I swim fairly regularly at the Crystal Pool. I like the facility, the staff are really friendly and they try very hard to keep the facility secure. They even let me take my stuff onto the pool deck in the early am during club swim times. That said, there are signs everywhere warning you not to leave valuables in your car or in their lockers. They have a theft problem.
When I drive north on Quadra Street, right at the corner of Bay and Quadra, there used to be an obvious crack house that sat empty and un-rented for at least a year. I guess the owner got tired of dealing with problem tenants. The neighbourhood has a high ratio of rental properties to owner occupiers and the condo building on the north side of the Bay/Quadra intersection is strictly a rental only building. Family and owner occupiers are not allowed.
Back to the house. A while ago, maybe a year and a half ago, Large and Co bought the place, raised it up and set about "revitalizing" it. Good on them. It's now on the market. I figured, with the neighbourhood, location and all, that they would be listed around $250-$300K depending on square footage. The last 3-4 weekends they've been having open houses, despite not listing the places on the MLS. Curious, we went by today.
Let me say I was disappointed on two fronts. First, the place, while nice looking, smelled terrible. And not the new paint and carpet glue headache-inducing smell, but the "there must be something rotting in the walls, or some serious mildew somewhere smell."
And the second was their prices: starting at $344,900 for a rather large by one bedroom standards 825 SF unit. And moving up to $370K for the 2-bed main suite at 944SF. You'd think for those prices the developer would have at least stained or otherwise weatherproofed the extensive exterior stair sets. Just to put s further into perspective, you can get a brand new one-bed place in Tuscany Village for under $300K, roughly the same SF and a much nicer neighbourhood.
There was actually three really disappointing things; I forgot the most disappointing aspect to this place, (taken directly from the marketing materials):
With the excitement surrounding The Hudson, The Radius and other projects in the arena area, this neighbourhood is poised to become Victoria's urban place to live and work. It is seen as our "Yaletown." The revitalization is well on its way. Bay Street to Fisgard and Quadra to Douglas Street is set to explode for the discriminating metro living lifestyle.Wow. I'd heard of the "Victoria's Yaletown" nonsense before. But never in my wildest imagination would I expect condo marketing to suggest it so far north and east of the two block radius that is Fisgard, Chatham, Douglas and Blanshard. I guess this is what happens in a world class city; pretty soon the VicWest revitalization is going to be referred to as "Victoria's Manhattan," the Humboldt Valley will be known as "Victoria's Park Place" and the new conversions going into lower Yates and Johnson will be known as "Victoria's Soho."
The Phoenix is the latest addition with three affordable apartment homes. Two two-bedroom homes and one one-bedroom loft style.
The Phoenix starts at an unheard of $344,900. Being first in to this "up and coming area" will reap the greatest rewards. Don't miss out.
"Victoria's Yaletown" at the corner of Quadra and Bay is, was, and always likely will be, the closest thing to "Victoria's Hells Kitchen" (of The Bronx). Except Hell's Kitchen has more culture, more excitement and very likely lower RE prices.
This bubble is going to get ugly. I feel bad for people buying right now. Tune in soon to the next post where we almost buy a property but get talked out of it by... wait for it... a banker manager who hasn't got a single new mortgage on the books in a branch that has been open for almost a year. Yes, that's in the CRD too. And says he: "The Bear Mountain condos are in trouble, they have "investors" walking away from their contracts because they can't assign them." In plain language that means those that bought pre-sales hoping to "flip" their units before they're completed have now realized that they can't cover the mortgages with the low rents in the neighbourhood and would rather just lose their deposit than their shirts as completion looms.
That is the disaster in the making that will blow the roof off this market. Sounds like we may not have to wait that long.