The condo biz is changing, and adapting to a new generation of buyers that are staying downtown

graham Hill and David Wex
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter/ TreeHugger founder Graham Hill and Developer David Wex

There are a lot of people who say that millennials are just like anyone else and will want to move to the suburbs when the kids come along and that this idea that people actually want raise families in downtown condos is nuts. They should have a close look at what people are building these days; Condos design is adapting to a whole new world, and it is very TreeHugger.

TreeHugger founder Graham Hill was in Toronto recently, doing a bit of consulting to a developer building River City, an interesting development near the waterfront. That's Graham and Urban Capital's David Wex behind the model of the building designed by Saucier + Perrotte. They have turned many of the things that people would like to have in their houses into shared resources. The whole building becomes what we used to call a product service system, now known as the sharing economy.

Hobby Room/CC BY 2.0

It used to be, you got a party room and an exercise room as common amenities in most condos. Now you get:

A hobby and craft room.

a room that has the work surfaces, tools and supplies to build, craft and create, and let people loose. Attend workshops, learn how to use tools, and generally get comfortable with everything from jewellery making to woodworking.

Office/Productivity Facility

People who work at home often need a place to have a meeting or need a better printer or scanner. Here, the building has a "sunlit glass enclosed boardroom that's perfect for client meetings" and a printer/scanner that bills directly to your account.

Reading Room

I found this one interesting. Sometimes if you live in a small space you just have to get out and away; here they provide "a cozy escape... a quiet place of respite in a harried world.

There is the usual fitness center, yoga room and party room, a guest room, but there is also a childrens' play room, a pet cleaning station, bike storage and car sharing, electric car charging stations and my favorite, really right out of TreeHugger,

Product Library

Need a steam cleaner to get the wine out of that rug? How about a power drill and level to hang your floating shelves? The awesome lending library has all the items you need to get things done around your home- including all those bulky yet highly useful things you just don't have room to store yourselves.

There is a long list of green architectural features in the building as well, including green roofs, condensing dryers, energy efficient walls that are not the usual floor to ceiling glass, low VOC finishes and a target of LEED Gold. But it was the decisions about amenity that I found most interesting and unusual.

The developer has essentially provided in shared resources so many of those things that people usually accumulate in their houses. This makes it easier for people to stay downtown and live in smaller spaces with less stuff. The people buying into this are not parked for the short term, they are here to stay.

More at River City You can also get this, but that is another story.

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Tags: Less Is More | Living With Less | Small Spaces

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK