The Mazzotta family – Armour Heights Developments president Frank Mazzotta, centre, project manager Michael Mazzotta, left, and project co-ordinator Lucio Mazzotta – pays meticulous attention to every detail of a build as well as to the buyers who will occupy its residences.

While it’s been a turbulent time for Toronto’s real estate market this past year, Frank Mazzotta, president of Armour Heights Developments, says one thing hasn’t changed. “I’ve been in the business now for 35 years and I can tell you that our buyers know what they want in their new home.

“They aren’t looking to be wooed with free trips to New York or gift baskets. What they are looking for is someone they can trust implicitly to turn their vision into a reality.”

The charismatic and knowledgeable developer says he and his team enjoy getting to know his clients and building a relationship with them.

“We want to hear about their lives and discover their wish list,’ Mazzotta says. His son Michael will meet several times with buyers and create drawings to help them translate their ideas to paper. Michael Mazzotta, the company’s lead project manager, enjoys pushing boundaries and is extremely well-versed with a background in architecture and construction engineering.

“He definitely has a flair for communicating, which is so important to what we do. Our director, Amanda Rigitano, is also wonderful with our clients,” Mazzotta says.

At Armour Heights’ latest development, 89 Avenue Yorkville, buyers’ wishes range from cognac lounges and wine rooms to multiple kitchens and dedicated rooms for shoe collections. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to customizing any one of the 30 bespoke residences in the 20-storey landmark building set discreetly just off Avenue Road in Toronto.

Once ideas are mapped out, Armour Heights’ renowned architect, Richard Wengel, reviews and critiques the drawings, making any adjustments necessary so they work structurally.

Getting it right for the client is Mazzotta’s main commitment. He offers his home and cell numbers so they can reach him anytime, anywhere.

“I’m boots on the ground. I want our clients to have the home they’ve always wanted,” he says.

It’s this kind of personal connection and focus that distinguish the luxury real estate market from other types of development, according to Janice Fox, broker of record for Hazelton Real Estate Inc., which is marketing Menkes Developments Ltd.’s newest development at 77 Clarendon. The stunning boutique condominium features 15 elegantly appointed private residences nestled in the prestigious South Hill neighbourhood at Russell Hill Road and Clarendon Avenue.

“Buyers of luxury residences are typically coming from a large house and don’t want to part with their furniture or art collection,” Fox says. “Or they’ve been living in a condo and they’ve realized it doesn’t accommodate everything they want.”

Understanding what home means to their buyers takes time, patience and great communication skills, Fox says “Our clients want to talk about space for visits from their grandchildren, or how they entertain on holidays and need a table that can extend for 30 people. They tell us about their cottage in the south and their desire for top-notch security systems when they lock and leave for several months. Or they want to be able to close off their kitchen for caterers during COVID-safe gatherings and parties,” she says.

Rather than a standard menu of options, Fox says she will offer ‘whole style’ offerings, from the traditional to the contemporary and “100 different choices in between.”

“Once we’ve finalized layouts, we move on to finishes. We’re not meeting them in a show centre. Instead, they’re showing us pictures of something they saw on their travels or an image from a magazine or online. Often, they will bring their own designers with them. We have a multitude of colour renderings and sample colours for them to consider. We even have vignettes of finished spaces with cabinet-door styles and counter edges. They want to be able to touch and feel the products,” she says.

Daily conversations, often over a month or more, help to bring images to life. Great communication skills, patience and meticulous attention to detail are important tools of the luxury real estate trade. Armour Heights sends personal letters to its clients, updating them on the progress of their build.

Mazzotta says he makes it his business to know his buildings inside and out, including every nut and bolt. This quality craftsmanship and a focus on relationships seems to translate across language and culture. too.

For example, the development at 89 Avenue Yorkville is attracting clients from Korea, Singapore, Miami and New York City. Close to half of the residences are already pre-sold and Mazzotta looks forward to the time when he can host a “speakeasy” with the neighbourhood to pave the way for new friendships and a sense of community.