Builder Description from Context: www.Context.ca
Regardless of economic conditions in the real estate market, the best-of-breed will always thrive. As Globe and Mail urban columnist John Barber wrote in his review of Radio City, Context projects are "The most cleverly organized, best designed and most sympathetic," and they " are not only the best of their type, they are the type."
Context Development, founded in 1997 by Stephen Gross and Howard Cohen, creates innovative residential condominium buildings in Toronto's downtown that appeal to those seeking the smart urban lifestyle. We became "the type," as Barber says, with our first project, 20 Niagara, near Front and Bathurst Streets, which demonstrated that there was a market in Toronto for Modernist, minimalist, concrete-and-glass condos. That loft development, completed in 1998, won the Ontario Association of Architects' Award for Architectural Excellence, and the City of Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Award. Toronto Star architecture critic Christopher Hume described 20 Niagara as, "A low-rise slab exquisitely fitted into a small site beside Victoria Square that managed to transform the surroundings by revealing the residential potential of the area."
Ever since, our projects have consistently won awards and critical praise for their striking, contemporary design and sensitivity to their urban context.
"We have a huge number of imitators now," said Howard Cohen, Context President, in a recent National Post interview. "When you get suburban developers doing modern, you know it's caught on." Yet, Context condominiums aim at the broad, sustainable middle market. "We are neither the most affordable nor the luxury end," Cohen says. "We are pretty much at the midpoint in Toronto, at about $500 to $550 a square foot." Among other parameters that distinguish us from the competition: We build our own buildings. Thanks to our extensive construction-management experience, we do not need to hire general contractors.
We are style trend-setters. For instance, Context pioneered open kitchens at a time when doing away with the formal dining room and allowing people to see the kitchen from the living room was considered radical. "We were one of the first to do stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops as standard finishes, and now it's everywhere," says Craig Taylor, Context's Director of Marketing.
We understand the Toronto scene. No downtown developer comes as well-prepared for the job as Context President Howard Cohen. As Chief Planner Neighbourhoods for the City of Toronto in the 1970s, he was responsible for the Official Plan and bylaws that brought housing back to downtown Toronto. From 1978 to 1987, he was President of Harbourfront Corporation, the federal agency charged with transforming an inaccessible, semi-derelict industrial area of the central waterfront along Lake Ontario into a vibrant urban district that quickly grew into a premiere Toronto Tourist attraction.