Sunday, June 10, 2012

Virginia Park Condos?

So this story with CBC back in St. John's caught my eye. For those not clicking on the link, a building known as Virginia Park Plaza is giving notice to all its tenants to leave by the end of September because they're converting the building into condos.

So why is this worth mentioning in the blog? Because I grew up in Virginia Park. I remember when that plaza went up and spent more than my share of time hanging around there. Whether it was going to the Mary Browns for a Snackaroo or a Big Mary, slowly devouring most of the collection of kid's books at the library, or buying comic books from the convenience store I spent my share of days around that building. It's also possible I was beaten up once or twice behind the plaza as well. But I have less fond memories of those occasions.

I'm not exactly surprised they're getting rid of the building. Virginia Park has always been an...odd neighbourhood. When I was growing up half of it was middle class housing and the other half was social housing units. Let's say the dynamic was interesting. And straddling the line between that was the Plaza and the elementary school (our house was pretty near the middle line as well).

So yeah, a lot of things happened down there. I suspect the Plaza was a regular stop for the RNC for many, many years. I haven't lived in the area for many years, so I've no idea how bad it is now, although it wasn't in great shape last time I walked past there. Most of the storefronts were empty and there were plenty of signs of vandalism. That wasn't always the case. I remember when it first opened all the spaces were full. There used to be a bank and a Pipers department store there. Not so much now. Not for many years.

So no, I'm not shocked that they've decided to give up on the place and try something else with it. What I am shocked is that they're going to build condos there. Seriously? I understand building condos in downtown St. John's, out by the university, down by Quidi Vidi Lake or in a few other spots around town. But Virginia Park? They've had problems with vandalism and other incidents around there (pretty sure most of the woods behind the Plaza were cut down decades ago after a few sexual assaults happened) so it's not exactly what I would view as a dream area of town to build high end condos.

Let's put it this way, I grew up in the Park, I still have family and friends there, and if I was getting ready to drop a couple hundred thousand on a condo, this would not be my first choice.

So exactly how crazy is the housing/condo market in St. John's that this seems like a sound business idea?

Last Five
1. 505 - Arctic Monkeys
2. Still the same - Bob Seger
3. On - Bloc Party
4. Acid tongue - Jenny Lewis*
5. Back in your head - Tegan & Sara

3 comments:

rohodster said...

Condos in that location is one of the most ridiculous ideas I've heard in quite a while! BTW, I lived on Montague St. for a few years (many years ago..1976-79) and I loved the place, but still..condos?

John, Perth AU said...

Like some of the article's commenters suggest, it's probably not residential condos. The area doesn't look like it can be zoned for that. It's probably business condos, so each business location has a separate owner/landlord. It's basically an attempt to sell the place for more than it's worth as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Virginia park is now a thriving safe area. I think it will be a great place for this.