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Gorge Waterway pre-sale draws investors as Abstract’s newest condo nears groundbreaking

A rendering of Central Block, a 99-suite condominium development coming soon to Tillicum Road at the Tillicum Road Bridge spanning Esquimalt's and Saanich's Gorge Waterway.  Abstract Developments

Gorge Waterway pre-sale draws investors as Abstract’s newest condo nears groundbreaking
Amanda Jones & Owen Rennison, Abstract Dev.
Central Block, a six-storey condominium development by Victoria-based developer Abstract Developments, has seen a recent surge of interest in its junior one-bedroom homes.
 
Designed to maximize livability for today and tomorrow, Central Block's 99 homes have attracted prospective purchasers in various stages of life: first time home buyers, downsizers, investors, and even those looking to ‘future proof’ their family’s lives, like recent purchasers Tony and Jenny Botica.
 
The Boticas always knew that they wanted to purchase a condo as an investment for their two sons, as a place for them to live while attending university or starting their professional careers. Their goal was to support their children during the transition from child to adult while using the condo as an opportunity to teach them about personal finances and the real estate market.
 
With Eddie (aged five) and Jasper (seven) still years away from enrolling in university, the Boticas were in no rush. However, when a friend raved about a new pre-sale condo they had just purchased in Victoria, Tony and Jenny knew they needed to go look for themselves. 
 
Going into this experience, the Boticas had an idea of what they were looking for: a new, energy efficient condo under warranty with high quality finishes in a central location close to schools, major transit routes, outdoor spaces, and everyday essentials. Most importantly though, as a family raising their kids in Bowser, BC, they knew they wanted it to be in Victoria.
 
“Bowser is a small town, and we don’t expect our kids to live there forever,” Jenny said. “Victoria is a world class city with a diversified economy which makes it a good investment. There are good odds that the kids will at least pass through it at some point for school or work. You can’t go wrong with Victoria.”
 
Botica family at Abstract Developments' Home Store.
Tony and Jenny Botica, with sons Eddie and Jasper, at Abstract Developments' presentation centre for Central Block and the firm's Douglas Street Home Store.  Brit Kwasney Photo
 
According to Jessica Russel, Sales Manager at Abstract Developments, there is a trend among those who have already purchased in this new community. “Jenny and Tony represent a significant amount of the interest we have seen in Central Block,” said Russel, “they have a young family and understand the value and stability of real-estate as an investment in a city like Victoria.”
 
After meeting with the Abstract Sales Team, viewing the Central Block show suite, and touring the neighbourhood, the Boticas were sure they had found the perfect suite, a junior one-bedroom home on the west side of the building overlooking Esquimalt-Gorge Park. They loved the area, its proximity to downtown, and the forward-thinking lifestyle Central Block promotes with EV charging, bike and kayak storage, and remote workspaces. 
 
“I think we represent a type of buyer that is changing. When you see a junior one-bedroom condo for the first time, you think, ‘ok, well what is missing?’ We were surprised by the answer, 'nothing.' Central Block is the complete package, particularly with the building amenities and the outdoor space. This has been a real educational experience for us on how much we actually need and what we really value.”
 
One of the things the Boticas value is a sense of community and connectedness that they see at Central Block. “Not only do we have smaller, intelligently designed spaces, but we have these common areas; these bumping grounds for people to share and socialize in within the building.”
 
The common amenity areas, known as the Portage Amenities, include a rooftop patio where people can enjoy an evening drink around the fire while taking in stunning ocean views, a private courtyard garden for people to stroll through, and an exclusive common area designed for people who work from home. 
 
Another highlight for them was the on-site electric Modo vehicle and how it helped future proof the building. “Not only will it be attractive for renters, but with cars being more of a luxury in the future, it's great to know there will be access to one on site,” Jenny said. Every home at Central Block includes a one-year BC Transit pass, as well as a Modo Partnership Car Share Membership that’s transferable with the home, offering owners access to more than 700 vehicles including a new electric one positioned just steps from the building entry.
 
The Botica's sons.
The Botica's sons Eddie and Jasper view Central Block's display model at Abstract Developments' Home Store presentation centre.  Brit Kwasney Photo 
 
What really proved to the Boticas that Central Block was the project to invest in was everything that the immediate neighbourhood had to offer. “The proximity to the Esquimalt-Gorge Park is key,” Tony said, “as it will likely always be a park. In a growing city with more densification, greenspaces will be more sought after and are great to have nearby. There’s also the Gorge Waterway, a rec centre, a mall, restaurants, and grocery stores nearby. It’s all very walkable.”
 
Overall, the Boticas have been impressed by Abstract’s lifestyle-based approach to development. “We kept asking questions and realized that every objection we came up with had already been researched and addressed by the developer,” Jenny said. “It’s not like they randomly placed a pin on a map and decided to build there. They understand the long-term vision for the area, the rezoning that’s happening, the bike lanes, the bus routes, and the covenant on the greenspace across the street. When you put that all together, it builds a lot of confidence in the project and the developer.”
  
“I think the junior one-bedroom homes at Central Block are the type of pivotal space that appeal to multiple demographics during different transitional stages of life,” Jenny concluded. “These spaces suit those times in life, whether you’re a student transitioning from school to professional life, a first-time home buyer transitioning from renting to owning, or a downsizer transitioning from professional life to retirement. Even though its small footprint living, you have to give up absolutely nothing. They will always be sought after.”
 
“The interest we are seeing at Central Block has ranged from first time buyers to investors and everything in between,” said Russel, “but one thing remains the same: everyone understands the value of the investment and the confidence that comes with the Abstract brand.”
 
Central Block's rooftop amenity area.
Central Block's rooftop amenity area.  Abstract Developments
 
Tavish Rai, Abstract's Executive Vice President, echoed Russel's views, and spoke to Abstract Developments' commitment to Victoria.
 
“We live and breathe Victoria,” said Rai. “We’re your neighbour, the person behind you in line at the grocery store – we take a lot of pride in creating communities that enhance and celebrate Greater Victoria.”
 
A broad range of junior one-bedroom to three-bedroom homes are still available, with pricing starting from the mid $300,000s. To learn more or book an appointment to tour the Central Block show suite, located at the Abstract Home Store at 3198 Douglas Street, visit centralblock.ca. C 
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