Square One is getting a makeover, and a new direction

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Erin Kleinberg is reporting from Toronto Fashion Week for Square One using Instagram and Twitter. If that piques your interest, you may belong to Square One’s new target market.

The staid shopping mall in Mississauga is repositioning itself to attract fashionistas, the type of people who know that Kleinberg co-founded The Coveteur and is CEO and designer of her own, eponymous fashion line.

When Square One opened 43 years ago, it was surrounded by open fields, said Greg Taylor, who took over as general manager last year.  That green space has since filled with civic buildings including Mississauga’s City Hall, the Living Arts Centre and Celebration Square. Perhaps more important, new condo towers along Hurontario St. and west of Square One have brought more shoppers closer. More condo towers in the area are planned.

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Square One General Manager Greg Taylor and Marketing Director Toni Holley pose for a photo inside a renovated section of the mall.
TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR

“Mississauga is maturing. There is a densification of the downtown. We happen to be a big part of that development,” said Taylor.

Right now, shoppers see Square One as a handy one-stop shopping destination, said Taylor, but it’s not necessarily top-of-mind for luxury shoppers or those looking to communicate social prestige or material success — the so-called aspirational shopper.

When its new, southern expansion is completed in the spring of 2016, Square One will house just over 1.8 million square feet of enclosed retail space, including the first Simons in Ontario (at 113,000 square feet) and a 120,000-square-foot flagship Holt Renfrew, which will launch the mall into the luxury market. The expansion will cost $237 million.

Owners Oxford Properties spent $84 million on a renovation in 2013 that added height and light to the main concourse, new flooring and an expanded food court. A $62 million expansion opened in September, adding new stores including Brandy Melville and the largest Forever 21 in Ontario.
The walkways are lit by natural light streaming in from clerestory windows. The new south wing will have the same airy feel.

The renovation includes a new emphasis on attracting professional, educated female shoppers, ages 25 to 45, who live in the GTA and love brands. Women ages 18 to 24 are a secondary target market.

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When its new, southern expansion is completed in the spring of 2016, Square One will house just over 1.8 million square feet of enclosed retail space, including the first Simons in Ontario. 

TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR

To woo fashionistas, Toni Holley, marketing director for Square One, handed the shopping centre’s Instagram and Twitter accounts to industry insiders to post about fashion weeks in cities as they took place in February and March in New York, London, Milan, Paris and, this week, Toronto.

“I am literally just sharing what I see and what I hope might be interesting,” said Hanneli Mustaparta, reporting from Paris for Square One. Mustaparta is a photographer, director, model and blogger with a large following.

“I have never been to Toronto but I have heard from my friends that there is a really cool fashion scene.”

Square One’s effort to rebrand comes as malls in and around the GTA up their games, investing in renovations, new spaces and new tenants.

“Competition is just staggering between malls,” said Arthur Fleischmann, partner and president of john st. advertising.

Having a single flagship store is no longer enough. Shoppers are looking for the right mix of retail banners in a mall and will not hesitate to drive 20 minutes or more to find it, Fleishmann said.

Conventional malls are also facing increased competition from discount shopping malls, Fleishmann said. It does help, for now, that the Canadian dollar has sunk relative to the U.S. dollar, making a shopping trip to Buffalo less enticing.

The advantage Square One has is that it remains a pleasant place to shop, without the crowding sometimes found at Toronto Eaton Centre or the parking headaches at Yorkdale.

“Half the experience of shopping at Yorkdale is finding parking,” said Fleishmann.
The expansion at Square One in Mississauga will cost $237 million.

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TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR
The expansion at Square One in Mississauga will cost $237 million.

Renovations and upgrades at area malls have been underway for years, sparked in part by the announcement in 2011 that U.S. discount retailer Target was expanding into Canada, and in part by interest from Seattle-based retailer Nordstrom in expanding north of the border.

Cadillac Fairview was able to snag five of the six Nordstrom stores opening in Canada after it asked struggling Sears Canada to return leases on choice properties, said Wayne Barwise, executive vice-president, development, Cadillac Fairview.

The first Nordstrom in Canada opened at Cadillac-Fairview’s Chinook Centre in Calgary last fall. The Ottawa Nordstrom opened March 6.

Barwise pointed out that Toronto Eaton Centre is also in the middle of a major renovation, adding a Nordstrom to the space vacated by Sears. A Saks is scheduled to open in an area of The Bay on Queen St. in the spring of 2016.  The downtown mall also snagged popular Japanese retailer Uniqlo.

And there may be further change afoot.

“There’s a big question mark as to what is going to happen to Sears Canada in the next few years. If they decide to wind down operations, that’s another 100-plus stores,” said Barwise. Despite the increased competition from area malls, Barwise is not worried about the Eaton Centre being eclipsed.

“We get one million visitors every week. No one has that kind of statistics. And it’s just going to get better with the addition of Saks and Nordstrom,” he said.

With Target now shuttering 133 stores in Canada, some malls will lose what they had hoped would be a strong anchor tenant.

The flood of space may lead some mall tenants to ask for rent rebates, said retail real estate expert John Crombie, senior vice-president, retail leasing Canada, at Triovest.

Still, retail landlords in Canada tend to have the upper hand. There are often waiting lists of retailers hoping to get into the Eaton Centre, Barwise said.

In Canada, almost two-thirds of malls are controlled by less than a dozen landlords. The market is much more fragmented in the U.S.

“Tenants in the U.S. and Europe have more power,” said Crombie.

Mall owners do deep research before making any moves, said Jeffrey Berkowitz, president, Aurora Realty Consultants.

“They are trying to be ahead of the curve and understand trends globally so they know what the more interesting brands and banners will be. They’re not asking ‘Where should we be in December?’ They’re thinking ‘Where should we be five Decembers or 10 Decembers from now?’ ”

They also share many of the same customers.

“It’s rare to find customers today who only shop in one mall,” said Berkowitz.

 

–The Toronto Star.

Booking Elevators & Moving – Shawn Gandhi

Elevators Mississauga

Elevators MississaugaAt the beginning stages of occupancy, elevator space is in high demand. The functioning of elevators may be staged and they are often not all necessarily functional at the time of your move-in. There is always one that is approved by the city for customer use, however it may be shared with on-site construction staff and trades. This is extremely temporary and improves incrementally with successive stages of completion and registration within the building. To ensure that your move             is well coordinated, book the elevator well in advance.

Everyone is eager to move into their new home but unfortunately the security may not share in your excitement. Speak to the security or the property management about the exact procedure of booking the elevators. Their primary obligation is to ensure no damage is done to the building and make sure the assigned elevator is only of use to you for the specified time period.

The property management company usually requests a void cheque for a specified amount and will alot you a specific time period.  No one else will be able to use this elevator during your time slot.  The security will do a pre and post inspection of the elevator before and after use to ensure no damage was created during the move.  Be sure to be careful and have your deliveries during this time slot.

Every property management company have their own procedures in place for booking the elevator.  Make sure to check with them well in advance so you will have no problems on your move in date.

Occupancy Fees – Shawn Gandhi

Occupancy fee Mississauga

Occupancy fee MississaugaIn a condominium environment, each homeowner is always required to pay a monthly maintenance fee.  Maintenance Fees are established in the 1st budget and include an estimate of income and expenses for a certain time period, typically one year, prepared by the developer/builder.

In the event of Interim Closing (the occupancy of a proposed unit before title is received) which is very typical in condominiums, the homeowner is required to pay a monthly occupancy fee, prior to final closing.  The homeowner is handed the key’s and developer’s/builder will inform you of your occupancy fee.  Once the building is ready to be registered the mortgage will begin and the the title will be registered in your name.

Occupancy fees are prescribed by the Condominium Act of Ontario and can be likened to a monthly payment (similar to rent), payable by the homeowner, for possession of the suite prior to registration(closing).  The builder/developer reserves the right to hold some restrictions on leasing the unit to a tenant in this time period.

In recognition that interim occupancy is a partial occupancy, it is understood that not all common areas and amenities within the building will be fully completed at this point.  In most cases, lower floors receive the interim closing quicker and subsequently higher floors later.

The calculations for interim occupancy fees are based on a formula mandated by the provincial government. They are not based on completion status of the overall community rather what is deemed fair and equitable by provincial guidelines.

Mississauga & Brampton City Plan (LRT) – Shawn Gandhi

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A proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) system is a key part of Mississauga and Brampton’s vision for the future of the Hurontario-Main corridor.

HMLRT corridor mapR7_June2014This is a large, complex city-building project from the Port Credit GO Station in Mississauga to the GO Station in Downtown Brampton (Mount Pleasant).

More than a transportation route, the LRT system is intended to be a means of economic and residential development, improved quality of life throughout Mississauga and Brampton, and the linking of the two cities.

This project will help transform our community from suburban to urban. It supports growth and positive change by connecting people with destinations using sustainable transit that’s convenient to all.

The Hurontario-Main LRT will be designed to address congestion and improve traffic along the corridor.  Metrolinx, along with the Cities of Mississauga and Brampton are investing in efficient transit, to build vibrant, safe, prosperous and connected communities throughout the GTA.

 

Here’s How To Sell Your Condo Fast! – Mississauga

House Symbol And 3d Character Showing Real Estate

House Symbol And 3d Character Showing Real Estate1.   Keep it Clean – Make sure everything is in place, all counters are wiped down, appliances are clean, and all clutter in storage are removed.

2.   Smell – Make sure the unit smells nice.  Whether it’s febreeze or a scented candle, something as simple as smell may attract or distract a possible buyer.

3.   Accommodate all showings – Make sure you do everything in your power to confirm all appointments.  A buyer can come from any showing, so make sure you accommodate all showings.

4.   Don’t be there for showings – Buyers like to feel comfortable in their surroundings.  Don’t be present when a showing takes place.  Leave the key in the lockbox and allow the buyers to feel as if the place is their own.

5.   Lock away pets – If you have pets please lock them away or give them to a close friend or family member during the selling process.  Some buyers may not like pets, have allergies, or are deterred by the fact there was a pet living in their future home.

6.   Be patient – Selling doesn’t happen over night and sometimes it takes a little bit of time.  Remain patient and optimistic and wait for the right buyer to come along.

7.   Competitively price – Make sure your unit is not over-priced.  If your unit is priced higher then all the others it will help sell the other competing units.

If you keep these factors in mind, you will have no problems selling your unit in a timely manner.

 

Selling Your Condo With Shawn Gandhi – Mississauga

Real estate agent for sale sign

Real estate agent for sale signOnce you have decided to move, contact me as soon as possible and we will get the selling process under way. The First step is to call me and give me all your details. Once I have all your details I will setup an appointment, come by, and assess your property.  We will do a complete market analysis of your Property and give you comparables of the units sold in your building. At this point, we will discuss the details of listing your condo.

 

Click Here for a variety of different things to do to make your condo sell quicker!

While the condo is listed make sure you remain patient and accommodate showings. When we have an interested buyer and an offer is submitted, I will bring it straight to you. My main priority is to make a good deal for my client. I will negotiate with the buyer to get you exactly what you require. After an offer is accepted I will help you order the status certificate and do my best to make sure all conditions are met and waived.

Once we have a deal, I will be there for your closing and help you complete the transaction.

– Shawn Gandhi

Re-Sale Condos With Shawn Gandhi – Mississauga

New house

New houseBuying a re-sale condo can be a simple process should you have the right agent.  The first step in the process is to get a mortgage approval from your bank.  This will help pre-qualify you and  determine your price range.  The bank will tell you how much you have to put down as a “down payment” and what your bi-weekly payments will be.

Once you have received your mortgage approval and your price range is determined, it’s time to start looking for your condo.

Many FACTORS help determine the price of a condo.  Some factors may be important to you and some may not.  As your Real Estate Agent, I will advise you accordingly.   I will show you all types of different properties to grasp what you are looking for and find you your ideal condo.

Re-sale condos generally have 2 types of buyers:

End-users: Buy re-sale condos for their own personal use.  They will commonly live in the unit themselves.  In this case, the buyer would be concerned with functionality of the unit and how the property satisfies their personal needs.

Investors: Buy re-sale condos as rental properties or for the purposes of renovating and “selling/flipping”.  In either case, their primary focus is profit.

Unlike pre-construction condos, re-sale condo’s have no “10-day cooling period”.  With re-sale properties the buyer has the advantage of seeing the unit’s finishes, room layout, and building amenities before making their offer.

Please remember, as a BUYER of a re-sale condo MY SERVICES ARE FREE OF CHARGE TO YOU.

Expenses and Closing Costs When Selling – Mississauga

Mortgage Calculator

Mortgage CalculatorIn every condo transaction there are closing costs.  These costs cannot be avoided and your lawyer will adjust them on the date of closing.  They will give you a breakdown of your expenses in a detailed package at the end of the transaction.  The general closing costs are as follows:

Mortgage Penalty:  This is a penalty for ending your mortgage early and varies from mortgage to mortgage.  Check with your Mortgage broker.  Example costs range from 3-month payments to $5000.  Please check with your broker.

Real Estate Commissions:  This depends on what rate you decided with your realtor.  In most cases, it will range from 4% – 5% of the purchase price.

Outstanding Fees:  If you have any unpaid fees associated with your unit (maintenance fees, liens, etc. etc.)  They will be adjusted on the date of the closing.

Lawyer Fees:  Varies from lawyer to lawyer but can total anywhere from $800 – $1400.

Property Taxes:  Lawyers will always adjust all costs to make sure their respective client is responsible for they’re portion of the taxes.

Status Certificate:  The Seller will be responsible for the charge of ordering the status certificate which costs approximately $100-$125.

Buying A Condo in Mississauga From Overseas

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????????Those living abroad and considering investing in the Mississauga Square One Area are often surprised to find out there are no restrictions or limits on the amount of property they can buy in Canada. The process is actually pretty simple.  Local lenders such as chartered banks and credit unions will usually finance the purchase subject to credit approval with a minimum down payment of 25%.   Depending on where a buyer takes their business, they may need to provide a letter of introduction from their banking facility in their home country; their previous income in the home country will also be verified.  For more information on beginning a relationship with a Canadian financial institution, CLICK HERE.

A bonus when seeking full immigration status (as opposed to ‘visitor status’) is the purchase of a home shows a strong connection to Canada, and the property is ultimately treated as a part of your overall net worth in Canada.

Foreign investors looking to purchase solely for investment purposes and plan to sell in the future for a substantial capital gain, would be wise to talk with an accountant about all the tax and financial implications.

Non-residents are required to have 25% of the gross rental income of the property withheld and remitted monthly to the Canada Revenue Agency with 15 days of each month end, either by the tenant, or by a Canadian representative appointed by the foreign investor. Failure to withhold this tact and to file a return can result in major penalties.

Non-resident sellers should be aware of the following tax obligations:

  • Non-residents are subject to the same Land Transfer Tax on their sale transactions as paid by Ontario residents (the former 20% non-resident tax has been repealed)
  • There are deductions to the Land Transfer Tax that may apply for non-resident first time home buyers who plan to use the property as their principal residence within nine months of completing the purchase
  • Non-residents must notify the Canadian government by a sale notice within ten days of the completion of the sale transaction, to obtain a Certificate of Compliance showing that the CRA has received either a prepayment of the taxes owing or appropriate security for the prepayment. If the sale notice isn’t filed, major penalties apply.
  • In the next year following completion of the sale, non-resident property sellers can file a tax return and hopefully obtain a refund for a portion of their provable improvement expenses, legal fees, Realtor commissions, survey fees, etc., with respect to the property; consult an Ontario Accountant for assistance in preparation of this return
  • Read more about the tax obligations for non-resident vendors disposing of real property in Canada.
  • Where an advocate comes into all this, is to help the non-resident property buyer with such things as obtaining fire insurance (a must for mortgage lenders, and something that can be more difficult to obtain for non-residents); providing Power of Attorney services if you will not be in the country for the closing; referring legal and financial representation you can trust; and helping you navigate the ever-changing immigration and tax laws.

Contact Me, and I will find you the property you are looking for and guide you in the right direction to make an informed decision.

Buyer Closing Costs – Mississauga

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66176_1In every condo transaction there are closing costs.  These costs can’t be avoided and your lawyer will adjust them on the date of the closing.  The lawyer will go through all your expenses before the transaction and give you a detailed packaged on the closing date.  The general closing costs are as follows:

 

 

Land Transfer Tax

$1 – $55,000 X 0.5 % of total property value

$55,000 to $250,000 X 1% of total purchase price, minus $275

$250,000 to $400,000 X 1.5% of total purchase price, minus $1525

From $400,000 up X 2 % of total property value, less $ 3525

Lawyer Fees:  Varies from lawyer to lawyer but can total anywhere from $1000 – $1400.

Property Taxes:  Lawyers will always adjust all costs to make sure each respective client is responsible for their share of the taxes.

OPERATING COSTS (After you’ve purchased)

-Mortgage Payments

-Maintenance Fees

-Property Taxes

-Utilities

-Insurance