New Development of The Week: Merton Yonge Condos


5 minute read

October 10, 2008

The vacant lot at the southeast corner of Yonge & Merton has been destined for a new condominium project for quite some time.

Many of us have been eagerly awaiting the project, but eventually, our excitement died out.

“MYC” was launched this week, but in my opinion, it’s too little, too late…


What is one of the most universally recognized acronyms in the world?

By the same token what is one of the most universally recognized logos of the acronym itself?

How about this:


Sure.  We all know what New York City is, and we all recognize the acronym on hats, shirts, or even in rap lyrics.

So I couldn’t help but crack a smile and give a silent “bravo” to the marketing team at Merton Yonge Condos when they came up with this logo:


Wow!  If I didn’t know better, I’d think my subconscious was associating the new Merton Yonge Condos with the allure, prestige, status, and history of New York City!  More to my point, one of my admin assistants here at the office emailed this logo to me and wrote “NYC Condos” in the subject line, instead of “MYC Condos.”  This further proves my point about the subconscious effect!

This leads me to my first main criticism.  Ask me why I had to scan the MYC logo and have my admin assistant email it to me…..why?  Because this development doesn’t even have a website yet!

About four years ago, the head office for Milnes Oil sat upon the southeast corner of Yonge/Merton and was eventually sold to developers.  Now I don’t know what took the developers so long to finally launch this project, but I can say that there might have been more demand for this condominium in the Fall of 2007 as opposed to today.

The location is absolutely prime for a condominium, and it’s very centrally located.  Merton Street has transformed from an industrial strip to a residential locale filled with mid-scale condominiums.  In 2007, Domain was completed at 319 Merton Street on the corner of Merton & Mount Pleasant.  Now here we are almost two years later with the bookend to the Merton strip being completed on the opposite end of the block.

Go one city block south and you’ll find Yonge & St. Clair.  Likewise, head north and you’ll find Yonge & Eglinton.  Both of these areas are vibrant and ripe with infrastructure, but for some reason, Yonge & Davisville just doesn’t have the same feel.  Sure, there are banks, bars, restaurants, shops, and grocery stores just like St. Claire or Eglinton, but Yonge & Davisville just feels like the middle of nowhere, or simply “the middle.”

Nevertheless, the TTC subway stop is a two minute walk from the development site for MYC Condos and steps to amenities.

I’m nit-picking on the area, but in the end it’s a great location compared to many of Toronto’s other developments, and the quality of the building will be second-to-none.

My problems with the project pertain to the price and the process.

The “Exclusive VIP Agent Event” is on October 16th, 2008 at 7PM sharp.  All agents are free to attend as this is a “selling event,” (I love how they feel the need to tell us this is a selling event, as if we figured they are just showing off their ability to build a neat-o sales centre), however in order to get priority, you need to line up at 6PM for wrist-bands.



I’m confused.  Nobody told me we were lining up for Pearl Jam concert tickets and needed the limited-edition purple wrist-bands that have to be won off radio call-in contests.  Are we buying condos here or what?

It’s processes like this that just kill the excitement of looking at a new condo development.  Think of somebody who may or may not purchase and will remain undecided until they see what the project has to offer.  Now think of a snooty salesperson telling them that they can’t enter the sales centre for the opportunity to buy a condo because they don’t possess a wrist-band!

We’re still in a hot real estate market and live in a city that is ripe with development, but it’s not hot enough to justify wrist-bands.

As for the pricing, it’s all over the map.  I think it’s fair to say that south-facing views will attract a huge premium, with west-facing being second-fiddle.  Both north and east views will be staring directly at another building.

First of all, parking is $35,000.  This is simply ridiculous, in my mind.  I could understand $30,000, but in pre-construction, how can you warrant charging as much as some of the “luxury” buildings downtown?  It makes the parking unaffordable for most people.

Let’s look at the smaller units in the Tower:

North-Facing, 1-bedroom: 532 sqft for $271,900 ($511/sqft or $577/sqft w/parking)
East-Facing, 1-bedroom: 519 sqft for $296,900 ($572/sqft or $639/sqft w/parking)
West-Facing, 1-bedroom: 544 sqft for $306,900 ($564/sqft or $628/sqft w/parking)

Wow.  And prices get even higher as you move to higher floors!

The Podium Units are slightly cheaper since they are located on floors 1-4, but the prices still hover around the $500/sqft mark and are higher when you add in parking.

There is no doubt in my mind that the finishes of this project will be spectacular, and that the amenities will be plentiful.  But at these prices, shouldn’t that just be expected?  Do we really need to be inundated with pages upon pages of the brochure bragging about the types of tile and granite in the units when people would be nuts to pay $600/sqft without it?

Another large concern of mine is with respect to the developer, Cresford.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about an ill-fated project called The Bloor Street Neighborhood which had been delayed almost three full years.  Well, surprise of all surprises: Cresford also developed that project in addition to Merton Yonge Condos.

By my count, Cresford has completed five projects (three in downtown Toronto), and currently has three projects on the go, all of which have been delayed.  They are also presenting Lofts 399 aka Fashion District Lofts as they are trying to get Merton Yonge Condos off the ground.

The brochure talks about how Cresford has been in business for over thirty years, but Hudson’s Bay Company can talk about how they have been in business for 350+ years just because once-upon-a-time people traded furs under their name, having no bearing on their ability to sell consumer goods and services at a retail storefront in 2008…

If this project is completed on time, I give it a thumbs up.  But based on the track record with Bloor Street Neighborhood, I would be worried.

From an investment perspective, I wouldn’t be duped into paying the high prices.  Paying $340K to get my hands on a 544 sqft one-bedroom with parking makes absolutely no sense considering I must wait three years to take possession.  There’s a unit for sale in my building at 230 King Street right now of 565 sqft with a 200 square foot outdoor patio for $259K, no parking.  Put a few bucks into new carpets and countertops, crown-moldings and voila!

Comparisons like the one above simply MUST be made when considering pre-construction projects.  Ask yourself, “How does this stack up against current resale condominiums?”

My answer: It doesn’t.

Not at these prices…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. IanC

    at 5:28 pm

    Uh huh…

    Cresford – The developer that canceled Mode Lofts -after downtown condo prices surged for years.

    Here’s your deposit back plus some piddly interest.

    No thanks.

  2. Krupo

    at 11:11 pm

    I still wonder how much the risk premium is increasing on these presale buildings, given the general fracas/turmoil down south.

    If I had a unit in a building nearing completion now, I wouldn’t be worried. But something that has little more than a sales centre? Worrying. Especially with a track record like the one you describe.

  3. CP

    at 12:50 am

    I went to their wrist-band only “sales event” with my realtor and surprise-surprise, there were only about 30 unimpressed people milling about. They were expecting a HUGE turnout, they had 5+valet and a large table set up outside to sign in the throngs of buyers. They served hot-dogs, burgers and pop.

    The sales center is basically an empty pre-fabricated room with some marketing material. No model suite.

    I’ll wait until the building is completed and buy a resale unit in it, probably for the same price people are paying now 3 or 4 years in advance.

    319 merton which is one year old sells for about $450-500 (south view)/square foot including parking, the building has beautiful amenities.

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