News, Wit & Commentary for Lesbians
JIC Post:From CTVA Toronto company is marketing a new condo development as the first gay and lesbian condominium in Canada, if not the world. It is the brainchild of The Vivat Group, a "gay owned and operated company," according to president Gordon Davies.Vivat is a member-driven business. To join, people fill out a questionnaire of personal information. Once part of the group, they can obtain mortgages and condos tailored to each member's needs and desires.The first $2,000 deposits on Vivat's gay and lesbian condo project were placed on Wednesday.When 'The Bohemian' is built at 288 King Street East, Davies says it will be a place that celebrates being gay and lesbian. But people do not have to be homosexual to live there."Anyone at all can buy units in the building. It is marketed to gays and lesbians, but anyone at all can live there," Davies told CTV.ca."It's a neighbourhood, just as 'Little Italy' is distinguished by Italians, but you don't have to be Italian to live there. So we'll be a neighbourhood that's a free standing building."Bonte Minnema was the first to put a deposit on a condo. His new condominium will be more than a place to live."It's just one big chosen family," Minnema said.This is Vivat's first property development project. The two-year-old company hopes to build other communities by capitalizing on the information gleaned from its membership.Income, employment and other personal information has captured the attention of the Bank of Montreal (BMO). The bank is offering special discounts on banking services, mortgages and loans for Vivat members.BMO believes this partnership makes good business sense."Vivat did share with us some demographic information on its members," BMO spokesperson Joanne Hayes told CTV.ca."They have higher levels of education and income. We know that many of them are small business owners and that's appealing to us because we actually have quite a few products and services geared towards small business owners … We did get a good feeling of who their clients were."Condo buyers are more concerned with the atmosphere being created and their future plans. Henry Wiseberg, 56, believes living in the condo will give him a sense of family during his retirement years."It's my lifestyle," Wiseberg said.Retirement homes may be the next gay and lesbian venture for Vivat. When The Bohemian is completed two years from now, a retirement facility could be on the drawing board.He says Statistics Canada numbers show there are 80,000 gays and lesbians over the age of 45 in Toronto. For Vivat that could mean huge growth."It's an awful lot of condominium units," Davies quipped.
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