Corp Comm Connects

Newmarket rental complex brings with it ‘great hope’
June 26, 2015
Chris Simon  

It was hailed as the “groundbreaking for a groundbreaking” new apartment complex.

Dignitaries and representatives from The Rose Corporation gathered to turn sod on the new 15-storey, 225-unit 212 Davis Apartments development in Newmarket Tuesday afternoon. Once complete, the purpose-built rental apartment building will offer modern suites, high speed Internet connectivity, central air conditioning, common area, exercise facility and a range of sustainable, “green” features — including a rainwater collection system that will be used to irrigate the site, energy efficient light fixtures and electric vehicle charging stations. It will also be close to the Davis Viva rapidway.

Occupancies are expected in 2017.

“There is a terrible shortage of rental accommodation, specifically in the town and more generally in the region,” Rose CEO Sam Reisman said.

“The story of this development has not been told yet. But like proud parents, we have great hopes for our first born. With it is our hope to see many more generations of development led by this one. Rental accommodation should not be an empty hope for this community; it should not be policy unfulfilled. To create a compassionate community, we need modern accommodation ... at prices that attract a permanent and stable labour force to sustain this community and help it grow.”

The site is the first new, privately funded project of its kind to be developed in York Region since the 1980s. It’s on a 2.4-acre property between Parkside Drive and Lorne Avenue, and is part of a pilot project between the developer, York Region and the town.

Once complete, the building must remain a rental complex for at least 20 years and is expected to include about 56 affordable housing units.

“This has been a very important project for (the) region,” York chairperson Wayne Emmerson said, noting only 57 private sector rental units were built in the region between 2012 and 2014.

“Homeownership in (the) region is an expensive investment, one that many simply cannot afford. Unfortunately, there has been very little construction of purpose-built rentals the last 15 years. This building is a positive step in turning the curve. Building complete communities begins with housing that meets the needs of all residents.”

Project co-ordinators also hope the development will encourage further construction of rental housing in the region. Both the region and the town agreed to defer development charges to reduce the construction risk for the developer.

Unlike condominium projects, which usually require large downpayments from unit buyers in advance, rental apartments force the developer to cover most of the construction costs. The risk can often dissuade builders from investing in these projects.

“It’s always a challenge to introduce new concepts to different stakeholders,” Mayor Tony Van Bynen said.

“Newmarket is in the middle of a significant transformation. We’re poised to take giant leaps forward in areas that are crucial to the success of our town, including planning, transportation, community building, technology and economic development.

“This project is a prime example of the development that will form the next phase of Newmarket’s urban centres secondary plan, which includes exciting opportunities for growth along our Yonge Street and Davis corridors.”