Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Condo boom in the Village

Multi-family developments springing up

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Blair Holm of Kilkenny Real Estate in front of a triplex at 290 River Ave. that will be converted to condos.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Blair Holm of Kilkenny Real Estate in front of a triplex at 290 River Ave. that will be converted to condos. Photo Store

Winnipeg's most densely populated neighbourhood -- Osborne Village -- is about to get a little more crowded.

At least two new condominium developments are in the works or underway in the area, a third is nearing completion, and two more are in the initial planning stages, real estate industry officials say.

While none is a big project -- they range in size from five to 25 units -- they'll add a few more residents to a neighbourhood Wikipedia says is the second-most densely populated in Western Canada.

While many of the multi-family residential buildings are apartment blocks, some new condo developments have also been springing up around the neighbourhoods.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. statistics show seven new projects with a total of 172 units have been started since 2006. They include the Edgewater Condominiums on Wellington Crescent (52 units), the Pulse on River Avenue (45 units), the Oz Condos under construction at the corner of River and Bole Street (25 units), a 33-unit complex at 330 Stradbrook Ave., an eight-unit building at 548 Stradbrook and two four-unit complexes -- one at 118 Wilmot St. and the other at 609 Gertrude St.

And that total doesn't include the recently completed conversion of the First Church of Christ, Scientist Church at 511 River Ave. into 46 one-bedroom condos.

The newest area project, which is still in the pre-sale stage and isn't expected to break ground until early next year, would see a century-old triplex at 290 River Ave. demolished to make way for five new condos.

Four of the tri-level, townhouse-style units are 1,200 square feet in size and will be contained in a single building to be built near the front of the property. The fifth -- a 1,268-square-foot, coach-house-style unit -- will be built above a five-car garage that will be erected near the back of the property.

The project's listing agent -- Blair Holm of Kilkenny Real Estate -- said the developer hopes to pre-sell at least three of the units before proceeding with the project. They're all priced at $399,000.

Holm said they hope the condos will appeal to young professionals who want a condo styled more like a house, with three levels, a partial basement, a garden and a detached garage.

The owner and developer of the property is transplanted Winnipegger Andrew Thompson, who now lives in England. Holm said Thompson inherited the aging triplex from his family, "and he wants to do a nice, quality project (on the site), and maybe make a little money for himself."

He said Thompson hopes to begin construction in late winter and to have the units ready for occupancy by sometime next fall.

The architect for the complex under construction at 548 Stradbrook -- Sasa Radulovic of 5468796 Architecture Inc. -- said that project is about 75 per cent built.

He said the eight units will range in size from 850 square feet to 1,300 square feet, with prices starting at around $250,000 "and going up from there."

Radulovic and 5468796 Architecture are also the architects for the Oz Condos project and two other projects that are still in the preliminary planning stages. All he could say about the latter two projects is one is expected to have 10 units and the other will likely have five.

The Oz, which should be ready for occupancy in early December, has 25 units ranging in size from 805 square feet to 1,900 square feet.

Listing agent Alison O'Toole, of Century 21 Bachman and Associates, said 13 of the units have been sold so far, with the most expensive -- a penthouse suite -- selling for $550,000. The remaining units are priced at between $340,000 and $425,000.

O'Toole, Radulovic and Jenny Gerbasi, city councillor for the area, said they aren't surprised to see new condo developments springing up around the neighbourhood. They said there's still a demand for new housing.

"For one thing, it's a great place to live," Gerbasi said. "It's close to public transit routes and it's close to all the amenities people want. And I think more and more people also want that urban-type of experience."

Radulovic agreed, saying, "I think some people are drawn to other people... and that's one of the reasons they want to live in Osborne Village or the Exchange District. You feel like you're living in a city."

Gerbasi said city officials are pleased to see infill, multi-family development taking place, and that it includes a variety of different sizes and styles of condos. But one thing they'd like to see is more "affordable" units being built.

"That's an issue with cities across Canada. But we have very low (apartment) vacancy rates... and it's hard for people just starting out to find affordable housing."

 

Know of any newsworthy or interesting trends or developments in the local office, retail, or industrial real estate sectors? Let real estate reporter Murray McNeill know at the email address below, or at 204-697-7254.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 9, 2013 B5

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