Am­bi­tious plan for buyer

Condo owner aims to profit from pur­chases

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - SHEILA BRADY MICHELLE JOOS, CONDO OWNER

Most freshly minted grads, af­ter land­ing their first job and the prom­ise of a steady pay­cheque, buy a car. Michelle Joos buys con­dos. Seven years ago, Joos, who works for the Se­nate Pro­tec­tive Ser­vice on Par­lia­ment Hill, bought her first condo on York Street.

She was 28, with a de­gree in so­ci­ol­ogy and crim­i­nol­ogy from Car­leton Uni­ver­sity, a Po­lice Foun­da­tions diploma from Al­go­nquin Col­lege and an am­bi­tious plan to make money through ur­ban real es­tate.

Two more con­dos fol­lowed, and last month she and her mother Joan Joos were among the first to hand over a cheque for a one-bed- room apart­ment on the fourth floor of a slick brick and glass build­ing planned for Rich­mond Road.

The en­ter­pris­ing real es­tate in­vestor “was stuck at work” when Ashcroft pres­i­dent David Choo and his team threw a party launch­ing 101 Rich­mond, so Joos sent her mom via an OC Transpo bus, with in­struc­tions to re­serve apart­ment 419.

Joan, 77, who has never had a driver’s li­cence, scored the deal af­ter her daugh­ter had sourced out the project on­line.

“I’ve heard a lot about West­boro, how it is an up-and-com­ing neigh- bour­hood,” says Joos, who likes the neigh­bour­hood shops. “It’s a nice area.”

Mother and daugh­ter bought a 587-square-foot condo as a joint in­vest­ment, with the in­ten­tion of rent­ing it out when the build­ing is fin­ished, likely in the sum­mer of 2011.

“I be­lieve in condo real es­tate as an in­vest­ment,” says Joos, who pock­eted $75,000 in profit af­ter sell­ing her York Street condo in four days this spring.

She used the profit to buy two con­dos at 90 Ge­orge St.

She and her part­ner re­cently moved into her new fifth-floor condo un­til her larger pent­house condo is fin­ished later this year.

She plans to rent out the fifth­floor unit.

Joan also bought and sold a condo in the York Street build­ing, fol­low­ing her daugh­ter and buy­ing a condo on the ninth floor at 90 Ge­orge.

“It’s a far bet­ter in­vest­ment than buy­ing a car,” says her daugh­ter, who read­ily ad­mits she owns a 1992 Camry only be­cause she got it in a trade for labour­ing for three days in the rain to clean up her aunt’s gar­den in Nova Sco­tia.

“It was a good deal,” says Joos, with an in­fec­tious laugh, adding her wheels will mostly be parked in the Ge­orge Street garage be­cause she likes to walk to work on Par­lia­ment Hill or to restau­rants in the Mar­ket.

It was the cost of park­ing that is prompt­ing Brenda Miller to sell her ’92 con­vert­ible Mus­tang now that she will be mov­ing to 101 Rich­mond Rd. Each park­ing space is an ex­tra $29,500, so she and her hus­band Ian bought one spot for their SUV.

The pull of re­turn­ing to her child­hood neigh­bour­hood was too strong for Miller to re­sist.

The two were comfortabl­e liv­ing in a bun­ga­low in the east-end com­mu­nity of Chapel Hill, when their daugh­ter an­nounced she was mov­ing to Oakville, Ont., and the ties loos­ened.

A chance visit to the sales cen­tre at 101 Rich­mond cap­ti­vated Miller, a creative ra­dio and tele­vi­sion psy­chic who also paints and teaches feng shui and spir­i­tu­al­ity.

Within days, the Millers bought a spa­cious fourth-floor apart­ment on the north­ern cor­ner of the condo, which was de­signed by Ottawa ar­chi­tect Rod La­hey.

In fact, La­hey de­signed the Rich­mond condo twice be­cause Choo bought one piece of land and two years later bought a neigh­bour­ing chunk, the site of Ottawa’s first Cana­dian Tire store.

The ex­panded prop­erty meant La­hey faced the chal­lenge of de­sign­ing a build­ing that stretched 300 feet along Rich­mond Road.

He met with com­mu­nity groups and coun­cil­lor Chris­tine Lead­man, mod­i­fy­ing plans and com­ing up with a build­ing that steps back from the street, in­cor­po­rat­ing re­cessed bal­conies, cur­tains of glass and lay­ers of buff brick next to brick black­ened with man­ganese diox­ide.

The ef­fect is all about light and tex­tures.

La­hey and Choo are also col­lab­o­rat­ing on a glass-and-brick re­tire­ment res­i­dence planned for a neigh­bour­ing piece of land at Rich­mond and Pa­tri­cia Av­enue.

There will be re­tail shops on the main floor of 101 Rich­mond, in­clud­ing a cof­fee shop, says La­hey, who would like a mix of shops and busi­ness offices to add va­ri­ety to the neigh­bour­hood, which fea­tures the shel­tered monastery of the Sis­ters of the Visi­ta­tion di­rectly across the street.

Visit the model suite in the sales cen­tre and a gi­gan­tic pho­to­graph of­fers a view from a fourth-floor bal­cony, looking over the monastery and the city and its trees in full fall colour.

The sales cen­tre and model is a slick of­fer­ing put to­gether by |the team of Luc Craw­ford and Jamie LeBlanc of De­signs by 2 ( www.de­signsby2.ca).

The model is all about white: white glossy cab­i­nets, white tiles in the bath­room and a white barn door that sep­a­rates the liv­ing area from the white bed­room.

Sales have been brisk, with 25 per cent of the 96 con­dos in the six-storey build­ing sold on the open­ing week­end, says sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive Patti Bourassa.

Buy­ers are a com­bi­na­tion of boomers down­siz­ing from larger homes, younger, first-time buy­ers, and in­vestors like Michelle and Joan Joos, says Bourassa.

“They are all drawn by the neigh­bour­hood,” adds mar­ket­ing con­sul­tant Lee Knowles, and fea­tures that in­clude a rooftop ter­race, bar­be­cues, a hot tub and fire pit. There is also a party room, a gym and ex­er­cise stu­dio for yoga and palates and a pri­vate the­atre with cushy seat­ing.

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