Sam Mizrahi Interview Part 3 of 3
“Do you think The One Condos is Canada’s entry onto the architectural world stage?”
I think so. And I’ve always said that being in Yorkville, being at Yonge & Bloor, I think there’s a huge moral responsibility to do something that’s going to be great with no compromises at The One Condos.
“How many people does it take to make a building like this and what other construction facts do you know?”
Over 4,000 people. 6800 metric tons of steel. A LOT of glass. The ground floor is going to be sheets of glass. 3.5 m wide by 34 ft and there’s only 3 places in the world you can manufacture those. It’s very special glass with no iron.
“On that note what kind of special challenges do you face constructing a building so tall and such a narrow tight lot in Downtown Toronto?”
It’s a very significant challenge but one that the world has much experience building and we have employed really the worlds experts who have done these buildings and we’re doing it together. We’re going to be using a jump system to build The One. The jump system is a new form of building, similar to what 432 Park Avenue in Manhattan used & the Burj Khalifa in Dubai where you’ve got narrow sites and super high rise structures going in. Basically it’s like Lego. We’re going to be using the latest technology in the jump system methodology. You’ve got wind, here’ll be mass dampers going on top.
“Speaking of mass dampers I know many places have it as an architectural feature.”
Correct. 100%. You start to see it on the crown of the building. This is a state of the art architectural mass damper, again very similar to what was done at 432 Park Avenue recently.
“What’s the plan for the Presentation Centre?”
Our presentation gallery is right now under construction. We’re building something completely state of the art with touch screens that you swipe onto the walls. It’s going to be something that Canada’s never seen. We’re actually building it with a firm in California. It’s going to be spectacular at the same level of this building. We’re anticipating it being operational before September and we’re having an 18 foot model created by Forster which is just going to be incredible.
We have such a huge interest. Over 3,000 on the waiting list right now and I think half the building is going to be gone before the presentation gallery even opens. We’re also going to be using the gallery to do the purchaser selections. Construction for shoring, excavation, and tie backs before September. We’re going to start right away to put our anchor retail tenants in
“We believe this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This isn’t going to be a project with huge turn over. People are going to buy these to stay in it.”
Well if you look at our other buildings that we built. We’ve had basically no trades. I took a very large unit for myself and my family. I took one of the penthouse units. I just know there will be nothing else like this in the city.
“What’s your management style, how do you employ, and how do you chose your team?”
My own personal style is we hire more on attitude vs. skill. Skill you can get but the attitude of the people in terms of our internal team is the most important to me. Because we’re very passionate about what we do and everybody that is on the team is extremely passionate about what they’re working in and the department they’re working in. We partner with people that not only have a passion but are experts in their fields and have done these types of developments in the past. For them it’s not a job it’s like breathing. You’re very lucky when you find your purpose where you do something that you love. And for me I’ve found my purpose it’s our art it’s what I love doing. The people we partner with and who we employ are as passionate as we are and that comes out in the building at the end of the day.
And of course the customer interaction. Even the sub-contractors, they’re so proud to be part of this project. For them it’s their super flagship. We look at employing people that share the same value systems as we do and in the buildings that we’re building.
“It’s said you are a perfectionist, and even once repainted an entire garage because you didn’t like the colour, tell us the story?”
Oh. Yea, Ha. For me as I said it’s our art. Every detail to me is the most important things. And I look at areas that are maybe not as important as the suite so even the underground garage for example. I think the reference your making is to 133 Hazelton’s garage. I came in and I didn’t like the colour. I didn’t like the way the floor was finished, and this is after the building had closed, residence had moved in. I just didn’t like the way it was looking with the car marks, condition and colour. So we went ahead and redid the entire garage for no reason other than I didn’t like the colour and how it matched with everything. I wanted it to be perfect. We asked everyone to move their cars out & we sent them a letter and I said you know I’m sorry I don’t like the colour, how it’s finished, I don’t like the shade.
“That’s not a likely thing for a developer just to spend money on something like that.”
Yea the homeowners couldn’t believe it either, there’s nothing wrong with it and even though a lot of people didn’t notice it or didn’t really care about it, I cared about it. At the end of the day, the details of the hinges on the door the colour of even the peephole, the colours of even the signs in the building and even the font on the firehouse cabinet and the colour that label it, to me are as important as the marble, the appliance, the finish of the paint, the carpet, the hardwood floor, the kitchen, the bathroom, details like that to me are as important. They’re the same level. When you bring all those details in concert, that’s when you get a super luxury building.
“Other than The One, what’s your favourite development you’ve ever built?”
Lytton, the townhouses I did in Lytton. There were only 6 townhouses at the corner of Avenue Rd & Lytton Blvd across from the park and I love it because it’s a timeless classic low-rise single family townhouse complex that we did. It really framed the gateway into Lytton Park. To me it’s a timeless architecture that meets what that whole area is about. It was really the start of my career. We put in incredible detail into those townhomes with internal elevators, rooftop gardens, and created a home on a scale that allowed the homeowners. There’s been no trades on those either. The same home owners from the beginning are still there.
To me that was the beginning for me besides the custom home that I’ve done. 133 Hazelton I’m so proud of, it’s so beautiful. 181 that’s being registered, everyone’s moving in and the construction will be done by the summer. Every development I’ve done to me are like my kids. They’re sort of like my children. Each one is sort of part of the same hand but each fingers sort of different. They’re all unique to me. Each one of them I love and each one of them is so different.
Again it’s my expression it’s my art collaborating with the community, stakeholders, the city, and creating something that you drive by and its beautiful. These are not trendy buildings, they’re really anchored in very deep rooted values. And they’re very current in design and you know they’ve got all the amenities that you want. The One is really going to be it for me. But it’s funny cause I’m going from 6 townhomes in Lytton, and everything in between, so I’m sort of book ending it.
“How are you going to measure the success of The One Condos?”
Homeowners. The measure is how the home owners live in those buildings and how they feel. The success of the building is as successful as the home owners that live in them and how happy they are. How it integrates in the community, provides shelter, and is a place where you make memories. For me that’s what it’s about. How many great memories the home owners have. And the city has. The success will be how the city, the country, the world, views it once it’s complete and if it does everything I believe it’s going to do.
“Any final thoughts you want to leave us with?”
I’m just extremely grateful to be able to do what I’m doing and to be able to build it and develop it. To have gotten it to where we’ve gotten it now and to be able to complete this. It’s an incredible honour. We took very big risks and did things that people thought couldn’t be done. For me couldn’t wasn’t a possibility we’re very lucky that we have an incredible team that supported us and I couldn’t have been happier with the city. You know the city really got behind us and supported this project. For me I’m just extremely grateful and happy that we can now execute this building.
“We hope it’s a huge success. It’s a great opportunity for Toronto as a whole to show the world who we are.”
I agree with you. Amen to that. When I was talking to a lot of people this project is bigger than Toronto, it’s bigger than Canada. When you think about Toronto architecturally the last thing is the CN tower that was built in the 60’s. That’s what defined Toronto on an international scale. We’ve never had any architectural buildings like other cities have. This will be the first of I hope many to introduce Canada to the international architecture stage. To show the world what structurally engineering wise, design wise can be done in Canada. This is the first super tall 300+ m in Canada & I’m hoping this won’t be the last.
Thank you again Sam Mizrahi for all the insider details. We are so excited to see this project launch and wishing you the very best for The One Condos.
For more information about the project please visit The One Condos