I’ve been asking this question for three years, and prices have continued to rise.
I feel like it’s a joke that everybody understands but me, and yet I continue to say, “I don’t get it.”
Why does this building cost more than any other building in the area?
While we’re asking questions – how the heck did the developers get zoning for a building that tall with no other precedents?
While we’re asking, “Why is Spire so expensive?” We should also be asking, “Why is Spire so tall?”
But this is like asking, “Why am I going to order two dinners on Valentine’s Day and then eat both of them?”
Spire is a whopping 45-stories and stands alone at Church & Lombard with no other buildings over 20-stories in spitting distance. Don’t let the above photo fool you – that maroon tower to the left (financial peeps – please identify it) is two city blocks away and is actually taller than Spire.
You can see Spire from almost any point in the city, as there are no other buildings to block it out. The yellow racing-stripes that run vertically down the side of the building are a unique yet curious touch, and despite its seemingly common design, I think the glass structure is rather tastefully done.
Built by Context Developments who brought us Tip Top Lofts, Mozo, and Radio City, the condo defied all logic in city planning.
WHY did a structure that large and that out of place end up being built at Church & Lombard?
Did somebody slip somebody an envelope full of cash?
92 King Street is the closest condominium, and it only measures 17-stories.
King George Square is 15-stories, and King’s Court is 17.
The newest building in the area, Vu Condos, is only 24-stories and it was approved for construction several years after Spire.
Developers usually “request” a certain height for their projects and base that on the existing buildings in the area. Notice how Mozo is the same height as King’s Court, which is right next door.
If the previous condo was 25-stories, the developer will ask for 30, hoping to get approved for 28.
So how Context Developments end up with 45-stories when there was nothing else in the area even close?
Sorry to ask a question to which I don’t have the answer…..but I really don’t have the answer!
So, let’s get back to my first question (which I also can’t answer!): Why is Spire so expensive?
The latest listing at spire is for a 523 square-foot, 1-bedroom condo with no parking, asking $299,900. This is $571/sqft, and there isn’t even any parking! I like to compare apples to apples, so if this unit did have parking, it would be approximately $621/sqft.
And even more shocking – they seller and his agent are holding back offers.
Does this mean they’re expecting MORE?
I shudder to think…
But condos at Spire routinely sell for in excess of $600 per square foot, and the world just keeps on moving like nothing ever happened.
So let’s compare Spire to other buildings in the area and try and find out why the prices are so high.
What metrics should we use?
Location, age of building, style of construction, features & finishes, and amenities.
I don’t really see anything above-average about the location of Spire, but that’s just me. I think many buyers prefer the proximity to the financial district. Church Street is one city block east of Jarvis, and two city blocks east of Sherbourne, so I suppose the two blocks can make a difference when you compare the walk from a building like 230 King Street. But Spire and 230 King Street are both equidistant to the St. Lawrence Market, so I don’t know how much you gain with Spire’s location.
The style of construction is very similar to everything that Context Developments has done. Close your eyes, spin around, and you’ll think you’re inside a unit at Radio City. In my opinion, the style is “average” but not above, and there are countless layouts at Spire that make no sense. When you walk into the living room and it happens to have a fridge, stove, sink, and microwave, it suddenly dawns on you that the living room IS the kitchen! I’ve never been a fan of this design, as I don’t like putting my TV next to my dishwasher…
The finishes of the units is also what I would call “average.” There’s nothing special about it as Spire is somewhat of a “soft loft” style with exposed concrete ceilings and some units have polished concrete floors. Most kitchens and bathrooms are upgraded, but we’re talking “upgraded” like your average condo; not your Yorkville upgrades.
As for the amenities, there is a fantastic gym and a sauna, and the lobby is very large and pretty, but I don’t (usually) sleep in the lobby so personally, I don’t care what it looks like.
No, I can’t seem to find any reason why prices at Spire are around $600 per square foot and all the neighbouring buildings in the St. Lawrence Market can be had for much less.
Maybe it’s the name: Spire? Is that tres cool? Is that too-cool-for-school?
As an aside, the name “Spire” was taken from the impressive spire atop the St. James Cathedral next door, as shown below:
The ONE major benefit to living at Spire is that every single unit has outdoor space, and a lot of these units have huge terraces.
I once visited the penthouse unit just for fun on a Friday night (shhhh!) and the terrace wrapped around the entire building; it was spectacular! And the view from the 40th floor was amazing! North, South, East, West – you name it, Spire has it.
But if you live on the 4th floor of Spire and stare directly at The Courthouse, unless you are addicted to partying and want to keep an eye on the VIP lineup on a Saturday night, I don’t see the value in owning in this building.
For the right unit, the right layout, the right floorplan, and the right client, I can definitely see the value in Spire!
But nine times out of ten, I don’t get it…