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What's Going Up: After years in works, Newmarket rental development underway

Site work begins on planned high-end, three-tower complex, with construction on the first building expected to start later this year
Richard Aubry of Redwood Properties at the site of the future development on Yonge Street.

What's Going Up is a regular NewmarketToday series highlighting growth and development that is proposed and ongoing in town.

After six years of effort, the massive purpose-built, three-tower rental development on Yonge Street in Newmarket is getting underway.

Site work is starting this month on Redwood on Yonge at 17645 Yonge St., since receiving zoning approval from the Town of Newmarket in 2018. It has been in a site planning process since then, but Redwood Properties expects that to wrap up soon and is applying for a building permit. Site preparation is ongoing, with construction to start on the first of three towers later this year.

Richard Aubry of Redwood Properties said the top public complaint on the development proposal has been how long it has taken to get started.

“The biggest public feedback we’ve gotten so far is, ‘Why haven’t you started? … We want to see this thing happening.’ We couldn’t agree more and we’re excited that we’re finally there. It took a long time, not through lack of desire or effort, but through market conditions and outside forces. We’re finally at a point now where we’re able to go.”

The proposal is for three construction phases on the property between Yonge Street and George Street, across from Upper Canada Mall. The first phase will be a tower of 21-storeys and 212 units, followed by a 19-storey tower and a 17-storey tower in phases two and three. The units are rentals with a mixture of one, two and three-bedrooms, going at market rate, Aubry said.

The vision for the development is to be higher-end, Aubry said. Asked about the delay in starting construction, he said building rentals, especially of higher quality, is very challenging right now.

“The finances are more precarious than people might think. You’re not relying on pre-sales of condominiums to justify the start of construction,” he said. “The equity requirement on the landowner, developer, operator is quite extensive, and so the risk profile is much more increased.”

But, he added, “We’ve reached the point now where we’re confident that the conditions are acceptable to start.”

Town of Newmarket director of planning and building services Jason Unger said they are in continual contact with Redwood on finalizing the site plan agreement. 

“The mayor (John Taylor) has also been in direct contact with Redwood Developments on a regular basis and is confident that they are moving forward this year,” Unger said.

Aubry said the plan is for the building to include high-quality amenities, including party rooms, a big gym, golf simulator, rooftop terrace, swimming pool, splash pads and more.

“We try to make this really a place that people want to live in for long term and are proud to live there,” he said.

The developer currently has servicing allocation for the first two phases of development. Aubry said they hope to progress planning for the second stage soon after the first phase begins.

The hope is that in 24 to 30 months, the developer can start marketing and leasing units in the first building, Aubry said, about six months before the units are ready to be lived in. 

The property was once proposed to be home to an adult living community called Slessor Square. The town approved the development, but it fell through. The land was sold and Redwood Properties then began work on the current development. 

When complete, the apartment complex will provide another much needed housing option in the community, Aubry said.

“I spent a lot of time growing up there, and there’s a lot of homes but there’s not a lot of variety,” he said. "It’ll be a great option for Newmarket at a great location.”

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Joseph Quigley

About the Author: Joseph Quigley

Joseph is the municipal reporter for NewmarketToday.
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