WHAT DRIVES US
It was in December 2012 when the VP of Sales asked if something could be done with the balconies in his company’s new project in Toronto on University Avenue to enhance the project’s attractiveness to buyers. As a landscape architect with many years’ experience designing rooftop gardens, green roofs and public and private landscapes of all sizes and types Frederick Hann, our CEO just knew something could and should be done. By the end of January 2013, we had created our first five SkyGardensin the model suites. Designing and fabricating a “garden” on the concrete slab of a balcony is a different bit of business than creating a garden on the ground. We quickly learned the challenges of fabricating and installing those first balcony upgrades in the blistering cold on the 34th to the 60th floors of a high-rise building! Shortly after sales events were scheduled and the results were beyond expectation. We wondered why nobody had done this in earnest before then. Well, we soon learned why? It turned out that there are many barriers to entry to offering such a product in luxury high-rise condominium communities and restrictions on what can and cannot be done.
When we tried to replicate our success in other buildings we faced a litany of objections from property managers and condo Boards. But the Board and Property Manager at Shangri-La Toronto saw what we had created and believed in what we wish to do was of value for the owners of the Condominium Corporation. They gave us cautious approval provided we worked with them to create a framework that was endorsed by their engineers, legal counsel, the City of Toronto. Furthermore, we had to demonstrate that we had the experience and capacity to deliver on the promise and be able to meet the expectations of the owners and residents who they serve.
The creation of every great product or service usually begins with a challenge, and our challenge, was to find the way to enable condo property managers and Boards to willingly say YES to condo owners to grant them approval to upgrade and transform their balconies and terraces.
But getting to Yes can be a daunting proposition for many condo owners. Many of our clients in other buildings were told NO by their property managers and condominium Boards. The notion of modifying the “exclusive use common areas and elements”, i.e. the balconies and terraces, has a special management status under the Condominium Act for condo Boards. The owners could not transform their balconies or terraces to meet their dreams. What a let down. Many of them told us a big reason they bought their suites in the condo building of their choice was because of the access to a private out door space!
BALCONY & TERRACE SPACES COME ALIVE
Fred and his team along with the faculty and students at George Brown College, funded through NSERC, went through the time-consuming and costly process of solving the problems one-by-one. We created a pattern language for design, and developed fabrication – installation specifications that will work for any balcony and terrace shape, in any building, anywhere in the world. Out of this work emerged the unique branded solution and system that works for registered property managers, condominium Boards and condo home owners that we call, The Beautiful Balcony Solution. And for Property Managers and Condominium Boards we created a physical space management product that works in tandem with The Solutions Program called, The EUCA Upgrade & Management Program. With both programs in service in various buildings in Toronto, our next stop is Vancouver, BC.
Our President and CEO is Frederick Hann, a Master of Landscape Architecture. He knows first-hand of the benefits to having direct access to a beautiful out door space and how it improves the quality of people’s lives and their real estate investment. He’s spent decades creating beautiful landscapes and gardens for such developments as parks, commemorative memorials, college campuses, waterfront developments rooftop gardens and many gorgeous gardens for private homes, throughout Maritime Canada and in his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Frederick is a creative thinker who loves a challenge. As his professional practice matured, he began to consider ways to make it effortless and hassle-free to enhance the public and private landscape of residential subdivisions, while contributing to the marketing and sales process. He imagined a platform driven by a matching system engine that would make it possible for more homeowners to have a beautiful garden, with limited professional engagement. Because Frederick believes in the power of gardens, Garden Connections came to life in 2011.
Now condo owners can capitalize on Frederick’s years of experience and domain expertise to realize their dream of a beautiful balcony garden and complete their condominium living lifestyle.
Here, in the high life of beautiful condo spaces, Fred knows a lot of bare balcony stories. They always have a beautiful ending...
what is your balcony story?
Perhaps you’re downsizing to a beautiful condominium home... or upsizing to a accommodate a new family.
As the owner of a prime condominium property, enhancing the experience and enjoyment of your home is a natural desire. And although you may never have thought about it, your balcony or terrace doesn’t need to look like a forgotten space in your new home.
This team includes skilled designers, building information modeling technicians and people with expertise in logistics, project management, fabrication and installation. Working with diverse and distinct condo building issues, we design for safety, privacy, beauty and longevity.