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Revisiting Charlotte


Earlier this week, I wrote about the Charlotte Apartments in Berlin and tried to back into some of the numbers for the project. I wanted to compare the economics behind a mid-rise project in Berlin to one in Toronto.

After I wrote that post I forwarded it to Michels Architecture – who are the architects behind the project. I thought they might be interested in reading about my (crappy) back of the napkin type of assessment and I was also hoping that they might be able to shed some additional light on the details.

Well, they responded and graciously offered to do exactly that. So today I thought I would write a follow-up post with some additional details. I obviously don’t have everything – because they weren’t the developer for the project – but I still think you’ll find the information I got interesting.

The building has a total of 3 parking spots and they’re all on the ground floor (you can see them in this post in the second photo towards the right). They were for the penthouse maisonette/duplex units. This means that there’s only one level below grade and it’s basically for mechanical systems, storage, and waste disposal. So why does this matter?

It matters because it means lower construction costs and the ability to develop smaller sites where you may not be able to properly layout a parking garage without car elevators and other clever strategies. This is possible because, unlike Toronto, Berlin doesn’t have any parking minimums or maximums

With respect to unit sizes, the penthouse units are 135 square meters or 1,453 square feet which, according to the architect, are small. From the 2nd to 6th floor, there are 4 units per floor and the sizes are 37 sm / 398 sf, 65 sm / 699 sf, 68 sm / 732 sf, and 81 sm / 872 sf. On the ground floor there are 5 units and they’re at 34 sm / 366 sf (x 2), 42 sm / 452 sf, 45 sm / 484 sf, and 76 sm / 818 sf. I would say that this is comparable to what you might find in a downtown Toronto condo project. Side note: Apparently the smallest units sold the quickest.

As of December 2011, the average sale price was 4,120 € per square meter. At today’s exchange rate, that would convert to $5,815 per square meter or $540 per square foot (in Canadian dollars). If we translate that into 2014 dollars, that’s about $575 per square foot, which would be low for prime locations/buildings in Toronto.

A big thanks to Michels Architecture for providing this additional information. It’s always great to get local insights. I hope you all enjoyed it – happy Friday.

Images: Werner Huthmacher

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