His educational background is in economics and humanistic studies, but real estate is Armaan Salek’s true calling. His family has long been in the industry, working as investors and landowners. As a student, Armaan would work at construction sites during his summers off. After graduating, he climbed the ranks of a major development company while learning the ins-and-outs of home building. It was that experience that led him to create his own company, Skale Developments, where he built custom townhomes and single-family homes for clients throughout the GTA.
Today, Skale Developments is celebrating a new chapter in its history, as the company prepares to launch its first condominium project. Located in the east end of Toronto, The Bluffs is a nine-storey residence, just minutes from the picturesque Scarborough Bluffs which it’s named after.
We caught up with Armaan to learn more about The Bluffs, the developer and its upcoming projects.
BuzzBuzzNews: Were you always interested in becoming a real estate developer?
Armaan Salek: My family has been involved in real estate for as long as I can remember. I spent my summers as a student working on construction sites and always felt comfortable there. Even though my education didn't have anything to do with construction or architecture, I just always gravitated towards it.
BBN: How did you get involved with Skale Developments?
AS: After graduating from university, I worked full time at a large developer in the Toronto area. I really enjoyed the work and gained a lot of knowledge after being a part of almost every facet of the business from shadowing site supervisors to doing PDI’s and other customer service-related jobs. I really got to see the different sides of the business and it all just felt very organic to me.
After several years working with that developer, I decided that there were things that I wanted to do differently. Some of the visions that I had I could only do on my own so that’s when I left and created Skale in 2013.
BBN: What did you want to do differently?
AS: I wanted to build higher-end, unique products so we started building custom homes, including executive townhomes and single-family units. And now we’ve progressed to building boutique condos.
BBN: What would you say sets Skale apart from other developers?
AS: We really spend time on looking at how people utilize the unit. We look at how form and function relate to one another and the harmony between the two. For The Bluffs, we took our one bedrooms and included 24-inch kitchen appliances while our two bedroom have 30-inch appliances. In designing the suites we were cognizant of the fact that two people living in a two bedroom condo will require more food, storage, and cooking space. In comparison, I think a lot of other developers would just have 24-inch appliances throughout without thinking about the needs of the homebuyer.
In addition, we've got over 70 different layouts and a total of 182 total units at The Bluffs. With that many choices, prospective homebuyers are sure to find the home that suits their needs.
BBN: Speaking of The Bluffs, where is it located and what attracted you to the area?
AS: The Bluffs is located on Kingston Road between Brimley Road and St. Clair Avenue and consists of a full city block. The size of the lot was definitely something that attracted us and I think it’s great that we’re able to develop a whole city block that previously had vacant land, an abandoned autobody shop and a stand-alone KFC.
The other major benefit of the location is its proximity to the Scarborough Bluffs. It’s such a beautiful attraction with its white cliffs, beaches and turquoise water. It really is an amazing and unique outdoor amenity that’s just minutes away from the building.
BBN: You worked with renowned Toronto architecture firm RAW Design on the exterior of the building. Can you describe the final design?
AS: There aren't many other developments in the area and even the ones that are there are kind of bland. We worked with Roland [Rom Colthoff] from RAW and came up with a really unique design that tries to stay away from the typical glass box style of condominium. The exterior is clad in a mix of glass and brick to give it more character. We also wanted a lot of outdoor space for the units so we’ve incorporated plenty of balconies and large terraces.
BBN: Who was the interior design firm you worked with and what can prospective homebuyers expect to see in common areas?
AS: The interior designer was Figure 3 who helped us design something that’s modern, edgy and clean. One of the highlights of the lobby will be a beautiful circular staircase that goes up to the second floor amenity area. We’ve also incorporated lots of natural elements like a live edge slab on the front desk to emphasize a natural, outdoorsy type of feel. The lobby will also have a feature wall clad in brick to match the exterior and provide a sense of cohesiveness and flow.
BBN: You mentioned that the second floor will house the project’s amenities. What kind of amenities will be found there?
AS: The development will have approximately 8,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenity space. This will include a large lounge area, dining room, media room, kitchen, workout room and CrossFit room.
BBN: What are the suite layouts like and how large are they? What are the starting prices?
AS: We've got a range of layouts from small one bedroom units with around 475 square feet up to just over 1,500 square feet for one of the two-storey penthouses. Most of the units will be two bedroom or larger and we’ve got a huge variety of floorplans to choose from compared to your typical condo.
The penthouses are unique two storey units ranging in size from 1,200 square feet to 1,500 square feet with three bedrooms. They feature spacious main living areas with large outdoor spaces. You’ve also got beautiful open stair risers which lead to the second floor that we call a through-unit since it stretches the entire floor from the front to the back.
Starting prices are around $249,000 and penthouses at just over $1 million.
BBN: When do you expect to launch sales and are there any grand opening events planned?
AS: We're expecting to launch later in the spring but a date is still to be determined. Prospective buyers can register online for more information.
BBN: What does Skale have coming down the pipeline? Any interesting new projects or endeavours you can share with us?
AS: We've got a few other projects in the works right now. The next one we're going to focus on is at 1181 Queen Street West. It's going to be a new mid-rise project in the sought-after Queen West area, and we're hoping to launch that in the fall.