Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Condo of the Week: Ambassador Court

Think heritage condos and Ottawa's eponymous 'Mayfair Apartments' on Metcalfe St is what likely comes to mind. In the same vein (and in a rare move), the city recently approved the conversion of the prestigious Ambassador Court from rental apartments to condominium units.

Local architectural buffs will already know this Ottawa landmark as the work of W.E. Noffke, one of Ottawa's most profilific architects in the first half of the 20th century. A student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Noffke is best known for his work along the Sparks Street Mall including the Central Post Office at the corner of Elgin St. His career success led to handsome commissions building historically significant homes for Ottawa's elite, and he is equally known for his gracious residential designs which remain hallmarks in The Glebe to this day.

Built in 1928, Ambassador Court was designed to overlook Central Park to the west of Bank St, back when The Glebe was a "streetcar suburb". Noffke was clearly enamoured of this enclave, designing a number of noteworthy homes that surround Central Park, including his own, and influencing the development of this beautifully landscaped oasis which has now been proposed as a heritage conservation district. Writers, artists and professors have all called Ambassador Court home over the years, easily drawn by both the choice location as well as the choice views.

A total of 31 units are housed in this 4-storey building, complete with an ornate, two level entryway, central marble staircase, stone embellishments, elegant balconies, 9ft ceilings, original hardwood floors and original crafted faux fireplaces. Heritage fans will pleased to note that most of the building has been left intact with just a bit of "refreshment" here and there, most notably in the kitchens and bathrooms, along with an update of all wiring, plumbing and new windows.

Ranging from under $195,000 for 489sqft to $475,000 for 1078sqft, these units boast premium pricing along with the views and location, with monthly condo fees clocking in around an additional 40 cents per square foot. (As a point of comparison, condos in Hudson Park are approx $450/sqft). There is limited underground parking reserved for the larger units, but perhaps the bigger obstacle in selling these units will be the shared laundry facility in the basement (not that this will deter some owners from installing their own washer/dryer when no one is looking).