$995 000

This extraordinary triplex is just a ten minute walk from Queen’s campus and less than that to the heart of downtown, to grocery stores, restaurants etc. It’s as fine, and as interesting, as any rental property I’ve seen. So there you go.

The front unit is in marvelous condition but dates to 1910 (Kingston mayor George Speal once lived here). My clients bought it a few years back, intending to restore it to its former glory and raise their family there. Plans change, though, and they decided in the end, to build a place for themselves at the rear and rent out the front.

That doesn’t mean they just abandoned the main house. The sellers reckon they’ve invested something approaching a hundred thousand to enhance and preserve and adapt this grand old spot. And I believe them. I had a tour last week and it’s hard to believe, walking around, that you’re in a student rental at all. The principal rooms on the main floor are immense, and gracious, and teeming with original detail. Sure the old strip hardwood doesn’t gleam the way it might, but I like it just as much. To my eye the house has just worn in nicely, like a good piece of leather. And the five bedrooms are large and high-ceilinged and the walls are true and aren’t crumbling, the way so many seem to be around campus. I don’t have room here to do much more than touch quickly on the verandah on the western side of the old house, accessed through a door in the dining room. When the sellers first bought this house we opened something bubbly out there and toasted a new beginning for the house. Well, soon it might be time to do that again.

The new unit the sellers built at the rear of the old is a four-bedroom plus den that is essentially an executive two-storey home in its own right. I’m not a fan of many new houses – I find them too samey, too lifeless, as if they died on the drawing board, before anyone broke ground. But this place is different. There are some interesting angles in here, where the new place was snugged in against the rear of the old, and there are good, well-placed windows, and a lovely cherry kitchen, and a piano that sits on a perfect wall in den. The whole ground floor feels open and inviting. Lots of good decisions were made here.

(I imagine, by the way, that everything here will be rented out, but it occurs to me that that new unit would make for a great spot for the owner to live in. I’m told that not one decibel leaks into these gleaming rooms, and out back, beyond the sliding doors, is a nice long family yard.)

Down below, a new two-bedroom unit is being spruced up for its first tenants. There is a ton of light down there, and another pleasing set of communal and personal spaces. There is a good kitchen and a good bathroom. There is a proper entrance too (no rickety fire escapes or water-filled basement entrances at this address). It’s the sort of place I wish I’d been able to live in when I was at Queen’s, way back when, instead of in that converted shed out back of the rowhouse on Bay …. But don’t get me started.

Bottom line is same as the top one – this is an extraordinary triplex, and it will command premium rents and serve its owners and occupants well for many years, I’m convinced of it. So call me and I’ll tell you some more, or show you around.