MONCTON – It’s a mix of the old and new inside Moncton’s Castle Manor. The 110-year-old gothic castle is now home to condos for rent and some units set up for Airbnb.
Building manager Jay Tse’s father and uncle, who are developers from Moncton and Vancouver, respectively, initially wanted to sell the condos for a price ranging from $317,000 to $1.3 million. But they’ve decided to rent out the condos and use some units for short-term stays through Airbnb starting in October.
“We had a couple of people that were willing to commit [to buy]. But we kind of always wanted to keep a few units to ourselves in the family. It’s kind of a legacy project for my father and my uncle,” he said. “I think actually my father became a little bit too emotionally attached to the building. He just didn’t want to completely give up the entire thing. So after a few months of open houses, we just decided, maybe it’s best to just keep it and rent it out.”
Tse said his family has invested around $6 million to $7 million to buy and renovate Castle Manor, which was once an orphanage and a senior home. But they’ve tried to keep as much of the original brick and stones, as well as a piano, two chandeliers and some staircase handles from the castle, intact.
“It’s just to keep a lot of the original character. This castle is over 100 years old, so it’s just to maintain that uniqueness to it,” he said.
But the building’s interior also has modern touches, with an elevator to bring tenants all the way to the fourth-floor penthouse. Modern kitchens and appliances are installed in each unit, and some spaces, like the first-floor hallway, have wall space available for local artists to showcase their work.
Three of the 13 units in the building will be designated for Airbnb guests, including a 2,000-square-foot basement unit with a lot of exposed original brick and stonework. Most of the other units are one- and two-bedrooms, though they have different layouts by virtue of the historic building.
One unit is located where a chapel used to be and so, it includes a dome-shaped ceiling and two chandeliers that had been there before the renovation.
Their sizes also vary, with the penthouse spanning 3,000 square feet and the “chapel unit” covering 2,400 square feet. On average, the regular units are 1,100 square feet in size.
Many of them are completed, but some units on the third floor, the penthouse and the basement are still in the works.
The Tse’s bought the building in 2014 after Jay spoke to his uncle about property prices on the east coast as compared to those in Vancouver.
“I showed him a picture [of the castle] online and I said, ‘you wouldn’t believe what you can buy this for back home on the east coast. He just thought it was really cool. It’s a heritage property,’ ” Tse said. “So, my uncle just thought of this as kind of a legacy project for our family.”
Renovating a historical building to conform to today’s building codes and fire code regulations while keeping its character proved challenging.
“It’s quite a puzzle. A lot of headache,” Tse said. “It’s art, that’s what you’re paying for here, you’re paying for a piece of art. ”
The rental prices for the condos start at $2,000 a month for a one-year lease but can be negotiated if the commitment is longer.
Here’s a look inside the renovated castle: