Development: Unique Condo Uses

new developmentI’ve been working on a large number of condo developments in the past few weeks so I thought I’d take a few minutes to discuss some interesting uses for the condo concept.

Before the Act was amended in 1998 there was only one type of condominium – the standard condominium. It was used for residential, commercial, or mixed uses, or for high-rises, townhouses, and single-detached homes. The amendments created two main types: leasehold and freehold. Freehold has four subtypes: standard, phased, common elements, and vacant land. These new types added even greater flexibility to the condo concept allowing developers to get creative with their developments.

For those interested, I have a three-part article being published in CCI-London & Area’s newsletter if you want to learn more about the types of condominiums.

A Condo within a Condo within a Condo?

Did you know that an entire apartment building can be a single unit in a condominium? Interesting, huh.  There is a vacant land condominium being constructed in Guelph with four units where each unit will be a large apartment building. These types of developments have a couple of benefits: 1) it is easier to maintain and repair the common areas (i.e. driveway, greenspace) as they are all part of one condominium instead of several with a shared facilities agreement; and 2) it is easier to ensure a consistent appearance throughout the complex as they would all be bound by the same declaration, by-laws and rules.  The main disadvantage is the complexity.

The concept can get extremely complex when multiple condominiums are involved. I act for two condominiums in Ottawa that are part of a larger community of condominiums. Each of the condominiums is constructed on a parcel of tied land (POTL) within a common elements condominium. Once all of the POTLs are developed there will be several large buildings on the POTLs and one very large common elements condominium with thousands of units.

Niche Condominiums

Condominiums are usually constructed with one or two broad purposes, for residential use, commercial use, industrial use, parking, or storage. Some large projects, especially in the GTA, include all of these uses. Some even form a city within a city where owners never need to leave the comforts of their own communities to purchase any products or services that they might want.

On the other hand, some developers are constructing condominiums for very particular uses or niche markets. For example, there is apparently a condominium being developed for storage of valuable goods just like many use bank deposit boxes. Others are interested in creating condominiums for growing vegetables or marijuana. Each unit would be used for growing, cultivating, and drying the plants. These grow-op condominiums could help reduce the number of incidents of grow-ops in residential or commercial condominiums, which is good news for everyone.

Looks like my farm condo idea is in the works after all! Wonder if the car storage condo, art studio condo, or farmer’s market condo is next?!?