May 18, 2024

The world of wellness had made its way into the luxury living condo market in a big way. Providing a basic gym and indoor pool no longer cuts it as buyers demand more sophisticated amenities especially in high-priced condo projects.

An example of what is possible can be seen just north of the busy intersection of Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. where a new 22-storey luxury condo called AKRA Living by developer Curated Properties is quickly taking shape.

With pricing starting in the mid-$600,000s, there will be no shortage of unique building amenities. These will include communal herbal and Zen gardens and a dedicated spa that will “feature infrared saunas with integrated red light and halo therapy, hot and cold plunge pools, and an experiential shower with integrated chromotherapy” – a treatment method that uses colours to cure diseases.

Adam Ochshorn, partner at Curated Properties, says the sustained growth of the global wellness market is proof of a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour.

“Investing in wellness is no longer a nice-to-have, instead it’s a fundamental feature that guides how people live in a pandemic-influenced world,” he says. “The trend lines in consumer spending clearly indicate that health and wellness are top of mind.

“As residential developers, we have an opportunity to respond to this growing demand with the buildings we are bringing to market.”

Five wellness categories were identified by Curated and their consultants, which included architects RAW Design, interior designers Chapi Chapo Design and landscape architects.

Jesse Speigel, senior vice president of development with the firm, says the “whole concept of AKRA as a building, stems from a question that we as a development team asked ourselves, which is, wouldn’t it be nice to live somewhere that positively contributes to your overall health? And how do we create a building that does that for our residents?

“We purposely sought out an interior designer for the project that has had success in designing luxury hotels and spas for global brands across the world. And I had a number of brainstorm sessions with them to try to identify what spa features for Accra would really deliver tangible health benefits to the residents. In the post pandemic world, health and wellness is no longer a nice to have– it’s a necessity, it’s top of everyone’s mind.”

Boris Mathias, a partner at Chapi Chapo, a firm that has developed spas for a number of resort hotel chains including St. Regis and Ritz Carleton, says the key to any project is to “understand the brand, understand the client direction and come up with a unique answer for the project.”

Meanwhile, two other condos currently under construction where wellness living is being emphasized are the Brightwater based in Port Credit and M5, the fifth condo building at M City located at Burnhamthorpe Rd. W. and Confederation Parkway in Mississauga, being developed by Urban Capital.

Both are master-planned communities and in the case of Brightwater, where pricing starts in the mid-$600,000s, its new block Bridge House consists of three towers connected by pedestrian bridges that lead to a shared amenity deck on the rooftop of Bridge House East, a six-storey midrise.

Christina Giannone, vice president of planning and development with the Port Credit West Village Partners, a consortium of developers involved in the building of Brightwater, says amenities offered include an open-air rooftop swim spa with sun deck and lounge and sauna within a fitness centre that includes a stretch room.

“Moments to relax and decompress are more important than ever in our fast-paced world,” she says.

She adds that wellness and self-care are no longer just trends, “but rather are embedded into our modern lifestyles. They’re key components of maintaining our overall health and well-being. That means proactively take care of ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally through exercise, relaxation, and in community connections.

“These spas provide opportunities in order to conveniently incorporate and prioritize health and wellness into their everyday routine without ever having to leave their building.”

Steven Barr, director of development at Urban Capital, says M5 is grounded in the theme of health and wellness, which is particularly evident in the Cecconi Simone-designed amenities.

These include a Hammam steam bath and individual infrared saunas, though M5 will also have a massage room, Zen lounge and a hot plunge pool.

“It’s been a tough couple of years, so we wanted to create a space for our residents to feel a sense of respite and well-being,” says Barr. “Residents should feel like they have everything they need right on their doorstep, so as people increasingly prioritize health and well-being, spa-like amenities are crucial to thoughtful condominium design.”

Spas are in popular demand, he says, “because of the pandemic and lockdowns. People have a new appreciation and desire for self-care and respite and ultimately this was a major impetus for the spa-like amenities at M5.”

M5 will contain units ranging from 450 sq. ft. to over 1,000 sq ft, including studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom options. Suites are available starting from the $600,000s.

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