The Chase: A 24-year-old lifelong North Yorker looks for a downtown pad

The Chase: A 24-year-old lifelong North Yorker looks for a downtown pad

The renter: Kevin Tsai, a 24-year-old data analytics student at Ryerson University.

The story: Kevin had lived in North York for most of his life, first in a condo with family and then on his own, at Yonge and Sheppard. With his 25th birthday around the corner, he decided the time was right to leave uptown and venture closer to his friends, who lived near the Air Canada Centre. He’d inherited the family condo in 2014 after his mother passed away, and he was renting it out on Airbnb. Thanks to the steady flow of renters, he figured he could afford $1,900 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.

Option 1

A one-bedroom apartment on Charles Street (near Yonge and Bloor), advertised for $1,700 per month

This place ticked plenty of boxes: it was in a new building, it was on the 32nd floor and it had a balcony. But, within 10 seconds of walking in the door, Kevin knew it wasn’t right for him. It was only 520 square feet, which wouldn’t have been a problem if not for the inefficient layout. In particular, Kevin didn’t like the sliding glass door that separated the bedroom from the living room. If the door is transparent, he figured, what’s the point?

Option 2

A one-bedroom apartment on Temperance Street (near Bay and Richmond), advertised for $1,850 per month

This unit was just shy of 500 square feet, and, again, the odd layout seemed to waste the limited space. A long hallway led to a cramped living room, where a clear glass door (yes, another one) cordoned off the tiny bedroom. Kevin liked the area, and he considered putting in an application, but ultimately he decided to keep looking.

The choice

A one-bedroom apartment on Adelaide (near John), for $1,850 per month (plus hydro)

This building in the heart of the Entertainment District didn’t make the greatest first impression. It was so new that the front door was under construction, and the chairs and carpets in the lobby were still in their packaging. But the unit, on the 26th floor, had everything Kevin wanted. At 524 square feet, the apartment didn’t waste any space. The front door opened right into the combined living room and kitchen. The spacious east-facing patio had views of the city and a sliver of Lake Ontario, and it was big enough for patio furniture. The concierge told Kevin that at least 20 people had seen the place. Thinking he had to act fast, Kevin spent the subway ride home mulling the decision over. He put in an application that night and was accepted the next day.

Here’s the living and dining area:

A closer look at the kitchen:

And the bedroom:

The Hunt