Renovation creates smaller, pricier apartments

by jenstden

1075 Burnaby Street, at Thurlow (photo: Gordon Nelson Investments)

When developers Jason Gordon and Chris Nelson bought 1075 Burnaby, the building “wasn’t awful.”

“But it was run down, it was dirty” says Gordon. “The maintenance hadn’t been kept up.”

The three-story dingbat, once painted a Miami-like shade of peach, is one of those older West End buildings that fairly shouted “artists and eccentrics live here.” The penthouse balcony overflowed with a collection of tropical plants. Cats lounged against the windows. Patterned curtains blew in and out of the basement apartment windows.

In order to completely renovate the building, Gordon Nelson Investments evicted the tenants, a move which was not without controversy. At least one tenant had no idea where she would find another bachelor apartment for $600, the price she paid to rent at 1075 Burnaby.

The building under renovation

The renovation has been going on since spring 2011, and Gordon and his partner, Chris Nelson, plan on adding 31 units to the existing 20 apartments. Gordon says they are doing this by breaking up the existing apartments, which were relatively large units. They will also be building on the roof, where the penthouse apartment is currently, to create a fourth story.

Around 40 of the units will be bachelor-plus-dens (they need to call the extra room a den, says Gordon, because it doesn’t meet the permitting requirements to be called a bedroom). Twelve or 13 of the remaining units will be one- or two-bedrooms.

Many of the doors and windows have been boarded with plywood during construction

“We try to get looks for less,” says Gordon, calling their approach “affordable luxury.” For instance, Gordon says, they are putting in IKEA kitchens and some stainless steel appliances.

He says they are trying to keep the building affordable by offering smaller units that can be rented for less.

So how much will it cost to live at the new 1075 Burnaby?
$1150 for a bachelor
$1400 for a one-bedroom
$1800 for a two-bedroom

I have a feeling the building might not be housing any more free-spirited Davie Street eccentrics for a while.