Toronto Star: Toronto’s first ever car condo is coming to the city and some housing experts are calling it ‘disrespectful’

Posted October 28, 2021

Automobile aficionados in Toronto will soon be able to purchase a penthouse to store their vehicles.

Toronto-based real estate brokerage firm Metropolitan Commercial Realty recently announced plans to build what it describes as the city’s first-ever “car condo.”

The development team known as ToyBx says the space is geared toward “car enthusiasts who are serious about protecting their ride.” The firm is still going through zoning and planning processes with the City of Toronto and are aiming for mid-December for an official launch.

Depending on sales, they are targeting full completion of the development by summer 2023.

Located near Kipling Avenue and Towns Road in Etobicoke at the foot of the Gardiner Expressway, the 180,000 sq. ft. facility will boast 195 units and 39 penthouse suites spread across three floors. Units start from 565 sq. ft. and can house a minimum of four cars.

In a city where space is valuable, the price tag to purchase a suite in the condo is expected to be hefty. After all, the average price for a residential condo unit in Toronto has climbed to $744,730, and experts say the average cost of building a parking spot runs builders anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000.

“This development is located in an employment zoned area, almost abutting a major rail line, which would not allow for residential use,” Ming Zee, president of Metropolitan Commercial Realty Inc., told the Star.

Affordable housing activists in Toronto are disappointed in the car condo’s construction in a space they would like to see re-zoned for residential use.

Alejandra Ruiz-Vargas, chair of the East York chapter of ACORN Toronto, an organization that advocates for affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families said, “I know for a lot of people, (the housing) crisis has become so common that it doesn’t sound like something alarming. But this is bad news for families and people in the city.”

High rent, evictions, and a lack of affordable housing in general are making the crisis worse, Ruiz-Vargas said.

The facility features 20-foot high ceilings, climate control, two car elevators and 24-hour security services. Individual units can be customized with car stackers, cabinetry, floor finishes, lighting, dehumidification units and car chargers.

“We are actually working with members in the Housing Committee for inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary rezoning is a tool that will provide a percentage of affordable units for Torontonians. So why don’t we use this space to do something like that?” said Ruiz-Vargas.

“I'm sure we're going to get, you know, some people pushing back because of the hard economic times due to COVID, but we're real estate developers and investors and we're filling the void in the market,” Zee said, adding that sales in the luxury car market in Canada and the U.S. are up by 30 per cent and expects the trend to continue.

Starting Jan. 1, 2022, the federal government plans to charge a luxury goods tax that will include new cars and new aircraft over $100,000, and new boats priced over $250,000, but some have argued that the rich toy tax won’t raise enough to put even a dent in the overall deficit.

The facility is expected to feature 20-foot high ceilings, climate control, two car elevators and 24-hour security services. Individual units can be customized with car stackers, cabinetry, floor finishes, lighting, dehumidification units and car chargers.

“We see these demonstrations of lack of care, for me, personally, I found this disrespectful. It’s like when you are hungry, and you’re showing somebody a piece of bread and you don’t give it, you know what I mean? Like how (can) you use this space only for cars, why don’t you use a piece for cars and a piece for affordable (housing) so everybody will win,” said Ruiz-Vargas.

ToyBx’s new project isn’t the only car condo expected to arrive in Toronto. Core Development Group has also released plans to build a vehicle showcase facility in Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood. The multi-purpose development will feature 84 units over three floors.

There are a number of car/RV storage units that are already available across the GTA, but Zee says that the difference with the car condo is that the units can be purchased and sold just like residential condo units, with owners sharing in the cost of amenities and maintenance of the facility.

Still, Zee says that this isn’t just a space for the ultra-rich to park their toys. “This isn't just for people storing their Bugattis and Lamborghinis. This would be more utilitarian. Also for, you know, the person that has a vintage car he had since high school.”

 

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Article by Joshua Chong and Ivy Mak for the Toronto Star

 

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