First all-female real estate development team making history in Toronto Image

First all-female real estate development team making history in Toronto

By Newinhomes on May 27, 2019

The first all-female residential development team in Canada is preparing to make history with Reina, a new condo in Etobicoke. 

It’s no secret that the new home industry is a male-dominated one. From builders and developers to architects and engineers, the “biggest names” are men. Just flipping through our own contact list, it’s obvious that men outnumber women in real estate. 

That’s what makes Reina so special. Led by Taya Cook, Director of Development at Urban Capital, and Sherry Larjani, Managing Partner at Spotlight Development, all aspects of the project from construction management to engineering, architecture, and urban planning are spearheaded by extremely talented women, some with decades of experience in the industry. 

“We’re embarking on this project to create more visibility for women in real estate development, and to inspire younger women to see career possibilities,” says Cook. “It’s a huge industry and a massive economic driver for the region. For some reason it has been seriously lagging behind in gender equity. Women have been prominent in all sorts of roles and they are doing fantastic work in this industry, but our accomplishments aren’t well-recognized. We live in one of the most diverse cities in the world, and our built environment should reflect that. It’s no longer just the condo kings who are impacting our city.”

When Cook and Larjani partnered, they set out to assemble an all-star team. The core team is listed below:

  • Jane Almey (Bluescape Construction)
  • Heather Rolleston (Quadrangle Architects)
  • Nataliya Tkach (EXP)
  • Emily Reisman (Urban Strategies)
  • Sherry Larjani (Spotlight Development)
  • Taya Cook (Urban Capital)
  • Stacy Meek (EXP)
  • Fatima Shakil (Adjeleian Allen Rubeli)
  • Tara Chisholm (WSP Group)
  • Fung Lee (PMA Landscape Architects)
  • Lisa Spensieri (Quadrangle Architects)
  • ManLing Lau (MarketVision Research)
“There aren’t many entrepreneurial women coming into the industry on their own. No one took me seriously until I bought my first piece of land,” says Larjani. “We need to give women positive role models and prove that a career in development is a viable path. It’s incumbent upon all of us to change this narrative.”

Reina will be located along The Queensway at the site of the now demolished House of Lancaster. Before project plans have even been announced, the Reina team is already taking a different approach to development. 

Urban Capital and Spotlight Development will host a design consultation event on July 10, 2019 to get an idea of the types of amenities and features Reina should have. A developer will typically hold a public community meeting to discuss density and present concepts, but the Reina team wants to learn more about the lifestyle needs of potential purchasers and neighbourhood residents before moving forward with design. 

On the project website, there’s also a Collaboration Design Questionnaire you can fill out to have your say in what Reina should offer. The questionnaire wants your input on things like your dream amenity space, the type of equipment you expect in the gym, how you use the party room, and how condo living with kids could be made easier.

We’re eager to see how the consultations with the community influence the building design! To receive updates about Reina, register today!  

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