Condo Review: Era
Marko Juras is a Realtor® with Fair Realty in Victoria. The author’s comments and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of VibrantVictoria or its parent company, Skyscraper Source Media. This is not an endorsement of the project being reviewed and is intended for informational purposes only. Additional condo reviews can be accessed here.
Concert Properties, developer of The Chelsea, Astoria, Belvedere, and 365 Waterfront is currently selling Era, a 15-storey residential tower described by some as a “landmark” building planned for the heart of downtown Victoria at 728 Yates Street. Era will integrate old with new by revitalizing Millie’s Lane (often referred to as Odeon Alley) undoubtedly creating a popular gathering place and provide retail opportunities along the ground floor. The building features 157 units with a selection of floor plans and a distribution mimicking those of the successful The 834 project by Chard Development. The similarities include an abundance of one bedroom units, small two bedroom units, small penthouses, and even the price sheet resembles that of The 834 with prices starting at $198,900 and topping out at $619,900 for the best two bedroom penthouse (this particular unit has already sold). Currently Era is in the pre-sale stage with anticipated construction commencing in Fall 2012 with completion sometime in late 2014 or early 2015.
Parking: Era has 104 parking stalls (for 157 residential units) with 84 assigned to purchasers of the two bedroom, penthouse, loft and “B1” one bedroom units, resulting in no parking availability for studios and the majority of the one bedrooms. 20 spaces will be made available for visitors and handicap-designated spots with perhaps some stalls available for commercial tenants. Metered street parking along the 700-block of Yates Street is often difficult to secure during business hours and is limited to a maximum of one hour and thirty minutes per spot (6PM through 9AM parking is free and unrestricted; parking is free all day Sunday). Era may offer a convenient location with a fantastic “walk-score” of 98 although the inability to purchase a parking stall may be a deciding factor for some buyers. While there are plenty of alternative parking options in close proximity to the building, none will be as convenient as parking in the underground of the actual building. In comparison parking spots at The 834 sold out at $35,000 per spot while at the Mondrian (currently under construction at Cook and Johnson streets) parking spots are selling for $15,750.
Kitchens: Era’s showroom kitchen is straight forward and practical but falls short in light of offerings by several competitors. The cabinets are laminate with white melamine boxes. The doors and drawers feature low-profile pulls that add to the modern look of the kitchen. As expected, soft-closure hardware can be found throughout. However, some of the hinge hardware is lower in quality when compared to Promontory (currently under construction in Vic West and reviewed here). Counters are in the form of Quartz and do not feature the “water fall” type design on the side of the counter as available elsewhere. The backsplash is in the form of 2×10 inch white tiles. The kitchen appliances are Samsung with a full size built-in stove and full size electrical cook-top with the microwave doubling as a hood fan. A double sink can be found on the island which is a nice touch. The dual-spray faucet is chrome finish – attractive to some, although not necessarily desirable by all buyers. Under-cabinet lighting is in the recessed puck style. Overall storage is adequate, however, there appears to be wasted space between the dishwasher and the end of the island (there is a hollow space used for an electrical outlet).
Bathrooms: As expected given the kitchen, the bathrooms are straight forward and simple. Standard tub, chrome features and a basic vanity with a simple mirror to match. The only thing that sets the Era bathroom apart from the competition is the application of wallpaper which gives the bathroom a unique and attractive touch. As seen with all new developments, a dual flush water-saving toilet comes standard. One feature that some buyers may find issue with is the inability to adjust the shower head.
General Finishing: The overall finishing for a downtown concrete building is solid and the feel of the kitchen/living room in the show suite is positive. The ceiling height of 8’8’’ (Promontory 8’10’’; Duet 8’6’’; and Mondrian 8’6’’) is middle of the pack. The main living areas feature laminate flooring and wool carpeting in the bedrooms. Heating is in the form of baseboard with individual room thermostats, most likely in the form of knob style thermostats. Window coverings will be standard in the form of roller blinds. Interior doors are flat panel which seems to be the new trend, supplemented by polished chrome levers. Trim is in the form of 4-inch flat-profile baseboards. Laundry appliances are in the form of stacking Whirlpool washer/dryer.
Common Areas: A resident lounge adjoins a landscaped terrace featuring seating and a private garden on the third floor. It is located in the prime south-west corner and should receive solid use. Proximity to Yates Street means those lounging on the terrace will be exposed to city noise and downtown action which is unlikely to be a problem for most residents.
Deposit Structure: 5% with CMHC qualification for first time buyers only and 15% with no CMHC qualification. The deposit structure is similar and in line with other pre-sale developments.
Era offers a wide array of studio and one bedroom units ideal for rental units or starter homes priced as low as $198,900. Below three floor plans are evaluated and matched against similar floor plans at other nearby projects. The floor plans referenced below can be viewed here.
Floor Plan A: 4th floor, west facing, 483 ft. sq. plus 48 ft. sq. patio. Parking not included. Price: $202,900.
$202,900/483 ft. sq. = $420 per ft. sq. Strata Fees = $192/month.
Floor Plan A Comments: This particular floor plan is one Concert is bringing over from their successful project at the Astoria (751 Fairfield). While the floor area to window area area ratio is not great due to the long and narrow shape it does provide for everything a single individual may desire: sleeping space, solid kitchen, living, and outdoor space. Views from this unit will be severely limited due to the immediate brick wall of the post office building to the west. However, “A floor plans” higher up the building will rise above the adjacent office building. With rental rates are likely to range between $950 to $1,100 per month, this unit is a solid investment. The lack of parking shouldn’t affect rentals significantly as many potential tenants looking to rent a downtown apartment will not have a vehicle. Overall and despite the lack of parking, $420 per sq. ft. provides an excellent entry point for a concrete building at such a prime downtown Victoria location.
Floor Plan B1: 3rd floor, south facing, 555 sq. ft. plus 46 sq. ft. patio. Parking included: Price: $289,900.
$289,900/555 sq. ft. = $522 per sq. ft. Strata Fees = $222/month.
Floor Plan B1 Comments: At $522 per sq. ft. on the 3rd floor the B1 commands a slightly higher price than variations of this floor plan found at other developments: Duet (Rupert, Chapman), Mondrian (units #208-1009 & #303-1003), Promontory (Plan E). However, with the B1 buyers purchase a desirable south-facing orientation and a well-executed floor plan with virtually no wasted space.
Floor Plan C2: 8th floor, north-west facing, 789 sq. ft. plus 50 sq. ft. patio. Parking included: Price: $409,900
$409,900/789 sq. ft. = $519 per sq. ft. Strata Fees = $312/month.
Floor Plan C2 Comments: This unit goes tit-for-tat against the Promontory D1 8th floor unit which comes in at approximately $523 per sq. ft. The big difference is the Era C2 comes with a second 4-piece bathroom. While the second bathroom eats into the living space of a small unit it proves useful for singles looking to rent out the second bedroom. The excellent separation between the bedrooms also adds to the feasibility of attracting a roommate. While the C2 suffers from wasted space in the long hallway entrance it provides excellent sightlines from the kitchen outwards. The view from this unit will definitely feature “city views” that includes rooftops and parkades. If buying for personal enjoyment one might consider going a few floors higher with this particular floor plan. VV
To discuss Era and to stay up-to-date on the project’s latest news, construction photos and updates, refer to VibrantVictoria’s discussion thread here. Read additional condo reviews here. To view Marko Juras’ website, click here. Stay connected with us on our Victoria Condos Facebook page where we highlight the latest condo projects throughout the region. And follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest discussions and major headlines as covered by VibrantVictoria.
© Copyright 2012 by Skyscraper Source Media Inc. All rights reserved.
Responses to this Headline or Article
The five most recent replies to VibrantVictoria.ca's discussion forum's [Downtown Victoria] Era | Condos | 15-storeys | U/C thread, the most relevant thread to the above headline or article:
aastraMay 13, 2013 at 2:39 pm
The jungle cruise boat was out for repair when the photograph was taken.
Also note that the windows on the large block next door have been Photoshopped to imitate the building's original design.
jonnyMay 14, 2013 at 3:07 pm
Concrete formwork has started! There is still quite a bit of excavation going on, but the first forms have started going in for what I assume will be the building's core.
Mike K.May 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm
Good stuff. Construction has officially begun!
jonnyMay 16, 2013 at 10:42 am
Photographic evidence of era related construction activities: