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Sage Condominiums II | ?m | 25 fl | U/C
#1
Sage Condominiums II
318 Spruce St, Waterloo
http://www.sagecondos.ca/
Developer:  In8 Developments
25 story mixed use building

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#2
May 18, 2014

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August 12, 2014

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#3
Waterloo students get all the comforts of home
August 31, 2014 | Waterloo Region Record | Link
Quote:WATERLOO — Robin Seergobin's carefully kept red-brick home is an island of calm in the midst of a coming tsunami of student housing.

A year ago, the last of his longtime neighbours cashed out and moved on after many knocks on their doors from developers looking to buy their land. Shortly after that, the bulldozers and the backhoes arrived.

Now, six metres east of the Seergobin's two-storey home in the Northdale neighbourhood towers the shell of a six-storey private-sector built student condominium residence under construction.

To the west of his corner lot and its colourful gardens, backhoes are razing a whole block of the postwar housing that first drew Seergobin, 74, and his wife Evelyn, 73, to what was a family friendly suburban community 38 years ago.

Seven student rental buildings are slated for the site.

To the north, just beyond the couple's double driveway, cement trucks rumble back and forth all day, pouring the supports for another six-storey building targeted at students.

Across the street from their front door is the reason this residential pocket of Waterloo looks like a strange microcosm of Toronto's downtown building boom: Stretching into the sky is the metal skeleton of Wilfrid Laurier University's $103-million Global Innovation Exchange , due to open fall 2015.

The new business and math school had developers sharpening their pens in anticipation of some 2,000 students — many of them from overseas — who will be moving here and looking for a place to live.

Over the last five or so years, private-sector developers have largely taken over a role once dominated by public-sector post-secondary institutions: They have built about 20,000 beds of student housing on the fringes of university and college campuses right across Canada.

A stunning half of all that housing — about 10,000 beds — has been in Waterloo, with another 4,000 beds planned or already under construction within easy reach of Laurier, the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College.

"Waterloo has been the perfect petri-dish experiment in terms of changing the conditions and seeing what happens," said Derek Lobo of ROCK Apartment Advisors, one of the leading North American experts on private-sector student housing.

"In this case, the city opened up its zoning (to allow higher-density development close to the schools) and student housing went mainstream. Students' parents expect a better quality of housing now.

"Developers and banks realized that there is money to be made in tearing down houses and putting up high-quality student housing and it's been to the benefit of both students and the community."

The math speaks for itself, said Lobo.

There are one million post-secondary students in Canada, about half, Lobo estimates, who need housing. Some 100,000 post-secondary students come from overseas.

Yet the 80 or so major schools in the country have just 130,000 beds on campus, said Lobo, leaving about 370,000 students scrambling each year to find housing.

For decades now in Waterloo, they've crammed into what used to be pleasant little houses around the universities. That's because, as the schools expanded — Waterloo and Laurier have a combined 50,000 students — families moved out and landlords moved in, creating a student ghetto of postwar homes divided into eight, 10, and 12-bedroom homes, most of which have seen better days.

For Rent signs are everywhere.

But, increasingly, students like Charlie Lindsay have been gravitating to landlords offering more than just the comforts of home — everything from rooftop gyms to saunas, yoga and games rooms, all of it backed by parents willing to pay extra for their child's comfort.

In Lindsay's case, that's about $690 a month for a five-room suite in the 419-bed, 22-storey Luxe II , which opened last September. The second-year business student at Laurier gets his own furnished room with an ensuite bathroom, just like his four roommates with whom he shares a spacious living room and kitchen boasting granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

"My husband refers to it as South Beach," jokes Lindsay's mom, Carol-Ann, unpacking her van outside the row of student highrises, including Luxe II and the four-year-old Luxe I, which now line busy King Street a short walk from Laurier.

All, including the nearby 22-storey luxury highrise 1 Columbia St. W., still under construction, have been built in the last five years by private developers.

Just down the street is the first of the newest trend in housing being built to feed the growing population of Waterloo post-secondary students, Sage I.

It's a 12-storey, 54-unit (with 233 beds) condominium building that has proven so popular with investors looking to buy a unit — or a few — and rent them out to students, builder IN8 Developments now has seven more projects in the works, all of them in Northdale.

They include the 25-storey, 199-unit condo building Sage II, where the foundation is still being poured, to the complex enveloping Robin Seergobin's house. When done, that block immediately north of Laurier's Globe Innovation Exchange will boast six-storey condo buildings and townhomes.

Parents make up just 20 per cent of buyers, largely because their kids will be done school by the time the units are built. (A few are buying when their kids are still in high school.) Asians and Indians have been big investors.

When Stage III and a major rental complex being built by Schembri Property Management right across the street from Laurier's new business and math school are completed, they will have enough beds for more than 700 students.

There are mounting concerns that it's simply too much student housing for the demand, especially as enrolment growth appears to be slowing across Canada. (The University of Waterloo has plans for a 500-bed residence, aimed at first-year students.)

In fact, there are some signs the market is reaching saturation: Some Waterloo developers have started cutting rents or offering grocery vouchers to keep good tenants.

"We're seeing more five-bedroom suites than we would have liked," which really only works for students, said city councillor and University of Waterloo employee Jeff Henry. "It's certainly been an interesting transition from postwar to post-secondary. It's happened far faster than we anticipated."

Developers finally seem to be getting the message, however, that "a balanced, mixed neighbourhood is a good neighbourhood," said Henry.

IN8, for instance, is moving away from the five-bedroom suite model and even offering townhouses. There is hope that, in time, university as well as other professional workers will make their homes in its Sage communities, where the first floor of condo buildings will have stores, cafés and restaurants, said IN8 co-founder Darryl Firsten.

Perhaps the person most at home with all the change, ironically enough, is Robin Seergobin. The retired construction worker half-jokingly offered to help build the Sage III complex surrounding his home.

"We're used to students here. They leave us alone and we leave them alone," he said with a shrug.

Some area homeowners have held off selling, hoping the boom will only further drive up the value of their houses. But developers know the Seergobins are here to stay.

IN8 community liaison staffer Milosz Mazan drops by to see the Seergobins regularly, making sure cable lines get fixed quickly if they get cut inadvertently.

"What would I do with all this?" asks Seergobin, looking around the garage at his massive table saw and woodworking equipment.

"This isn't about money. This is where I'm going to spend my days until I die."
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#4
Sounds like the tower crane is getting installed today.
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#5
14,000 beds built, under construction or planned is mind-boggling!
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#6
@WRConnected
Quote:Crazy stat from @WR_Record: 1/2 of Canada's new student housing -- 10,000 beds -- built in @citywaterloo over last 5 yrs
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#7
Previously I thought this one was going to be 23 floors has it been changed to 25?
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#8
rangersfan Wrote:Previously I thought this one was going to be 23 floors has it been changed to 25?

That article was the first time I had heard of the size change, but not surprised if true given how fast it sold.
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#9
panamaniac Wrote:14,000 beds built, under construction or planned is mind-boggling!
Pretty sure there's more than 4000 beds U/C and Planned.

Just for projects U/C

256 Phillip: 2255 beds
Icon 330: 1420 beds (on Phillip S of Columbia)
1 Columbia: 370 beds
Balsam Block: 348 beds
Sage 2: 274 beds (unless that changed?)
208 Sunview: 285 beds
Sage 3: 154 beds
Smaller projects: about 100 beds? (ex Hemlock&University, 313 Spruce, a 4 storey building on Lester (probably 15-20 beds?))

Total: ~5206 beds

Planned

Columbia-Albert: 705 beds
Sage VI: 322 beds
Sage V: 223 beds
128 King: 144 beds
228 Albert: 129 beds
Ivy Towns: 128 beds
222 Albert: 101 beds
255 Sunview: 80 beds
250 Lester: 80 beds
112 Columbia: 25 beds

For these projects, I'm not sure how many beds they'll have, only the # of units

WCRI Phase 1: 216 units
Icon 145: 174 units (not sure if the Icon 330 stats include Icon 145 too though)
K2: 110 units

And then there's 79 Columbia and 85 Columbia listed as concepts on ASP Design's webpage but probably in the early conceptual stages and relatively small.

Overall though, it looks like closer to 9000 beds U/C and planned.
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#10
The interesting thing is that the number of units in most developments is staying the same but the number of bedrooms is dropping considerably. This is good to see IMO.

Developers are realizing that expecting to fill these buildings with just students is foolish. They NEED to design them so young professionals will also be willing to live in them.
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#11
Spokes Wrote:Developers are realizing that expecting to fill these buildings with just students is foolish. They NEED to design them so young professionals will also be willing to live in them.

I think they're still aiming them at students. But the zoning calculus has changed, and with the new Northdale parking standards that are per bedroom there's no longer the overwhelming incentives to construct 5-bedroom units.
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#12
Are the number of bedrooms dropping in all units in the towers, or is the end result going to be towers with both 5-bedroom and fewer-bedroom units in the same building? I wonder if they are thinking of young professionals as tenants or just finding that there are more students willing to pay higher rents than they had anticipated?
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#13
panamaniac Wrote:Are the number of bedrooms dropping in all units in the towers, or is the end result going to be towers with both 5-bedroom and fewer-bedroom units in the same building? I wonder if they are thinking of young professionals as tenants or just finding that there are more students willing to pay higher rents than they had anticipated?

I've seen building plans that are mostly 1-bedroom and ones that are mostly 2-bedroom. No 4 and 5 bedroom units that I recall from the buildings after the OP and zoning changes.

Realistically, students are the existing source of demand, and developers are targeting investors with pitches that are about renting to students. But that aside, the buildings should function fine for anyone, and with so many buildings being constructed, developers will probably need to change their marketing tactics to appeal directly to other groups.
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#14
mpd618 Wrote:
Spokes Wrote:Developers are realizing that expecting to fill these buildings with just students is foolish. They NEED to design them so young professionals will also be willing to live in them.

I think they're still aiming them at students. But the zoning calculus has changed, and with the new Northdale parking standards that are per bedroom there's no longer the overwhelming incentives to construct 5-bedroom units.

I think you're right about being aimed at students, but they've created them so that others might want to live in them. ie. not 5 bedroom units
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#15
panamaniac Wrote:Are the number of bedrooms dropping in all units in the towers, or is the end result going to be towers with both 5-bedroom and fewer-bedroom units in the same building? I wonder if they are thinking of young professionals as tenants or just finding that there are more students willing to pay higher rents than they had anticipated?

Density used to be calculated by the # of units in a building, now it's done by the # of bedrooms thus limiting the 5 bedroom units.
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