As seen in Toronto Sun on August 25, 2018

Domenic Carnicelli of Carriage Gate Homes says the true test of a downtown revitalization is that people will get to know the lifestyle and want to live there.
As editor of a new home section, I am fortunate to meet with a wide variety of builders, from custom home builders in smaller Ontario towns to the developers of the very largest of condo towers in downtown Toronto.

Better yet, if those meetings occur in person and in “their backyards”, as I get to see what they are all about as well as hear from them.

So, I made the trip out to Burlington last week for a casual meeting with Domenic Carnicelli of Carriage Gate Homes, a Hamilton-based builder of custom estate homes.

I admit it, I had have never heard of them before, that is, until I got a call from their PR representative with a friendly invitation to come out and see them.

First things first, with 30 years in the real estate development business dating back to 1988, Carriage Gate prides itself on its approachability and commitment to quality designs.

The builder also has an eye to future growth in the surrounding area, and at the same time, is undergoing a transition from builder of custom estate homes only to a developer of boutiquestyle condos.

Recent major projects include the Legacy in Ancaster (an enclave of upscale single-family luxury homes on 50’, 55’, 60’ and 66’ lots) and now under construction is The Berkeley, a 17-storey, hotel-inspired condominium in downtown Burlington. (Occupancy is slated for December 2018 with suites ranging size from 632 sq. ft. to over 1,500 sq. ft.).

No doubt, they build beautiful homes, check out the web site at for examples of their style.

But I do get a sense from my meeting with Carnicelli that this is a builder that wants to go beyond operating “under the radar” where word-of-mouth is its primary way of doing business. It wants to be heard.

Carnicelli, who will next year be president of the Hamilton-Halton Home Builders’ Association, says his goal is simply to “foster a positive message” that builders do strive to enhance the communities they build in while bringing spin-off economic benefits to the local busineses and organizations around them.

For example, in addition to the Berkeley, Carriage Gate will be launching a new yetto-be-named “art-inspired” condominium project in downtown Burlington to be located at 421 Brant St. across from the City Hall.

The project will include a commitment to the arts and culture in Burlington with a donation to public art, and an art partnership program.

Sounds good but seeing is believing. Our meeting over lunch was followed by an impromptu tour of Burlington’s downtown area and a visit to the sales office.

No doubt, this is a city that got its waterfront right and it was easy for me to see.

Along its lakefront are wide paths that are completely open to the public and are comfortably shared by bikers, pedestrians and young families with strollers, plus lots of nearby parking

But beyond the waterfront being a “a great place to park the car and walk around,” says Carnicelli, as important is how the downtown is being revitalized and “the people who know the lifestyle really want to live here.”

Driving along Brant St, I feel there is an energy here and it’s confirmed by the number of new specialty shops, restaurants and coffee shops in the area. The Village Square is now close to full occupancy and a testimony to the new life and energy that a condo can bring.

Carnicelli is promising that the Berkeley and the other condo projects will integrate with the downtown through pleasing streetscapes and common areas.

“The importance of walkability can’t be overstated for the people who now live here,” he adds. Sounds like a story worth getting out.

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