Was developer's letter manipulative?

[attach]5994[/attach]A purchasing offer from a local developer has rubbed some residents of Soudan Avenue the wrong way.

Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow was contacted by a resident who had received a letter from Compten Management Inc. offering her $750,000 for her semi-detached on Soudan Avenue.

The resident, who declined to comment because she didn’t want to cause further distress for the developer, was bothered not only by the monetary offer, which she contends is too low, but also by the tone of the letter.

“It wasn’t just a straight offer, it came across as somewhat manipulative,” said Matlow.

He said there was a sentence that went along the lines of “You won’t find a better offer anywhere else.”
Compten Management’s president, Jack Greenberg, contends the offer was a courtesy.

“It was not meant as a threat or attempt to bully them,” he said. “They can decide what they want. If they don’t want to sell, they don’t have to sell.”

Compten currently owns two highrise towers north of Soudan Avenue, on Holly Street and Dunfield Avenue. Their intention was to look into buying about eight semi-detached homes and one single-family home on Soudan to start an intensification on their own site.

“We didn’t need to buy these houses,” said Greenberg. “We really did it as a courtesy to these people to say, ‘Look we’ve got this development coming, you may want to sell your house in view of the fact that there’s a development coming.’ ”

Greenberg made the offer before proposing the intensification to the city because, if they purchased the properties, it could effect the development, he said.

“It might have changed the way the buildings would look,” Greenberg said. “For example, we might do townhouses with a podium style.”

The resident also contended the offer was low, Greenberg called it a generous offer for a semi-detached because two singles on 86 and 88 Soudan Ave. were purchased for an average of $750,000 last year.

A resident who lives in a single-family home on the south side of Soudan Avenue, who also did not want her name or address published, said she believes single-family homes on Soudan Avenue are worth far more.

“I know they’re worth more,” she said. “It depends on the size and what shape they’re in, but I’d say it’s more like an average of $900,000. But if it was a small place, maybe around $850,000.”

Keller Williams sales representative Sean Provencher, who specializes in the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area, said it could be hard to determine if the offer was fair because prices on Soudan can vary significantly.

“A semi can be 50 percent bigger than the next one over,” he pointed out. “On Soudan, they could be worth anything from under $700,000 to over $1 million.”

The real estate Multiple Listing Service finds the average for a single-family home in the past year on Soudan Avenue between Yonge Street and Bayview Avenue to be $845,000.

The average for a semi-detached home is about $683,000.

“I would say the developer offered about fair market value for the semi,” said Chestnut Park Real Estate broker Peter Russell.

For Matlow, the issue wasn’t so much the monetary offer, but rather the way the developer approached it.

“It’s one thing for a developer to purchase a property,” he said. “It’s another thing when a resident feels like they’re being pushed out of their own home.”

Compten is currently assembling a team to pursue the development and has not yet submitted any formal plans to the city.