Residents disturbed by Gupta plans after failure
Recent condo cancellations rile Thornhill community
In September, over a thousand homebuyers who had purchased units in the Icona condos, a planned development situated at Highway 7 and Highway 400, were sent letters notifying them that the development would be cancelled and their purchase agreements terminated.
Soon afterwards, it was discovered that the Gupta Group filed a different application on Aug. 24 of this year. This application is proposing to build a 65-storey and two 52-storey buildings at the corner of Yonge Street and Steeles Avenue, near Centerpoint Mall –– similar to the two towers proposed with the Icona condos.
“I was very disturbed to read that the City of Vaughan might consider another building application by the developer the Gupta Group for a gigantic condo/hotel complex at Yonge and Steeles across from Centerpoint Mall,” said Ricardo Mashregi, chair of the Grandview Area Residents Association, in a statement to Post City.
“Hundreds of families had bought units in Icona, and the Gupta Group sat on their money for 18 months before announcing the cancellation of the project,” he said.
In his statement, Mashregi called on municipalities to refuse the project or penalize developers for cancelling projects after receiving money from condo buyers.
“This seems to be part of a recent pattern of developers taking advantage of ordinary people who invest their hardearned savings only to have their hopes dashed when the uncaring builders call it quits,” said Mashregi. “Enough is enough.”
In April of this year, Liberty Development cancelled the Cosmos condos, a 1,100-unit project near the new Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, citing reasons of financing for the cancellation. Four months later, Liberty submitted plans for a large-scale redevelopment of the Promenade mall, which would encompass three residential towers as well as a hotel and office building.
“We do recognize, of course, that this is not unique at all,” said Alan Shefman, Thornhill Ward 5 councillor, whose ward includes both the Promenade mall and the new development proposed by the Gupta Group. “It is fairly regrettable. I feel very sorry for the people that are involved, but we need stronger legislation to protect pre-purchasers.”
According to Shefman, that legislation must come from the province, as it is the level of government that has jurisdiction over issues relating to the purchase of residences. With developers having no legal obligation in delivering a prepurchased property, people looking to buy properties in the pre-development stage should know the risks involved.
“These are not the only players out there doing this,” Shefman said.
The SpringFarm Ratepayers Association had met with Steve Gupta, chair of the Gupta Group, shortly after the sale of the land at Yonge and Steeles in 2016, looking to discuss the future of that property.
The association says it has not heard back from the Gupta Group since. With a name yet to be decided on, Gupta’s latest development will include 1,878 condos and 12 townhomes.
“It is extremely disappointing that they did not contact us,” said Pamela Taraday-Levy, copresident of the SpringFarm Ratepayers Association. “We were looking forward to working with them, and we thought the door was open, but it doesn't seem to be.”
The application process for this new proposal is in early phases.
“Where we are is that an informal submission has been presented that staff are reviewing for completeness,” Shefman said, adding that this process could take between one to four months.
Shefman admitted that he was impressed by the initial proposal.
“So far, the preliminary design for what I have seen is outstanding,” he said. “It is a tall, curvaceous building. I think it’s an appropriate building for the entranceway to our city.”
The Icona condos were planned for Highway 7 and Highway 400