Ambitious plan for buyer
Condo owner aims to profit from purchases
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.