There is an impressive collection of prestigious building and development awards in the boardroom of the Times Group’s corporate headquarters in Markham, but chasing awards is not what drives the 30-year-old family company.
“We respect our customers and value them,” says company president Hashem Ghadaki. “We like to give them a product that’s sustainable and durable.”
That simple goal has resulted in Times Group becoming an innovator at the forefront of sustainable condo building. It was one of the first developers to adopt stringent LEED standards for its projects— LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED certified buildings save resources and energy, reduce costs, and provide healthy indoor air quality for the people who live in them.
Ghadaki started the company 30 years with his cousin Saeid Aghaei after they came to Canada from Iran. Both are civil engineers and they recognized the potential in the GTA. They started by constructing infill houses, then built their first multi-unit project in 1994. Even though the housing market was in a recession, they sold the 70 units one-by-one, each customized to buyers’ wishes. Since then, they have gone above and beyond clients’ expectations and Times Group has expanded to three in-house companies devoted to development, construction, and building management.
“The reason we exist today is because of our respect for our customers,” says Ghadaki. “LEED is the better way, because our clients will save money, live in a better quality building and have fresh air to breathe.”
Times Group’s activity is concentrated in Markham and Richmond Hill, where the Chinese community has been an integral part of its success. The company built Majestic Court, the first LEED Gold building in York Region, and now has four LEED Gold Certified and one Platinum Certified buildings, with four others registered as LEED candidates. Gold and Platinum are LEED’s top achievements.
The buildings save energy with innovative measures such as heat recovery ventilators that bring in a constant stream of fresh air to suites, highly efficient mechanical equipment, motion-sensor activated lighting in areas such as parking garages and hallways, superior insulation levels in walls and roofs, and high-performance windows. They save water by using low-flush fixtures and using collected rainwater for irrigation.
Times Group’s River Park Condominiums in Uptown Markham is the first building over 10 storeys in Canada to achieve LEED Platinum. The project has four residential towers with 607 suites atop two podiums, with pool, fitness area, billiards and party room. It saves 54 percent in annual energy costs and its features include materials with recycled and regional content; a green roof, low-flow plumbing fixtures; energy-saving heating and cooling equipment and appliances; and daylight and occupancy sensors. It is also connected to the Markham District Energy (MDE) system, so energy does not have to travel lengthy distances to reach customers.
The most recent Times Group LEED building is Riverwalk in Uptown Markham, Gold certified in May 2018, that saves 44 percent in energy costs. The two towers in separate podiums have 506 residential condos and amenities including pool, fitness centre, billiards and party room. It’s serviced by York Transit, it has parking for 20 electric vehicles and has 175 interior spaces for bicycle storage. It also is connected to the MDE.
Aghaei says LEED buildings are not just good for the people who live in them, but for the community and country as well, because they use less water and energy and create a smaller carbon footprint.
Times Group continues to be an industry leader and innovator. In September, it will launch Riverview Phase 4 at Uptown Markham, the GTA’s first ‘smart’ condo building. Owners won’t need a key to access their unit, can control unit temperature or allow maintenance people, or see who is in the building or at their front door using their cell phone. Wifi will be available throughout the entire building and owners will have drop boxes that can accommodate deliveries from online retailers, accessed by passcode.
Times Group is constantly researching new techniques and products, continuing its industry-leading position while dedicated to putting its customers first. For more information on Times Group or its coming projects, visit timesgroupcorp.com
Tracy Hanes is a GTA writer specializing in real estate.