If you’re going to do something, you may as well do something different. And different is exactly what The Lobby, Realtor Cailey Heaps’ second office in Toronto, will be. She describes it as a totally new concept: a community-driven space where culture, community and concierge service come together.
“I’m so excited,” Heaps says. The concept “came out of the pandemic when people were less connected. The Lobby will be a community hub, open to everyone.” The Lobby, so called because it was designed to look like a high-end condo lobby, welcomes clients, neighbourhood residents and guests to enjoy its beautiful window displays, a rotating art gallery and a retail shop with “a curated selection of our favourite things,” says Heaps, who is with Royal LePage Real Estate Services The Heaps Estrin Team.
The concierges, who have their own list of recommendations, will be high-touch, she says. “Everyone walking in will have a personal interaction.” Heaps found the location first. The storefront stands at one of the city’s most prominent corners, Yonge and MacPherson, “where Rosedale meets Summerhill,” she says. The space motivated the concept, which was a collaborative effort by Heaps, her team and others.
Heaps says she wasn’t hands-on with the construction but was instrumental in the design component. She wants people to feel as if they are walking into her home. The approximately 3,000-square-foot space was designed by Reflect Architecture and the renovation took two months.
Retail space, an art gallery, designer space, a kitchenette and a boardroom are on the main floor. A partnership with a high-end coffee company is in the works. The second floor includes a workspace for team members (a hoteling model with no assigned space), a full kitchen and a bathroom. Event space for team members’ use and Heaps’ office are also on this level.
The new and different endeavour is a big undertaking. “I typically have a high risk tolerance,” she says. “I find good things come when I take a chance.”
Heaps says her real estate business will fund The Lobby, and “ultimately the goal is that by increasing our visibility that will benefit the brand.” Different partnership models with suppliers will help cover costs.
It’s an idea that will only work in selected areas, she says. “This idea would only ever work in an area with strong foot traffic and where you are already a known entity. I am excited about bringing our various passions to life in this new space.
“I am hands-on, but I am also a big believer in hiring people who are experts in their field, and as such, I have hired a brilliant curator and a general manager, both women I am friends with in my personal life and who I admire and respect.”
Heaps has been a real estate agent since 1999. Around 2010, she switched to a team model to grow her business. “Since 2010, the team sales volume has grown 1,700 per cent.” She took over the Royal LePage office at Bayview and Merton in the Leaside neighbourhood in 2015. It’s a more traditional real estate model and will remain her team’s head office.
The Lobby will officially open on Sat. Oct. 1 with music, food and drink. “The location used to be an ice cream store, so someone on the team made hand-made ice cream sandwiches,” Heaps says. She and her 40 team members (including back office staff) will be on hand to meet and greet.
“I don’t think I can give advice yet on what to do/not to do, but I can circle back on that in a few months,” Heaps says.
The Lobby, at 1120 Yonge St., is open 9 am to 8 pm on weekdays, 10 am to 6 pm Saturdays, and 10 am to 5 pm on Sundays. An agent will always be on site.
Connie Adair is a contributing writer for REM.