Ten years later: Edmontonian returns to city after buying new home beside his old property

Michael Melnychuk's real estate group has sold thousands of properties in the last 15 years but one last week still has him scratching his head. 

Skinny home in Garneau was only listed for 36 hours

Realtor Michael Melnychuk and his friend and homebuilder Wes Neeser stand outside one of the homes they built which recently sold for $1.4 million. (Min Dhariwal/CBC)

Michael Melnychuk's real estate group has sold thousands of properties in the last 15 years but one last week still has him scratching his head. 

What makes this deal unique is how Melnychuk sold it, and who the new buyer is. 

"It happened so fast, but it felt like my hardest deal of the year," said Melnychuk, who brokered the deal between the seller and buyer who are both currently in the United States. 

The new owner is Kevin Perrott, who 10 years ago had a home next door to where his new one is. Melnychuk bought Perrott's home and has since built four skinny homes over two lots.

"After I got it done I needed a day or two alone just by myself," added Melnychuk, who said deals like this one don't happen very often. 

After Perrott left Edmonton, he moved to San Francisco. Ready to return back home, he went online three weeks ago to look for something to buy. When he saw one of the skinny homes up for grabs, he pulled the trigger right away. 

"I was on the phone and at that time I said, 'We're buying this house,'" Perrott said. 

"I said, 'Don't show it to anybody else, we're buying it, don't even move a muscle.'"

10 years after selling his house and leaving Edmonton, Kevin Perrott is returning to the city after buying a new skinny home next door to his old one. 1:33

Melnychuk said Perrott snapped up the $1.4-million home within 36 hours of it being posted online. 

'Testing the limit'

The skinny home Perrott bought is one of four that Melnychuk and his friend, Wes Neeser, owner of YEG builders, collaborated on over the last 10 years.

Neeser, who started building some of the first infill properties in the city, remembers when the four homes were going up, the heavy pedestrian traffic along 90th Avenue attracted many curious onlookers.

A view of the sitting room on the third floor of the skinny home, located on 90th Avenue. (Melnychukgroup)

"Every time I came to the project I'd walk the three flights of stairs to go up to that top level and take advantage of that beautiful view and take it in every time that I came here," Neeser said. 

The rooftop patios offer 180-degree views.

"We built one and we built the rest of them off it. These mean more to me than any other development we've ever worked on or sold," Melnychuk said.

The two lots previously had 1940s-style homes on them. Melnychuk acquired them both and had a vision to put up four high-end infills. At the time he said it was risky — and a gamble.

"We attempted to do something the city had never seen at this price point. We were getting over a million dollars a skinny, even into the $1.5 million range. We were testing the limit," Melnychuk said.

Fast forward to 2020, and Perrott said being able to move back into a brand new house — in the same neighbourhood he once lived in — feels like winning the lottery.

"These could be iconic homes for Edmonton. I love the fact that we're basically moving back to exactly the same location," he said.

"All of our old haunts are still there, my job at the university, I've got a startup there. I mean it's just perfect, just absolutely perfect."