NewsToronto Star: New rental suites with a luxurious twist in Toronto’s Forest Hill South neighbourhood

20-storey boutique building brings 129 high-end apartments and amenities to Lonsdale and Avenue Rds.

By Carola Vyhnak, Special to the Star

“We realized there really wasn’t anything like this in Toronto,” says builder Bryan Levy, centre, CEO of DBS Developments with Gloria Salomon, CEO of Preston Group and Don Schmitt, principal of Diamond Schmitt Architects.

It’s all about the brick.

Handmade in Denmark, hand-picked there by the developer himself, the “very expensive” brickwork at upwards of $7 apiece sets the tone for a 20-storey luxury rental building in its final months of construction at Lonsdale and Avenue Rds., in Toronto.

“When people come around that corner and see the building with this beautiful brick, it really should make an impact,” predicts developer Bryan Levy.

He has high hopes for the head-turning highrise named 2Fifteen after its number on Lonsdale.

“It’s gonna be a big deal,” he says. “We realized there really wasn’t anything like this in Toronto.”

With high-calibre finishes, amenities and services, and attentive on-site staff to attend to residents, the boutique building is expected to fill a void in the purpose-built rental market.

“When you’re buying 200,000, you want to know what you’re getting,” says builder Levy who went to Denmark to select the upscale bricks for 2Fifteen Lonsdale’s exterior.

People who want to live in luxury and security without the cost, commitment and responsibilities of owning a home can move into a professionally managed building for 12 months or “as long as you want,” says Levy, CEO of DBS Developments and CFO of Preston Group, the Toronto companies that are building and operating 2Fifteen.

Its location in the “beautiful, quiet, tree-lined neighbourhood” of Forest Hill South adds to the appeal, he says.

Rents will range from $3,200 and up per month for a one-bedroom apartment to $12,000 or more for a penthouse suite, and will cover everything from services to maintenance.

Levy envisions tenants as high-earning young professionals new to the city or lacking the down payment to buy a place; boomers sharing space with age-in-place elderly parents; or downsizers with other uses for their home-sale profits.

He expects demand to grow as people recognize the financial benefits of selling the house, cashing in and enjoying life’s next chapter as a tenant.

“Up until now there hasn’t been a good rental option for them,” he points out.

The 17th-floor rooftop terrace with lounge seating and fire pits will have views of the city skyline to the south and west.

Count Roanne Kerzner among the opportunity-spotters. As a next-door neighbour in a condo she owns with her husband, she’s thinking about the “definite possibility” of renting at 2Fifteen in the future.

“It’s a very attractive option because of what it can offer someone accustomed to a luxury lifestyle,” says Kerzner, an executive in the real estate industry.

Moving to a rental suite in the same desirable location would be a “lifestyle change,” freeing them from the responsibilities of ownership while still providing the amenities, services and security they want, explains the discerning urbanite.

The couple, who have a 16-year-old son, would likely wait till they’re empty nesters before deciding to move, Kerzner adds.

She said the well-designed building “looks beautiful” as the bricks go on, creating a façade that Levy credits for attracting interest in the pinwheel-shaped highrise.

Symbolic of the level of luxury and refinement that will define 2Fifteen, the bricks were a weighty consideration that prompted Levy to visit the Petersen Tegl factory in a small Danish town where he personally chose the long, thin “Kolumba” clay blocks.

“We really paid attention to the details of everything here,” says builder Bryan Levy, left, CEO of DBS Developments with Don Schmitt, principal of Diamond Schmitt Architects and Gloria Salomon, CEO of Preston Group.

“When you’re buying 200,000, you want to know what you’re getting,” he explains. “I actually made one myself.”

He also took 2Fifteen’s architect from Diamond Schmitt and interior designer from Wise Nadel to New York City to see the bricks in use on other buildings.

Lonsdale’s design features grey bricks in varying shapes and shades stacked horizontally, according to Levy. The masonry will be complimented by bronze anodized aluminum frames around the oversized floor-to-ceiling windows.

The developer notes they’re the first to use the Danish brick on a highrise in Canada.

But the brick is just the beginning, Levy says. “We really paid attention to the details of everything here.”

That includes the entrance lobby and lounge that has a fireplace and 20-foot ceiling, a party room with chef’s kitchen and dining space, games room with theatre and walkout terrace with outdoor dining area. There’s also a fully equipped gym with Peloton bikes and spa facilities.

Custom-designed cabinetry, large islands and high-end appliances are among the kitchen highlights in apartments that will range from 580 to 2,150 square feet.

On the 17th-floor rooftop terrace, residents will have unobstructed southwest views of the skyline, lounge seating and fire pits.

Activities will include cooking classes, wine tasting, fitness and yoga classes, says Levy.

Apartment suites will have open-concept layouts, wide-plank hardwood flooring, high-end appliance package, large kitchen island and a large balcony, among other features.

Preston Group is hiring a full-time management team comprising a 24-hour concierge, porter and resident manager specifically for this building, says Levy.

Staff will be on call around the clock, whether it’s to help with groceries, food deliveries or making reservations. Tenants will also have a phone app for booking amenities, requesting maintenance and other communications.