No, I’m not in a bad mood this week, despite all the “hating.”
Consider this a theme for the week, and it has a better ring than “Why I Dislike…”
For those who own condos in CityPlace, I apologize in advance, but perhaps you should have done some more research or consulted a Realtor who actually cares about his/her clients…
This photo says it all, doesn’t it?
Every where you look around CityPlace, there are cranes, cranes, and more cranes. Construction is a constant down at CityPlace, and what began with one condominium towering over the Skydome has spawned into 7-8, with more on the way.
I hate CityPlace so much, that I don’t even know where to start. I’d like to avoid ranting and raving, and I’ll try some deep breathing techniques before I launch off into a long-winded diatribe about one of the worst investments in the city.
You’ve heard the name before, and many of your friends and co-workers live there. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, consider driving on the Gardiner Expressway and looking to your right as you pass Skydome:
I’d like to say that I had a “friend” take these photos in the passenger seat next to me and I was NOT using my camera while driving, texting on my Blackberry, and periodically changing the radio stations…
When I speak of “CityPlace” I speak of the actual complex as well as the buildings that cluster around it. Whether or not these other buildings are actually part of CityPlace or not, I don’t care.
Here is the list of what I deem to be the evil “CityPlace”:
1) 5 Mariner Terrace
2) 35 Mariner Terrace
3) 11 Brunel Court
4) 15 Brunel Court
5) 3 Navy Wharf Court
6) 10 Navy Wharf Court
7) 81 Navy Wharf Court
8) 9 Spadina Avenue
Yes, that’s right, there are eight massive towers that are home to somewhere around 4000 condominium units.
There are three main issues that I’d like to look at:
It’s the very first thing we learned in Economics: supply versus demand. As we move into a more balanced market and multiple offers cease to exist, buyers will have a choice as to where they live and how much they will pay. But what if the market does more than just flat-line? What if the condo market begins to regress, and just as we’ve seen happen in the equity markets – panic selling takes place.
There are eight condominiums in CityPlace, and around 4000 units. If panic selling were to take place, and “only” 10% of the owners at CityPlace were to list there units, there would be four-hundred units on the market to choose from.
I’ve always felt that selling anything at CityPlace in any market is a tough sell in itself since these units are such complete and utter garbage, but imagine if there were four-hundred units competing against yours? Imagine trying to sell your $289,000, 1-bedroom unit and having a few hundred of your neighbors compete against you for buyers?
Okay, so I’ve made my point about quantity by using an extreme example. But even in a so-called “hot” market, there are still dozens and dozens of units to choose from. There will never be a “hot property” at CityPlace because there are too many in existence! And with 3-4 more towers on the way in the next couple years, the numbers only get worse!
Compare this to a modest, “boutique building” with only 52 units when one of those comes on to the market and everybody says, “Hey, did you see that gorgeous loft on Camden Street?” I’ll elaborate on this more in a bit…
Remember that Chris Farley sketch on Saturday Night Live; the one where he played the motivational speaker that was “living in a van down by the river?” (click here) Well in my personal opinion, the closest thing to “living in a van down by the river” would be living “under a bridge.”
And living right next to the Gardiner Expressway is about as close as you can get!
You know that old adage, Location, Location, Location? How the hell do you ignore that when you’re looking to buy a condo and your largest investment?!?! How can you ignore location, forget about a nice area like St. Lawrence Market, Queen Street West, King & Spadina, or a host of other great neighborhoods, and buy a condo next to a freeway in a cluster of other buildings?
What is around CityPlace?
What bars, restaurants, grocery stores, and retail outlets are there?
Oh….really……you mean there is…….NOTHING?
CityPlace is in the middle of nowhere when you think large-scale in terms of Toronto’s geography.
You take the elevator down from your 32nd storey “suite,” and you walk across a 1/2 KM of pavement to a main road, probably Spadina. Then you continue walking to Front Street or Blue Jays Way until you get to Rabba & Tim Hortons. That is how far you have to walk to get a cup of coffee or a bag of milk.
Don’t you see a difference between these miserable concrete coffins in the sky that isolate you from the rest of existence, and something like, for example, 168 King Street East where Starbucks is across the street, Gabby’s and Kutura are five feet away, and there is a TTC Streetcar right outside your door? Sobeys and Dominion are a block away, and the area has character!
3) Character, History, & Charm
A couple weeks ago, I showed a my client a unit at 180 Frederick Street. This is a four-storey building; an authentic “hard loft conversion” from a former office building. It has 12-foot ceilings, gorgeous exposed brick walls and floor-to-ceiling windows, and the unit is fully upgraded with hardwood floors, a beautiful kitchen with granite counters, breakfast bar, and a built-in wine-cooler, and the decor and design is nothing short of professional. The unit was 800 square feet and $329,900 including parking and locker.
This building is on the corner of Frederick & King Street, right in the heart of what is called “The Furniture District” since every second store is a furniture store, and it’s a block from St. Lawrence Market. The building has only 38 units. The area itself is one of Toronto’s oldest, and the neighborhood is rich with tradition and culture dating back to the mid 1800’s as evidenced by many of the buildings and their historical designations, complete with plaques which detail their origin.
And then, you have eight massive concrete towers in the sky at CityPlace where you look out your window and see……another building!
Can’t you see a difference? Can you please tell me by this point that you see a difference?
Okay, I think this topic requires a second post….
(TO BE CONTINUED)