The gradual re-starting of the economy means soon the grind of construction on residential and commercial glass towers and buildings in Toronto’s downtown core will crank up.

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Sam Mizrahi, President of Mizrahi Developments, the company behind The One – the 85-storey, uber-luxury retail (including an anchor tenant that will occupy 17,000 square feet of corner retail space) and restaurants, hotel and condominium tower (with multi-level penthouses) going up on the southwest corner of Yonge and Bloor in downtown Toronto – says that project is reaching and finishing at-grade construction works.

Regarding Luxury magazine caught up with Sam to ask how the project has progressed through the pandemic months:

RL: What’s next for construction at The One, as we ease our way out of the pandemic?

SM: We are near completion of the underground works and in the current process of obtaining, as part of our phased permitting, the above-grade permits for the super structure to commence, for the erection of the building. Our construction site was closed as per the COVID-19 requirements, as legislated under law, but now under the new guidelines we have resumed construction adhering to the regulation safety guidelines for our workers and moving forward to make up for the downtime.

RL: Where are you in terms of sales for the project, currently?

SM: We are currently over 77 per cent pre-sold in our residential condos and we are 100 per cent fully leased on our commercial retail.

RL: In your view, what kind of impact will the pandemic have on the luxury real estate market in Toronto, post virus?

SM: I believe that post virus the residential real estate market in Toronto and especially the downtown core will remain as strong as pre-pandemic. The reason being that the metrics of supply and demand have not changed. Toronto is still one of the key immigration centres in Canada with over 125,000+ immigrants calling Toronto  home every year and there is still a shortage of condo units to meet this demand, especially in the high-end luxury condo market.”

RL: Has the pandemic impacted what buyers of The One are looking for in a home purchase – more of a focus on isolation, security, health and wellness? And how are you responding to that?

SM: I do believe that post-pandemic buyers and developers along with the city will pay close attention to many different elements of new home purchases and new developments, which were not so transparent or as relevant before to them. For example, wider sidewalks for social distancing, more bike lanes, more green spaces, and the technological improvements and advances that will allow people to live more healthy lives in towers.

At The One, we have already built into the plans at street level, wide sidewalks, and green spaces in the building, and now we are implementing technological and valet services for The One, and for our building at 1451 Wellington in Ottawa, that would incorporate pandemic measures that would keep residents safe, healthy, inspired, productive and restored (for example, to start, social distancing measures in place for valet parking and security for the building, all health and gym areas have required social distancing of all equipment and proper hygiene standards, security will monitor health and wellness protocols to include thermal scanners for fever detection in the public areas of the building, that will be built into the security cameras).

The home now has gained an even greater significance. Since both The One and 1451 Wellington are under construction and a stage of underground works, the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed me to think, and plan ahead and incorporate new ways of living into both these buildings, as they are not yet built, to enhance the resident’s world inside the buildings, to be safe and inspiring, should an unfortunate pandemic happen again, and hopefully it won’t.

But if it does our buildings will be well prepared well in advance.