Originally published in The Star, Saturday, March 12, 2011
By Tracy Hanes
The folks at the Remington Group know a thing or two about transformations. For the past half dozen years, they’ve been transforming formerly vacant land north of Highway 407 and east of Warden Ave. into Downtown Markham where eventually 9,500 people will live and 16,000 will work in a European style mixed-use urban downtown.
Now Remington is about to contribute to the ongoing transformation of Toronto’s Queensway neighbourhood with the launch of IQ this month. The IQ moniker is a play on the “smart” aspects of the project, such as energy efficient features and optional plug-ins for electric cars, and on its location at Islington Ave. and the Queensway.
Local councillor Peter Milczyn says for years the Queensway was “a lost street” that has slowly been evolving from an aging industrial/commercial strip where many of the old factories have closed, into a mixed use road with retail and residential.
Several years ago, the City of Toronto undertook an avenue study to give direction to the Queensway and “we wanted to promote urbanization and intensification,” says Milczyn.
Modest efforts to bring residential units to the Queensway started in the mid ’90s with a few small infill townhouse projects and got a recent boost with the completion of the Loggia condo just east of Islington.
Milczyn describes the IQ development as a “very welcome” addition to the neighbourhood. “What we need now is population and more people on the street to animate it so it becomes a destination, not just someplace people pass through. As more people who live here, more restaurants and stores will come in, to serve the people who live here and attract others to visit the area.”
“This area has a lot of potential and opportunity and it’s great to be involved with the City of Toronto and Etobicoke,” says Michael Bratty, president of Remington’s high-rise and commercial/retail division.
“We have high expectations and think the Queensway is a great location.”
“This project is not the first multifamily residential project, but one of the few that have been started in the area. I think it will tie in and lend itself well with existing retail and other businesses,” he says.
IQ’s initial phase will include the 12-storey, 123-unit west tower, which will be the first of seven in the master-planned community that will create 1,200 residential units.
“It’s a big commitment to this neighbourhood. Whether it’s 300 or 1,200 units, our vision here is long term,” says Bratty. “We are as interested as those who live in the area to witness the changes that are coming and to be part of them.
“Etobicoke is a great gateway to downtown when you are coming into Toronto along the west side. I think it offers the lifestyle of an urban downtown with the lakeshore and boardwalk, and vibrant retail along the Queensway without the downtown prices.” (Prices will start in the $190,000s).
Bratty says the project reflects a multi-faceted urban lifestyle. “I think it’s very hip, very professional — it’s fun, it’s active, it’s passive, it’s going to the opera, it’s going to the football game. And you are within walking distant of fine restaurants, shops, movie theatres. It’s great to have that lifestyle available to you at suburban prices.”
IQ marks Remington’s return to the condo market since its first foray with Viva at Bathurst St. and Wilson Ave. half a dozen years ago. While Remington’s Downtown Markham development tends to get the most attention, Bratty says, the company’s vision also includes areas with existing infrastructure where the company can “bring in buildings that complement and interact well within the neighbourhood.”
Development: IQ Condominium Residences
Location: Islington Ave. and The Queensway
Developer: The Remington Group
Architect: EI Richmond
Designer: Bryon Patton & Associates
Development size: 12-storey tower with 123 units. First of seven towers in master-planned community
Suite sizes: 485 to 900 sq. ft. including studio, one bedroom, one bedroom plus den, two bedroom, two bedroom plus den
Prices: From the $190,000s to the high $300,000s
Suite features: Nine or 10 foot ceilings; high performance double-glazed windows; expansive balconies and terraces; hardwood, ceramic and porcelain flooring; Energy Star appliances; granite kitchen countertops
Amenities: Indoor salt water pool/whirlpool, fitness centre with weight, yoga and cardio rooms; party room; lounge; car wash bays; pet spa; lounge; six floor exterior landscape terrace with fireplace, dining and lounging area and barbecues
Tentative occupancy: Summer 2013
Sales centre: 1061 Queensway. Open Monday to Thursday noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays noon to 5 p.m. Tel. 416-253-5838