This article was originally published in the 2020 Fall Issue of Invest In Style Magazine.
No longer are our homes just places we go to sleep and watch Netflix. As we sheltered in place, our homes transformed into our protectors, our offices, our entertainment systems, our schools, our gyms and our sanctuaries. While there is no clear data demonstrating that we have fundamentally changed where we want to live, there is clear data demonstrating that we have fundamentally changed what we want from our homes. This is especially evident in the luxury market where traditional markers of luxury – marble counters, crown molding and lap pools – have been replaced by what isn’t necessarily visible – technology.
Technology’s impact on how we live cannot be understated. It is used to de fine those who use it – if you believe in sustainability and the entrepreneurial dream, you’re a Tesla driver. Early adopters who could fix the bugs in a Zoom call are likely Google Glass wearers, and if you care about your health and obsess over the steps you take in a day, you’re likely a Fitbit addict. In other words, technology, especially with the changes brought on by sheltering at home, is now the barometer that measures and identifies just about everything around us – including how we define luxury.
LUXURY IS NO LONGER A MANSION. LUXURY IS PEACE OF MIND.
According to Samson Fung, Vice President Marketing for Tridel, the largest developer of condos in the GTA and Tara Stone, Sales Manager at Del Realty, luxury has shifted away from time and management intensive estate homes and mansions, to large airy condominiums with oversized balconies, that offer hassle-free living. While the restrictive nature of Covid-19 made balconies the obvious “must have” on the punch-list of luxury buyers, high speed connectivity and personalized contactless technology has become equally as important, especially as the internet is critical to getting access to our virtual offices, schools and cinemas.
LUXURY IS HASSLE-FREE, WHICH MEANS HANDS-FREE
Hassle-free extends beyond perfectly manicured gardens without the corresponding work. Luxury buyers do not want to fumble for keys and fobs or buzz the concierge and have to wait. Rather, they want the garage to “recognize” them and open the door by reading their license plates.
The convenience of online shopping, deliveries of groceries, gifts, fine wines and furniture are now the norm. This change in how we buy overtaxed the concierge desks of many buildings – packages went missing and deliveries spoiled. Luxury buyers want their condominiums to track the arrival of packages and hold these packages in personalized climate-controlled storage spaces that unlock like they do with Tridel’s very own smartphone app. The era of lost packages at the concierge desk is over.
Luxury buyers also want to use in-suite pads or smartphone apps that use voice recognition to call the front desk, check the weather or turn on security, as well as determine the best time to use the elevator. Such connectivity means convenience and helps avoid high traffic time while creating the feeling of having a personal elevator.
Covid-19, I believed, would negatively impact the condominium market as I predicted that buyers would fear sharing communal space with a neighbour. According to several developers, this hasn’t been the case. Rather, people feel more comfortable sharing space, such as a condominium gym or garden, with those they know versus those they don’t. Rather than the abolishment of all things shared, Covid-19 has accelerated the use and need for technology in common areas; high touch areas such as doors and elevator buttons must now be “touchless” and tightly monitored on a rigorous cleaning schedule. With Smartphone apps, elevators are now voice or phone controlled and doors open and close by connecting with your smartphone. Other changes that are here to stay – and a critical feature of luxury condominiums – are: wider hallways to ensure social distancing, an HVAC system that purifies the air, and additional easy access storage for parcel deliveries.
LUXURY IS GREEN. LUXURY IS FORWARD THINKING.
Outdoor space is an obvious must, but it must be done in a way that improves the surrounding environment. The Edenbridge, Tridel’s latest condo and townhouse development on The Kingsway, has taken particular care to create an abundance of greenspace and rooftop gardens that allow for private use and respite from hours of Zoom calls.
As the largest developer of green condominiums in Canada, it’s a relief that Tridel is also a true leader in leveraging technology to protect the environment. Unsurprisingly then, the Edenbridge project not only emphasizes lush open greenspace, but is also aiming for LEED Gold Certification. To obtain such certification, Tridel must meet and exceed a rigorous list of environmental prerequisites established by the US Green Building Council under the LEED program. Tridel is the most awarded Green Builder within the GTA, awarded by Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). Such prerequisites include construction activity pollution prevention, water use reduction, water efficient landscaping, innovative wastewater technologies, optimized energy performance, using renewable materials and constructing indoor air quality management plans and control systems. Tridel aims to meet these requirements and more at Edenbridge.
Fortunately, while technology has redefined luxury as something as important as insulation and plumbing, Tridel’s focus on technology has not been at the expense of what makes The Kingsway special – its mature trees, sprawling rich parks and teeming wildlife. In other words, Kingsway’s peaceful and natural environment. Every feature of the Edenbridge aims to preserve this uniqueness by building critical infrastructure that uses less electricity, natural gas, potable water and construction waste.
With such attention to the changing tastes of today’s luxury buyer and high regard for the environment, Tridel, through the Edenbridge, is building the quintessential Kingsway home.