NFL season is almost upon us. Are you ready?
Are you going to watch? I almost wasn’t. I don’t like the expanded 17-game season, which throws a half-century worth of records out the window. I don’t like the American response to COVID, and how some players are choosing to ignore social distancing while blatantly thumbing their nose at the concept, often for political purposes. And part of me just had trouble getting back “in” to sports, post-COVID. I wasn’t into the NHL when the Leafs were back, and I’m not into the NBA now that the Raptors are playing.
But it’s the NFL. So I’m fairly certain that I just won’t be able to escape the allure…
My favourite team is the New Orleans Saints, but it wasn’t always.
Before that, it was the San Diego Chargers.
Wait, before that, it was the New England Patriots. My buddy says I’m a “team-jumper,” but it’s just sort of how it worked out.
I was a huge Patriots fan from Grade-Nine onwards, and a big fan of the best quarterback in the world at the time: Drew Bledsoe. I remained a huge fan of New England all the way into university, and I used to sit in class, bored out of my mind, trying to draw the Patriots logo in my notebook. In 2001, Drew Bledsoe was injured, and the Patriots were forced to bring in this absolute nobody to take his place. We all knew the season was over, and that this was a disaster.
Some guy named “Brady.” I think his first name was “Tom.”
When Drew Bledsoe was healthy again, the team, amazingly, didn’t give him his starting quarterback job back! In fact, they let this “Tom Brady” character finish the season and lead the team into the playoffs, where he just so happened to win the Superbowl, but that’s beside the point. So too is the fact that he won five more…
The point is: I was so distraught over the treatment of Drew Bledsoe, and hated Tom Brady so much, that I couldn’t really enjoy the 2001-2002 Superbowl.
The next year, I started to cheer for the San Diego Chargers, who had my favourite player in the league and the best running back of his generation: LaDainian Tomlinson. They also had a rookie named Drew Brees, who (despite a small hiccup this summer with his response to social issues in the USA) I think is one of the best all-around people in the NFL, a family man, and now one of the best quarterbacks of all time.
I cheered for San Diego for the next four years, but then something eerily reminiscent happened: Drew Brees went down with an injury! An injury he suffered while trying to win a playoff game for San Diego, unsuccessfully. And how did they reward Drew Brees? By replacing him with Philip Rivers!
Drew Brees went to New Orleans the next year, and I still cheered for San Diego, but kept a close eye on Drew and the boys in Louisiana. The following year, when another San Diego Charger, named Darren Sproles, left San Diego for New Orleans, I switched sides.
Sorry, Chargers! Still cheering for LaDainian Tomlinson as his career winds down, but now, I’m a Saints fan!
I’ve been a Saints fan ever since.
So too is my wife, and as a result, we’ve taken three trips down to New Orleans over the last decade, seeing football games every time. Once, we rented a Dodge Charger (it was the only car that Hertz had left in the lot!) and drove to Baton Rouge to see the LSU Tigers play in a 105,000-person stadium. It was a complete mind-fu*k to be on a college campus like that. It was like something out of a movie.
Long story short (if that’s possible at this point…), we love the city of New Orleans, and had thought about purchasing a condo down there.
The pros and cons of purchasing a condo in New Orleans, or anywhere else, is a topic for another day. There’s the down payment issue, financing for non-residents, currency play, taxation, etc., not to mention renting and managing the property! With AirBnB banned in the French Quarter, we had looked outside the French Quarter and found decent options, but just never pulled the trigger.
I’m still on the email list of an agent down there that I chatted with from time to time over the years, and I usually spend at least a few minutes reading through each email he sends me, if for no other reason than to keep in touch with the market down there. I like to know about the market anywhere, since it always gives me perspective on Toronto real estate, and I find other markets to be absolutely fascinating, no matter where they are.
Different property types, different home features, mountain or ocean views we’d never see here in Toronto, different business practices, or even the terminology used elsewhere – all of this is fascinating to me, as somebody that works in real estate in a completely different market.
Case in point: there’s a new feature in one particular New Orleans condominium that intrigues me.
I’ve seen things like this before in Toronto, but not really like what they’ve done here.
If you read the title of today’s blog you know where this is going.
Here’s the building exterior, just to put a face to a name:
Ah, yes! They named the building, with a built-in car elevator, “The Garage Apartments & Condominiums.”
Save the idea of having both condos and rental units in the same building, for another day.
But the building from the outside looks pretty cool, and yet the cool-factor, for those forward-thinking individuals, doesn’t peak until you get inside!
Check this out:
A freakin’ car elevator!
Now, there is at least one building in downtown Toronto that has this feature. 39 Sherbourne Street has one, and I believe there’s another building on Bay or University Ave. But I’m not familiar with these buildings, to be blunt, because the car elevator is typically an awful idea. The buildings that have this “feature” in Toronto are doing so not to woo buyers, but rather out of necessity.
Think about how much space the ramps on each parking level take up, and how many parking spaces could replace those ramps.
That’s why the parking elevator exists – to allow for more spaces, as a result of less excavation in the development phase.
Excavation is extremely expensive, and any developer will tell you that parking spaces are a loss leader. There’s a reason spaces cost $90,000 in some pre-construction projects, after all. And there’s also a reason why a 400-unit building may only have 150 spaces available, in 2020, whereas they’d have had 400 spaces available, back in 2002.
But the “car elevator” for this building doesn’t exist for the same reason here in Toronto, but rather because of innovative design, and a sought-after feature.
In this case, the parking spaces are on the same levels as the units!
So just as you would, if you lived in a house, you literally park your car at your front door.
From the website:
The Garage reimagines city living with unmatched amenities built for convenience in the heart of downtown New Orleans. In addition to our rooftop lounge, wading pool, and fitness center, we offer a state-of-the-art parking experience that will take you from the street right to your door.
The Garage is conveniently located from all points in the region via the Pontchartrain Expressway, which has a direct ramp to Carondelet Street just three blocks away from the property. As you make the turn from Carondelet Street into the property, a transmitter in your vehicle will notify the system that you’ve arrived and will send a lift to greet you.
An overhead monitor will direct you to the appropriate lift. The entire system is outfitted with a laser guidance system to ensure safety and reliability. When your vehicle is centered, the doors will close and the monitor will instruct you to put your vehicle in park and enjoy the ride! The lifts are 21 feet long, 9 feet wide, 10 feet tall, and have a capacity of 8,000 pounds.
When you register your vehicles with the property, the system is programmed to know the exact location of your reserved parking spot. In less than a minute, you’ll arrive on your floor, and you’ll have the green light to exit and proceed to your reserved spot. Your spot is oversized, so you’ll have plenty of space for getting in and out of your vehicle.
The Garage is all about bringing suburban conveniences to urban living. Your parking spot is just a few steps from your front door! And that’s just the start.
Now the obligatory blurry photo of a car, which appears in so many marketing pieces, and I remain confused as to why…
I probably could have started with the video, but that might have spoiled the fun!
It’s less than a minute, you’ve got to watch:
So the best, or most progressive part about these condos and the associated parking spaces?
They’re all equipped with electrical outlets for smart-cars:
If you watched the video, you’ll see a row of four parking spaces, containing four car-charging outlets.
So what do you think?
Is this a fad?
Is it a luxury feature?
Is it so progressive that it’s unreasonable to assume it could, one day, be a feature in Toronto condos?
Honestly, I can’t see this catching on.
Developers in Toronto are looking to build as high as possible, and usually as boring and generic. Even the flashy, new, “unique” buildings are just repackaged also-rans and same-olds. I think unless a developer takes an existing structure and repurposes it, possibly in the luxury vein, these car elevators and car-charging stations won’t become a reality in Toronto.
But this is why, among other reasons, I love looking at real estate in other cities!
When in the world am I going to get to New Orleans again? Two kids, restrictions on flying, a pandemic, and a strange time down south, eek!
Well, at least I have NFL football, right?Back To Top Back To Comments