Tag Archives: jim

Jim Burtnick for TorontoStoreys.com: Toronto workspaces get ‘condo-ized’

Jim Burtnick for TorontoStoreys.com: Toronto workspaces get ‘condo-ized’

Jim was recently interviewed by Nina Dragicevic of TorontoStoreys.com about condo office spaces in Toronto. Here is an excerpt from the article and you can find the whole story here. 

JimBurtnick new headshot_cropped BW

Office space is typically a leasing market, but some entrepreneurs — professionals such as lawyers and doctors, architects or tech startups — ask themselves the same thing as any other Torontonian: should we rent or buy?

The answer is fundamentally the same: buying has its perks.

“(By buying office condos) they build equity, not just in their business, but in their real estate holdings in their business,” says Jim Burtnick, broker and senior vice-president of sales for Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

I think it’s smart people who understand the value of having real estate as part of their business portfolio. Why should I be paying a landlord? Why pay for rent for the next 10 years and really have nothing to show for it? An end user can write off the interest of the mortgage against their business income. And if they sell the business, they’re not just selling the cash flow of the business, but also the real estate component.

Burtnick’s two recent office condo projects — 7 St. Thomas (Yorkville) and 117 Peter St. (Entertainment District) — have been populated by white collar professionals “who run their own businesses, know their footprint in terms of the size they require, and are not growing or shrinking drastically.

They’re comfortable purchasing because they know that their space requirements aren’t going to change a great deal.

Sizing up or down is still possible, Burtnick points out — additional adjacent units can be purchased or sold off — but generally these business owners and their industries benefit from relative stability.

I think where (office condos) might not be suitable is the King and Bay areas — the financial companies that ebb and flow with the economy. They grow and shrink in a quick fashion and, there, leasing makes more sense, as it gives them that flexibility.

Burtnick sees opportunity for growth. He thinks office condos fit into major trends fuelled by the city’s hot market and the evolution of businesses and workspaces; the latter being driven by technology and millennials.

On the desirability side, Cushman & Wakefield recently called Toronto “one of North America’s most powerful growth markets” in office real estate, citing vacancy rates lower than Manhattan, Chicago and London. Perhaps that’s obvious — housing demand shows that people want to live here; it makes sense that companies would follow.

I think if we were to look back — say, 20 years from now — on the evolution of Toronto, I think we’d say that what we’re experiencing right now is an evolution into an alpha city on the global stage. I think we’ll see that we’re sort of Manhattan-izing.

As for an evolving workforce, Toronto developer CentreCourt Developments recently launched the city’s first shared “co-working space” as part of the Axis condo’s amenities — a nod to the new army of freelancers or those working from home. Another trend gaining steam is meeting spaces for hire, as offices look to outsource some of the square footage they don’t need daily. Lean, flexible office space benefits the bottom line.

Burtnick — a lifelong Torontonian, “born and bred” — says the future belongs to the many, not the few. And office condos meet that need.

The driver of the economy is small- to medium-sized independent businesses. I think, as the economy’s changing, office space requirements are changing too. It’s no longer just the big corporations of the world that need these huge downtown locations. Office condos have been around a long time as a form of ownership in Asia, in Europe, and if you google ‘office condos New York’, you’ll see that it’s there too. This is actually the next phase of the condo-ization of Toronto.

Originally posted on TorontoStoreys.com

Jim Burtnick for Mansion Global: Toronto is going through a boom

Jim Burtnick for Mansion Global: Toronto is going through a boom

Jim was recently featured in an article for Mansion Global, about Toronto's luxury market. Here is an excerpt from the article.

The Toronto luxury real estate market is booming. In fact, the condo market in Toronto has grown considerably and gone much more high end in the past five or six years, according to Jim Burtnick, of the Torontoism team at Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Toronto is going through a boom,” he said.

High-end condo development began in Toronto with hotel projects like the Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton and Shangri La. From there, the options boomed. Now buyers have many choices, from high-rise buildings on the harbor, to boutique condos in residential neighborhoods like Summerhill and Rosedale.

Many new developments have been planned for Yorkville, which, according to Paul Johnston of Unique Urban homes, was “once the city’s hippie-centric counter-cultural community, and is today the epicenter of monied luxury and the location of a growing range of condominium options.”

And there are even new condos sprouting up in the areas of Toronto filled with single family homes, such as Forest Park.

Here’s a roundup of some of Toronto’s new developments.

One Bloor


This 76-story tower is located in Yorkville, Toronto’s equivalent of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. Owners have begun moving into the lower floors, and full occupancy is expected later this year. It is near luxury shopping, like Gucci, Chanel, and Cartier, and walking distance from the Royal Ontario Museum. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, the 732-unit building has an undulating shaped design to offer maximum light and views over the skyline. There is also a podium on the sixth floor, which houses a 27,000-square-foot amenities area designed by Cecconi Simone, and an amenities terrace over the podium, which is 19,000 square feet and designed by Janet Rosenberg + Associates. Amenity highlights include an elaborate spa area with treatment rooms, his-and-hers cold plunges, hot plunges, steam rooms and aromatherapy rooms, and ice fountains.

  • Number of units: 732
  • Price range: C$520,000-C$2.45 million (US$399,000-US$1.88 million)
  • Developer/architect: Great Gulf Homes/Tucker HiRise Construction/Hariri Pontarini Architects
  • Apartment sizes: Two- to four-bedrooms, ranging from 2,500 square feet to 3,700 square feet
  • Amenities: Indoor and outdoor pool, terraces, spa, hot tub, fitness area with yoga, cardio and spin rooms, relaxation areas.
  • Website: OneBloor.com

128 Hazelton


Located very close to 1 Bloor, but on a village-like street filled with townhouses, 128 Hazelton bills itself as “the last of its kind.” The building’s sales have launched, and tentative occupancy is for 2019. The mid-rise boutique building, designed by Mizrahi Developments and Gianpiero Pugliese of Audax, takes its influence from 19th century Haussmann style buildings in Paris. The apartments feature terraces overlooking the city’s verdant parks and glassed-in winter gardens so residents can still be outside when it is cold. There are also luxurious master suites and formal foyers. The building also has 24-hour concierge, valet parking, an event room and dining room with chandeliers, a lounge, fitness area, and backyard garden with dining.

  • Number of units: 20
  • Price range: An available apartment on the fifth floor is C$5,911,000 (US$4.53 million). It is 3,294 square feet with two balconies, faces north, east and south and comes with two parking units and a locker.
  • Developer/architect: Mizrahi Developments and Gianpiero Pugliese of Audax
  • Apartment sizes: 1,354 square feet to 1,916 square feet, excluding the penthouse apartments
  • Amenities: Terraces, winter gardens, master suites, formal foyers, 24-hour concierge, valet parking, an event room and dining room with chandeliers, a lounge, fitness area, and backyard garden with dining
  • Website: 128Hazelton.ca

Read the full article here.


Jim Burtnick for Mansion Global: How to Buy Property in Toronto

Jim Burtnick for Mansion Global: How to Buy Property in Toronto


Originally published on February 18, 2017. By Ariel Ramchandani

Toronto, a diverse and cosmopolitan city, is popular with buyers from all over the world.

“Toronto is known as the most multilingual and multicultural city [in Canada],” said Jim Burtnick, of the Torontoism team of Sotheby’s International Realty. “There are six Chinatowns and everybody and anybody coming here will feel pretty absorbed into the community.”

“Toronto is Canada’s largest city, with a well-deserved reputation for a high quality of living, low crime, generally favorable weather, vibrant arts and cultural institutions and a multitude of ethnically-diverse neighborhoods,” said Paul Johnston, a Toronto broker with Right at Home Realty.

The city has many perks to offer an international audience, according to Mr. Burtnick.

A lot of people are coming here for the stability of the banking system and for the education. Luxury real estate is taking off here and international high-net-worth individuals have it on their radar as a safe, stable, welcoming country in a world that is much more volatile.

International interest in Canada as a whole is so high that the country’s other major international city, Vancouver, cracked down on foreign buyers by imposing a 15 per cent tax on them last year. 

Here’s How to Buy

Mr. Burtnick describes the process of a foreigner buying in Toronto as being “pretty straightforward.”

You don’t have to be a citizen here but you have to have your money here, and it is easily transferable in today’s global economy,

Mr. Burtnick said. Funds should be available in North America for when you are ready to make a purchase. (Note: Many Canadian banks have branches in the U.S.)

Once you choose a home, you can expect to pay a 10% deposit. Deposits are generally staggered, usually over the course of 18 to 24 months (for example 5% on signing a deal, 5% in 60 days, 5% in 180 days, 5% in 365 days, and so on), Mr. Burtnick said.

These deposits are held "in trust” and are guaranteed 100% refundable should a project not proceed.

If you need financing, make sure you are already pre-approved by a bank that has branch locations in Canada. "For properties valued at over $1 million Canadian dollars, domestic purchasers are required to have at least 20% equity in the property,” said Mr. Johnston. “ A foreign purchaser will usually [need] 35% equity.”

He cautions that lenders are a bit more conservative in Canada. “Canadian banks have historically been much more cautious lenders than our American counterparts, and the federal government has maintained oversight and instituted minimum lending standards to reduce the risk of correction across Canada,” Mr. Johnston said.

Tax Talk

Be prepared to pay the land transfer tax, which ranges depending on the purchase price:

“Land transfer tax is punishing, as in Toronto we are taxed twice: provincially and municipally,” Mr. Johnston said.

In Toronto, the tax is paid to the city and to the province of Ontario, on closing. The Toronto Real Estate Board provides a calculator for assessing your land transfer tax.

There is also a 1% annual tax based on 1% of the value of the property. If you are selling, there is a withholding tax paid on closing, according to Mr. Burtnick.

If you are planning on renting your property out, there is a withholding tax on rental earnings. “That withholding is generally 25%, although it can be minimized or recouped depending on an individual’s specific tax position,” said Mr. Johnston.

Parting Advice

Mr. Burtnick stressed that unlike other countries, like England, where buyers are often leasing the land from the government, in Canada, “you own your property outright.” The agreement of purchase is a binding contract.

Both brokers stress the importance of working with a professional. “As with any transaction, surrounding yourself with the right team is essential when buying real estate in Toronto,” said Mr. Johnston. “In addition to tax advice, the expertise of a qualified real estate lawyer is very important, and engaging the services of an agent who is actively engaged in the market—and the type of property you are seeking out —will put you ahead of the game.”