TORONTO — A Toronto dealership group is taking business diversification to new heights — literally — by partnering with a local real-estate developer to build a multi-brand auto mall complete with 900 condos and "lots of retail."
Several years ago, the Downtown Auto Group bought a five-acre (two-hectare) parcel of land near Toronto’s Don Valley Parkway where it crosses over Queen Street East, with the intent to build a traditional auto mall there.
But something happened in the interim: Toronto real estate prices soared.
"At $20-25 million per acre, the current market price for land in this area, it quickly became clear that the financial model of the traditional auto dealership wouldn’t make sense for this property," said DAG President Shahin Alizadeh. "So, we started looking at options."
With condos selling in Toronto for $750 per square foot, such a development seemed the obvious use for such an expensive parcel of land. But then, said Alizadeh, "where would the auto mall go?"
DAG considered several options, like parceling the land, and scaling down the auto mall, but none felt like the optimum solution.
Then Alizadeh had a fateful meeting with Les Mallins, the driving force behind Streetcar Developments, a company with several successful condo and retail projects under its belt in the area, including the award-winning restoration of the historic Broadview Hotel. Mallins proposed that Streetcar co-develop the project with DAG.
Net result: The DAG Autoplex will be incorporated into a residential development called Riverside Square, with 900 condominiums, a public square and retail — including seven DAG dealerships — all built on the same site. The condos will be set back and above the dealerships, which will be on street level. The dealerships are nontraditional in layout and size.
Opening summer 2018