I recently wrote about “That Developer Being Back In Our Lives” and if you didn’t read it, you should do so before jumping into today’s blog.
My ownership of a unit in College Park has given me a “closer than close” perspective on just how “exploitive the relationship between the City of Toronto and residential condo developers is“!
If you, or anyone you know, owns a condo, or pre-construction condo, is thinking about buying a condo, live in a condo or occupy a condo, you had better bookmark this blog and start paying close attention.
I say this because most consumers aren’t paying the type of attention required to save them, should or when the inevitable occurs.
I strongly recommend that you watch CBC’s “Condo Game“, a documentary that aired a couple years back and is linked on right side of simplycharles.com home page.
I also strongly recommend that you read “Faulty Towers“, a very well researched article by Toronto Life Magazine, also can be accessed on the right hand side of my home page.
College Park has been being developed for over a decade, with College Park Phase 1, a high rise condo tower being sold first.
It strongly promoted the uniqueness offered with park views.
College Park Phase 2 was built following Phase 1 and it was another high 50+ storey high rise.
In another blog I set out the disappointing relationship that I have had with Canderal Stoneridge as a buyer and as a Realtor selling their units for them.
If you search them by name on simplycharles.com you will come up with many articles that are well worth reading.
They then contacted me asking what to do with the land behind phase 2 that they had used as a staging area. The documents said townhouses and they were thinking “stacked townhouses“.
For the Exclusive Rights to Sell whatever resulted from what I disclosed to, I gave them a winning design and guaranteed that I would sell all twelve within 30 days.
They took the deal and as they had many times earlier with me, reneged. I caught them with an ad in the local condo ad rag.
I introduced my patented dispute resolution line: “no problem, I’ll make you famous” (my blog was enjoying 40,000 “Hits” Per Day!). They already knew that when I whispered I was heard around the world and sharing a factual and truthful blog about how untrustworthy the actually were would not sit well on their resume.
They gave me exclusive on the seven that remained for 48 hours which was ample for me and I brought six of my investors and bought one myself.
Canderal is a notorious “build it with the lowest bidder developer“.
Developers don’t build.
Developers are simply people with money. They may have no skill or experience but immediately they become “developers” when they have enough money to buy a parcel of land.
That’s actually what Donald Trump is all about and don’t think we don’t have clones of him running around Condoland!
Many of the most offensive developers are just like Trump . . . . “silver-spoon little rich boys“.
With the money, a chimpanzee in a suit can be a developer!
I actually think there’s a very good chance that a few of Condolands most heavily advertised developers actually are run by chimpanzees!
So, Canderal, over the past decade and a half, have made hundreds of millions of dollars selling views over a city park that was uniquely situated above the developer’s commercial parking garage, (a cement garage).
The city played its part in the charade by publishing full colour brochures (at tax payer expense of course) bragging about “having negotiated a $3.5 Million Park Renovation“.
The truth is that the ceiling of a cement structure situated below earth, bushes and trees for 50 years or so “has to have its roof resurfaced with waterproofing“.
Now, no-one has ever stated this, rather we get glossy rhetoric from the city about its negotiations with the developer and the developer selling the $3.5 million park renovation as a key selling feature for suites for over a decade!
When you realize that according to Toronto Life in Faulty Towers, the City receives somewhere around Ten (10) Million Dollars in Permit Fees, and other charges, not to mention the “hidden levies and taxes” designed to be introduced “at closing” (Surprise Surprise, never a word or warning uttered).
So, at College Park I & II, and Aura at College Park (2 condo towers one on top of the other) we see somewhere around $40 Million Dollars into City coffers.
And then, of course there are the property taxes (again tens of millions over the past 15 years) I guess we can all agree that the City of Toronto has made out well from College Park.
And Canderal made out with hundreds of millions of dollars.
And what did the buyers (“consumers“) get?
In a word . . . “shafted on every front“.
Many in the towers bought on lower floors to have views of the park, not knowing that ceiling heights on the lower 24 floors we only eight feet high.
When these high rises started, the park was a beautiful respite from the concrete jungle, with its majestic fountain in the summer months and skating rink in the winter months.
The foliage was lush and green thanks to an automatic sprinkler system.
For as long as I’ve been in Toronto (40+ years) “Barbara Ann Scott Park” (named after Canadian skating Olympian) was a true jewel in the city.
Immediately, one year after Phase II closed, (under law the developer had to install sprinklers to the townhouse lawns even though the lawn itself remained property of the City) all of the irrigation systems were “turned off” and the park was allowed to deteriorate.
It became a visual eye sore and an unsafe place at any time of the day (2 rapes in broad daylight).
“Values” of the townhouses especially dropped!
Yet the City continued to publish untruthful full colour brochures promoting all that they were doing “for the owners and tax payers“. (disgusting!)
So now, almost fifteen years of false promises supposedly have come to an end and the park restoration has been launched.
A professional demolition company was hired and these pros (Priestly Demolition) couldn’t have been more impressive.
In about a month, all cement structures in the park had been smashed and hauled away while the park itself remained surprising clean and organized (they and one full time sweeper just sweeping up at the front where the truck came and went).
It’s been weeks since they completed their work and pulled out.
The bad news came that Canderal is now responsible to complete the park.
And nothing is happening in three weeks!
This is how Canderal respects all those consumers who paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For over five years the park was ravaged by the developer and the City stood by and supported them.
Again, a chimpanzee in a suit would figure that the $3.5 Million was not about redesigning the park.
I intend to request that the city disclose the costing as I’m confident we will see that all of this work is being paid for out of the $3.5 Million set aside for that decade and a half marketing program!
There has only been one casual notice that the park work was being undertaken and it suggest that the park work will be done in 2017!
So, now the park sits vacated and an eye sore for all those who bought enjoy as their view.
No hurry on Canderal’s part.
The only work to do is to remove soil (or shift it around) and apply the sealant (they are already doing this beside the commercial component).
I cannot imagine why this cannot be achieved by this fall allowing the winter for the newly applied soil and all above the newly refurbished parking garage to settle.
But not a word from Canderal.
Not a schedule or even a note “pardon us for having stripped you of your park and front door entrance to your home“.
Not a word from the City or Councillor who was so big in that self-serving propaganda piece that she produced (at our expense!).
So, does anyone out there believe that all these consumers (well over 2,000 direct buyers) are getting a fair shake in this?
It is shameful on the City of Toronto!
It is what you can expect for a Condoland developer, or at least this one!