Loft Living in Regina's Warehouse District
Craik Wotherspoon is more than just a real estate agent selling luxury loft condos in Regina. He's bought into the lifestyle himself. Wotherspoon and his wife moved from the 1050-square-foot family home they lived in for 27 years to a 2100-square-foot loft condo in Regina's Warehouse District.
"It was fun to come in and have the palette that we had to work with here," Wotherspoon said.
The former John Deere Building on Broad St. has been repurposed with two floors of commercial space including a coffee shop, a high-end fixtures and furniture store, as well as three floors of condos.
Condos in the area range in price from $300,000 to well over a million. Wotherspoon said demand is high. He estimates about 500 people live in the area and there are only about eight condos on the market right now.
Wotherspoon said there are a lot of young couples and empty nesters.
"A lot of new people have been really excited about purchasing into an area here, much like where they came from in Vancouver, New York and Toronto."
Several things drew Wotherspoon and many of his neighbours to the area: convenience for getting around the city, proximity to entertainment, fitness facilities and the history of the neighbourhood as well as the building he moved into.
The building still has a freight elevator that was once used to move tractors out of the building.
Wotherspoon said it also attracts people who like the idea of starting with a blank slate and making it their own.
"It was nice to come in here and see just a vast open space with graffiti on the walls that went back to 1914, signatures of men that worked here, and design a place that we felt comfortable with."
Geoff Deck and Candice Stephenson have a 2600-square-foot luxury condo on 8th Ave. in what was once an old paper building.
"We knew this was our dream spot and worked hard to get to where we got," said Deck.
Stephenson said the kitchen was the focal point for the couple.
"We both love to cook and entertain so we wanted to make sure we had a space where we could have all our friends here to enjoy."
"Building my own home was part of the dream," Deck said. "You really can't add this type of character to a new home."
The couple said they tried out various neighbourhoods before settling on the Warehouse District.
"We grew up in the north end, we've lived in the south and it just wasn't fun travelling," said Deck.
Loft Living — the next generation
Sarah and Rafael McRaven moved into their loft apartment as a couple, but now they have another little roommate.
A little red wagon is parked in their entranceway, something Rafael said is essential when hauling around their one-year-old daughter Beatrix and all her stuff.
Sarah said she gets a lot of questions about how easy it is to raise a child in a loft.
"We really appreciate the big open space. We can see each other all the time. It helps having a child in that kind of space."
The McRaven's moved to Regina from Vancouver and tried out a couple different homes in different Regina neighbourhoods before buying in the Warehouse District.
"The community is fantastic. I think because there aren't that many residents, the residents are all really well connected," Sarah said. "This is the friendliest group we've ever had. We are always running into people in the hallways."
Rafael said he appreciates not having to spend his weekends doing upkeep on a house.
"I think part of the charm of raising kids in the Warehouse District is that in some ways it's simpler. You are not doing snow shovelling in the winter. Chores are a little easier. Our weekends are ours for adventures."
I think part of the charm of raising kids in the Warehouse District is that in some ways it's simpler.- Rafael McRaven
The couple admits green space is lacking in the area, so the family spends a lot of time on little outings to places such as the floral conservatory and Wascana park.
While raising children in the Warehouse District is not very common, the McRaven's are not alone. They have three other couples with babies, in their building alone.
Rafael admitted they may look at moving if their family expands and their daughter gets to be school-aged. But right now they are happy living the loft lifestyle in the Warehouse District.