With so much hype around Fresh Towns in Ottawa and the recent news that Phase 1 is now 70% sold, we leapt at the opportunity to have a quick Q&A with Natan Ary, Vice President of Development, Greatwise Developments, to learn more about the company.
Newinhomes.com (NIH): Can you give us a brief history of Greatwise?
Natan Ary (NA): Greatwise was created in 1984 and is still family-run today. We are the development and new construction arm of a larger organization with holdings in Ottawa and Toronto that include the ownership and management of rental apartments.
Greatwise developments are usually medium to large-scale, and several have been infill, which we love because it gives us an opportunity to help regenerate existing neighbourhoods.
We’ve been in the Ottawa market for more than 30 years, which gives us a great understanding of what residents there are looking for. We’ve used everything we’ve learned, including our high-rise condo development in Alta Vista, our several projects in Nepean that include a recent mid-rise condo, a substantial conversion from rental to ownership of several hundreds of townhouses, and our recently successful launch of Fresh Towns.
NIH: On your website, it says Greatwise offers cutting edge architecture and design. Can you give us some examples?
NA: We try to offer designs and layouts that are on trend but timeless, so they’ll appeal to contemporary buyers but still stand up down the road. It’s a balancing act. At Fresh Towns, we are building very modern looking units with open concept layouts, and we’re among the first to offer private rooftop decks.
We think part of being truly modern means integrating the indoors and outdoors seamlessly — people want to live as naturally as possible, and we’re big believers in that. Sometimes “cutting edge” entails getting back to the basics — really connecting people with their environments.
In Toronto, we’re developing a new community at Bathurst and Sheppard that connects directly with acres of parks and overlooks an impressive ravine. In Ottawa, we developed a building that is directly connected to Grasshopper Hill Park (National Capital Commission’s lands).
We spend a lot of time and energy analyzing the market to understand what people want. At Fresh Towns, we used online surveys to really get into the minds of buyers, and then conveyed the results to the architects. We always give the architects we work with a lot of freedom to be creative. They need to feel a part of the development too, and they’re the experts after all.
NIH: What kind of environmental policies do you have in place?
NA: I think constantly striving to be more sustainable and to leave a smaller carbon footprint is part of modern building. We go above and beyond regulatory requirements and building codes in terms of energy efficient building practice as well as materials.
We also contribute land and improvements to the greater communities where we build. We want the natural environments around our developments to be very much the way they were before we started when we’re done. In one of our Toronto projects, we gave land to the Toronto Region Conservation Authority to become a natural park to make sure the surroundings stayed as natural as possible.
NIH: How else do you contribute to and support the communities in which you build?
NA: We think our most important commitment is to build something with lasting value that the community will be proud of for generations to come. We do more than the minimum required, such as contributing land for additional parks.
We’re creating in the public realm, not just the private realm. With condo developments, we make sure we’re there taking care of everything regulatory until the end, and when we make the transfer to the condo corporation, we remain in communication so the transition is as smooth as possible. Of course, with our rental communities, we’re always involved, making sure that our dedication to superior customer service is always in evidence.
Big thanks goes out to Natan for taking the time to share more information about Greatwise Developments. Visit FreshTowns.ca for more information about the new west Ottawa community!