How Fitzrovia is changing the rental game in Toronto

How Fitzrovia is changing the rental game in Toronto

In conversation with the founder and CEO of Fitzrovia, Adrian Rocca

Parker is Fitzrovia’s premier rental community located in the heart of Midtown Toronto at Yonge and Eglinton. The community boasts outstanding features such as a two-storey penthouse fitness centre, rooftop infinity pool, and a two-lane bowling alley. Parker has garnered recognition for its excellence in suite design, customer care, and amenities.

New buildings go up all the time in Toronto, particularly condominium towers, which make up a significant share of the new development that our city has seen over the past decade. What is missing from much of the new development in the city, however, are third places. Third places are spaces other than work or home where one can interact with other people and relax. These places offer a reprieve from everyday stress and fosters feelings of inclusiveness and community without needing to belong to an association or have a membership. Third places might be parks, libraries, bars and cafes.

Adrian Rocca knows the importance of integrating third places into the award-winning purpose-built rental communities that his company, Fitzrovia, is creating. Rocca says that Fitzrovia makes sure to include third places in their projects to “cultivate a strong sense of community.” For example, a number of Fitzrovia buildings include 10 DEAN, a third-wave café  and bar concept operated by Fitzrovia’s leading baristas and hospitality professionals. Typically situated in the Lobby Lounge, 10 DEAN serves as an extension of the lobby space, replicating the ambiance and atmosphere reminiscent of a 5-star hotel.

Joining us as a city builder-in-residence, we talked to Rocca about how Fitzrovia is changing the rental space and their new communities in the city.

What are some of the projects that Torontonians might know Fitzrovia for?

Our portfolio features award-winning projects like Waverley and Parker. Waverley is situated at the intersection of College and Spadina in one of Toronto’s most culturally diverse neighbourhoods. It’s steps to some of the city’s finest shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. In a nod to its iconic urban heritage, Waverley pays tribute to the rich history of the former Silver Dollar Room and Waverley Hotel. Acknowledged as a heritage landmark, the newly renovated former Silver Dollar Room space seamlessly incorporates numerous original features from the site, encompassing the venue’s bar, stage, murals, terrazzo floor and, notably, the iconic neon Silver Dollar Room sign.

Parker is our community located in the heart of Midtown Toronto at Yonge and Eglinton, a neighbourhood known for its premier shopping and dining destinations. The community itself is just steps away from the Eglinton TTC subway station, specialty grocery stores, chic boutiques and the serene Sherwood Park. Parker offers outstanding features including a two-storey penthouse fitness centre, spin and yoga studio, penthouse infinity pool with cabanas, arcade and games room and two bowling alleys.

Most recently, we launched Maddox by Fitzrovia, a new subsidiary. Maddox acquires vintage rental buildings and reshapes them into modern-vintage rental communities. This involves making necessary improvements and tailored upgrades based on the specific requirements of each community. These improvements may vary depending on the circumstance but typically include enhancing landscaped areas and modernizing facades. We place strong emphasis on adding more lifestyle amenities, beautifying common spaces, and renovating existing rental suites. We have plans to expand the Maddox offering across Canada, starting initially in Toronto and Montreal.

What sets Fitzrovia apart from other developers? 

We incorporate cutting-edge technology into our rental development process to ensure an incredible final product. We use virtual reality 3D modeling and artificial intelligence throughout the design, construction, and renovation phases. Our communities also feature a custom resident mobile app designed to elevate resident engagement and streamline the rental living experience. From highlighting our resident events calendar to unlocking your suite entry door, the app offers a comprehensive solution that enhances the rental experience and optimizes convenience.

Our dedication to excellence in design and sustainability is unique. Striving for leading levels of building performance, our projects achieve distinctions like LEED Platinum, Passive House and the CaGBC’s Zero Carbon Building Standard.

The penthouse infinity pool at Parker offers stunning views of the Toronto skyline. This resort-style pool deck offers a lavish ambiance, featuring designer cabanas, loungers, and fully equipped dining areas, ideal for summer gatherings and events.
What sorts of design considerations go into Fitzrovia projects? Do they look different from other developments in Toronto?

Our unwavering commitment to quality is apparent in the meticulous selection of even the smallest elements, prioritizing craftsmanship and attention to detail for an elevated rental living experience.

Our commitment to best-in-class design is evident in various elements, ranging from hand-laid brick facades and curved glass window detailing to custom artwork by renowned artists and bespoke fixtures. For example, the striking custom light fixtures in the Lobby Lounges at Elm and Ledbury, were the result of a creative collaboration between Art and Objects Inc. and Laura Di Fiore.

Fitzrovia is diverging from commonplace “glass box” tower designs which are visible in many Canadian cities. Fitzrovia communities prioritize the neighbourhood’s context and value the heritage preservation process. For instance, our development at 412 Church Street in Toronto pays respect to the past by thoughtfully reincorporating the Stephen Murphy House and Store, a historic three-storey brick building from 1891 located at the corner of Church and Granby Street. Furthermore, this community integrates the Robert Kidney Houses, a pair of semi-detached residential buildings also built in 1891, showcasing Victorian architecture in the Gothic Revival and Romanesque Revival styles. Another example includes the iconic beaux-arts style Kent School from 1907. This landmark will be harmoniously integrated into our future rental community, Marlow, at Bloor and Dufferin.

With a discerning eye for quality, Fitzrovia ensures each community is a perfect blend of function and form, meticulously selecting details down to the doorknobs.

Fitzrovia buildings have a ton of unique amenities like facilities and resident programming. What are some examples? 

Our signature amenities include The Temple, our Official Hammer Strength Training Facility – a fitness haven equipped with commercial-grade strength and cardio equipment. It features a yoga and spin studio, Fitness-on-Demand professionally led classes and even offers Greenhouse organic juice within the facility to fuel your workout.  Another standout Fitzrovia amenity is LIDO, our resort-style rooftop pool experience. This vibrant pool deck features designer cabanas and loungers, and plays host to vibrant summer pool parties and live entertainment. Beauty for the Beast is our paw-spa, which ensures that our residents’ furry companions receive top-notch grooming, complimentary treats and a five-star treatment. These amenities come standard at our Fitzrovia Collection communities.

But that’s not all, residents enjoy a wide array of other amazing amenities, which often include Formula 1 race car simulators, bowling alleys, kid’s adventure zones, professional Raptors basketball courts, BMW car share programs, Scandinavian spas, and more.

We also have exclusive partnerships with wonderful collaborators such as Cleveland Clinic Canada. Residents benefit from complementary virtual care at our Fitzrovia Collection communities provided by this global healthcare leader, offering peace of mind for non-emergency medical issues.

When it comes to resident programming, we have an eclectic and curated calendar of resident events. This includes beehive workshops to wine tastings, and high tea book clubs to mixology workshops. Our dedicated team of onsite hospitality professionals organize these events to infuse energy, laughter and opportunities for new connections amongst residents.

Why was including unique and luxury amenities so important to you while developing?

Fitzrovia’s unwavering commitment to delivering an unparalleled rental experience is vividly reflected in our distinctive amenities, which prioritize usability and boast world-class design inspired by hospitality principles. At Fitzrovia, we seamlessly bring the essence of refined rental living to life, ensuring an unmatched and cohesive experience for our residents.

Our focus is on creating vibrant communities that prioritize resident well-being with essential amenities such as public parks, daycares and community centres. These elements enhance the rental living experience and establish a sense of community.

Fitzrovia buildings also feature 10 DEAN, a cafe/bar, on the ground floor. Why was this kind of third place important to include? 

The incorporation of amenities such as 10 DEAN, aligns seamlessly with Fitzrovia’s commitment to delivering a comprehensive and enriched living experience. Our third-wave café and bar elevate the rental experience by serving as a dynamic community hub where residents and the public alike can gather day or night for a freshly ground espresso or handcrafted cocktail.

The café’s diverse menu includes gourmet rotating espresso options, hand-brewed teas and signature beverages like our famous cookie-butter latte. In the evening, 10 DEAN offers cocktails, craft beer, and wine.

The meticulous curation of premium ingredients at 10 DEAN brings a personalized and high-quality touch to the culinary experience, exemplifying our commitment to attention to detail and top-notch quality. This dedication contributes to the establishment of a warm and inviting atmosphere, where residents can come together, connect and enjoy a diverse array of food and beverage offerings.

What other extras are in Fitzrovia projects? 

We recently introduced our latest amenity offering, Bloomsbury Academy. Fitzrovia residents have access to our exceptional early childhood education centre that adapts a Montessori pedagogy to cater to the needs of diverse urban families, integrating leading education seamlessly into Fitzrovia communities. With dedicated outdoor play areas and access to our award-winning amenities including our pool and fitness facilities, Bloomsbury ensures a thoughtfully designed educational experience. Our passionate team of educators imparts knowledge on environmental stewardship, gardening, early literacy, mathematics, and places a special focus on performing arts and music to nurture creativity and collaboration. Fitzrovia residents also enjoy discounted tuition at Bloomsbury Academy.

Elm and Ledbury is a new premier rental community by Fitzrovia. The community introduces an exceptional public space named “The Mews”, which has been created by renowned landscape architect Claude Cormier + Associés. he Mews will boast landscaped areas, curated public art displays, exclusive retailers, and top dining options.
Tell me about your new rental community—Elm and Ledbury. 

Elm and Ledbury is our latest flagship Fitzrovia Collection rental community at Queen and Church. Crafted by the visionary architects at Hariri Pontarini, these sister towers transcend the ordinary, blending architectural excellence with a respectful nod to the neighbourhood’s rich heritage. One distinguishing element is the striking brick podiums that pay tribute to the historic architecture of the area and the neighbouring brownstone buildings. Elm and Ledbury stand as a testament to timeless design and harmoniously integrate into Toronto’s urban landscape.

Offering a premier rental living experience, Elm and Ledbury introduce an array of unique amenities including a ski and snowboard simulator, two rooftop pools and a professional Raptors basketball court featuring a curated collector’s exhibition of Air Jordan sneakers. The meticulously designed suites feature custom cabinetry that was produced in Italy, spa-inspired showers and matte black designer hardware. Elm and Ledbury will be our first community to introduce Bloomsbury Academy, our Montessori-inspired early childhood learning centre. We are extremely excited to welcome our first residents this summer.

How will Elm and Ledbury differ from other Fitzrovia projects in Toronto? 

One standout feature of Elm and Ledbury is The Mews. Contrived by visionary landscape architect Claude Cormier + Associés, known for iconic projects like “Lipstick Forest” in Montreal, The Mews is a European-inspired pedestrian-first retail arcade that elevates the resident experience to new heights. The Mews unfolds as a breathtaking public space, featuring landscaped areas, carefully curated public artwork, exclusive retailers, and premier dining establishments that showcase the city’s culinary excellence. Going beyond the conventional shopping arcade, it not only shapes a Toronto landmark but also solidifies itself as a top destination for both residents and visitors alike.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and brevity.