Every Toronto developer has their own reasons for getting into the booming business, and Marc Nufrio, founder of relative industry newcomer Latch Developments, shares his without pause.
“The big thing for me with development was being able to point to a community and say, ‘We contributed to that and made it better by introducing a new feel within the existing context of that community,’” he explains.
“I’d like to know that we’ve made a major positive contribution to a community, and I really like designing a building that contributes to the fabric of the street and the public realm,” adds Nufrio, who spent seven years in acquisitions and development with Onni Group before striking out on his own.
In the winter of 2014, Nufrio took a big step towards doing so as the head of Latch. That’s when he acquired a half-acre property at 3237 Bayview Avenue. The site, one Latch is currently developing with First Avenue Properties, is the future home of what has come to be known as The Bennett on Bayview, a 13 storey condo encompassing 153 units.
“We had an existing relationship as far as being colleagues in the industry,” says Nufrio of the budding partnership with First Avenue. Both companies have acquisition experience, while Nufrio brings development and sales experience to the table and First Avenue draws on expertise in condo construction.
Location made developing the north Toronto property a must for Latch Developments and First Avenue Properties. “Bayview is definitely a prestigious street with access to transit and many local amenities,” he states.
Finch Station is nearby, as are Highways 401, 404 and 407, the upscale Bayview Village Shopping Centre and other retailers amid low-rise neighbourhoods and clusters of apartments.
Nufrio champions density like The Bennett on Bayview brings — intensification that is mindful of existing neighbourhoods. It’s what he hopes to bring to the fringes of the city. “When really looking at the fabric of these communities, they’re always, I find, better with a little bit more density,” he explains. “Bringing more people to the area has a way of making it feel safe and creating a friendly and active public realm. I think this is what’s really happened in our downtown core, which is great!” Nufrio adds.
He also says he likes to put his “own personal spin on a project,” which in the case of The Bennett translates to larger-than-usual condo units averaging more than 800 square feet. “What’s important to me is that these units are large enough to accommodate small families,” he notes.
The amenities reflect the family-oriented focus. “We really tried to think through what people would like to use on a daily basis,” Nufrio explains. These include a private dining room that can accommodate up to 16 people and serve as a space for large family functions. There’s also a full gym and lounge, that can be utilized for larger functions like a baby shower or birthday party.
In part because of the rising costs of single-family homes, Nufrio believes that the future of Toronto condo developments is in the end-user business, rather than the investment segment.
If response to The Bennett is any indication, it appears he’s right. Since launching sales in April, about 80 per cent of available units have been sold, with a vast majority going to end users, including empty-nesters and first-time buyers.
Though construction is slated to start in February, Nufrio says Latch Developments and First Avenue Properties have other projects in the works, and will release news on these developments in mid or late 2017.
For more information on The Bennett on Bayview, call 416 451 5802 or visit thebennettcondos.com.