Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cool Condos

Market conditions aside, we have to admit that there are some pretty interesting buildings around. This post is a collection of some units in buildings we'd likely consider quite seriously given different prices/incomes.

And as a complete aside, in the search for these listings, I did find one condo marketeer refer to the north-end of downtown as Victoria's new "Yaletown?"--I actually threw up a little in my mouth at that... now on with the show:

This building, and this unit, is just off Government St on Chatham. I know someone who has lived here now for 3 years or so and loves the place. The loft units make great use of limited space, and while my friend lives alone, I know Ms. HHV and I could do well in a place this size, in this location, with this layout, for the next five years or so.

The building is mixed use; there is a school of Traditional Chinese Medicine on the ground floor. There are also several townhouses. For us to buy here we'd have to have two things this particular listing doesn't seem to have: a deck (my friend's is great, small, but BBQ friendly and surprisingly sun-drenched) and a parking spot. Ms. HHV won't likely be working downtown anytime soon.

Show suites are now open at The Palladium. When I was a kid, I did my fair share of sailing out of RVYC in Uplands. Whenever we needed new sails or other sail-related materials, we came to this building. This used to be, after being a church amongst other things, the location of an alternative used record shop, a musical instrument sales/rental business, and the Hood Sails loft in town. That sail loft was a pretty cool place to visit if you were a young sailor in town. I can rarely drive past without fondly remembering my times there. That's the kind of story that it's marketers might fixate on in sales presentations.

We won't consider buying here. Not only because we can't stomach the current price, but also because I can't handle the neighborhood. Sure you've got a great bakery across the road. And two great pieces of architecture in St. John's Church and the Conservatory just a block away in either direction. But you also have the Ministry that doles out the dole every week directly across the street, and just another 500 meters or so is the old/new location of Our Place. I commend the work that both those places do. They are unfortunately overly-necessary components of contemporary life in Victoria. But we'd prefer not to live anywhere near them, despite the stories of my childhood I could tell my dinner guests.

If strip clubs are your thing, then you should check out this unit in the Monaco building (where Mountain Equipment Coop is on Government). An electrician friend of mine worked on this building when the conversion was taking place. His stories of "creative marketing techniques" by the ladies working across the street in Monty's were legendary at last summer's BBQs. The building is obviously one of Victoria's oldest at 1888 origination. We think the place, despite its across the street neighbours, is just plain cool. I've heard first hand that quality is pretty good too.
One building I can't wait to see is The Leiser on lower Yates. Under different pricing structures, we may consider this one seriously. It's far enough from some of the "blights" of downtown and close to fantastic restaurants and pubs. It even has a 10-year property tax holiday. But if it is not sound proofed enough, the street noise from local nightspots might make the Leiser experience less than savory. It will be interesting to see who the development leases the ground floor commercial space to. Likely another (yawn) coffee shop. As if the five that already exist in a one-block radius won't be enough.

Got any favourites in the unique condo developments downtown of your own to share?


talus said...

-I actually threw up a little in my mouth at that...


Village said...

I haven't actually gone and looked at any of the condo developments. They are so far outside of what I consider a fair price range that I just never bother to stop.

It wouldn't be a bad idea for me to start looking though. That is where I expect the first cracks in the market to appear. The lack the intrinsic value land has, and more likely to suffer from multiple identical units for sale at the same time. Also lowest bar to entry so the least savvy specuvestors are usually the first to wash out.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard of the SoHo? It was supposed to be built somewhere around North Park(?).

I heard about it a long time ago but then never heard anything about it again.

Just curious if anyone else has heard about it.


Prairieboy said...

Castana, if it would ever happen. :(

Of course, price is an issue.


I wonder what "The Hudson" will be like. Nice building from the outside. Crappy street and tacky shops.

renter said...

the chatham loft is lovely, but for that much cash i'd expect a bit more of a kitchen. there's nothing to it!

hhv said...


That Castana developer is the same one that brought us Bambu, no wait. Maybe it's better not to wait.

I'm guessing the Hudson will look starkly different when it's done and be mostly unrecognizable.

The kitchen's in the lofts can't take up too much space. I was pleasantly surprised with my friend's. You can't have too many people in there to begin with... she makes good use of racks and knick knack hangy things she buys at Ikea and Cap. Iron