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Old Posted Dec 18, 2012, 10:36 PM
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Toronto leading the western world in high highrise development

Toronto leading the western world in high highrise development


December 12, 2012

By Susan Pigg



Read More: http://www.thestar.com/business/arti...se-development

Quote:
Tall-building development here is outpacing every other city in the Western Hemisphere with 15 skyscrapers exceeding roughly 45 storeys now under construction, according to a new study by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. That means by 2015, Toronto will be home to 44 highrises exceeding 150 metres, more than triple the 13 skyscrapers that graced the city’s skyline in 2005, says the Chicago-based clearing house on all the latest in tall building design and construction.

- “Ten years ago, the average highrise was 30 to 35 storeys. Today, 60 is becoming commonplace. Those heights are going to become the new norm as (building) sites become more scarce,” says Riz Dhanji, vice president of sales and marketing for Canderel Residential Group. “We’re turning into a very exciting city. The tall buildings are bringing the density and the people into the downtown core and making us more of a walkable city, which is fantastic.” Just last June, the council voted Mississauga’s iconic 50- and 56-storey Absolute World — the so-called Marilyn Monroe towers — the best tall buildings in the Americas and became fascinated by the extent of the building boom north of the border, says executive director Antony Wood.

- In fact, the council now considers Canada such a North American leader in green highrise development, it’s looking to establish a Canadian chapter and considering holding an annual conference here so leading architects and building professionals can see what’s happening firsthand. “When Canada wins the best tall building in the Americas twice in four years, you kind of think to yourself, there’s something good going on up there. And we’d heard of all this activity coming out of Toronto. That’s what piqued our interest,” says Wood. Even council members were surprised by how much has gone up in just a few short years, some of which reflects pure economics: While the U.S. building industry has been battered by the recession, Canada’s has soared since suffering just a brief downturn in 2007/2008.

- It may not be long until Toronto hits the 100 storeys-plus mark and finally starts embracing far more extraordinary projects like the Frank Gehry-designed culture-and-condo towers proposed for Toronto’s entertainment district, says architect Richard Witt of Toronto’s Quadrangle Architects. Which makes him chuckle thinking back to 2001 when an architect friend was shocked to hear Witt was leaving London’s esteemed Foster + Partners for Toronto. “He said, ‘Don’t do it. Toronto is like an old sock under the couch. Every so often the dog picks it up, has a little play with it and forgets about it again. The city is not going anywhere.’ “For sure he is eating his words now.”

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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2012, 10:39 PM
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Do we really need another variation on this article every week?
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  #3  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 12:08 AM
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^I thought it was a new iteration every day.
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Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 3:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyRonin View Post
Do we really need another variation on this article every week?
Why not? Not everyone keeps up with development in Toronto. Great article.
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  #5  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 4:26 PM
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Toronto will not maintain a 2 to 1 constructors advantage over New York City for long. Let's enjoy it. It's bound to end, and end badly.

lol!

I'm a NAYSAYER, and I approved this message.
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Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 6:51 PM
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Toronto has 36,000 construction permits awarded YTD through October (same as Houston), but this is 47% multifamily (17000 units, #1 in NA). Houston, NY, and Dallas clock in at 11000-14000 multifamily (+5 units) permits.

Which brings up the topic of highrises vs other type of multifamily construction. How is it that Toronto has a 2 to 1 highrise advantage over NY (which I've heard from multi sources) but only a 22% permit advantage?
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  #7  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 7:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
Toronto has 36,000 construction permits awarded YTD through October (same as Houston), but this is 47% multifamily (17000 units, #1 in NA). Houston, NY, and Dallas clock in at 11000-14000 multifamily (+5 units) permits.

Which brings up the topic of highrises vs other type of multifamily construction. How is it that Toronto has a 2 to 1 highrise advantage over NY (which I've heard from multi sources) but only a 22% permit advantage?
I wrote this in one of the thousand other threads on this topic, but I'll repeat my thoughts: I don't think the premise is correct.

I don't know what the leading highrise city is in the Western World, because there's no reliable database. Emporis is horrible in Latin America, and highly variable in quality in the rest of the Western World.

And, obviously, the questions of "what constitutes a highrise in terms of height", "what counts as a city in terms of geography" and "are we counting occupied, u/c, permitted, and how are we counting these variables given that jurisdictions have different rules" are key questions.

Given all this, if I had to guess, and we used the Emporis definition of 12+ floors, I still think that Mexico City and NYC are building more highrises than Toronto. There could be other cities too (Sao Paulo?) but I don't know other cities very well.

But really, I don't know, for sure. I'm fairly certain that these articles are based on bullshit stats, though.
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Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 8:53 PM
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I agree.
By my count, NYC has more than 200 buildings U/C over 12 floors. Emporis and CTBUH don't have all that's going on in the outer boroughs.

Just to disprove what's written in the article over Toronto having the most above 45 floors:

And all more than 500 feet:

1 World Trade Center
432 Park Avenue
2 World Trade Center
3 World Trade Center
One 57
4 World Trade Center
Coach Tower
56 Leonard
Marriott Courtyard & Residence Inn
Baccarat Hotel & Residences
160 West 62nd Street
388 Bridge Street
135 West 45th Street
175 West 60th Street
Holiday Inn - Financial District

250 West 55th Street 40 stories 605'
29 Flatbush Avenue - 44 floors 488 feet
400 Park Avenue South - 42 stories 475 feet
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  #9  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 9:27 PM
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^^ however, the # of permits don't lie. Toronto has more permitted apartment units in 2012, and likely performed well in 2011 also, than NY.
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Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 9:39 PM
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Permits aren't necessarily comparable.

First, are we talking land use permits or building permits? Hopefully we're talking the latter because those happen later (at least under a typical system). How long are they valid, and what are the options for extending an existing permit vs. getting a new one? What about master plans (for multi-building projects) vs. permitting each building only when it's ready to happen?

Likewise, what counts as a "unit" isn't 100% comparable. In my city, a mini-wave of projects is happening where there are a handful of "units" but each one contains several bedrooms that are rented separately. Are live/work units included? What about condo/hotel units? What about dorms (per bed, per unit, or not at all)? All of these can vary by jurisdiction though a lot of cities share standardized codes.

I have no idea which city is busier.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 9:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
Permits aren't necessarily comparable.
Very true, and residential permits aren't necessarily proxies for highrise development.

I would wager there are significantly more highrise hotels being built in NYC than highrise residential buildings. You can't just make imputations based on residential growth patterns.
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  #12  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 1:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek2k32 View Post
I agree.
By my count, NYC has more than 200 buildings U/C over 12 floors.
Can you post your list please?

Also, not all of those buildings you listed for NYC are u/c. With one of the WTC buildings for example, they're only building a lowrise "retail podium". The tower itself could be years off, if ever.


Quote:
Just to disprove what's written in the article over Toronto having the most above 45 floors
No. The article does not say that. It says that tall building development leads the western world, and it says that there are 15 buildings over 45 stories under construction. It doesn't say that Toronto has the most 45+ story buildings u/c.
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Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 4:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Will View Post
Can you post your list please?

Also, not all of those buildings you listed for NYC are u/c. With one of the WTC buildings for example, they're only building a lowrise "retail podium". The tower itself could be years off, if ever.
The WTC will be built, there is no "if ever".
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  #14  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 5:17 AM
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Not true. In the construction world, there are no certainties.

Any tower that's not ready to break ground next week doesn't have a clear price yet. First, when you're a year out, generically speaking most of the design work is still remaining. Second, even if the design is complete, a year's delay can mean prices swing substantially, even by 10% or more. "Signed" financing is barely more secure than your bank saying you can afford a mortgage...the actual decisions come later, along with the interest rates and other terms. The leasing side can also swing, as can any public funding that would be needed to prop up a job that's "gotta happen." Then there's the litigation side, potential code changes, changes in the federal regs that are so important with the WTC....

No, "certain" starts are a fantasy believed by casual observers only, and encouraged by developers because that's their job.
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  #15  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbarn View Post
The WTC will be built, there is no "if ever".
No. The discussion was buildings under construction. One of those towers (3 I think) is only having a lowrise retail podium built for now, not a 500+ foot building. Since I saw one error at first glance, I didn't bother checking to see if the rest of the list is all actually under construction. I assume there are other errors as well, such as buildings in the prep phase.

Just at a quick glance, isn't Coach Tower only in excavation/pre-construction phase?
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Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 11:08 AM
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^ Yeah Coach tower is still just in prep phase, 2 WTC is on hold for even longer then 3WTC, and while 56 Leonard is supposed to restart anytime now i don't think it has actually resumed construction yet. As far as i know the rest of that list is correct.

Last edited by Fardeb; Dec 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM.
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Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 11:14 AM
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As context, what have been the population growth trends of Toronto and metro Toronto, and of metro Vancouver and of Canada overall?

Also, is there some metric of how urbanized Canada's population is? The US has a large rural population and in addition most cities have unlimited space for suburban sprawl, but I imagine it is hard for much of Canada's rural areas to support populations of appreciable size.

(Naturally public transport policies and myriad other factors also contribute to the increase of urban dwellers in Toronto, Vancouver, et al.)
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Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 11:29 AM
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From the numbers I've seen USA is more urbanized than Canada. I'm going off memory here, but I believe the US is around 82% and Canada around 79%.
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Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 1:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denizen467 View Post
As context, what have been the population growth trends of Toronto and metro Toronto, and of metro Vancouver and of Canada overall?

The Greater Toronto Area has been growing at about 100k a year for the last decade at least. The city proper grew at about 20k a year between the 2006 and 2011 census periods. This is all through infill mind you, there's no greenfield land left within city limits. Suburban land is also increasingly constrained due to the greenbelt and provincial growth plan which strictly designates areas for urban growth and sets growth and intensification targets for municipalities.

I'd hate to see this turn into a NYC / TO thing, but I would be interested in seeing evidence for 200+ towers under construction in NYC. Not trying to disprove it, but having just spent some time there I never got the feeling there was the same level of highrise construction going on as in Toronto. I guess it could be spread out over a larger area, but I dunno. You see cranes everywhere in Toronto right now, downtown and suburbs - it's really hard to describe the scale of change going on right now without seeing it in person. NYC is certainly building larger, arguably nicer buildings (and more office space), but that's a different story. This also isn't necessarily a bad thing - living in a city that seems to be a perpetual construction zone can be a bit trying at times.
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Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 2:06 PM
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# of buildings under construction in NY seems like something ppl on this site should be able to figure out...

Manhattan (Set 2012, Crains)
The city Buildings Department has issued 70 permits for construction of new buildings this year, as of Sept. 30, compared with just 36 during the same period last year. New permits for major renovation projects are also up 12%, year-over-year.

Brooklyn
Real estate experts say that stricter credit standards in residential mortgage lending are one of the key drivers of the rental market. It's attracting plenty of developers. Since the beginning of the year, the New York Department of Buildings has issued initial construction permits for 256 new buildings in the borough, the highest number since 2008, Bloomberg reported.
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