New Development Of The Week: One Park West

Here’s something interesting…

If you lived on the moon, with your eyes closed, and your fingers in your ears, perhaps you would be the only person in the galaxy who isn’t aware that “One Park West,” for all its fantastic namesake, is actually Regent Park…

But the best part – the PRICE!

onepark3.jpg

I need you so that I could die
I love you so and that is why
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is
Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream
Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream

Are you familiar with those lyrics?

That’s the Everly Brothers, and their hit song “All I Have To Do Is Dream.”

Dream, Dream Dream…

What a novel concept!

I only wish that it was that simple in the real world.

Perhaps it is?  Somebody should ask the sales representatives at “One Park West” how sales are going!  Maybe their dream has come true and they really are getting $551 per square foot…

Yeah – $551 per square foot.

No, that’s not a typo!

No, I didn’t accidentally type “5” instead of “3” in front of the “51.”

They actually want $551 per square foot for some of their units in Regent Park.

This is the part of the story where I lose half of my readers.

This is when people start thinking (or cracking their knuckles in preparation to comment), “David, you mean jerk!  You’re such a downtown, caviar-eating, yuppie Conservative!  Don’t you know that Regent Park is ‘changing?’  Hasn’t anybody explained to you the magnificent changes that are going on in this neglected, and hard-luck area?  Why don’t you go drink your Starbucks!”

Sorry, but I like Tim Horton’s

I have searched long and far, and that photo above is the only piece of marketing material for “One Park West” where you will see the words “Regent Park.”  That advertisement has since been replaced with this:

onepark4.JPG

Oh, neat-o!

What a great use of colour!

They’ve got red, green, blue, and a very faint blue-background!  and they put “West” sideways in a little box!

And the name “Park West” is so hip!  It conjurs up thoughts of “Park Avenue” or “Central Park” in New York!

It almost made me forget that this condo is in Regent Park.

Almost…

And my cynical critique wouldn’t be complete without my pointing out the use of the word “Boutique,” since we know that anything from a 12-unit condo to a 450-suite building can be called “Boutique” these days.  Just read my post HERE.

Okay, so…..we’re re-developing Regent Park; that’s good.

We’re building condos; that’s great.

And (in all seriousness) Daniel’s Corp is digging a hole in the ground; which is fantastic considering they have a good track record, unlike the scam artists from Urban Corp who build the worst product in the city…

But other than the existing residents of Regent Park who likely receive generous welfare and support payments from our lovely government (anybody wanna talk politics?), who would want to relocate to a condominium in the “new and improved” Regent Park?

Units at “One Cole” are slowly starting to turnover (five sales via MLS…), but I suspect that most of these sellers are investors who took a flyer on the project way-back-when, and most of the buyers are people who are new to the city and don’t know the area, or for some reason want to upgrade on space and downgrade on location…

So let’s get to the meat and potatoes, shall we?

The smallest unit at “One Park West” is a 301 square foot bachelor listed for $165,900 – or $551 per square foot.

Does anybody see a problem with this?

$551 per square foot is a lot of money for a downtown Toronto condominium – one without parking or locker, so how then do we judge value for the same thing in Regent Park?

Dream, Dream, Dream…

Okay, allow me to be honest here: most of the condos at One Park West are priced around $440 per square foot; the larger units, anyways.

True, there is a unit with a $551/sqft price tag, but there are also “more affordable” options…..that I will also make fun of.

There is a building at 50 Lombard Street called “Indigo” which isn’t very well known.

This building is just north of “Spire,” where $600/sqft is not out of the question.

But because Indigo has such ridiculous maintenance fees, units routinely trade around $330/sqft.

So I ask you: would you rather live at Lombard/Church, one block from the financial centre, for $330/sqft with $0.82/sqft maintenance fees, or would you rather live in Regent Park (three years from now when the project is done…) for $440-$551/sqft with no parking and no locker?

There are so many “deals” downtown right now, and yet One Park West is trying to sell pre-construction condos for as much as $551/sqft in Regent Park.

I don’t understand.

My favourite part however, is the form the sales centre produced for their “launch party.”

Have a look – and click on the image to make it larger:

onepark2.JPG

Talk about “glass half full!”

Do the sales representatives for this project really think that this sheet is necessary?

Do they really think that buyers will be feeding so heavily on the 301 square foot floor plans (and the crab cakes…) that an EIGHT-choice worksheet must be handed out with all sales packages?

I can’t even think of one of these units that I would sink my money into, let alone EIGHT!

I’d love to meet the guy that’s lined up with his worksheet, fully filled out.

He’s probably walking funny – on account of crossing his toes in addition to his fingers – all for good luck!

“I know I’m not gonna get choice number one,” he’s telling his lucky stuffed teddy-bear, Dwight, “But I’d certainly settle for choice number five!”

I dunno, maybe it’s reverse-psychology.

We all known that half-full nightclubs will force people to line up outside just to provide the illusion that the club is so popular it necessitates a twenty-minute wait.

Maybe the developers are trying to fool us into thinking that they can sell “Regent Park Phase 2” at all, let alone eight to a single investor…

Personally, I would never invest in pre-construction condominiums again, as has been well-documented on my blog over the last few weeks.

But if I did, I can assure you that there are far better places to put your money.

Remember the old adage, “Location, Location, Location?”

How does Regent Park fit that criteria?

I think “Dream, Dream, Dream” is a much better fit…

14 Comments

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  1. Jason says:

    I would love to read a follow up. Most current residents I’ve spoken to seem to love the area and I’m curious what you think of it now as well as the value.

    Thanks,
    Jason

  2. bricksandmortar says:

    Hi David – Great article…I really appreciate the honestly and the humour! Im very new to the blog and I was trying to find articles regarding pre-construction that you mentioned you wrote about over the last few weeks (but when I clicked on the pre-construction topic on the right – the most recent articles were from Nov, and Aug 2011). I would love to read up on your thoughts on pre-construction as an investment and why you are not a fan. You also mentioned there are a lot of pre construction deals right….I was also trying to find that on your blog. I’m sure all this is here…I just need some navigation tips /direction. Thanks!!
    (your quote from the article below that I am referring too). Cheers!

    “Personally, I would never invest in pre-construction condominiums again, as has been well-documented on my blog over the last few weeks.”

  3. Diane says:

    Hey there,

    do you know how many units there are? and what the unit distribution is by any chance?

    I know the building, Pre-recession was slated to have 13 storeys, but post recession reduced it to 9 storeys to save on costs.

  4. Phil says:

    I’m really surprised about this project, right across the street people are shooting eachother. I understand that were trying to clean areas up in toronto but I still dont think this area is safe. And for half a million for a two bedroom, if I’m paying that I defently would like to be in a better environment.

  5. Sayf says:

    My pleasure, David.

    As for the logo being “drek”, look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark!

  6. David Fleming says:

    @ Sayf

    Thanks for coming to my defence.

    My mom somtimes asks me, “How thick is your skin? How do you deal with all of the insults and mean comments thrown at your way on a daily basis?”

    And I answer, “Mom, you gave birth to the single most arrogant, ego-centric, and self-absorbed Realtor ever (I was a Realtor when I was born), so don’t worry about my feelings.”

    There is an idea of a David Fleming; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable… I simply am not there. (PB)

  7. Sayf says:

    Nerfgun,

    This is a Realty Blog, not a MOMA exhibit. It’s SUPPOSED to have an ordinary logo.

    And yes, these will sell. There are 50 agents in line as we speak. The man’s offering a well argued, honest opinion on VALUE. Most real estate agents would be hawking this project like it was the cure for cancer, hence the line-up and bloated work-sheets. $550/sq.ft for average finishes in Regent Park cries out for “shrill hand-wringing”.

  8. Nerfgun says:

    I like the part where you criticize the logo, like that means anything. It looks a hell of a lot better than the drek adorning the masthead of this site.

    Anyways, you watch, these will sell regardless of your shrill hand-wringing.

  9. Sayf says:

    $551/s.f is a slap in the face of “revitalization”. I’m a developer and can assure you that a healthy proforma can be achieved at $400/s.f for a project of this size. Sure, it’s a free market but this particular project was not supposed to a case study in profit maximization.

    Also, worksheets are just obnoxious & yes, “boutique” can now refer to a skyscraper with 500 units.

    Excellent post, excellent blog. Bookmarked.

  10. David Fleming says:

    @ Havoc

    hahahaha really subtle!

  11. Havoc says:

    There’s no justification for pre-construction prices in that project to be $500 p.s.f. There are quite a few builders that have rolled out over-priced projects over the years and they almost always end up going back to the drawing table.

    A condo project currently under construction at Front/Spadina (Not Cityplace) provides an excellent example of a market crash affecting the the pricing of condos at the pre-construction stage.

    Just before the stock market crash of 2008 this developer opened it’s door to end-users and investors.

    The original design was a unique and actually pretty fly looking building and was priced in the high $5’s p.s.f.

    When the global banking industry got a reality check at the end of 2008, people stopped buying a lot of stuff, including real estate and pre-construction condos.

    Builders who were just launching faced 2 options: 1- dream, dream , dream or 2- lower their prices.

    Everyone who bough into the Spadina/Front project was mutually released and given priority when it came to selecting from the new more affordable floor-plans, priced starting in the low $4’s p.s.f.

    But, remember nothing in this world is free. The savings came by re-designing the building, practically eliminating the cool look to save a few million dollars and squeezing in 40 or so more condos.

    The markets been strong over the last year. But with the mass media attention on an impending real estate bubble/market correction, whether it happens or not, the peeps behind the Regent Park Condos need to wake up and realize that they’re building by Regent Park and price accordingly.

    Good post Dave.

  12. Cliff says:

    @ Fran

    I really don’t think prices are going to continue to climb. I think there will be a market correction. Sales are down, there seem to be a lot more rental vacencies as well. There’s also a lot of units coming on board in the coming few years. Who’s going to buy all of them? People say there will be a crash. I don’t think so, but I do think there will be a correction…and people paying $700/ft for shoe boxes with the hopes of “flipping” them will get a rude awakening, and that too will hurt the real estate market. There are too many fake investors and too many greedy builders. Real estate is a long term investment, not a short one like so many “fake” investors think. I’m not going to even get into the amount of foreign investment that is propping up the RE market in Toronto. What happens when Calgary or London or Miami become more viable markets? Investors will be pulling their money out of Toronto real estate and the prices will drop.

    All my opinion of course.

  13. Kenny says:

    Hi Dave ,
    I really enjoy your take on the market , I am thinking of taking the plunge with a 2levels TH in 1048 Broadview Ave , north of Danforth , do you know what is a fair price in that building?
    However , I am sure of one thing , it is less then 550/sf.

  14. Franki says:

    Honestly Im not a fan, It is regent park, but didn’t another builder (tridel I believe) do the same thing in the st. James area with one of there newer projects? I think it near wellesley and sherbourne if I’m not mistaken. The whole project sold for similar prices than these. I think prices are just going to keep climbing, people have been predicting a market crash since 2000! I’m still waiting for it. Another close source of mine tells me that theres not to much land left to build on in the city, with the way construction is going with all these projects. Once they’ve built on every parcel and parking lot, prices will sky rocket due to demand in the city. Builders are running out of areas to build, and these things will happen. 500 sq ft pre construction prices in rough areas such as this.

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