“I'm convinced that the market will soon be ready for more high-rises. What's key to it, I think, is to get more people down there, because it's higher density that's needed. Upgrading the existing buildings will help."Julie Gregoris
Let's boost prospects in our downtown and uptown areas,says new-look realtor
By Rich Letkeman
Julie Gregoris is keenly interested in office and retail opportunities that would boost and intensify development
in Brampton's downtown and “uptown” districts.
After 25 years of leasing and project management, she is ensconced in commercial real-estate services with Century 21 Millennium, a brokerage with offices in Brampton and Wasaga Beach.
Although she's one of only a handful of commercial brokers among Millennium's 130 agents, she is pivotal to the company's push toward a commercial division. “I think the Brampton markets are indicating readiness for taller buildings and exciting infill projects in the city.”
Gregoris is involved in a nine-storey office project for Rutherford Rd. and Steeles Ave., initiated by Q&G Group Inc. She is expediting final approvals for construction. “It will be the tallest structure in what I call 'uptown', right near the courthouse buildings and five minutes from the downtown core.”
The area is well supplied with retail and industrial buildings placed by First Gulf and Morguard Groups. Large areas are devoted to parking, so the district does not appear to be built out. “A cross-section of retail, industrial and residential projects have been ongoing for some time,” she said.
As owner-builders, Q&G Group built their first structure on the Rutherford-Steeles property 40 years ago, and a second one 22 years ago which won a City of Brampton design award. Their market studies have indicated that now is the right time for “the big one”, according to Gregoris.
Her experience has included working for Philmor Group in Toronto, and directly for Q&G Group in Brampton, on building and owner-builder projects and on leasing transactions. “I started on the bottom, as an office person in leasing operations. So becoming a commercial broker on the development side of things was a natural transition for me,” she continued.
Attracting investors and initiating a project are two things she could get her teeth into. “Right now I'm promoting an industrial condominium project in Toronto, at York Mills Rd. and Leslie St., getting the investments together and waiting for building permits,” she said. With her background in rental operations, the condo project was a challenge: “Just a short while before the municipal elections, one of the City councillors [in Toronto] joined a local activist group in protesting the height of the back end of the building – 24 feet. After several meetings we had it
redesigned to 20 feet, in spite of the building's daytime-only traffic potential plus a generous buffer zone consisting of parking spaces, trees and a raised lawn.”When she's not dealing with project approval details, Julie Gregoris is studying for her SIOR accreditation and looking for creative development opportunities. “Land is
much more expensive now, but there are many infill possibilities, especially in the core.”
To her, networking is key to attracting investors for that endeavour. She looks forward to running into people who
announce things like: “Julie, if you've seen any good deals on retail plazas, please remember to let me know.”
“I can't remember ever having to cold-call potential investors.”
She doesn't have involvements in specific downtown-core projects in Brampton, but the prospects are a penchant for her. “I'm convinced that the market will soon be ready for more high-rises. What's key to it, I think, is to get more people down there, because it's higher density that's needed. Upgrading the existing buildings will help.
“In other words, when pedestrian traffic is boosted, the market gets ready. Our city's cosmopolitan population and a few creative infill projects would certainly help to complement the growth. And so would a higher density of lifestyle venues such as patios and entertainment spots.”