What we now call the Yonge North Corridor began nearly 30 years ago.
While Mayor Mel Lastman was the driving force behind the vision, it was Menkes Development that partnered with him to begin the process.
It was in the early 1980s that Menkes Development built a single 15-storey commercial tower on Yonge St. south of Sheppard Ave. The company now has built 7,000 high-rise condo homes plus 1.5 million square feet of commercial, retail and entertainment space in 20 individual buildings. Four Menkes buildings in the Yonge North Corridor have been recognized with industry awards over the past decade.
Menkes is now a major condo developer in the downtown core.
In a 2010 interview, Alan Menkes describes the genesis of condo lifestyle living in the 1980s as having health/fitness amenities included with a condo rather than having to join a club. In the 1990s, Menkes expanded on their concept of condo lifestyle living to include what he describes as a “retail/mixed-use program” which was Empress Walk. Innovations at that time included Loblaws on the lower level and a direct connection to the subway. Neither had been done before. The original Empress Walk included Milestones, Tower Records (which eventually became Staples – now closed) and a movie theatre. This was part of the first generation of taller buildings in the Yonge North Corridor. It is what created interest in condo living in what the development industry describes as “retail lifestyle”.
Two more Menkes towers are currently under development in the Yonge North Corridor. Their Gibson Square complex, situated next to and with direct underground access to North York Centre subway station, has recently opened.
Founded in 1954, Menkes Development has their head office in the Yonge North Corridor. The company recently celebrated its 60th anniversary.