The First Woman-Led Condominium Development Has Launched in the GTA
Where once stood a Toronto building that almost solely benefited men, a new collaborative initiative is blooming called Reina. With the country’s first all-female led development team, this new condo, which is being built on the old grounds of a local strip club, is setting a precedent for the future of the Canadian construction industry.
Taya Cook, Director of Development at Urban Capital, is the inspired mind behind the project that gathered a team of industry-leading women to imagine and design the Reina Condos. In an interview (June 8, 2019, with the Toronto Star), she discusses the market-leading amenities that will be included in the condo, a big one being an automated package delivery room. We love the sound of that!
Aiming to find them, Cook teamed up with Sherry Larjani, managing partner at Spotlight Developments, to create the city’s first all-female development team, with women leading projects in all areas, including engineering, architecture and urban planning.
“It actually brings the females that are working behind the scenes and puts them in front of everybody to see.” said Larjani. (CBC.ca June 4, 2019)
Regardless of the thousands of women who work in the building and construction industries, few are recognized separately for their dedication and achievements. Having this female-led team in this industry will change the opportunities for more and more women in the future. The collaborative team, innovative thought, and cross-cultural intelligence are only some of the many soft skills that women bring to the planning table. Women are creating a huge impact on the construction and building industry, including positively affecting the bottom line and helping to overcome many of the challenges the industry has historically faced, such as productivity and labour.
“We know that women have very strong purchasing power in the market. The truth is, what women want, men want too. To our knowledge, no one has ever led this kind of process before,” says Cook speaking with Canadian Architects
The collaboration behind Reina will challenge projects to have simple yet important designs that have the life of an average woman (and man) in mind, such as space for a stroller and other modern storage needs in each condo suite.
“The main point of it is that we want the decision-makers to be female. The people who are sitting around the table, the lead consultants — engineers, construction managers architects, planners — they are female. Naturally, all of us have men who work in the companies that will be involved…by no means is the intention for it to be exclusive. On-site we would love to have more female construction workers,” discussed Cook with ConstructConnect this past June.
The 200 unit development has broken ground, however, they still have a lengthy process to go before the first buyers will be moving in. The Reina website includes a questionnaire asking interested women and all parties to say what condominium living means to them, and how condos can be improved. We encourage your input on their Reina site. Your input has the potential to reshape these developments and change how we live in urban centres for the better, and see who’s listening!
It’s a whole new take on the building development that’s begun to unfold. We are encouraged to see this group of leaders take off and lay the foundation, both with their development and that of women in the industry. Want to get involved? Register on their site ReinaCondos
Want to know how Lockourier can be involved? Check out our designs here. LockourierPackageLockers
The Dream Queen Team
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); and, ManLing Lau (MarketVision Research)