Cost to Refurbish a Mature Condo Building

September 2016

What does it REALLY cost to refurbish a condo building?

While “it depends” may be a convenient response, it is no help to condo boards and residents trying to determine if their reserve fund is adequately funded.

Camargue II, a 30 year old high-rise condo building in Scarborough, provides an indication of the cost of an extensive refurbishment. They recently completed a $12.5 million series of building upgrades over a period of three years with a fully funded reserve fund.

This is an example of what it can cost to upgrade an entire high-rise condo building. The experience of Camargue II highlights the importance of not underfunding the reserve fund to achieve short-term savings. This condo corporation’s solid financial foundation allowed them to undertake a comprehensive refurbishment that some condo corporations would consider financially prohibitive.

Their comprehensive building-wide renovation was undertaken without the need for a special assessment and without an increase in monthly condo fees. A recent 1.4% increase in maintenance fees, the first increase in four years, is significantly below the current rate of inflation.

Camargue II includes two twelve storey towers and 438 suites. Amenities are typical for a quality condo building and include indoor pool, underground parking, party room, gym, saunas and a tennis court. Their upgrades are intended to ensure the building and its facilities remain fully functional for decades.

Uncommon about Camargue II is that 88% of suites are owner occupied.

Included in the refurbishments and upgrades:

  • Replacement of elevators
  • Hallway redecoration, new carpeting, refurbishment of each suite’s front doors and installation of high-security locks
  • Replacement of two hot water boilers and heating boiler with high-efficiency units
  • Repair and refurbishment of the outdoor tennis court
  • Lobby redecoration and upgrade
  • New mailroom
  • Converted lighting in stairwells, mechanical rooms, corridors and underground garage to more energy-efficient LED lights
  • Swimming area refurbishment and conversion to a salt water pool
  • Upgrade for cooling tower
  •  Additional security cameras

These upgrades follow an earlier decision, in 2008, to install in-suite smart meters to better control and cost out electricity usage.