When it comes to the real estate market, Toronto is consistently one of the hotter locations in Canada. Whether buying or leasing, the city has a multitude of potential investments in the commercial real estate.
While the world of smaller-scale and residential real estate has its own set of companies and resources, the sale of commercial real estate tends to be done through larger commercial firms and brokerages.
Luckily, Toronto has a wealth of these. Some specialize in apartment buildings, other in retail space. So when looking into commercial real estate, your best bet is to enlist the help of trusted advisors with specific experience in a particular field of commercial sales.
Larger companies can act as brokers between tenants, landlords, developers, owners, investors and even governments.
The prices associated with buying commercial real estate vary significantly depending on several factors. The most important to consider is location – its whereabouts in the city.
The closer one gets to Toronto’s downtown the higher the prices rise, potentially many times the costs of options further out from the core.
Another factor to consider is proximity to public transportation, particularly Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway lines. Since these provide quick and easy access to the rest of the city, people will tend to pay a premium to be within walking distance to a station.
The majority of high-density commercial real estate can be found in the downtown Financial District, which is centered on the intersection of Bay Street and Yonge Street and extends out several blocks in every direction.
Here is where some of the most expensive land in Canada in found; packed with large skyscrapers housing the headquarters of many of Canada’s biggest companies.
North of this area is the Entertainment District, a mixed commercial zone with theatres, bars, hotels, restaurants and retail. The city’s retail core runs north from here past the Eaton’s Centre, roughly following Yonge Street.
Outside of downtown, commercial real estate in Toronto tends to vary significantly depending on the neighbourhood. For example, Yorkville, not far from the intersection of Yonge Street and Bloor Street, is known for its high-end boutiques and luxury hotels.
Liberty Village, located in the west end along King Street West, is a newly gentrified neighbourhood of old factories that have now been converted to condominiums, office buildings, stores and galleries.
South-east of downtown, the Port Lands are a former waterfront industrial area often used for filming movies that is somewhat earlier in its stage of transitioning to recreational and commercial development.
Meanwhile, in areas just northwest of downtown like The Annex and Little Italy you will find mostly two and three-storey retail buildings along the entire length of most main streets.
In fact, this is common to many parts of the city, including The Danforth, Queen Street West and Eglinton Avenue. Higher density commercial developments outside of downtown tend to be clustered around main intersections and transportation hubs.
Exits along arterial routes like Highway 401 and Highway 400 see a lot of traffic, and as a result attract significant commercial development.
Areas near Pearson International Airport are another example of large swaths of commercial real estate. Here hotel and conference facilities share land with logistical, trucking and storage businesses.
Real estate in Toronto is generally one of the more expensive markets in the country, but that also means the potential for lucrative returns for investors. A popular hobbies in Toronto real estate is predicting what neighbourhoods are going to be the next hot spot.
Some potential locations include areas north of Highway 401, in North York and Richmond Hill. As Toronto’s suburban sprawl continues to march outwards, places like this become more in-demand, and also more accessible as infrastructure is built up to keep pace.
Closer to downtown, old industrial neighbourhoods are favoured by developers for revitalization and gentrification. Liberty Village and The Distillery District, just east of downtown near the waterfront, are examples of such areas that are now quite hot.
Other places like The Junction, in the west-end, are a little earlier on in their transition. One area in particular to keep an eye on is the waterfront areas south-east of downtown.
Significant developments are planned there in the lead-up to Toronto’s hosting of the 2015 Pan-American Games.