Room With A View

Condos | April 20, 2010

Buyers pay big money to have a view of the lake, and there is one condominium on Toronto’s waterfront that is different from all the rest.

You might not realize it at first glance, but the design of this building is incredibly unique…

Seriously though – who buys a waterfront condo without a waterfront view?

“Aqua” at 410 Queen’s Quay was designed by architects Graziani & Corazza who brought us DNA at 1005 King and 1 Shaw Street.

Maybe you’re not as impressed with their “L” shaped building design as I am, but let me ask you this: how come nobody thought of this before them?

Many buyers put a huge price on a lake view.

I’ve run into countless Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays in the lobbies of various Queen’s Quay condos.  It seems as if the attitude amongst our international import friends is that living on the water is as good as it gets.  Maybe these guys just take the lead from other cities where that is most definitely the case, like Chicago, for example.

A true, unobstructed lake view is about as expensive as a view can get in our city.  Sure, the condo at Church & Lombard known as “Spire” advertises the best “city views” in the downtown core since it happens to be the only 40-storey building around and has unobstructed views in every direction.

But who cares about a city view, right?

The lake is where it’s at!

Seems as though the developers and architects at Aqua agreed.

And I bet they cashed in big-time on their “L” shape design where everybody gets a view of the water, no matter how small a glimpse…

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  1. calico cate

    at 8:50 am

    That was a very entertaining 1 minute and 57 seconds. I think you could have a second career in stand-up. But I digress.

  2. FrankyB

    at 9:58 am

    David: is it your personal contention that a lake view is preferable to a city (which presumably means skyline) view? Or is it a result of an informal survey of your client base over the years? Just curious.

    I used to think a lake view would be preferable, but people who live on Queen’s Quay have told me that while a lake view is nice during the day, you are basically staring into the darkness at night, which is presumably when young professionals are home.

    That, combined with the colder weather/wind during the winter, may explain why other buildings command a higher price per sq. ft.?

  3. PPD

    at 1:06 pm

    As a QQ resident with a lake view, I’ve never had an issue with “staring into the darkness” at night. It’s not like you can’t see anything at all out there. And even if that were the case I personally would still rather have my lake view for the weekends and during the summer when days are long than have an ‘equivalent’ city view so that I could see buildings with lights on at night.

  4. P

    at 2:36 pm

    David: How do you think property with the upside of a partial lake view but with the downside of partial highway exposure should be valued? Is it really a substantial net positive? Do buyers care or are they so enamoured with the view that they ignore it – at least long enough to put down their cash?

    While I have never been inside that particular building, I have been in other units along the lake that have highway exposure and find that the drone of the highway can come through the windows even if you’re several stories above the 3rd floor.

    I definately agree with you on that 3rd floor unit though. No thank you. In addition to the highway, the streetcar also circles that building on all four sides and makes a hard right near that corner unit – that’s gotta be a lot of screetching around there.

  5. David Fleming

    at 10:34 pm

    @ P

    I’m going to cover this in my next blog post on Thursday with a video (just didn’t get to it tonight).

    I think there is nothing worse than being on the 3rd or 4th floor and staring right at the Gardiner. I have no clue who would every buy those units. You can almost reach out and touch the guy driving the Saab Turbo…

  6. David Fleming

    at 10:37 pm

    @ FrankyB

    It depends on the building.

    If you’re on the waterfront, ie. Queen’s Quay, what is the point of living there unless you have a lake view?

    When I think “great city view” I think of Spire. This is the only 40-storey building within many, many blocks, and the views are truly unobstructed. Almost any other building in the city is adjacent to other buildings and won’t have the same city views.

    I was in “Vu Condos” the other night in a north-facing unit rather high up. The view was nice – over the park and baseball diamond, and lights in the distance were kind of cool.

    But my preference, and the market’s preference, seems to be for lake views.

    Maybe it’s the tranquility? Don’t ask me…..I have no clue how to relax…

  7. LC

    at 7:12 pm

    Unfortunately, most developers prefer the standard rectangular column style of structure as it’s the easiest and least expensive way to build. It’s still no excuse to butcher most of what is supposed to be prime property in the city, though. City Hall (who approves the building permits for cookie-cutter development) still hasn’t grasped that we are a port city with a lakefront heritage worth honoring with site appropriate design.

    But on your comment about living by the lake without a lakeview… long as you aren’t staring directly at the Gardiner, I think it’s cool to have a view of the impressive skyline of city lights and towers, and then walk out your door to the calming ambiance of the lake. It’s the proximity to the lake that counts, not necessarily the view of it.


    at 8:03 pm

    Great input.

    Check out the newest listing at Waterclub Phase 3 (218 Queens Quay).

    You’ll love it! Lakeview, fully upgraded, wow!

    Open House this April 24/25th from 2 to 4pm. See you there…

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