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Condo-Mania: Agents Line Up For Condos At College Park

Posted by Andrew / February 26, 2008

College Park Condos Line up.jpgHere we go again. After the well documented insanity that was the broker's sales event for 1 Bloor, I should not have been surprised when the line up for sales at downtown's newest entry into the Tallest Tower in Toronto Contest started a full 2 weeks before the actual sales event.

Aura is a proposed 75 storey condo tower that will rise at Yonge and Gerrard. Representing the third phase of the College Park Residences development, it has had many people in the industry buzzing for months.

For those with a short memory, the line up for units at 1 Bloor in November 2007 also started about 2 weeks or so before the broker's sales event. The apparently endless supply of potential buyers combined with a national media storm covering the event resulted in the developer in that case announcing that they were raising the prices by 25-50% on each unit just moments before the sales event started.

The whole experience left buyers and agents alike with such a foul taste that many vowed never again to take part in such a ludicrous charade, but less than four months later, it's deja vu all over again.

(Note: when the photo above was taken, the members of the line up were on their daily break. They must check in every 3 hours and do a role call to keep their spot in line.)

Andrew la Fleur is a registered real estate agent and regular contributor of blogTO.

Discussion

62 Comments

Dan / February 26, 2008 at 12:14 pm
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Do they just leave theor chairs there all day? I kind of want to mess with them.
Jerrold / February 26, 2008 at 12:17 pm
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^^^ lol
Andrew (author) / February 26, 2008 at 12:21 pm
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@Dan-That would either make for a great episode of Punk'd or it would start a small riot :)
jt / February 26, 2008 at 12:21 pm
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maybe the ppl in line can form a different shaped waiting group. This group would assemble as a circle, and discuss how + petition the developer to better contribute to the city through better architecture, more sustainable building, act as a city builder through public amenities....

but instead they selfishly wait in line to buy a independent box in a tower that will be built with shitty materials, put a tremendous weight on the infrastructure, and detract from the city. the toronto cycle continues...
Patrick / February 26, 2008 at 12:22 pm
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I hereby resolve not to buy any Toronto real estate until it is the SELLERS who line up to see me -- and not the other way around.

Andrew (author) / February 26, 2008 at 12:31 pm
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@jt-I can understand where you are coming from (see many of my previous posts on blogTO). Of note with this particular project is that the developer sought input on their design/site plan before finalizing plans for the tower. They revised their original design based on the recommendations of an independent <A HREF="http://www.thestar.com/article/276302/";>design review panel</A>. I think it's a step in the right direction if nothing else.
Mark Dowling / February 26, 2008 at 12:34 pm
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Are you allowed to leave chairs obstructing the public sidewalk like that? (although the sleeping bags and other personal effects one finds on Bay would lead one to think that "yes you are")
uSkyscraper / February 26, 2008 at 12:52 pm
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I don't know why I always get suckered into these arguments, but putting a 75 storey tower at Yonge and Gerrard does not "put a tremendous weight on the infrastructure". It supports and makes use of the infrastructure in the most infrastructure-dense part of the city, while keeping shopping, office, dining and entertainment venues primed with customers. A sprawling mess of development on a former farm field in Vaughan puts tremendous weight on infrastructure, but tall buildings downtown do not. Bring'em on.
James / February 26, 2008 at 12:53 pm
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All those new taxes and fees have really slowed down the Condo market.

Scaremongerers...
Ben / February 26, 2008 at 01:04 pm
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Hi Mark,

The public sidewalk is usually only a fraction of the actual sidewalk space. I don't know what the case is here of course.....
CA / February 26, 2008 at 01:52 pm
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What? Give me a break... the seller practically begged me to come to this when I signed up on their mailing list.
At $400-$600 a square foot. I don't think so. This is all a big publicity scam. Trust me.
Randy / February 26, 2008 at 06:46 pm
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YOU GUYS SHOULD GO TO THE LAUNCH..AND MAYBE YOU WILL FIND THE DR EVIL WHO STARTED THE FIRE LAST WEEK!
Darlene / February 26, 2008 at 07:39 pm
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I've got my eye on that pink one on the left.
jack / February 26, 2008 at 08:19 pm
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the floor plans and the lay out are very disappointing.. any room that they can put a sliding door is now called "bedroom".. i think it starts at like $570 per sq ft for lower floor, and close to $700 for upper floors...this is going to make cp1 and cp2 better investment..plus the address for cp3 is 444 yonge street.. it will be interesting to see how many chinese buyers are going to be..444 means you are going to die again, again and again, lol
Joe Dumas / February 26, 2008 at 10:25 pm
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There is hardly a more appropriate place in Toronto for a tower of this height. Bring it on.

These people waiting in lawn chairs though, that's another story.
J / February 26, 2008 at 10:37 pm
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wow. taking a look at the people in the picture on the Aura website...id be surprised if anyone would want a condo in the building.
A.R. / February 26, 2008 at 11:15 pm
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At prices this high, you'd think the buildings would make a big contribution to architecture. It seems good architecture is expensive. Here's the money...

Spire will probably put them to shame.
jack / February 26, 2008 at 11:23 pm
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but spire is in a skanky neighborhood
Jen / February 26, 2008 at 11:52 pm
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I agree, I have looked at a few condos with a sliding glass doors off the living room to separate the living room.. what a joke..

http://www.toronto-condos.net
jack / February 27, 2008 at 02:54 pm
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yeah, what people used to call a den, now that they put a sliding door there, is called a bedroom... so if anyone has a 1 + 1 now.. just make sure you put and sliding panel there, you can sell it as a 2 bedroom!
DL / February 27, 2008 at 04:29 pm
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I live in the Spire and bought my unit from plans. I moved into the building September. That's when all the problems started. One elevator has not worked for 3 months (yes, that's right 3 months!!) There are only 3 elevators servicing 45 floors, so if the other elevator is in use (or not working, which was the case for about a week) only ONE ELEVATOR is available for 45 floors!!!

The units are drafty and cold in winter (it's all glass remember). They're badly designed (the air vents blow right on you in the living rooms and bedrooms), the bathrooms didn't take into account that there should be space allocated for towel racks. The heating/air conditioner units were not working in many units and the management had to send around flyers with instructions on how to fix the problem, the air vents in the hallways are incredibly loud, there is such a strong current from the hallways that if I leave my unit door open for a moment, it slams shut (pretty dangerous fire hazard!!), the intercom seems to break down about once a week. Etc, etc, etc. The building isn't even 6 months old.

This is the last time I ever buy a condo from a plan. Next time I'm going to make sure the building isn't falling apart by waiting until it's actually built before I buy.
Yossi Kaplan / February 27, 2008 at 04:38 pm
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People,

Aura is great location if you prefer the downtown core, otherwise you do have many other options, and I don't see the need to lineup there unless you must live or invest at Yonge/College. I personally wouldn't bother lining up, as a week after each of these openings I get emails and faxes of contracts looking for new owners, at best prices possible.

As for the $PSF: downtown studios now go for $500 ($250,000 for a 500 sq. ft), and 1+den will fetch $400-$450.

That's the reality of open market, supply vs. demand we live in. As long as there are buyers developers will try and get the highest possible price for their condos.

The only problem is, that you cannot possibly save fast enough to beat the upswing rates of Toronto Real Estate. On average we have seen 7% gain in the GTA over the past decade, or double your investment every 7-8 years.

I've written a few articles about it, if anyone is interested, you may visit

http://UrbanRealty.ca

- Yossi.

Yossi Kaplan / February 27, 2008 at 04:44 pm
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DL:

Next purchase hire a professional like Andrew or myself.

We are well aware of builders' reputation and past performances, and I share that information with my clients, so they can make an intelligent and knowledgable purchase.

Buying from plans is a great way to make money... but you must have all the information required first (and that's not available on websites).
Danielle / February 27, 2008 at 04:55 pm
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A friend of mine made an insane sum sitting for the 1 Bloor condos, I would have no problem doing the same!
Sherry / February 27, 2008 at 07:51 pm
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I thought the people doing the actual waiting in line were just paid to do so, no?
Jack / February 27, 2008 at 09:53 pm
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DL:
you are right.. that's why I rented a place in the building I wanted to buy, lived there for a year, then bought.. coz this way you know exactly the type of neighbors you are going to have and see for yourself if the builder is responsive.. even agents cannot tell you that if they are eager to close the deal
Lambo / February 27, 2008 at 11:11 pm
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I feel for DL who bought the Spire and I can empathsize because i lived in new building before. I think the media should keep this project low profile and don't create a hype on this again.

I don't think this line up is a scam but it's a very deceiving marketing strategy. maybe it's time for some homeless people to sleep in the line and some dumb dumb can pay them money for their spots.
M / February 27, 2008 at 11:15 pm
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Yossi,

Who are you kidding? Stop trying to pimp out your "services" every chance you get. For one, there are spelling errors all over your website. How professional could you possibly be? Second, on the website you posted above you've got an article detailing the "10 best condos" to purchase in the city. And number 2 is a Cityplace building!!! That entire development is one of the most irresponsible projects the city has approved and will be the equivalent of St. James Place 20 years from now. You only listed buildings you've been hired to sell so even writing that for potential buyers to see is irresponsible and unprofessional on your part (but I guess that is the breed). If you legitimately think the choices you've picked are the best buildings in the city, then you've just got no clue.

Anyway besides the obvious flaws I see in your professionalism and ethics, lets discuss your last post. Basically telling DL if he had bought through a "professional" like yourself, he wouldn't be in the mess he's in because you know the builders reputation.

Well just for fun, I'd like you to tell me the reputation the builder of Spire (Context) has and why you would have led him away from that purchase?
Craig / February 28, 2008 at 12:28 pm
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DL,

Having bought a condo from plans myself in a retrofit building I experienced WAY more than my fair share of problems (mould, lawsuits, stuff not finished, etc.). Believe me the problems you're experiencing are typical of a new building and will be rectified by the builder via the Tarion warranty.

Regarding the HVAC vents in your unit blowing on you, you are aware that those louvers are adjustable, right?

The air currents in the hallways behave like that precisely because it's designed that way per the building code. It creates negative pressure, so that if there's a fire in someone's unit the fire and smoke are kept from spreading out the door to other units.

I think waiting 3 months for an elevator repair is ridiculous though.

Hang tight - once your board of directors and property management get a handle on things and get the warranty issues address things will get better. It's a very desirable building and on paper at least you've made a mint!
jack / February 28, 2008 at 09:41 pm
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so i was told that these people were paid $2000 a day to wait in line.. so for 2 weeks, they will make $28k.. probably in cash
DL / February 29, 2008 at 03:21 pm
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I have enjoyed reading Andrew's informative posts in the past. However, I very much hope that agents like Yossi will get off of here immediately and never come back. If I read another blog containing information from an agent promoting himself and his business, I will boycott this blog and tell my friends to do the same. Please, go advertise your services elsewhere!! This is not an appropriate place to flog your business and try to get clients.
DL / February 29, 2008 at 03:24 pm
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Furthermore, Blogto needs to create a policy right away which bans agents like Yossi from promoting themselves and referring to their services and should immediately delete any such entries.
Jerrold / February 29, 2008 at 03:49 pm
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Hi DL,

We appreciate your concerns. The editors of blogTO are aware of Yossi's comment behaviour and find that he's not in violation of our existing policies. If his self-promotional linking becomes excessive or inappropriate, we'll deal with things as we see fit at that time.

Regards,
Jerrold Litwinenko
Associate Editor, blogTO
M / February 29, 2008 at 07:10 pm
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What about if he's completely full of crap?

I have my real estate license but I'm no agent. Why? Because people like Yossi give agents a horrible name. He's uninformed, unintelligent, unprofessional, and immoral. I can tell all those things by a couple little posts and his cheesy website. But like I said, this is the breed for the most part which is a shame for buyers and sellers who aren't fully informed about the business.

Any clients who use him I urge you to proceed with caution. This guy is a snake oil salesman who will do or say anything to make his commission.

Yossi for the record, Context is one of the most reputable builders in the city, and I'd argue one of the best. They've won project of the year before, all of their projects get acclaim (ask Christopher Hume what he thinks of them), they use top quality architects, and most importantly feel they have a responsibility to the city to not build crap. I'd do your research before you try to pimp yourself out. Otherwise you just sound stupid.
DL / March 3, 2008 at 07:52 pm
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Blog TO should not tolerate any sort of self promotion at all. And hyperlinks promoting the blogger's own business should CERTAINLY not be permitted.

In the end unfortunately Blog TO will suffer as the site's credibility and reputation will suffer and your readers will stop reading.
jack / March 5, 2008 at 10:03 pm
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i hope someone will take a pics tonite as they are camping outside the office with fire torch
Andrew / March 6, 2008 at 12:15 am
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I wonder how long it is before we will have our own housing bubble?
ayl / March 6, 2008 at 01:00 am
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Yeah, they've moved the chairs away from the side walks and into a fenced off area. Getting paid $2000/day is ridiculous, if it's true. Every time I walk past the line and see people bundled up or going into the Falafel store just to be out of the cold, I wonder if Aura is really worth it.
Francois / March 6, 2008 at 08:05 pm
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The joke about making $100K and being unable to find a decent apartment is coming true in this city. I've been renting at CP1 after owning at the Lexington on Carlton and previously renting at the Liberties, and it's the best apartment I've ever had when it comes to the quality of the finishes. Things actually fit together and work well here (except for the thermostat, which is stupidly placed directly on top of the HVAC unit!). However I'm very reluctant to pay $350K for a 700 sq. ft. place. It's obvious most of the apartments here were bought and are rented out by investors. In the present economic context it seems pretty perilous to buy in Aura at the prices that are quoted.
vultur / March 9, 2008 at 03:13 pm
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Danielle, your comments make me laugh. Your friend hasn't made a dime on 1 Bloor East and won't- by the time the building is finished (if that actually happens) and the condo is registered your friend's pre-sale contract will be worth less than than the market price for the units.

A bird in the hand Danielle...youth is wasted on the young.
vultur / March 9, 2008 at 03:16 pm
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I see my error already. Your friend sat for cash. Good for him!

I was referring to the 'investor' fools who are boasting of their paper gains.


Badabing / March 11, 2008 at 04:22 pm
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I saw news footage of the line-up... can anyone explain why it seemed like 90% asian people there? This is genuine curiosity here. Like are there a lot of condo business people that are asian?
Jack / March 13, 2008 at 02:52 pm
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because asians are savvy investors, willing to take risk.. they save so they have money to invest.. they know how to leverage
The Beerad / March 13, 2008 at 09:46 pm
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...and they're going to "take over Toronto", right Jack?
jack / March 14, 2008 at 07:58 am
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probably not asians, but mice in chinese restaurants will
0.01% / March 15, 2008 at 04:48 pm
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Large, high profile projects like this are a magnet for foreign/asian investor syndicates. They aren't buying 1 suite- they are buying them 10 at a time. This kind of herd buying is characteristic of today's new condo market and it's what the market precariously susceptible to a significant pullback.

I could care less whether the building is occupied with blacks, whites, asians, hispanics, africans, or aliens. In fact I prefer the colour of diversity! All are welcome in this incredible, ethically diverse and tolerant society that makes Toronto the envy of many. The problem is that this is guaranteed to be an investor-dominated (read: transient, non-owner occupied) building and therefore will be vulnerable to wild volatility in value. Prices here will fluctuate dramatically with the rampant speculation that it attracts. Whenever owners aren't end users problems arise.

Just ask the developers in Miami!

jack / March 15, 2008 at 08:14 pm
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i heard that they were changing the street address, is that true? 444 Yonge Street is bad luck
0.01% / March 15, 2008 at 08:26 pm
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Don't know about you, but to me '444' is three-of-a-kind and that's good luck!
jack / March 16, 2008 at 06:56 pm
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3 of a kind indeed! when you die 3 times
0.01% / March 17, 2008 at 09:04 am
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Well, in Canada 444 is good luck. I respect that the number has a meaning in certain Asian cultures but this is Canada not Asia. Changing the address to accommodate one specific ethnic culture appears to run contrary to the widespread principals of tolerance and diversity that have shaped this city. Were I the developer I would certainly not adhere to such practices.
GT / March 17, 2008 at 11:09 am
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@Lambo, please explain this (Second, on the website you posted above you've got an article detailing the "10 best condos" to purchase in the city. And number 2 is a Cityplace building!!!)Aside for the secuity people that they choose to employ I see nothing wrong with this plan? Perhaps using so much empty space to populate and bring in more money is bad thing? Perhaps CN Rail should have kept the property to add more railways that will never get used?
jack / March 17, 2008 at 07:54 pm
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"Well, in Canada 444 is good luck."... really, how so?
"Changing the address to accommodate one specific ethnic culture appears to run contrary to the widespread principals of tolerance and diversity that have shaped this city"... a lot of buildings don't have 13th floor or unit 13, could you explain?
ayl / March 17, 2008 at 08:17 pm
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The building above Yonge & Wellesley's Starbucks doesn't have floor 4.

It's strange to have this notion that all Asian people are obsessed with numbers. Personally, I don't really pay much attention to it. There was a man in my building who had an elevator conversation with me, asking me why so many Asians lived in the building. I don't know if I should've been offended or not? He then asked if it was because of numbers. I just told him if he liked living in a new building, so does everyone else.
Andrew (author) / March 17, 2008 at 08:47 pm
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Whoa. I never would have thought this thread would have turned into a debate over the validity of Asian culturalisms. Maybe it's time for an update post on CP3: Aura...
0.01% / March 17, 2008 at 09:53 pm
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Jack,

As I told you, 444 is 3-of-a-kind and therefore widely perceived to be good luck as well as catchy and easy to remember. I think that in a small way it adds cache to the building. 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan recently sold for a record amount. No, it's not the only reason of course but the address is easily ingrained in one's mind as 444 Yonge Street would be no doubt.

I have no problem adding a 13th floor to new buildings either. It's a silly superstition although it is a North America one as opposed to an Asian one.

This is North America after all, not Asia! I say bring on people from all cultures, all countries, all races, all planets. But Toronto should not be going so far as to have a municipal address changed to accommodate one potential class of buyers. To me that is a very silly reaction.
Jack / March 17, 2008 at 10:23 pm
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all things equal, i would not buy any property associated with the number 4. Why exclude a huge group of potential buyers?
0.01% / March 18, 2008 at 12:56 am
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Well, maybe because there's an equally huge group of buyers that associate that address with good luck and prosperity. I'm sure market studies would show that the majority of Canadians would rather live at 444 Yonge Street than 440 Yonge Street.

All things being equal, the municipal address is what it is- if you don't like the number '444' then tell you friends you live in the Aura building.
Lochlyn / May 5, 2008 at 05:21 pm
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Does anyone know how high i can go with $450k for 700+sqt one bed room plus den in Aura building? I am reluctant to hire an agent, but it seems they are the only persons who have "actual" information.
0.02% / July 31, 2008 at 12:20 am
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The address for CP3 Aura was changed to 388 Yonge St a while back FYI
Yossi Kaplan / October 15, 2013 at 02:36 pm
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Looking back at a comment I left 5 years ago, Aura is nearing completion, values are up and we are now assigning units (selling those condo units purchased way back then) to those who are looking to invest and/or live in Aura. PSF 700-1000, depending on unit type, height, views. Feel free to give me a shout if you need some advise. yk.
Alex replying to a comment from Yossi Kaplan / October 15, 2013 at 03:23 pm
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Why would anyone want to live in that building? It's an eye sore, a terrible use of space and a man died during its construction. Cursed building.
Yossi / October 15, 2013 at 03:48 pm
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Aura provides the benefits of central downtown location, future PATH connectivity, built in mall at P1 level and larger brand store plus Canderel has established a very good name for itself. Those IMHO are the main arguments for valuation.

Nonetheless, everyone has different taste and what looks good to some may not appeal to you, that's subjective and I respect your personal view. As for the worker that fell that is a tragedy and sadly it happens.

Bottom line Toronto is adding 100-150,000 people a year and many of them want to live downtown, we can't build houses to fit them all so we need to build up and with lack of public transportation infrastructure projects on the subway line sell at a premium, just like in metros like New York, Hong Kong and Paris. Take care.

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