Highrise Creating A Buzz In The Core

  • 07/6/16
  • |          Kitchener

George Anastasiadis is in ­demand.
Since his new downtown residential highrise has been approved by the city, his phone is ringing off the hook.
City developers have been calling to buy the site, Toronto builders want in and still others say they will partner with him to make the 32-storey, 182 unit project at 455 Clarence St., a reality.
He’s feeling a little overwhelmed.
“We are exploring our options now and seeing what works for us. I am excited, but now we have to decide if we build, partner, or hand it over to a developer,” said Anastasiadis, 52.
The London bar owner — he declined to identify his drinking establishment — has owned a parking lot on the Clarence Street site for more than 20 years and built some small homes, but nothing like a massive highrise, he admits.
The building design is nearly complete and its exterior, at the city’s demand, will sport limestone, granite and some metal fabrication — an upscale look, he believes.
“London needs a tower with higher standards, higher quality. The city has imposed this. It wants nice buildings downtown,” he said.
The city has approved “bonusing,” letting him build higher with more units — called increased density — because of the building’s nicer look, a way the planning department rewards quality investment.
“I am engaging with a lot of different people. One wants me to hire him and he will build it for me. Option 2 is to sell it to one of the big-name developers, and, still, a third is to go it alone.
He is developing now after 20 years because “it is time. You can see how well others are selling,” he said of the Renaissance towers downtown, nearly sold out.
“London is ready for this, the whole real estate market is moving, interest rates are low.”
The proposed tower got a full endorsement at a recent city council meeting from other planning staff and city politicians.
“We worked very hard with the applicant to ensure when his proposal came to the council, there were not too many questions. Generally, we are very pleased,” said city planner Michael Tomazincic. “We have a chance to develop a vacant site downtown.”
He applauded the “podium” design, a base from which the tower will rise, as good design that will make the tower less visible.
“The quality of the tower is fantastic,” said Tomazincic.

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