Visionary, detail-oriented and articulate are the three words I would use to describe Toronto-based Sam Mizrahi, owner of Mizrahi Developments.
On a recent trip to Toronto, I not only sat down with Mizrahi but also received a tour of his gorgeous 133 Hazelton development in Yorkville. This beautiful and luxurious building welcomes you with glass doors overlaid with wrought iron detailing, giving Parisian flair to a chic Toronto neighbourhood. The foyer continues the sense of elegant luxuriousness with soaring ceilings, wall-paneling and detailed marble flooring. The friendliest concierge you’ve ever met greets you and his passion for his job shines through; Mizrahi Developments administrates their own project managers and concierges, even beyond the building’s finish. The understated opulence of the lobby is not lost on Mizrahi who chose the paint colour based on its timelessness.
Mizrahi comes from a custom home building background. It is this very concept he brings to condos: a unique ability to customize to the highest degree. Every unit in each of his buildings will be different. Each buyer can choose from a range of custom finishes and appliances – all Miele – to create a dream condo reflecting any style. Traditional and modern appreciators may both apply.Mizrahi is about bringing the best to the condo lifestyle. He says: “we don’t meet code, we exceed code.” The luxuriousness of the experience begins when you enter the lobby and continues as you pass from one “anti-chamber” to another, yielding the impression of being in a house rather than a condo building. This at-home feeling continues into the mailroom, a curved, bookshelf-lined room that “embraces you,” according to Mizrahi. The developer’s incredible eye for detail is again evident in this room by Mizrahi’s choice of artwork, a framed envelope.
Even in places so often forgotten as the elevator, the garbage chute rooms (one on every floor) and the hallway’s fire extinguisher have the details been attended to. The elevator has stylish marble moulding; the garbage chute rooms are tile-lined to the ceiling to ensure easy cleanup, and the fire hose is contained in a cabinet designated the “Fire Hose Cabinet.” Mizrahi is particularly proud of these high-end chutes, as hauling trash down the elevators to a single garbage room would be “anti-luxury.” Venture into some of the other common elements and notice again that attention has been paid to planning. Each garage spot has an electrical plug for snowbirds who wish to slowly charge vehicles left behind and owners of electric cars. The garage also has epoxy flooring and CCTV cameras.
Not only is attention to detail on display, but so is Mizrahi’s love of history. The theatre room has two gallery walls of black and white photos featuring iconic Hollywood stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn, and the foyer’s colour harks back to Haussmann’s Napoleonic era. This connection to the past is one that influences Mizrahi’s own creativity. He is influenced by his travels to Paris and Italy and their timeless beauty more than anywhere else.One of Mizrahi’s newest and most exciting developments is 1451 Wellington in Ottawa. The $1.5 million doll]ar sales centre is just being built. The building will be similar in scope and design to Yorkville’s 133 Hazelton, but what impresses me most is that Mizrahi is coming to Ottawa with a sense of respect for our history and future. He has really considered what Ottawa condo residents want as well as the nuances of his building’s location on the corner of Wellington Street West and Island Park Drive. He understands that, while many Toronto condo dwellers don’t want swimming pools, Ottawa condo residents may think differently. This boutique condo will have a spa, gym, theatre, indoor saltwater pool, 24-hour concierge and valet parking services, and incredible penthouses with sweeping water views and rooftop terraces. All of the roughly 95 units will enjoy 10-foot ceilings and the lobby will have sweeping 22-foot ceilings.
If you ask Mizrahi about the traffic at his site’s intersection he will tell you he has considered it and has consequently designed his building so pedestrians will not be affected by smells from trash left out on the sidewalk because there will be no garbage stored outside the building. He has eliminated creating traffic upsets by bringing all trash pickups and truck deliveries to functional areas inside the building. Special windows will ensure quiet units throughout. Nothing has been overlooked.
Perhaps the thoughtfulness Mizrahi is bringing to this development is partly due to his wife being from Nepean and Mizrahi having spent a lot of time visiting his in-laws in Ottawa. More likely it is an example of his usual conscientious attention to detail. Mizrahi wants to design buildings that stand the test of time in terms of architectural merit and quality. “A building should never look like it does not belong there,” Mizrahi said. He wants to build buildings that are admired twenty years from now.Beyond Ottawa, Mizrahi is working on another milestone project, The One, situated at Yonge and Bloor in Toronto. This 1000-foot high project will be an icon on the Canadian architectural landscape as the tallest building in Canada. Containing 416 residential units – a nod to the 416 area code of Toronto – and eight floors of retail space offering 18-foot high ceilings. The One will be a new luxury retail hub in Toronto. Innovative features include the incredible exoskeletal design, where there are no load-bearing columns to interrupt the space and the fantastic “winter gardens” in units. These “gardens” ensure balcony use year-round. Units in this unrivalled building will range from $600,000 to $30 million.
This wide range of prices represents Mizrahi’s approach to condo luxury. “Luxury is subjective,” he says, explaining that luxury evokes a feeling that cannot be articulated – it is an experience. One thing is certain: when it comes to building condos, Mizrahi is going beyond brick and mortar and creating luxurious lifestyles.
Marilyn Wilson has been selling Ottawa luxury real estate for more than 27 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. Christie’s International Real Estate. She can be reached through dreamproperties.com or follow her on Instagram @dreampropertiesrealestate
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