In the heart of Toronto’s downtown, stands an 85-storey silhouette, a property that was slated to rewrite the rules of luxury living – The One. However, this ambitious project that was expected to grace the skyline with its grandeur has been sailing rough seas.
Billed as Canada’s tallest commercial condo building, The One was enveloped by optimistic promises and grandiose expectations. The project, conducted by Sam Mizrahi and Jenny Coco, comprised the construction of a high-end hotel, lofty condo, and retail development at Yonge and Bloor Streets.
However, severe construction delays, coupled with cost escalations that resulted in a towering debt of $1.6 billion, deterred its smooth sail. This fiscal controversy resulted in the luxury property being placed in receivership as lenders demanded overdue payments.
The path to completion for The One has been anything but smooth. Officially set in motion in 2015, construction of the edifice was projected to wrap up at an estimated cost of $1.4 billion by the end of 2022. Fast forward to 2023, only 40 floors have witnessed completion, with future plans setting the new target completion to March 2025; a dire contrast to the original timeline. Similarly, the budget has seen an alarming expansion. What was initially calculated has spiked by 43%, the project cost now hovers around $2 billion.
Serious concerns were exacerbated when Apple Inc. backed out of the plan to open its flagship store in ‘The One’s’ retail space, prompting further uncertainty. Losing this anchor retail tenant delivered a significant blow to the building developers, who are yet to secure a replacement.
Despite the looming challenges, some glimmers of hope persist. A court order spontaneously directed the project into receivership, with Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc. now playing the crucial role of receiver and manager. This transition comes with a significant financial boost, as the company has access to a hefty $315 million to carry on construction.
As of August 31, 2023, 70 residential units in The One remain unclaimed. As Mizrahi Inc. stays as the general contractor, it is interesting to see whether the project regains its footing and successfully realigns with its vision.
The narrative of ‘The One’ serves as a compelling tale for luxury real estate in the GTA, a market that is constantly evolving. It stresses that ambition in the real estate sector should be well-accompanied by meticulous planning and financial caution, underlining the unpredictable nature of this ever-evolving landscape. The next chapters of ‘The One’s’ evolution will undoubtedly be of major interest to industry professionals and spectators alike.