National Post: Elegance of Paris in Markham

What does a historic square in the heart of Paris have to do with Markham’s evolving condominium market?


For H & W Developments, the answer is simple. Their newest condominium project, Vendôme Markham Condominiums, was inspired by Place Vendôme, the famous octagonal square built by Louis XIV.


“The Place Vendôme really spoke to them. Here’s a location that has a lot of history to it. It has withstood the test of time,” says Johnson Cheng, president of Cornerstone Marketing Realty and spokesperson for the site. “We didn’t replicate the whole thing, we just took little bits of inspiration, and we challenged the architects to inject these types of inspiration into the project.”


The developer hopes the project will also stand the test of time, creating a new residential landmark in Markham while keeping up with growing demand for condos in the community.


Already, Cheng sees its location at Warden Avenue and Highway 7 — home to the Markham Civic Centre — as the centre of a city that’s rapidly growing, with a population expected to reach 421,600 by 2031. Meanwhile companies like IBM Canada, AMD Technologies and CGI Information Systems are already there in what has quickly become a high-tech employment hub.


“For a lot of enterprises that need a larger footprint or need a lot of parking facilities for the staff, you just cannot finance a downtown Toronto location,” says Cheng. “That’s where Markham really excels.”


With Vendôme, H & W wanted to provide a residential offering that fit the growing city and went beyond the first-time buyer product that’s been popular there up until now. Suites at the pre-construction site — currently in registration — include one- to four-bedroom layouts from 558 to 2,100 square feet. Prices range from $438,900 to $899,900.


The idea, Cheng says, was to appeal to young families, move-up buyers and empty nesters downsizing from low-rise homes in the local area. With the price of that low-rise increasing in Markham, many local buyers are looking at condominiums as a more feasible alternative. “The younger families are probably living with their mom and dad right now, or they’re renting, and they’re saying: ‘I want to have my own household, I want to have something that defines my family and I’m looking at all the options,’” he adds.


But a different type of buyer required a different type of building too. That’s where Place Vendôme came in, providing inspiration to the design team both inside and out. “I think the uniqueness of the architecture is really the foundation of the project,” Cheng says. “It really draws the eyes and builds the story of Vendôme.”


Led by principal Simon Ko, the architects of Dialog Design integrated elements of the project’s Paris counterpart into the architecture, while respecting the specific considerations of the Markham site. Flanked by two new public parks, Vendôme will feature two tiered 18-storey buildings connected by a three-storey podium, with townhouses fronting the green space. An interior courtyard, exclusively for residential use, will top the podium, while precast concrete panels will incorporate texture and colour inserts on the first two to three storeys, adding interest at the pedestrian level.


“Instead of doing a glazed building, we and our client feel strongly in utilizing precast concrete panels to express qualities of solidness, strength and timelessness,” Ko says. “At the same time, we attempted to reduce the amount of glazing to minimize heat loss and to provide a well-insulated building envelope for a more sustainable building and better energy performances in the long-term.”


When completed, the site will feature 530 units, including 32 townhouses, and will be designed to LEED Gold standards for sustainability. Landscape design by Schollen & Company will add to the architecture “with careful selection of local planting species,” Ko says. Tomas Pearce was tasked with designing the site’s interiors. They’re adding a modern take to the classic French inspiration in the two-storey lobby, with a vaulted ceiling and archways trimmed in brushed metal.


“Vendôme’s buying audience is well-travelled, well-versed in luxury real estate, they are fashion-forward, they appreciate the arts and culture, they are discerning and are very tech savvy,” adds Melandro Quilatan, president and co-founder of Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting.


“The walls will be adorned with finely detailed plaster panel mouldings not unlike what’s found in traditional French ballrooms, complete with an elegant fireplace,” the interior designer says. The project’s amenities have been curated and designed to appeal to the expected buyer mix, including a library lounge, an indoor multi-sports facility and a 3,000-square-foot fitness centre. There will also be a sound studio, media lounge, guest suite, club room and kids’ play space.


All of which Cheng hopes will create a unique lifestyle for the project’s future residents.


“We want to create a place that really speaks to different demographics and different age groups,” he says. “At Vendôme you can enjoy life to a much fuller extent.” Occupancy at Vendôme is currently scheduled for September 2022. To register, call 905-604-7886 or visit