Calgary home for the tech lover
530 Crescent Rd. NW Calgary
Asking Price: $3,550,000
Taxes: $16,665.00 (2021)
Lot Size: 28.9- by 120-feet
Agents: John A. McNeill, Century 21 Bamber Realty Ltd.
In 2013 the Bow and Elbow Rivers overflowed their banks, flooding downtown Calgary, a multibillion dollar disaster that was the largest flood in the city since 1932.
Married couple Kalvin MacDonald and Karin Winkler were among the 100,000 people who evacuated the area as water swamped their ground-floor condominium apartment. In the aftermath a question lingered: should they renovate or maybe consider moving to higher ground?
“We were down by the river for 22 years in a great condo. … We’ve always lived in condos, but how about a house?” said Mr. MacDonald.
They loved the views on Crescent Road but there was nothing for sale, so their realtor at the time cracked open the phonebook: “She phoned every owner of old homes on this block, and talked one into selling,” said Mr. MacDonald.
The couple ended up buying an older home and set about the process of working with builders and architects to knock it down and fashion a new custom home that would give them some of the amenities of condo life they had gotten used to.
The house itself is still just a 15 minute walk to downtown, but with stunning vistas.
“I don’t think there’s a better view in Calgary than on this ridge,” Ms. Winkler said. “There’s a full city view, and a mountain view if you look to the west.”
In some ways the entire house is oriented toward the view: the modernist building has a main floor wall of windows 13-feet high – made special in Belgium – and a similar wall of windows on the second floor. There are outdoor spaces with built-in fireplaces to extend the social hours on chilly nights.
“We purposely wanted to have those outdoor areas, sitting out with dogs or friends [the couple has two chihuahua’s]. … The architect [Sean McCormick of Jackson McCormick Design Group] came back with the idea for that front courtyard, and that’s a 55,000 BTU fireplace,” Mr. MacDonald said. What was nice to have in the pre-pandemic era became a must-have as indoor socialization was limited during the lockdown months. “Being able to sit out in the front courtyard, with blankets late at night … it was awesome,” he said.
The House Today
The feature sheet on this home includes an almost bewildering variety of home automation devices and options that are not merely toys but define the experience of the house as much as the views do.
“The builder and the home automation specialists really presented us with all the options, I’d like to say we refused one,” Mr. MacDonald said, grinning, though he confesses he can’t recall turning anything down. “I’m an engineer and I like tech.”
For instance: the front walkways, the rear laneway driveway, courtyard and that concrete terrace are all heated, meaning only a strip of municipal sidewalk ever needs shovelling. “It’s not on all the time, there’s sensors outside so, if it snows, it turns on,” Mr. MacDonald said. The glycol boiler system also heats the interior floors and runs through the forced-air furnace as well. There are two boilers and more than a dozen pumps in the mechanical room for this high-tech system.
There are also gates that lock magnetically at the front and back – more for wild-life than trespassers – and exterior cameras have caught the occasional solicitor or paper-delivery man clambering over gates that defeat most men and beasts.
Also on the home tech list: all lights are programmable; speakers in every room (including the showers) that can connect to streaming audio such as Spotify; motorized window blinds and phantom screens for doorways; an elevator; an automated irrigation system; water sensors in the laundry and mechanical rooms. All of this can be controlled from panels in the gym, office and bedroom or by mobile device or desktop computer.
The front entrance is set back beside the main living area. Large glass panes can slide back to make the front terrace one large indoor-outdoor space. From the living room there are two steps into the formal dining room at the centre of the floorplan, and another two steps up into the kitchen. On the very back of the house is a screened in back deck and an office workspace (with motorized desks for sitting or standing). Sitting in the office, you can turn around and look straight through to the front terrace and beyond. “The idea was, wherever you are, you have a view to the downtown,” Mr. MacDonald said. “We’re in some ways kinda’ traditional: we like to eat at home. In our condo the kitchen and office were on opposite ends, now the kitchen is right off the office.”
The elevator entrance on this level is also in the kitchen, as is the powder room.
A curved staircase off the formal dining room heads upstairs and downstairs, at the base of the basement stairs is a mudroom/storage area with built-in cabinets and access to the garage and elevator (good for grocery loading). A few steps down is the gym/rec room, that is currently decked out like it’s a small condo’s gym. There’s also bathroom with shower on this level.
The second floor almost entirely devoted to the primary bedroom, a huge walk-in closet and a large five-piece bathroom. A laundry room is across from the elevator and behind that is a rear-yard-facing guest bedroom with its own ensuite bathroom.
The third floor is a sort-of man-cave in the sky according to Mr. MacDonald, although the next owner could turn it into a teenager’s dream suite.
The main part of this level is a family room with built-in cabinets that Mr. MacDonald uses as a display case for his guitars. “For really good acoustic guitars, they have to be humidified,” Mr. MacDonald said. The glass case with-built in humidifier allows them to be on display without damaging the wood. “That’s something I designed. … We call that little area the music room,” he said.
There’s also large roof deck off the music room, with another built-in outdoor fireplace. A third bedroom takes up the back half of this level, with separate bathroom across from the elevator.
The Crescent area is a mix of more traditional and newly built homes, some of which are truly enormous; there’s a home under construction down the street on two lots that is costing tens of millions to build.
“That big house is seven years in and it’s still not done,” Ms. Winkler said. “It takes a lot of work to build these houses. As far as the area goes, you would not find a friendlier area; the people up here are just amazing, it’s small-town friendly.” She has a walking and running group that takes advantage of the neighbourhood trails, and finds she can do most of her errands without a car.
The only reason they are leaving is they are thinking of building yet another new house, with the experience of the first outing offering some confidence.
“Our neighbour said you have to build three new houses before you get it right,” said Ms. Winkler, though she mentions anyone who buys 530 doesn’t have to deal with that stress: “They can just walk into one.”
Three unique real estate listings that caught our eye this week – Western Investor
Western Investor is famous for the breadth of its commercial real estate listings. It is perhaps the only publication in Canada where investors can find a high-rise office tower, a remote waterfront lodge, a golf course, an industrial warehouse or a small-town bowling alley for sale within its pages.
We often have unique listings and there are three this month that stood out.
First is an entire city block for sale in downtown Calgary.
The 2.83-acre site borders the popular East Village, and the land is rezoned for a high-density mixed-use project with a generous floor-ratio-area (FAR) of 20.
Flexible commercial zoning allows for residential rentals, condos or hotel and a variety of commercial uses. Current visions include four high-rise towers, but all options are on the table. It is listed by Goodman Commercial, Vancouver, and NAI Commercial, Calgary, at an asking price of $32.4 million.
Second is a rare listing in B.C.’s Central Okanagan.
The property is the 11.3-acre Vibrant Wine vineyard estates in east Kelowna. The property includes a luxury 9,000-square-foot Italian-style villa. The eight-acre vineyard was named the No.1 winery on Trip Advisor and its product was ranked the Best White Wine in the World in 2013. A proven venture that can be expanded, the entire property and equipment is co-listed by HM Commercial and Jane Hoffman Realty, Kelowna, at $13.5 million.
Third of the unique listings is a productive gold mine.
With a private residence and a two-title acreage in the Cariboo, the property covers 3.2 acres near the original Gold Rush town of Likely, B.C.
The land includes an updated three-bedroom house, but the attraction is the operating gold mine. A two person operation on a five-year renewable permit that covers a 100-acre bench, only nine acres have been worked so far, but there has been a consistent average return of 1 ounce of gold per 100 yards mined, with the highest return of 8 ounces in under 100 yards. Note: the price of gold now is around US$1,980 per ounce. The entire operation, including all the mining machinery, is listed by 3A Group, Re/Max Nyda Realty in Agassiz, B.C., at $1.45 million.
Simcoe County's real estate market shows signs of recovery – CTV News Barrie
Real estate experts paint a cautiously optimistic outlook after a year of downward market trends across the country.
Trends in Simcoe County show an increase in viewings and buyers re-entering the market after key interest rate hikes from the Bank of Canada warded off many last year.
Lance Chilton, the broker of record at Re/Max Hallmark Chilton Realty, calls the local market “more or less balanced.”
“Inventory conditions are the same as they once were in 2018,” he noted.” From 2020 to 2022, prices rose to about 43 per cent, which was rather rapid.”
Chilton said key interest rate hikes eventually bottomed out the local market by about September – that’s when home prices that peaked at around $1 million dropped to about $730,000.
“Since then, it’s recovered by about five per cent,” Chilton said. “In fact, we actually saw showings increase for the first time in about six months.”
The Barrie and District Association of Realtors (BDAR) confirms that showings have picked up again, with people getting that “spring fever.”
However, the one key issue that remains is low inventory.
“We saw prices dip because of interest rates and people pulling out of the market, but we never saw that supply come back online,” said Luc Woolsey, BDAR president, adding the situation creates multi-offer bids.
“So there’s still a lot of people having to come in firm, waiving conditions and inspections because they’re having to compete.”
‘Million Dollar Listing’ star warns CA mansion tax will deliver ‘hardest hit’ to market since 2007 – Fox Business
Though it’s home to some of the most luxurious and expensive real estate listings in America, California is readying to pass a housing bill that one “Million Dollar Listing” agent warned could create the “hardest hit” to the market since the 2007-08 crash.
“In about ten days or so, there’s a measure called the ULA measure that’s going to go into effect, which is going to be probably the hardest hit to the real estate market that we’ve seen since 2007,” broker and television personality Josh Altman said on “Varney & Co.” Monday.
Altman’s comments come in response to the recently-passed “United to House L.A.” (ULA) measure in California, which adopts a so-called “mansion tax” on property sales or transfers over a certain value to pay for affordable housing.
Properties sold above $5 million but below $10 million are subject to a 4% sales or transfer tax, while properties that sold for more than $10 million will face a 5.5% tax, according to the city clerk’s voter information pamphlet.
‘MILLION DOLLAR LISTING’S’ JOSH ALTMAN GIVES INSIDE LOOK AT ‘BOTCHED’ STAR PAUL NASSIF’S $27.9 MILLION HOME
At least 92% of taxpayers’ money would “fund affordable housing under the Affordable Housing Program and tenant assistance programs under the Homeless Prevention Program,” the pamphlet also clarified.
“The way that this ULA measure was passed is just mind-boggling to me,” Altman added, “and I think it’s one of the most ridiculous bills that I have ever seen in my entire 20-year career.”
The Los Angeles city administrative officer estimated the proposed tax could generate $600 million to $1.1 billion in revenue each year. However, he noted it would “fluctuate” based on how many property transactions with values within the scope of the tax actually occur.
While those who support the measure argue it could help solve L.A.’s housing affordability and homeless crisis, others like Altman caution the tax policy would lead to higher home prices and bureaucracy.
“Think about these people that bought houses three years ago for $5 million and they want to sell now,” Altman hypothesized. “The market’s down, rates are up, that happens. But now they got to cut a check for $200,000 out of their own pocket because there’s no profit on that. So it’s really going to rock the real estate market that we’re in here in Los Angeles.”
California’s real estate market, the “Million Dollar Listing” star further argued, is on “a race to the bottom” over the next 10 days as buyers try to close deals before the mansion tax is enacted.
“I’m seeing deals get done that should never have gotten done,” the L.A. agent said. “I’ve even done as much as, on a $28 million listing that I have, we have offered a $1,000,000 bonus for anybody who buys and closes before April 1.”
The “main issue” with the ULA measure remains its “trickle down” effect — not on mansion or luxury homeowners, but on working and middle-class California families.
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“People who voted who said, ‘Oh, I don’t have a $5 million house,’ which by the way, is not a mansion in L.A., we’re talking about a four-bedroom, 4,000 square-foot house in L.A. is $5 million, so this isn’t a mansion tax,” Altman said.
“This isn’t a $30, $40, $50 million house tax – these are regular people that work bill to bill, that have to pay their mortgage just like everybody else, and now they’re being penalized here.”
FOX Business’ Aislinn Murphy contributed to this report.
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