Here’s What I’ve Got Against High Rise Living In Condo Land

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I’ve made no secret of my preference of townhouses when it comes to home choices here in Condo Land.

This is partially because of my semi-reclusive tendencies and partly because of my responsibility to advise my clients as their buyer’s agent.

When I was first introduced to the concept of “condominium living” or the “condominium lifestyle” back in the 1970’s, I was impressed and enthusiastic and the only homes that I’ve owned and lived in have been condos ever since.

The concept, which is what a sales professional “sells” is flawless with condos.

The concept of enjoying “ownership” with all the amenities (swimming pool, exercise, party room, etc.) included is certainly an appealing one.

Unfortunately, in Condo Land the concept failed to meet reality where the “rubber meets the road” as they say.

The concept fell apart when we (I was working on the Reichmann’s “Olympia & York” flagship initial venture in condos above the Queen’s Quay Terminal on the harbour) when I recommended redirecting the marketing to a global audience.

They had been failing with these magnificent residences and brought me in to pick up the pieces and my analysis had told me that they were “selling to the wrong audience”.

Condos were brand new under law at the time and Canadians are very conservative and their observed “wait and see” approach to anything new would make it difficult for us to sell this limited collection of just 78 residences.

My strategy prevailed and the rest is history . . . . I’ve been directly involved off and on in the building of Condo Lands history ever since.

I’ve lived in what was represented and sold as some of the best residences in the city and have to confess in all honesty that I haven’t been impressed with very many of them, regardless of the price.

I read some uninformed blogger recently telling readers that “all the head aches go away and the quality improves with more expensive condos“, which I personally have proven to be totally inaccurate.

I bought one for over a million and had to hear my upstairs neighbour go to the bathroom every morning!

Tarion offered no remedy or solution!  The building Code offered no remedy or solution!

I bought a townhouse where the developer forgot or neglected to properly insulate the sub floors, fought with him and got him to finally agree to insulate the crawl space that they had sworn did not exist, only to insufficiently complete the work and Tarion, the Building Code, Condo Act, offered no remedy or solutions.

The consumer “just lives with what they get“!

The Municipality of Toronto (city government) is proving one of the major obstacles yet it totally ignores its responsibility.

I’ve blogged about the disservice that The City government imposed on real estate owners (and tax payers) bordering College Park by having decimated a once beautiful green space oasis in the concrete jungle that makes up the downtown core (search “College Park” here at simplycharles.

You can’t even shame these guys into simply fulfilling the mandate and job that they were hired to do.  It’s shameful.

I sent a letter to the Mayor which I will be publishing this week, informing him personally that lawyers have been telling me that, not only me, but all the residents surrounding “Barbara Ann Scott Park” (named after our Olympian figure skater) have a “very sound case for damages“!

I don’t want to sue the City and have requested a fifteen minute meeting with the Mayor to suggests the very simple and achievable middle ground to settle these legitimate disputes.

I haven’t had a reply as of yet and will be following up and publishing the outcome here at simplycharles.com.

But on today’s topic, the main reason I don’t like “high rise living“, is that it means “high density living“.

I personally don’t like the socially expected interaction with the security guards that replaced the “executive concierge” promised in the sales material every day.

I enjoy coming and going at my pleasure but in high-rises I’m forced to wait for elevators every time I come in or go out.

The elevators stop for everyone else coming and going so it’s a social experience simply to get out of your building.

Many people don’t mind this and I’m glad for them.  I’ve never gone to an office to work and possibly the social programming dynamic of that gives them comfort in these boxes that seem to be broken down a lot!

At College Park, where I have my townhouse, two of the three elevators that service the upper 25 -30 floors have been broken now for over a month!

There’s a unit in the tower for sale at just over $4 Million Dollars, so imagine buying it and having only one elevator service upwards of 30 floors of units (average minimum 10 units per floor)!

Now factor in that the majority of occupants in the building are renters of small 700 – 900 square feet apartments!

Are you getting me when I say high rise imposes certain life restrictions over and above those imposed by condo rules and regulations (which are sometimes abusive and extreme)?

And at College Park the average occupant drives down up to 7 floors of parking!

I attend the recreational facilities on the second floor and I see the chaos of living with elevators (I can walk up).

My beef is with the renters who have no appreciation for “pride of ownership” and abuse the facilities and building!

And don’t even get me started on the condo corporations being “ripped off” paying excessive fees to property managers!

The concept of “condominium lifestyle” was lost way back in the early days.  They became “commodities” to be traded with no consideration for the legitimate buyer looking for a home.

I’d call that “Opportunity lost“!

I’m Charles

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