Toronto is Redefining its Rental Game Because Nobody Can Afford to Buy

While home ownership – whether a house or a condo – has been viewed as a benchmark for success pretty much forever, the reality is that many Toronto millennials are going to be renters for a lot longer than they may have anticipated. And there’s no shame in that. In fact, the renting game isn’t what it used to be, and we’ve seen a newfound shift in the rental construction model. Enter The Selby, a new development by Tricon House that’s shaking up Toronto’s rental housing game one over-the-top amenity at the time. It’s the first of more to come.

The all-frills-attached building is the first in a series of market leading purpose-built rental apartments in Toronto. A far cry from a dingy and dated high-rise, The Selby is sleek, refined, and packed with amenities usually reserved for a condo building – plus more. Designed by Chicago-based bKL architects, Toronto-based interior designer Johnson Chou, and acclaimed Montreal-based landscape architect Claude Cormier + Associés, the 50-story, 502-suite building is located at 25 Selby Street at the intersection of Bloor and Sherbourne Streets. Fusing sleek and modern with a nod to Toronto’s storied past, the building is integrated with the historic Gooderham Mansion – once home to Earnest Hemingway – that sits at its base.

The units feature sleek and functionally custom-designed designed kitchens and bathrooms from Scavolini – the coveted Italian brand – something you’re not likely to find in many Toronto rentals. Other talking points of the units – which are available in one, two, and three bedroom options (accounting for young families) – include Caesarstone countertops, Nest thermostats, and a keyless smartlock entry.

At The Selby, the lifestyle of Toronto’s young professional pavement-pounders is front and centre, and the building offers more lifestyle-focused amenities than most existing condo developments. This includes things like a 3,500-square foot state-of-the-art fitness centre with a yoga and spinning studio in partnership with BioSteel that removes the need for a gym membership. With wellness no passing trend, the building also features a spa with a wet and dry sauna, deluge showers, and a meditation area designed by Partisans. The royal treatment isn’t just for the residents, but their pets as well: the Selby features a dog spa with a grooming area (!).

In the depths of the cold Canadian winter, the building’s second-floor “mansion” features a fireplace, bar area, and home theatre, so you don’t have to deal with the borderline inhumane temperatures if you’re feeling stir crazy in your unit. Further helping this cause, the third-floor “mansion” houses a pool table, ping-pong, and classic arcade video games. Come summer, residents can enjoy the building’s outdoor kitchen and lounge, and a second-floor outdoor pool area.

The lifestyle focus extends beyond the amenities. The Selby features things the busy professional didn’t know they were missing in their lives, like an on-site concierge in partnership with Toronto Life, programmed community events, and even an on-site café, bistro, bar, and lounge, Maison Selby, by Oliver & Bonancini. Accounting for the growing freelance culture, there is also a co-working space with Wi-Fi. Tricon House also facilitates resident access to music, art, and nature through partnerships with Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, EyeBuy Art, and Evergreen Brickworks.

“Toronto residents are increasingly in need of rental housing options that are professionally managed, have easy commute times, and match their lifestyles,” said Gary Berman, President and CEO of Tricon Capital Group. “Thoughtfully designed and appointed purpose-built rental apartments have been a mainstay housing option in U.S. cities for years. We are leveraging our experience in the U.S. and Canada to bring a new type of rental offering to Toronto. Our goal is to create communities that reflect the changing needs of a world-class city, to deliver buildings of exceptional quality, and to set the bar for a new type of city living.”

Aside from Toronto’s sky-high housing prices that have rendered home ownership in the city unattainable to many, renting makes more sense to people who can technically afford to buy, but choose to allocate their precious dollars elsewhere. For example, we life in a culture that increasingly values experiences over material things. Rather than joining the club of “house-poor” Toronto dwellers, many millennials would rather take full advantage of their vacation time with epic trips (and, naturally, document them on social media), as well as experience Toronto in all of its concert, restaurant, and event-filled glory. Not to mention, in our increasingly frenetic city, a growing number of people are opting to buy cottages outside of Toronto and rent smaller spaces in the city.

This mentality isn’t just reserved for Toronto. Across the country, a growing number of Canadians are opting to rent—even if they can technically afford to buy— and homeownership is shrinking in Canada.  Given the shifting mindset away from home ownership being a milestone to strive for, we will likely see this shift in the rental construction model continue.

Tricon is currently developing a portfolio of approximately 3,000 rental units across Toronto, including 57 Spadina Avenue in the city’s Fashion District and Scrivener Square in Rosedale/Summerhill, amongst others. So, renters, you’ll have options.