Health and wellness, with a hint of sport

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If you’ve jumped on the pickleball craze, it might be time to consider luxury condo living.  As the paddle sport’s popularity grows, courts are trending as the newest amenity to be showcased in recent GTA developments.

“Pickleball was a natural for us,” says Gary Eisen, co-founder and principal at Curated Properties, developer of 8 Temple at the west end of Toronto’s Liberty Village, where the forward-thinking outdoor court comes with spectacular views of Lake Ontario.

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In a departure from the norm, the building’s exquisitely designed common areas are gracing the rooftop, a space normally reserved for penthouses that will now boast an international kitchen with pizza oven, big-screen entertainment area, CrossFit training area and soothing wood saunas in addition to pickleball.

“Initially the demographic skewed older – above 50 – because people were getting too banged up playing tennis, but in recent studies the growth is being spurred by a younger demographic who are enjoying the social aspect of it,” added Eisen, noting that the court is expected to be among the first of its kind.

Health and wellness remains the guiding focus behind amenity design when it comes to luxury condo living, manifesting in features like saunas, meditation rooms and plunge pools, along with high-quality fitness centres. What’s new is the element of communal sport and socialization.

“There certainly is the spa-like relaxation component of wellness, but also the sense of play and fun and sport,” says Urban Capital director of development Steven Barr. “Sport is a foundation of who we are – all of us have some kind of competitive spirt and desire to physically challenge ourselves.”

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M6 Condos
M6 Condos, part of the M City development near Mississauga City Centre, will feature a multipurpose sports court for basketball, badminton and pickleball, as well running track, outdoor pool, putting green and bocce ball court. Photo by Supplied

M6 Condos by Urban Capital and Rogers Real Estate Development, part of the M City development near Mississauga City Centre, will feature a multipurpose sports court for basketball, badminton and pickleball, as well as a running track on top of the podium, an outdoor pool with a lap lane, a putting green and a bocce ball court. M1 Condos, located near Square One, offers an outdoor skating rink that Barr expects will see a lot of residents lacing up for their first skate in the city this winter.

The emphasis is on helping people to stay active by creating a resort-style experience just steps from where they live. “I don’t think we’re doing anything new and on trend. I think it’s more about how the audience is starting to think about what it means to be healthy and well,” says Barr.

Trending amenities also include spaces that reflect a family-centric condo life. The more people work from home, the more developers are adding co-working spaces like the zen-like offices planned for Reside on Richmond by Originate. The more people stay in their condos as their families grow, the more we’re seeing indoor and outdoor kid zones like the fun, bean bag chair-filled room at The Riv by Broccolini.

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The over-arching goal is to create spaces that will stand the test of time, says Barr. M6 Condos will boast an outdoor kids’ splash pad and playground with bench seating for parents, as well as a quieter indoor space with individual workstations and tables for arts and crafts. Family theatre rooms are evolving to include larger flat screens and a more sophisticated party atmosphere.

“What I’ve come to learn is that the theatre room is indeed used,” says Barr. “Some of the best case studies I’ve seen are where residents use it as a venue for kids’ birthday parties and the kids vote on what they want to watch.”

At 8 Temple, the stunning outdoor screen planned for the rooftop lounge, viewable from inside and out, could take Super Bowl parties next level, says Eisen.

Sports simulator
Reside on Richmond will have a simulation room where residents can try their best hockey slapshot. Photo by Supplied

Sports simulators —    at one time waning in popularity because they tended to break down —   are making a comeback thanks to new iterations of technology. Reside on Richmond will have a simulation room where residents can try their best hockey slapshot and The Gupta Group’s Yonge City Square development, next to the Don Valley Golf Course, will feature a stylish entertainment lounge with a golf simulator and bar.

“Our whole philosophy is that our projects are design forward and community focused, with a heavy impetus and concentration on the whole life,” says Eisen. “We’re trying to be in tune with what people are enjoying today.”

For Barr, the newest trend in amenities is about treating sport as a casual means to get out and have fun, and enjoy a sense of camaraderie. “Rather than just inviting friends over to your condo amenity terrace to sit down and have a glass of wine, you can do that with a putter in your hand,” he says. “That’s what I expect will come through and resonate with residents.”

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