Suite re­lief

Sub-pent­house unit priced at $5.2 mil­lion gets ex­ten­sive makeover

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Front Page - KATHY MCCORMICK

One Cal­gary condo puts an en­tirely new twist to the old adage about peo­ple who live in glass houses: They should have great views. And for $5.2 mil­lion, it’s all about an­other adage: Lo­ca­tion! Lo­ca­tion! Lo­ca­tion!

The condo is lo­cated on the banks of the Bow River in tony Eau Claire — a 5,100-plus square foot, sub-pent­house suite that takes up the en­tire 14th floor of the build­ing.

It in­cludes more than 1,400 square feet of out­door liv­ing on gen­er­ous pa­tios that curve around cor­ners. Win­dows, too, curve around the end of the suite so own­ers have a 360-de­gree view of the city.

The glass build­ing, con­structed a decade ago, is spec­tac­u­lar on its own due to its rounded ends, adding a dra­matic ap­peal to the down­town sky­line.

In­side, The Point on the Bow of­fers an el­e­gant lobby rem­i­nis­cent of an in­door gar­den, with sev­eral seat­ing ar­eas through­out and a wa­ter fea­ture.

A li­brary, ex­er­cise room, party room, recre­ation area and in­door pool are just some of the build­ing ameni­ties.

The unit has se­cured, ti­tle park­ing un­der­ground with two stalls and a stor­age locker — and it has a pri­vate en­try di­rectly from two el­e­va­tors. But it’s the suite up­stairs that cap­tures the imagination.

The home is on its sec­ond owner, says real­tor Chris Za­harko, who has listed it for sale through his com­pany, Royal LePage Foothills. “When the present owner bought the home three years ago, he hired two de­sign­ers and had a com­plete ren­o­va­tion done on the in­te­rior that took six months or longer at a to­tal cost of close to $1 mil­lion,” says Za­harko.

“Be­fore, it was very tra­di­tional with white wool car­pets and four or more bed­rooms.”

The re­design in­cluded trans­form­ing the mas­ter suite into a large bed­room of 25 feet by 21 feet.

The bed­room has a fire­place — one of four in the home — and the en­suite in­cludes a cus­tom­ized blown-glass win­dow and over­sized glass and tile steam shower, as well as a jet­ted tub. An­other area has been ded­i­cated to a full, cus­tom­ized gym where one of the other fire­places is lo­cated.

The floor-to-ceil­ing tinted win­dows af­ford great views while home­own­ers are ex­er­cis­ing. A fourpiece bath with a glass ves­sel sink and tiled shower is nearby.

The of­fice, too, has spec­tac­u­lar views and ex­ten­sive custom mill work, in­clud­ing 12-inch base­boards and crown mold­ing. Cherry cab­i­nets and gran­ite coun­ter­tops in a light off-white set off the kitchen.

A dou­ble-sided fire­place sep­a­rates the large liv­ing room and din­ing room. The liv­ing room is 25 feet by 23 feet and the din­ing area more than 26 feet by 16 feet, four inches — the per­fect space for en­ter­tain­ing in style.

But it’s the at­ten­tion to de­tail that stands out. The home has sev­eral high­lights de­signed by Barry W. Fair­bairn, who has worked on some de­sign fea­tures in the Bel­la­gio Ho­tel in Las Ve­gas and Ho­tel Arts in Cal­gary.

A spec­tac­u­lar custom wa­ter fea­ture at the en­trance into the suite, and an­other in an­other part of the home, as well as a chan­de­lier in the din­ing area are all his cre­ations.

Im­ported Ital­ian mar­ble floors through­out have in­lays of maple hard­wood.

The Eau Claire ren­o­va­tion is one of $53 bil­lion res­i­den­tial ren­o­va­tions across Canada, an es­ti­mate based on Statis­tics Canada data, says Al­tus Group Eco­nomic Con- sult­ing.

That fol­lowed a 10-year pe­riod of steady growth — but that could be the peak, it says.

“The eco­nomic re­ces­sion is tak­ing its toll on res­i­den­tial ren­o­va­tion spending,” says Al­tus. “How­ever, the fed­eral tax credit and lower in­ter­est rates than a year ago are ex­pected to soften the blow lev­eled by the poor econ­omy, job mar­ket and in­come de­clines.”

The gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced the Home Ren­o­va­tion Tax Credit in its 2009 bud­get, which pro­vides up to $1,350 in tax re­lief (on $10,000 in spending) to qual­i­fy­ing res­i­den­tial ren­o­va­tions un­der­taken be­fore Fe­bru­ary 2010.

The gov­ern­ment ex­pects 4.6 mil­lion fam­i­lies to claim at least part of the tax credit.

The av­er­age MLS trans­ac­tion in Canada gen­er­ates about $15,000 in in­cre­men­tal ren­o­va­tion and re­pair spending within three years of pur­chase, says re­search by Al­tus Group for the Cana­dian Real Es­tate As­so­ci­a­tion.

The lat­est ren­o­va­tion in­ten­tions from Al­tus Group’s quar­terly sur­vey show that the pro­por­tion of home­own­ers plan­ning ren­o­va­tions of $5,000 or more has re­bounded from a down­ward trend in 2008.

Even so, Al­tus Group ex­pects ren­o­va­tion spending to de­cline in 2009, al­beit mod­estly, from fac­tors that in­clude job losses and in­come ad­just­ments.

It fore­casts a de­cline of five per cent in real ren­o­va­tion spending in 2009 and a fur­ther de­cline in the two per cent range for 2010.

Even so, many peo­ple ren­o­vate once they move into a home. Still oth­ers ren­o­vate to make a home more ap­peal­ing and up-to-date be­fore they sell — and cer­tain ren­o­va­tions will help sell a home, says a sur­vey by Royal LePage last year.

“Amid to­day’s com­pet­i­tive real es­tate mar­ket, ren­o­va­tions of­fer a rel­a­tively af­ford­able means to boost the value of a home,” says Lisa da Rocha, vice-pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing and sales for Royal LePage Real Es­tate Ser­vices. “Doit-your­self tasks such as paint­ing walls, chang­ing cup­board knobs or lay­ing new floor­ing will make a house not only more ap­peal­ing to buy­ers, but also of­fer a great re­turn on in­vest­ments.”

The sur­vey ex­plores “ren­o­va­tions that are in­tended to trans­late di­rectly into en­hanced eq­uity in a prop­erty,” she says.

Amongst the do-it-your­self proj- ects, paint­ing the in­te­rior at a to­tal cost of about $1,000 is the most af­ford­able and eas­i­est fresh­ener — and its re­turn on in­vest­ment is any­where from 50 to 100 per cent, says the sur­vey.

Re­plac­ing knobs and hard­ware was next at a to­tal out­lay of up to $2,000 and a re­turn on in­vest­ment of 75-to 100 per cent.

On the ren­o­va­tions of a larger scale which would need some help (such as hir­ing a ren­o­va­tor), all had the po­ten­tial re­turn on in­vest­ment of 75 to 100 per cent, even through costs were much higher.

In­stalling an ad­di­tional bath­room on the main floor, for ex­am­ple, would cost un­der $5,000, but would have a re­turn of in­vest­ment of 80 to 100 per cent be­cause of its im­por­tance to fu­ture home­buy­ers.

A bath­room ren­o­va­tion of $5,000 to $8,000 would re­turn 75 to 100 per cent of that money in home eq­uity, and a kitchen ren­o­va­tion of $12,000 to $15,000 would re­sult in the same re­turn of in­vest­ment.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the $5.2-mil­lion Eau Claire condo, visit­

Christina Ryan, Cal­gary Her­ald

The Point on the Bow in Eau Claire adds dra­matic ap­peal to the down­town sky­line.

Pho­tos, Christina Ryan, Cal­gary Her­ald

The deck of the $5.2-mil­lion condo has a sweep­ing view of the city.

Huge win­dows are part of the mod­ern de­sign of the condo.

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