Month: August 2015

Mixed-Use Building Designs — The Ongoing Trend For Toronto’s Skyline

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Toronto Skyline Aerial View
Toronto Skyline Aerial View

It used to be that commercial buildings were just commercial buildings, whether office, retail or industrial, and residential buildings just residential buildings whether apartments, houses or condominiums. But more and more, we see developers marrying the commercial building with residential developments to create new entities now known as mixed-use building designs.

Why the trend?

Well, originally it was in response to the influx of people returning to the urban centres to live closer to where they work. This fostered increased development in condominiums in certain areas of the down-town core, but with land space being limited, developers had to find a new `space` to continue their development projects. That is when mixed-use building designs were brought into being.

With mixed-use building designs, both the business or retail world and the residential world can co-inhabit the same real estate. For businesses, it creates an opportunity to be close to their potential clients or their ideal employees. For residents, it offers the conveniences of everyday living, playing, shopping and working close to home.

Now, developers see mixed-use building designs creating two new opportunities:

  1. The opportunity to establish community within the urban setting. Not only can mixed-use building designs bring general communities together, but they can bring people with common interests together. For example, in an effort to bring people with an interest in making a career in the arts, there is a mixed-use development arts and entertainment tower slated for completion in the fall of 2015 in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District, which will include a 43-storey condominium development strictly for arts-focused tenants atop a 6,000 sq ft arts and event venue which the arts-focused tenants can decorate using their talents as well as use for their fine arts, music, dance or drama events.1
  2. The opportunity to preserve the past and blend it with the present. With several older commercial buildings built in the 1920s still standing today throughout Toronto, some deemed historical sites are scheduled for restoration. The plans for these historical retail and commercial sites not only includes restoring these sites to their former glory, but also turning those sites into mixed-use building designs by adding brand new multilevel high-rise condominium buildings atop each site. Some of those sites are slated for completion in 2017.

And it won’t stop there. With a mandate to improve the physical appeal of Toronto for both tourists and urban dwellers, and with nowhere to build but up, more and more mixed-use building designs are certain to permeate the skyline of Toronto.

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DJ McGauley and Associates Inc. is your Office Move, Reconstruction and Reconfiguration Project Management Company of choice for the Toronto, GTA and surrounding areas. If an office move or reconstruction of your 2000 – 25,000 sqft office space is a remote possibility, consider contacting us to arrange a no-obligation site meeting. We guarantee that by the end of that meeting you will know all that would be required to make your office move/reconstruction project a successful reality.

Call 416-239-1931 , email info@djmcgauleyandassociates.com, or visit our website to complete our contact form.

 

1 Artscape, Artscape Sandbox, torontoartscape.org/artscape-sandbox

Williams, Patricia, Daily Commercial News, $300 million Yonge Sheppard Centre upgrade planned, http://dailycommercialnews.com/Projects/News/2015/8/300-million-Yonge-Sheppard-Centre-upgrade-planned-1009361W/

Commercial Leases… It’s In The Details

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Lease Agreement - it's all in the details
Lease Agreement – it’s all in the details

Commercial leases—they can be very overwhelming to read through, not only because of the legal jargon but because of the details on every topic they cover. But, the details are necessary to protect the property owner or landlord and the tenant, to make certain that there is no room for ambiguities or misinterpretation between the parties involved, and to ensure that all parties have the same understanding of a lease’s terms of agreement.

Some details a commercial lease should cover include the following:

  1. Lease Term – Is the lease for one, two … five years? Is there a restriction on how soon a tenant’s business can move in and operate once the lease is signed? Is there a renewal clause? Is there an exit clause? Is there an option to sublet? What are the terms of each?
  2. Area or square footage – Does the lease only apply to the square footage of the office or that the tenant’s business would occupy? What about common areas such as lobbies, hallways, washrooms, etc.—are these (or a percentage of these areas) governed by the lease a well?
  3. Parking, Signage – is signage included in the lease? Is there a designated parking area included in the lease?
  4. Renovation – Does the lease allow the tenant to have the space renovated to better suit their business needs? If so, what are the parameters and restrictions?
  5. Maintenance, Utilities and Repairs – Who is responsible for what repairs and operating costs? Is this to be a shared responsibility?
  6. Rate – What does the rent rate cover? When is it subject to rate increases?
  7. Insurances – what insurances are required by the lease and who is responsible?

Assumptions are not an option. If there are any ambiguities within a commercial lease, they need to be clarified and spelled out in detail. If any party does not agree to the details, an amendment can be written and initialed by both parties as part of the negotiation process.

Final tips:

  1. A commercial lease should be drafted, edited and finalized by professional underwriters and lawyers. (Believe it or not, there have been cases where commercial leases were drafted by the tenant only to later lead to lawsuits based on lack of details)1
  2. All details and fine print should be read.
  3. No party should sign anything until all can agree to everything.

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DJ McGauley and Associates Inc. is your Office Move, Reconstruction and Reconfiguration Project Management Company of choice for the Toronto, GTA and surrounding areas. If an office move or reconstruction of your 2000 – 25,000sqft office space is a remote possibility, consider contacting us to arrange a no-obligation site meeting. We guarantee that by the end of that meeting you will know all that would be required to make your office move/reconstruction project a successful reality.

Call 416-239-1931, email info@djmcgauleyandassociates.com, or visit our website to complete our contact form.

 

Do Commercial Tenants Need to be Protected from Lease Fraud?

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four hands with pensLease Fraud…it happens in both the residential as well as the commercial real estate world. Commercial lease fraud mostly occurs at the title or owner level with the fraudster manipulating documents and going through legal channels to assume the role of an executor or officer of a commercial or mixed-use property and then placing a high mortgage on that property (unbeknown to the real executor, officer or owner) and using the money for personal use.

Now I should clarify that commercial lease fraud in Ontario is extremely rare – less than 2% of all commercial leases end up being reportedly fraudulent and the entities affected are usually the owners, investors, lawyers and brokers. But what about tenants? Can they be affected by lease fraud?

Well, truth be told, tenants should not be affected by lease fraud because property owners usually have professional underwriters and lawyers draw up and edit their lease agreements and insurance brokers that outfit them with the proper insurances (e.g. title insurance) to protect their real estate from any issue of “lease fraud” before such issues can affect the tenant.

However, there is the possibility of a tenant’s lease being interrupted or cancelled by the property owner due to circumstances beyond his control. Lease fraud? Not likely. But such an interruption can have serious implications on a tenant’s business.

So what can a commercial tenant do to protect itself from such a possibility? Here are some thoughts:

  • Review your lease with your own professional lawyers to see if there is a clause that speaks to such interruptions and details the responsibilities of both the tenant and the property owner. (If in the lease negotiation or renewal stage, this is a great clause to negotiate on so that the terms are fair for all parties involved)
  • Seek the professional aid of an insurance broker to ensure your business has the proper rental property and lease-related insurances it needs to protect itself against the unexpected (e.g. rental interruption due to natural disaster, leasehold insurance for situations where your lease is cancelled due to circumstances outside of your control)
  • Remain in good standing with your landlord or property owner. A good business relationship with your property owner could cause the property owner to “fight” to keep you as a tenant by recommending one of their other commercial sites to you.
  • Do not sign anything you do not fully agree to.

Like lease fraud, lease interruptions are a rarity, but protecting your business from such possibilities can certainly be a game changer for the survival of your business.

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DJ McGauley and Associates Inc. is your Office Move, Reconstruction and Reconfiguration Project Management Company of choice for the Toronto, GTA and surrounding areas. If an office move or reconstruction of your 2000 – 25,000sqft office space is a remote possibility, consider contacting us to arrange a no-obligation site meeting. We guarantee that by the end of that meeting you will know all that would be required to make your office move/reconstruction project a successful reality.

Call 416-239-1931 , email info@djmcgauleyandassociates.com, or visit our website to complete our contact form.