It’s a sunny mid-January day, and I am reminded of a book that I just re-read by a fella named Jim Collins under the title Good to Great. The book is a research based analysis of how long standing good companies become great companies and what factors contributed to their breakthrough into greatness. It’s a fascinating and humbling read in many ways and one might say that it is a story about a tortoise and a hare. As many of you might imagine, I have put my real estate looking glass on and I am curious about what makes a neighbourhood great?
Today, my associate Daria Kark is faced with both the excitement and the trepidation that comes from being in a bidding war. The home in question is either a full gut or a tear down depending on which way the wind blows for the lucky victor. At last count the showings in under a week are well into the thirties and there is rumour of as many as nine offers today.
This little gem calls the Glebe home.
How is it that this little Glebe home has 9 offers?
What strikes me about all of this is the prevailing market backdrop that we find ourselves in. Ottawa’s real estate market certainly is not all doom and gloom but most would argue that we are more balanced and moderate than we have been in quite some time. The contrast of it all just fascinates me and causes pause.
We all know the famous reference “Location, Location, Location”…but what is it that takes a neighborhood from Good to Great? From one offer to nine offers?
The neighbourhoods inside Kitchissippi form an interesting case study for my query. The Glebe less so as few of us can remember a time when the Glebe was not a great neighbourhood, but many of us can remember when the Kitchissippi ward was not considered a great neighbourhood. The name that many would be familiar with inside the Kitchissippi ward would be Westboro. In fact, several neighbourhoods make up the Kitchissippi ward including McKellar Park, Westboro, Wellington West, Hintonburg, Little Italy and West Centretown to name a few.
What happened inside Kitchissippi to move it from Good to Great? What was its overnight success 50 years in the making?
Well folks I don’t have a definitive answer, but I have some thoughts. I would suggest that the transformation from good to great is one part DNA, one part speculation and one part luck.
The DNA in real estate speak is the location. The Richmond and Wellington corridor with all its walkable shops and restaurants, the Ottawa River, the beaches, the bike paths, the Parkway with its Sunday morning cycle. This stuff in one form or another had been present long before the neighbourhood became great. The DNA was there.
Mountain Equipment Co-op’s arrival in around the year 2000 by many was considered an anchor and speculation ensues. If a big progressive organization was investing in Westboro, then maybe I should too. A clustered effect of sorts occurs and others join the party to either compete through nuance or support through adding other services and products. Alas, all of us that call Kitchissippi home are the net beneficiaries, as our playground just gets more and more interesting with the passage of time.
The boomers move towards retirement and look to a home as a lifestyle rather than a roof to shelter their aspirations. The millennials emerge as the dominating force in terms of sales volume and they reject many of mom and dad’s preferences and they seek ways to live in a home that is efficient and allows for more collaboration with family and friends and more freedom from thoughts about a linear career path or material possession. A Kitchissippi type community is a net beneficiary of many of these preferences.
So my question to you is this. What’s next? What tortoise is about to become the hare? The next overnight success 50 years in the making……….