Condo Review: Mondrian

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.

Alpha Project Development, the developer behind one of Victoria’s largest residential buildings — the 178 unit, 12-storey Aria – is aiming to be the first to finish a downtown concrete building since completion of the 14-storey The 834 in early 2012.  The Mondrian, Alpha’s 10-storey, 93 unit lowrise has an anticipated completion date of June 2013.  With the exception of the 11-storey The Sovereign in the 600-block of Broughton Street, all other active downtown and periphery developments are slated for completion in 2014 or 2015 giving Mondrian a major sales advantage.

Currently 25% to 30% of the units are sold (by comparison, The 834 was over 75% sold at the same stage of construction in 2010).  Mondrian’s location at the intersection of Johnson and Cook streets yields easy access to a variety of transportation options, grocery stores, restaurants, recreation opportunities and various amenities that downtown Victoria has to offer.

As for design, the balconies will emphasize the “Mondrian-esque” motif  with red, blue and yellow accents giving the project a colourful flare that is not typically seen with Victoria projects.  The ground floor will offer commercial spaces while the residential component will comprise of 93 units sized between 400 square foot studios and 850 square foot two bedrooms. Prices range from $169,900 to $389,900.  For buyers, quality and location are important, but price is a consideration, too – and the Mondrian offers the lowest average cost per square foot of any development currently pre-selling in downtown Victoria.   On a side note, the Mondrian is probably as “local” as a project can get – local developer, local architect (De Hoog & Kierulf Architects), and local contractor (Campbell Construction Ltd.).

It should also be noted that a recent proposal at 1075 Pandora Avenue has been forwarded to Victoria City Hall and at least one community information session has been held by the developer. The concept, immediately to the north and west of the Mondrian property, is for two residential buildings of 13- and 10-storeys. Although this proposal is in the early stages the proximity to Mondrian may be an issue for some buyers. More information on 1075 Pandora is available here. Coincidentally Alpha’s Cityplace project at Blanshard Street and Fairfield Road was enveloped on two sides soon after completion by the Parkside project. Views to the south and west were obstructed by the time-share development with little consideration to the residents of Cityplace.

Parking: The Mondrian has 65 underground parking stalls (for 93 residential units) which have now been assigned as limited common property to specific units (originally purchasers had the option to secure stalls for $15,750).  The majority of studio units are not assigned a stall.  There are three visitor parking spots and there is potential for several stalls to be made available for commercial tenants.  Metered street parking can be found along the 1000-block of Johnson Street and is typically easy to secure even during business hours.  It is limited to a maximum of one hour and thirty minutes per spot, however, parking is free between the hours of 6PM and 9AM Monday through Saturday and free all day on Sundays and holidays. In addition, there are various free two hour parking spots within close proximity of the project. This may be ideal for guests although residents with vehicles who are unable to secure a parking stall would likely need to pay for a space nearby or rent a stall from another resident within the building.

Mondrian's kitchen design was upgraded from the initial marketed design. Photo © Skyscraper Source Media.

Kitchens: The developers at the Mondrian have taken strides to improve the kitchen look and quality since the initial concept. Essentially what is offered now in the showroom can be considered version 2.0.  Improvements include replacing the over-mount sink with a more traditional under-mount variety; a back-splash has been added; drawers replace a single cabinet adjacent to the stove; and appliances now sport a “stainless steel” look versus the previous white (Electrolux 12 square foot fridge; Frigidaire 30’’ range; Frigidaire dishwasher; and Samsung microwave).  The cabinet doors and drawers feature a vertical texture that looks and feels like a solid product.  The drawers are soft-close and the German-designed glide system works well.  Counters are 3cm thick quartz which is equivalent to other developments and there is an overhang over the island for easy accommodation of kitchen seating.  The back-splash is in the form of the in-voque mosaic pattern.  While the kitchen may lack storage compared to the competition, unless a buyer is dedicated to cooking every meal at home the storage will likely be adequate for most younger urban dwellers.

Bathrooms:  The bathrooms are simple, functional, and look good.  Features include a standard tub with ceramic tiles; 12″ x 14″ porcelain tile flooring; under-mount cabinet sink with a quartz counter; a 2 cm back-splash; and a dual-flush toilet.  A curved shower curtain rod (straight at other developments) is aesthetically pleasing although some buyers may question it’s efficacy.

General Finishing:  Finishing is value oriented. However, given the attractive price point some cost savings are to be expected.   The ceiling height of 8’6’’ (Promontory 8’10’’ [read review]; Era 8′8″ [read review]) is at the bottom of the pack. Ceiling height is an important consideration when it comes to the “feel” of a condo – a few inches can make a considerable difference.  The good news is the ceilings will be of the smooth finish variety – an improvement over popcorn ceilings found at many developments today.  Laminate flooring complimented by 4″ flat profile baseboards is found throughout including the bedroom.  Heating is in the form of electric baseboards with individually controlled thermostats.  2″ horizontal Venetian blinds are standard and laundry equipment is an Ariston 24″ combination washer/condensing dryer unit with shelving above. The latter is a deviation from other developments that typically offer a stacking washer and dryer.

Common Areas: Alpha has decided to keep things simple: lounge/meeting room with a wet bar and no common rooftop space nor a terrace.  While the strata fees per square foot are lower than at Era they are on par with the Promontory. However, Mondrian may benefit from lower long term amenity maintenance costs.

Deposit Structure: 10% with no CMHC qualification.  The deposit structure is lower than at competing pre-sale developments (typically 15% or 20% down with no CMHC).

The Mondrian construction site as seen in late September, 2012. Photo © Skyscraper Source Media.

Value

Three floor plans are evaluated below and matched against similar floor plans at other downtown projects.  The Mondrian holds a distinct price advantage over the competition on some, but not all, floor plans. This becomes evident once dollar-per-square-foot calculations are carried out. The floor plans reference below can be viewed at www.mondrianvictoria.com/units although the plans lack square footage information.

Floor Plan “05” 4th floor, west facing, 403 square feet plus a 35 square foot deck. Parking NOT included.  Price: $171,900. $171,900/403 square feet = $427 per square foot. Strata fees are $124 per month.

Floor Plan “05” Comments:  This particular floor plan goes toe-to-toe with Era’s floor plan “A” and comes in at approximately $30,000 under (depending on the floor of the unit) Era’s “A.” However, on a per square foot basis the Era “A” on the 4th floor is actually cheaper at $420 per square foot.   Both offer west exposure and look onto adjacent buildings.  Due to its smaller size in relation to the Era “A” the Mondrian studio does not offer a designated sleeping space or an island style kitchen.  The “05” is a true open studio and will mandate a murphy bed to maximize space and function.  This unit will lend itself to investors or first time buyers on a budget.  Based on a 20% down, 25 year amortization, 5 year fixed mortgage @ 3.19%, mortgage payments equate to $664.29 per month, not including strata fees and property tax.

Floor Plan “03”, 6th floor, south facing, 549 square feet plus a deck**.  A parking stall is included. Price: $265,900. $265,900/549 square feet = $484 per square foot. Strata fees are $170 per month.

Floor Plan “03” Comments:  The “03″ floor plan is found in virtually every single pre-sale building throughout downtown Victoria and periphery: Duet’s “Rupert” and “Chapman”; Era’s “B1″, and Promontory’s “E.”  This floor plan is where the Mondrian shows a competitive price advantage over other developments which are all priced in excess of $500 per square foot for this type of layout.  Mondrian’s “03″ is south-facing with solid views even at the 5th floor and offers an accommodating living room at the expense of the bedroom (8’6’’ x 8’4’’).

Floor Plan “07”, 8th floor, northwest facing, 741 square feet plus an 86 square foot deck.  A parking stall is included. Price: $344,900. $344,900/741 square feet = $465 per square foot. Strata fees are $230 per month.

Floor Plan “07” Comments:  Mondrian’s “07″ is similar to Promontory’s “D1″ 8th floor unit priced at approximately $523 per square foot.  It is also similar to the 8th floor Era “C2″ but lacks the second bathroom found in the Era floor plan.  One could argue that the execution of the floor plan is a notch above in the “07” as it features better sight lines from the kitchen over the Promontory’s “D1,” however, there may be privacy concerns with the “07″s living room and master bedroom facing onto an adjacent 10-storey condo to the west.  The 86 square foot deck is a very nice touch at this price point.   At $465 per square foot this layout at the Mondrian is the price leader among all pre-sale offerings throughout the downtown and periphery. VV

**The developer did not provide a definitive size of the deck for floor plan “03.”

To discuss Mondrian 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] The Mondrian | Condos | 10 storeys | Built - completed in 2013 thread, the most relevant thread to the above headline or article:

Holden West

Aug 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm

De Hoog/Keirulf have done a few "stand alone" buildings now and I think they're good at designing buildings that don't have a "bad" side. You know, the awkward-looking blank side that's never seen in the glossy renderings. This building must have been a challenge as the massing and height was pretty much maxed out meaning all they had to work with was a big cube. Even the parking entrance--in some projects a horrible gaping maw--is clean and simple. Can't wait to see ground floor activity.

gkz

Oct 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Any bets on how long until the first retail space is occupied? It looks like they are having trouble selling/leasing them.

History Buff

Oct 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Quote: Any bets on how long until the first retail space is occupied? It looks like they are having trouble selling/leasing them.



No kidding there are so many place in the CRD that have been built that there are not enough buyers in the market place to fill them and

Maybe the prices will drop across the board for all the available units

G-Man

Oct 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm

I would bet that it fills before 601 Herald but I could be wrong...

Urbanistco

Oct 25, 2013 at 8:19 am

holy panel reveals batman! :)

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