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Old 21-03-2012, 04:14 PM   #1
IanO
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Default The townhouse as a palliative

The townhouse as a palliative
by Heinrich Wefing | 15 March 2012

http://www.stylepark.com/en/news/the...liative/330944

One of the biggest obstacles of getting people to live and stay downtown is that many people view condos as temporary. As a result community investment is often sacrificed. Townhouses are quite the opposite and foster exactly what urban places are in dire need of, a sense of place and ownership.
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Old 23-03-2012, 01:21 PM   #2
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True. But most townhome developments in Edmonton lack the architectural vision of those depicted in the article. We prefer to construct self-similar boxes, then apply a "treatment."
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Old 25-03-2012, 01:17 PM   #3
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Sheesh. I thought Edmonton had some ugly architecture. But looking at some of these projects, nestled among beautiful heritage buildings, I stand corrected.

Isn't architecture, like art, meant to be admired and appreciated? Isn't good architecture meant to make you feel "good"? I can't help but notice that when I visit major art galleries, the rooms devoted to the old masters are always crowded and people linger to admire the workmanship. The rooms devoted to "modern" art are empty, and the few visitors that venture there just pass through without stopping.

Some of these modern architecural styles are distinctly out of place with their surroundings. I do not feel "good" looking at them. They actually make me, as a pedestrian, want to avoid them entirely or hurry past them without giving them a second glance.

And yet, from the inside looking out, the huge expanse of glass allows unparalleled views of the old architecture surrounding it! Too bad the people living in the old architecture have to look out of their historic windows at these monstrosities.
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Old 26-03-2012, 09:01 AM   #4
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^ you are free to feel that way, but thankfully your view is not the view that most share.
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Old 26-03-2012, 12:38 PM   #5
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^ you are free to feel that way, but thankfully your view is not the view that most share.
No, it's not. Unfortunately.

This is why Edmonton looks like it does.
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Old 26-03-2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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It looks horrible because of a lack of modern architecture?! I agree 100%

It sure can't look horrid because of a plethora of it...

What I really mean to say is...
Vancouver inner city town house!


Edmonton inner city town houses.. of the ones listed below.. there is only one I would live in ;-P









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Old 27-03-2012, 12:39 PM   #7
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^not quite...


(http://www.topboxdesign.com/wp-conte...-3-588x441.jpg)

But overall I would agree we have a very limited number of and interesting batch of urban townhouses which is a shame. They represent something like 0.06% of all downtown housing types and yet are impossible to buy. Supply is most definitely outpacing demand.

We really need this type of product as well to bridge the condo - SFH issue.
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Old 27-03-2012, 12:58 PM   #8
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nice cardboard box
where are the missing wine bottles ?
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Old 27-03-2012, 01:34 PM   #9
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^^ I forgot about those

There is just so many crappy townhouses here... it's so frustrating.

The builders here have tunnel vision and can look past the mcmansion or baby boomer downsizer condo templates
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:41 AM   #10
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Straw-bale home designed for future
Mill Creek triplex boasts energy-saving features
Edmonton Journal, April 7, 2012 by Scott McKeen

"Dave and Carol moved into the home in April 2010. Before they found it, they’d been looking at lofts downtown. Parking was an issue. But neither of them wanted a “cookie-cutter” home. They wanted something unique. And they wanted to live centrally in an area with cultural amenities and/or mature trees.

“I just didn’t want to have to drive the Henday to get anywhere,” says Caroline.

Dave happened to see a discussion about straw-bale housing on a local website and contacted Battle Lake Design Group the next day.

They’ve now fallen in love with their two-storey, 1,200-square-foot, Mill Creek-area triplex and are building another bedroom in the unfinished basement. Their family might expand one day.

“We wouldn’t want to move,” says Dave."

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/homes...315/story.html
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:47 AM   #11
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Great little article on a great little company.

Go forth good sirs and godspeed.
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Old 14-04-2012, 07:09 PM   #12
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I love the idea of more town homes in downtown Edmonton. It's very sad that development in Edmonton seems to play to the old misconception that Edmonton is a "blue collar" city and low income.
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Old 14-04-2012, 07:59 PM   #13
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Edmonton is blue collar. Blue collar does not mean low income. There's no misconception, except by those living in an abyss thinking we's a white collar city like Calgary or downtown Toronto.
That said, our centrals areas certainly do lack anything more than just apartment condos
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Old 16-04-2012, 12:02 PM   #14
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I dare say the only new townhomes in Edmonton that aren't barf-worthy are in Griesbach. A lot of the 70's/80's townhome developments in the NW and Millwoods are ok, but in need of some renos.
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Old 16-04-2012, 12:07 PM   #15
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Chmilz, there's lots in Terwillegar Towne I suspect you would like
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Old 16-04-2012, 12:12 PM   #16
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The hard part is convincing people that spending 450-550k on a townhouse in central edmonton is worth it vis a vis a single detached in TT.

Because SF houses are still relatively 'cheap', people will generally choose those over a townhouse with location location location.

The trick is making central Edmonton even more desirable in terms of activities/amenities/destinations and reminding people that 1500sqft centrally might be plenty versus 2000 sqft in the burbs.
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Old 16-04-2012, 12:32 PM   #17
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ian look to the 119 + street areas
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Old 16-04-2012, 12:47 PM   #18
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Some examples:

7th st
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...Key=-657802369

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...dKey=761332733

Rossdale

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...ey=-1824355214

MacKinnon Estates

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...Key=-328986542
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Old 16-04-2012, 12:56 PM   #19
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Millcreek

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...Key=-554220685
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Old 16-04-2012, 01:01 PM   #20
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New York
http://www.townhouseexperts.com/
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:47 AM   #21
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Townhousing is very nice as an urban residential building type. The key is can developers of our city produce quality affordable townhousing? you can't blame people hesitating to pay 400k+ for a TT. The high cost is caused by varies of reasons, we can only say the margin is not enough for developer to take the risk.

The city has also given favor to townhousing in cases of rezoning, but culture shift that majority public accept townhousing as permanent housing option and a safe investment could take decades...

[QUOTE=IanO;435693]The hard part is convincing people that spending 450-550k on a townhouse in central edmonton is worth it vis a vis a single detached in TT.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:58 AM   #22
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'you can't blame people hesitating to pay 400k+ for a TT'

Why? I would disagree with you as well here, at least in an urban setting, for most of our TH stock is in the $450-600k and rarely if ever available.

I feel as though there is pent up demand for this exact product. If there was a project today centrally (rossdale, riverdale, oliver, westmount, etc) with 1200sqft-1500sqft units in the 450-550k range they would sell very well.
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:54 PM   #23
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k$450-550 for a townhouse? How about a semi-detached for k$360: http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...Key=1363043886
Not quite "Central", but as close to downtown as Westmount and 3 blocks from LRT.
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:32 PM   #24
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Don't get me wrong. I just think $300k-400k would appeal to wider range of buyer and make the market big enough that developers are willing to take risk.

As a matter of fact, I know in the past 3 years, townhouse is a favorite type for suburban housing developers. They can make reasonable profit while offer between $270k-320k a 1300sf. One of my friend bought one, they feel they get pretty much the same thing a new small SFH can offer without the extra $100k mortgage, you don't have a good backyard anyway. Saved money goes to vacation, education, hobby, etc. So people are pretty good at spending their money wisely.

For people buying in inner city, the benefit need to offset noise and safety issue (among other things). For developer, the margin has to be enough to offset the risk, such as smaller scale of development, longer developing time associated with rezoning and community relationship.

I like the townhouse idea in central city and I try to decipher why there aren't many available. My conclusion is it takes time.

[QUOTE=IanO;439812]'you can't blame people hesitating to pay 400k+ for a TT'

Why? I would disagree with you as well here, at least in an urban setting, for most of our TH stock is in the $450-600k and rarely if ever available.
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
k$450-550 for a townhouse? How about a semi-detached for k$360: http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...Key=1363043886
Not quite "Central", but as close to downtown as Westmount and 3 blocks from LRT.
location, location, location...
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:30 PM   #26
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^ Yes, land value in Parkdakle is only about 90k for the 7.5 m wide lot, and a similar lot in Westmount would be closer to 150k. However, you go from a semi-detached on a 7.5 m lot to a townhouse on a 5 m lot and the land cost is back to 100k.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:55 PM   #27
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Nice townhouse. Wish we could see more front-attached garage duplexes in central areas though.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:15 PM   #28
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^ Yes, land value in Parkdakle is only about 90k for the 7.5 m wide lot, and a similar lot in Westmount would be closer to 150k. However, you go from a semi-detached on a 7.5 m lot to a townhouse on a 5 m lot and the land cost is back to 100k.
Yep, the difference in price being due to the difference in desirability of the areas. Which ain't worth nothing... not really an apples to apples comparison, imho...
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Old 04-05-2012, 09:49 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lat View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
k$450-550 for a townhouse? How about a semi-detached for k$360: http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...Key=1363043886
Not quite "Central", but as close to downtown as Westmount and 3 blocks from LRT.
location, location, location...
Exactly. I would pay 50-100k more for a more central hip location.

As for townhouses, I am talking these... so urban, so awesome.


(http://www.vancouver-real-estate-dir...ock-render.jpg


(http://www.vancouver-real-estate-dir...-corner-ex.jpg)


(http://activerain.com/image_store/up...1986420952.jpg)
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:46 AM   #30
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Quote:
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k$450-550 for a townhouse? How about a semi-detached for k$360: http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...Key=1363043886
Not quite "Central", but as close to downtown as Westmount and 3 blocks from LRT.
Any townhouse new, centrally located in a good neighbourhood is routinely selling for just under $550-600k.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:53 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lat View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
k$450-550 for a townhouse? How about a semi-detached for k$360: http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...Key=1363043886
Not quite "Central", but as close to downtown as Westmount and 3 blocks from LRT.
location, location, location...
Exactly. I would pay 50-100k more for a more central hip location.

As for townhouses, I am talking these... so urban, so awesome.


(http://activerain.com/image_store/up...1986420952.jpg)
this please. somewhere between 105 and 108 streets, and Jasper and 104 aves. fill in some of those parking lots. that would sell in a heartbeat, imho...
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:08 AM   #32
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^never happen there due to land prices and zoning. Tower podium perhaps, but otherwise no. I'd like to see west rossdale fill up with these as well as the north edge.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:39 AM   #33
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Nice townhouse. Wish we could see more front-attached garage duplexes in central areas though.
No! Leave the ugly row on row of garage doors look and lack of street parking for the suburbs please. Garages should be accessed from alleys.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:44 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by IanO View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by lat View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
k$450-550 for a townhouse? How about a semi-detached for k$360: http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...Key=1363043886
Not quite "Central", but as close to downtown as Westmount and 3 blocks from LRT.
location, location, location...
Exactly. I would pay 50-100k more for a more central hip location.
100k more is still only 460k. 600k is out of line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IanO View Post
As for townhouses, I am talking these... so urban, so awesome.


(http://www.vancouver-real-estate-dir...ock-render.jpg
I like the rooftop patios, but it would be nice if they covered the whole roof so you could have some garden space.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:10 PM   #35
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^not really depending on size and finish levels.

I guess I can understand the whole 600k and i still share a wall, but that's urban living generally and in the right developments with the right kind of construction that is totally acceptable.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:22 PM   #36
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^never happen there due to land prices and zoning. Tower podium perhaps, but otherwise no. I'd like to see west rossdale fill up with these as well as the north edge.
Podium was exactly what I was thinking...
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:36 PM   #37
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(http://urbantoronto.ca/sites/default...-3323-9691.jpg)


(http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x...wnhouses-C.jpg)
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:28 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ander View Post
Nice townhouse. Wish we could see more front-attached garage duplexes in central areas though.
No! Leave the ugly row on row of garage doors look and lack of street parking for the suburbs please. Garages should be accessed from alleys.
I'm not saying downtown or anything. That wouldn't work. But maybe in some of the older more centrally located 'suburbs' they would work.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:36 PM   #39
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Modern brownstone podium to a brand new tower would be very cool.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:41 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Ander View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ander View Post
Nice townhouse. Wish we could see more front-attached garage duplexes in central areas though.
No! Leave the ugly row on row of garage doors look and lack of street parking for the suburbs please. Garages should be accessed from alleys.
I'm not saying downtown or anything. That wouldn't work. But maybe in some of the older more centrally located 'suburbs' they would work.
I know that in our central neighborhood, the overlay specifically prohibits attached garages.

And since most mature neighborhoods have alleys, I don't know why you'd want to put the garage in front
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:45 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ander View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ander View Post
Nice townhouse. Wish we could see more front-attached garage duplexes in central areas though.
No! Leave the ugly row on row of garage doors look and lack of street parking for the suburbs please. Garages should be accessed from alleys.
I'm not saying downtown or anything. That wouldn't work. But maybe in some of the older more centrally located 'suburbs' they would work.
I know that in our central neighborhood, the overlay specifically prohibits attached garages.

And since most mature neighborhoods have alleys, I don't know why you'd want to put the garage in front
Gotta love those nice big garages with an attached house...
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:03 PM   #42
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Ok. Can we just take a step back here and realize that I'm not talking about jamming this style of house into just any old lot? Clearly if there is an alley the garage should go in back. I'm just talking about a little diversification of the current stock of houses.

Please realize that not everybody wants a detached home. I understand that it may not be something that you want, but the fact that builders are still building them is proof enough that there is a market for them.

Sites like the Camsell, or virtually any property that backs onto a park or multi-use trail could easily accommodate a handful of these mixed in with some townhouses and maybe even a walkup apartment building.

Nobody's saying remake central communities in the suburban image. Just use your imagination where the situation dictates. I mean, if people are flocking to the suburbs because they want a yard and a garage, then why are we forcing people to build a garage over half of their yard when there are other options available?
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:30 PM   #43
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Sites like the Camsell, or virtually any property that backs onto a park or multi-use trail could easily accommodate a handful of these mixed in with some townhouses and maybe even a walkup apartment building.
I agree that there are places where there are no alleys where front garage townhouses might be a good option to increase density. However, these places are a result of bad planning, and we shouldn't be making any more of them. Putting a driveway on a street wide enough for parallel parking creates a dead zone - an asphalt covered waste of space that you can't drive on and you can't park on. Making the whole street narrower eliminates the dead zones, but also eliminates all visitor parking.

Quote:
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Nobody's saying remake central communities in the suburban image. Just use your imagination where the situation dictates. I mean, if people are flocking to the suburbs because they want a yard and a garage, then why are we forcing people to build a garage over half of their yard when there are other options available?
Yes, there are other options. Options like moving the house towards the front of the lot and building up to minimize the footprint.
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:41 PM   #44
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^not really depending on size and finish levels.

I guess I can understand the whole 600k and i still share a wall, but that's urban living generally and in the right developments with the right kind of construction that is totally acceptable.
Folks in Calgary seem to have no problem spending 600K to 2.6mil for a semi detached or triplex/townhouse in the older established neighbourhoods. Granted, there's probably none under 1500 sq ft, which is probably the size we need.
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:46 PM   #45
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Really like samples posted here. In Vancouver and other cities where urban townhousing become popular, it is hard to say which comes the first, the popularity of the downtown or the popularity of townhousing.

As for the location, I agree with Ander

"But maybe in some of the older more centrally located 'suburbs' they would work."

Really glad some many jumping on the topic.
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:24 AM   #46
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Speaking of which...

http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...635#post440635
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:43 PM   #47
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Just a block away from there...

http://maps.google.com/?ll=53.533663...44.53,,0,-4.89

These are I believe in the mid to high 500's
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:45 PM   #48
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Sounds about right.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:41 PM   #49
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^^ For something that is supposed to increase density, there is a lot of wasted space in that development. There was room to make each building a unit longer, spreading the land costs over 14 units instead of 12. Instead of facing the buildings inwards and squishing them in the back corner of the site they could have been flipped around and spread apart, with the driveways accessed from the alley and from 96 Av. Spreading the buildings apart would have given each unit a bit of a yard. The silly curb extension on 96 Av could have become a real boulevard. The loss of street parking on 96 Av due to the boulevard would be compensated by the elimination of the driveway on 143 St.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:13 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
^^ For something that is supposed to increase density, there is a lot of wasted space in that development. There was room to make each building a unit longer, spreading the land costs over 14 units instead of 12. Instead of facing the buildings inwards and squishing them in the back corner of the site they could have been flipped around and spread apart, with the driveways accessed from the alley and from 96 Av. Spreading the buildings apart would have given each unit a bit of a yard. The silly curb extension on 96 Av could have become a real boulevard. The loss of street parking on 96 Av due to the boulevard would be compensated by the elimination of the driveway on 143 St.

It would have been nice to have front doors and porches facing the street, but it would be a tough sell for the units facing an alley. I wouldn't want to pay 550+ for that, imho...

Is it the most absolutely efficient use of space? Not at all, nor does it need to be.

Is it better use of space than the SFHs that surround it? Absolutely.

The reason for this development was not just to add density, it was primarily to provide condo living for people who wanted to stay in the area, but no longer wanted the hassle of maintaining a SFH. So, for this development, I believe livability/aesthetics trumped efficiency/density.

Last edited by lat; 09-05-2012 at 04:16 PM..
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:14 PM   #51
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^I suppose I look at rowhouses / townhouses a bit differently. I grew up in a townhouse unit that was not a condo - the only differences from a SFH were the narrower lot and the shared walls. I see rowhousing as a way of squishing as many of the amenities of SFH as possible into the minimum footprint.
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