double-height lobby, framed by the tower’s concrete columns. A handful of the 173 units remain, according to Giannone, who notes the project has been attracting attention from local empty nesters and first-time buyers alike.

LivLofts’ rooftop amenity hub is the genuine article, taking up half the building’s summit with a hot tub, party room, and gym. “This is a true rooftop, which you don’t see a lot of the time; it’s usually on a podium,” says Giannone’s son and project manager John Giannone.

While all this is happening in Toronto, FRAM has also been making inroads into the Calgary market, having co-developed two condo buildings there with Slokker Real Estate Group. The first, appropriately named First Condos at East Village, is a sold-out 196-unit tower scheduled for July delivery. The second, Verve, is a 25-storey building that’s 70 percent sold to date.

Oil may have taken a tumble, but it hasn’t impacted FRAM’s fortunes in Cowtown. “We continue to make deals there,” Giannone says. “The economy’s not as buoyant as it was, but we’re still selling, and prices are where they were six months ago.”

That’s got much to do with location, he acknowledges: both buildings are situated along the Bow River and just at the edge of the city’s free downtown LRT service zone—a true quality of life enhancer, just the way Giannone likes it. “That’s why they’ve continued to sell.”

Ryan Starr is a Toronto-based freelance journalist.