Developer sells units in a project that has yet to be given zoning change approval. “Unseemly” says city hall.

December 6, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  A very senior source at city hall called it “unseemly”.  Some think it might be outright fraud but the people at ADI Developments think it’s just fine.

Popular prices, great location and innovative design.  Tighten up the marketing practices and this could be the project of the year.

ADI, relatively new to Burlington as developers, have shown some surprisingly innovative designs that move away from the stilted, safe approach many developers take.  Their project on Guelph Line, that is now under construction, was a nice jolt of energy and the project at Sutton and Dundas Road is certainly not what that part of the city has seen in the past.

Shovels now in the ground for a a smart, exciting development on Guelph Line.

Smart design, innovative features and a willingness to comply with the suggestions from the planners got the Adi brothers close to being named  the poster boys of the development community.

The two brothers who operate the company, with their Dad back stopping them, saw real potential with Village Square and attempted to find a negotiating point with the Friedman family at which something could be agreed upon.  That didn’t work out and Village Square has since been taken off the market.  Many wonder if the property was ever really for sale.

Artists Walk has also been closed – Debra Friedman has decided to close the operation that was a venue for local artistic talent.

The ADI development on the north-east part of the city is certainly different from past projects by other developers and should appeal to a younger market.

The issue at city hall with ADI Developments is the sale of units at the LINK project out on Sutton and Dundas.  Their application for a zoning change has yet to be approved but the company is believed to be selling units in the development.

What this amounts to is the selling of something the developer does not yet have.  The zoning change they have asked for is reasonable and it will set out how many units are going to be permitted in the project.

The LINK project snuggled right up to Bronte Creek where there should be exceptional views for the units on the east side.  Some very innovative design work done with this project.

Once that is known the developer can then do a final pricing and roll out a marketing plan.  Until the zoning is in place offering a unit for sale, while not illegal, does raise some questions as to just what a buyer is getting.

Developers do have problems in financing a project.  Bankers and other sources of cash want some assurance the project is going to work and that the units built will be sold.  So they pre-sell.  A developer loves to be able to put up one of those “60% sold” sign on a project.  It satisfies the bankers and gives buyers a sense of confidence as well.

Selling units in a project that doesn’t have zoning approval is not something planners are uncomfortable with.  If something goes wrong the public tends to turn to the city and ask why this was permitted.  It leaves a poor impression of the city and, as it was explained to us: “it isn’t the best of practices”.

ADI developments did not respond to a request for comment.

Other ADI development stories:

Guelph Line project breaks ground.

Developer sees potential at Village Square, tries to romance the owners daughter

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6 comments to Developer sells units in a project that has yet to be given zoning change approval. “Unseemly” says city hall.

  • Brian

    I’ve been in contact with Silvina Kade and Paul Sharman on this. Sharman indicated that ADI Developments had an agreement in place with city staff that they wouldn’t begin selling units until the approval was granted. Apparently ADI broke this agreement and there’s really nothing the City can do about it.

    I will take issue with your statement that “the zoning change they have asked for is reasonable”. The Official Plan and the Orchard Secondary plan limit buildings on the outskirts of the Orchard to 5 stories in height, this structure is 6, higher than anything else in the Orchard. They are also asking for a huge increase in the allowable density as per the official plan and the Orchard Secondary plans.

    We’ve gone from an initial application of 250 units, only to be increased to 311, and then decreased to 298 to make it seem reasonable, but all unit counts call for a lot more density than allowed, and plunk a 6 storey building right in the backyards of several single family homes.

    Should be interesting to follow the progress…

  • Richard Black

    You can sell whatever you want whenever you want if you are a private company; not obligated to transparency and accountability – that is strictly for government.

    This type of sales activity is common throughout the GTA. Don’t ask Sharman or any other councillor for advice on these types of matters, since they do not have any experience; as confirmed by city hall’s comments.

  • Roger

    Where is Councillor Sharman on this – why is he so painfully absent – this is his ward – ADI promised accountable and transparency – where is the accountable and transparency

  • marie

    what is good for one isn’t good for all – just ask the Beach residents! City has their OWN rules!!

  • Walter Fisher

    “new” not “knew”.
    Editor’s note: That didn’t take long. The story was up for less than five minutes and a reader caught the error. It has been fixed.