If you’re looking for a one bedroom condo in the Chinatown or Gastown area of East Van, there are two new listing to consider in Ginger and SMART. Both units would be good rental properties as these buildings are central to downtown, have a young demographic and allow rentals with no restrictions, but they’re also good condos for first time Buyers since they have a pretty common floor plan and are in newer buildings with lower short term maintenance costs.
Let’s compare these two listings..
#315 168 Powell St in SMART Gastown
|Living Area||583 sq.ft.|
The listing doesn’t yet have any photos, but the finishings inside are modern with white cabinets and light wood flooring. Built in 2009, SMART has 94 units in total, here is some more information: SMART in Gastown. Some positives about this building include the location – you’re down the street to the best part of Gastown, however, with that positive comes a negative in that this building is beside the No 5 Orange Club, which means you’ll get some noise from people standing outside in the alley. The area is still in the midst of gentrification, with lots of room to still improve to add value.
The building also offers a common courtyard for owners, as well as a small gym and a bike room. This unit comes with a storage locker and 1 parking spot, which is worth quite a bit in Gastown given that a lot of buildings don’t typically offer parking (including Woodwards, where many units only have a long term lease at the parking garage across the street). Maintenance fees are currently at a low $205 per month.
This unit is only 583 sqft so you’ll have to be creative with the layout of the furniture, including having a table that doubles as a kitchen island and getting property size furniture and storage solutions for the rest of the space. The balcony is small – standing room only – but better to have than not. This unit in particular faces that common courtyard which offers some privacy, but will restrict the amount of light that comes into the unit. The unit has in suite laundry.
Rentals and Pets are allowed without restriction.
Realtor’s Remarks: SMART: Fabulous living in the heart of GASTOWN. This immaculate unit has been exceedingly well maintained by its original owner. An open floor plan with upgraded European style kitchen, well designed space and a private balcony are just some of the features. With one parking stall ($30,000 value) and one storage facility ($8000 value) this home is a perfect lifestyle choice & also a shrewd investment.
For more information: #315 168 Powell St.
#411 718 Main St in Ginger
|Living Area||667 sq.ft.|
Ginger, with 78 units, was built by Porte Living in 2009. It’s located off Main St (near Union St) in Chinatown, putting it nearby some great restaurants, bars and coffee shops (in Chinatown and Gastown) along with Chinese grocery and more. A great bike path taking you downtown or to Commercial Drive is on the next street over, and you’re within a 10 minute walk to two different Skytain Stations. The area has also seen two new buildings: 188 Keefer and the Keefer, go up in the last few months, so the area should be that much more lively with an influx of new people to the neighbourhood.
The unit itself has 667 sqft in a pretty typical floor plan (for newer building), which includes a large bathroom and in suite storage. Unlike the unit in SMART (above), this unit has a much larger, covered patio that extends the livable space in warmer weather. You’ll have to find smart storage solutions and properly sized furniture in order to make use of every inch of the sqft. The unit includes in suite laundry. The unit faces the back lane, so you won’t get noise from Main St.
The building has been very well maintained, and currently has maintenance fees at $261 per month. It offers a bike room and media room, and pets and rentals are allowed without restriction.
The biggest caveat with this unit is the lack of a parking spot and a storage locker (though the building does have these available for other units). A parking spot in this neighbourhood could easily be worth $25,000 (you would have to go to Strathcona to find non-meter parking spots), with a storage locker being worth $8000 or so. For those without vehicles this isn’t a problem, but it’s far from ideal for anyone with a car.
Realtor’s Remarks: GINGER by Porte. Modern and stylish urban living in one of Vancouver’s most historically significant neighbourhoods. This well maintained and spacious 1 BR + patio SE corner unit is on the quiet side of the building facing Union St. Features include LG fridge + Fisher & Paykel D/W, Inglis stacked W/D, bamboo floors, vertically opening kitchen cabinets, Broan Elite hood, built-in desk/workspace, in-unit storage room, sliding glass doored bedroom, HUGE bathroom, all in a rental and pet friendly building with well seeded CRF. Priced to move quickly, call now to book your private showing!
For more information and photos: #411 718 Main St.
In my experience, 718 Main St is a better building than 168 Powell St, though a secure, underground parking St in Gastown/Chinatown is highly desired (and has a lot of monetary value) and can make up for the quality of the building, especially given that the quality of any building can improve or diminish over time. For those without a car, or investors who aren’t concerned with the lack of a parking spot, the unit in Ginger may be a slightly better option for livability – the area will be slightly quieter and has more indoor and outdoor space. how well the unit itself has been maintained, and whether or not the Sellers are willing to negotiate off their list price can also make a different when it comes to final valuation.