Downtown Markham is already exceeding expectations.
By Soraya Mangal
It was in the early 90s when the late Donald Cousens, then Mayor of Markham, suggested a multi-faceted downtown for our suburban landscape. Rudy Bratty, Chairman and CEO of the Remington Group had just purchased 243-acres in the new center and was intending to fill it with single-family homes.
Cousens and members of city council had another idea, inspired by the growing trend in the U.S. of artfully arranging suburban developments into urban downtowns. Bratty was immediately incited by the concept which he now calls his “proudest professional achievement in Markham.”
Markham is already reaping the benefits of the commercial, residential and cultural spaces that are taking shape thanks to Remington’s ongoing collaboration with the city. The new Markham Marriott hotel is no exception in the heart of downtown.
Hiren Prabhakar, General Manager, says this location was built with the “intention of being the most luxurious and first of its kind in North America” and “totally different in terms of design and technology.”
Their unique approach caters to an “inventive class” of patrons seeking experiential experiences within a work, sleep and play environment. Whether it be the large working desks, multi-concept seating areas or extensive plug-in facilities, Markham Marriott is fast-becoming downtown’s business hub.
“We believe in the growth of Markham and what is has to offer, which is why we came out with a hotel that is a trend-setter,” says Prabakhar.
Their recent win of the ARIDO Award of Merit for their guest suite design is a testament to the innovative design Marriott Markham is built upon. This and being in the center of Remington Group’s major condo and retail developments confirms their position as the hub of Downtown Markham.
Christina Butterfield. who heads up Corporate Communications at Remington Group, is already seeing a huge return on investment. “We have sold the first condos for Gallery Square (north of Markham Marriott and across from the Nexus condos) which is an exciting new project with 150 thousand square feet of retail space and over 600 condo units,” she says.
The current growth is focused on the first phase, “which is everything we see concentrated along Birchmount Road,” according to Butterfield. The next phase, registered last November, will see three towers coming up in Gallery Square and four towers in Gallery Towers, with an expected project completion date in 2023.
Phase two is building on the innovation of 169 Enterprise that combines a Cineplex with retail and restaurants like Good Catch Boil House, Demetre’s and Milestones.
Milestones was one of the first restaurants to set up shop in Downtown Markham, and they couldn’t be happier with their choice. “We saw an opportunity to get in on the ground level of what would be the next core area of Markham and we are thrilled we did,” says Mark Eaton, Chief Development Officer at RECIPE Unlimited, the owners of the Milestones brand.
Gallery Square shopping is expected to draw more commercial tenants and unique retail outlets. “We’re working to incorporate retail, commercial and residential into mixed use buildings,” explains Butterfield.
This includes “different experiences from a retail and community perspective while enhancing the shopping experience with niche outlets,” she continues.
La Difference Time Centre, an exclusive Rolex watch dealer which opened right across from the Marriott is a good example of that. This, and an innovative art experience is going to help Downtown Markham to further compete with more established downtowns.
Not only is Remington taking direction from other large cities when it comes to density, they are also “sparking that evolution with an impressive amount of art within their public spaces,” says Butterfield.
The installations in phase one are bringing the art and cultural experience in what Remington consider “a gallery with no walls,” according to Butterfield. These include the unique paintings of pop culture icons and sculptures of animals that are featured in the space.
Remington also invested $30 million into the Pride of Canada Carousel, a public art initiative celebrating community with 44 characters created by “junk-art” sculptor, Patrick Amiot.
The carousel kicks off Christmas at the Carousel with the annual CTV Toy Mountain drive, and Butterfield is anticipating a future Christmas Market joining that space.
“Everything coming up in downtown Markham is based on new ideas, new technology, innovation and art,” says Butterfield. With 1 million square feet of office space, 300k square feet of retail space and 2, 280 condo units either up or under construction – expansion and growth are a promise.
Integrating their green spaces, like rouge park, will also allow the community to enjoy “North America’s largest urban national park right at your doorstep,” adds Butterfield.
Up next is an additional 1.3 million square feet of office space, 1.5 million square feet of retail space and 6, 320 condos which are already in the planning stages of phase two.
Have you tried
- Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse located at 170 Enterprise Blvd. Unit J101
- Demetre’s dessert restaurant located at 180 Enterprise Blvd. Unit 104 ON
- Milestones Bar & Grill located at 169 Enterprise Blvd. Unit L109
Have you shopped
- SoleStop located at 179 Enterprise Blvd. m105
- La Différence Time Centre – Official Rolex Retailer located at 180 Enterprise Blvd.
- Golf Town at 179 Enterprise Blvd.
Have you visited
- Cineplex Cinemas Markham and VIP located at 179 Enterprise Blvd #169
- Pride of Canada Carousel located at 8080 Birchmount Road
- GoodLife Fitness located at 169 Enterprise Blvd.