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Q:My partner and I want to capitalize on a commercial property we own together, so are considering either developing or selling it. It’s several acres and zoned for most uses. Which do you recommend?



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A:  Your property is not only in one of the fastest-growing real estate markets in Canada, but also in the most well-planned. Forecasts predict that Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe area will grow by 3.5 – 4 million by 2031, increasing the population by nearly 50%. Leading the way on urban planning, Places to Grow is the official land-use plan for the Horseshoe region hugging the U-shaped shores of Lake Ontario, including the Cities of Toronto and Hamilton. Often considered to be the premiere growth and development plan in North America, the Province of Ontario adopted the plan in 2006, pursuant to new Legislation enacted the previous year.


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With the advent of the boomer generation reaching retirement age, combined with the internet bringing so much of the world into our homes, complete communities offering housing and services that meet the needs of people at every stage of life are fast becoming the avant-guard of both residential and commercial real estate. The Places to Grow plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe was devised to support the development of complete micro-communities boasting a thoughtful mix of housing, jobs, parks, and a variety of complementary commercial services.

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When contemplating any large-scale new commercial real estate development today, careful planning expertise, along with financial resources, is key. An architectural firm is a solid resource at this stage to help guide potential developers as to what may be required to create the complete, mixed-use communities Golden Horseshoe municipalities will permit under the comprehensive Places to Grow plan.

Selling to an active developer familiar with urban planning is, of course, a viable option, considering the increasing demand for suitable structures that cater to the evolving population of the Golden Horseshoe. A commercial real estate broker is best able to connect landowners to developers and private equity firms seeking their type of property, covered in a previous blog.

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Large tracts of agricultural and fallow lands are being carefully designated for future development to accommodate higher density, mixed-use urban communities within the Golden Horseshoe. The Regions of Peel, York, Halton and Durham, along with the City of Hamilton, have each adjusted their own official land-use policies to better align with the Places to Grow plan, and so to better illustrate its urban planning  growth chart.


Now is a perfect time to consider your commercial real estate’s mixed-use growth value, and to capitalize on your property’s place in the Golden Horseshoe’s carefully planned urban thrall.

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