Campus Common

Untraditional financing strategy launches Toronto’s first privately-owned student rental residence

  • Category: Purpose Built Student Rental
  • Location: 50 Gerrard St
  • Size: 135,000 sq ft
  • Status: 2007

When this downtown apartment site became available for sale, every major developer passed on the opportunity, believing that the city would never permit the demolition of an existing building. In a novel move, Horizon negotiated a deal with the city to permit demolition by putting protection in place for existing tenants to move back in upon completion.  Horizon then secured financing with a top financial institution at best rates, and further improved the investment by employing technology for each suite to meter its own electricity usage.

Horizon then secured financing with a top financial institution at best rates, and further improved the investment by employing technology for each suite to meter its own electricity usage.

1. About

The current rental building features 188 suites, that accommodate 330 students, including bachelors, doubles and triples. Spanning 12 storeys, the property touts, recycling areas on each floor, main floor amenity spaces, lobby with 24 hour controlled access and a garage with 53 underground parking spaces, bike storage lockers for each suite, and outdoor garden.

2. Challenges

In addition to the obstacles that the city presented for the demolition of the existing apartment building, student housing was not generally understood and finding appropriate financing was challenging
Compounding this was the belief that the student tenants would destroy the building interior, contributing to a decline in its property value.

3. Outcome

Creative problem solving led to what is today considered to be the best located student housing in downtown Toronto. Now 10 years later, the property is always full 3 months prior to the next school year. Horizon constantly receives offer to purchase, along with offers to replicate this concept in locations across Ontario.

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