Revitalizing a neighbourhood is never easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.
Vanier has become a hive of activity in recent years as developers pursue various projects to give old landmarks a new lease on life and remake old properties into something new.
It all comes down to dollars and cents – these savvy businesspeople see the value of being part of a new Vanier that remains true to its roots.
Contributing to Vanier’s authenticity
One of these is Domicile, co-founded by long-time area resident John Doran. Over the past 40 years, Domicile has built a strong reputation across the National Capital Region for infill developments that drive neighbourhood rebirth. According to Domicile Senior VP David Chick, Vanier is on the crest of the same wave that swept through Westboro after Mountain Equipment Co-op moved in.
“We have a good feel for Ottawa and communities with great potential,” he said. “Since we entered the Vanier market we’ve seen a ton of new investment follow us. People see the potential.”
Domicile first ventured into the Vanier market eight years ago, with the 37-unit River Court Lofts condo development. Recently, it has reclaimed an old Esso gas station site in Vanier’s Beechwood Village for The Kavanaugh. This is Domicile’s largest build to a date, a 124-unit condo with the builder’s signature features – a grand lobby, a rooftop sunset lounge and terrace, and ground-floor retail. It’ s also a completely smoke-free building.
“Like westboro and hintonburg before it, this community is holding onto the best of its unique identity and character as it renews itself.”
The key to a successful infill project is respecting the character of the existing neighbourhood, Chick said.
“I personally like the Kavanaugh site because it anchors the northeastern gateway to Beechwood’s eclectic mix of shops, businesses and services. We like that – places that are organic and have a certain authenticity to them. You certainly find that along Beechwood and in the rest of Vanier.”
A cheerleader wooing new commercial residents
Ryan Goldberg, Director, Investment and Leasing at The Regional Group, agrees.
“Like Westboro and Hintonburg before it, this community is holding onto the best of its unique identity and character as it renews itself,” he said. “More people will choose to locate a business here, live here and invest here, but everyone – residents, business owners, property owners and the City of Ottawa – must work together to ensure growth and development is done responsibly and for the overall benefit of the community.”
The Regional Group has been active in the local commercial and residential real estate markets for almost 60 years. It manages a number of commercial properties in the Vanier area, but its latest gem is the revitalization of the old Desjardins building on Montreal Road. This five-storey building offers ground floor retail with office space above.
“We have pushed the idea of Vanier to different tenants around town, for both office and retail,” Goldberg said. “When they come and see this building and all the activity in Vanier, they see the area in a new light. We believe in Vanier, and we are excited to be part of its rejuvenation.”
A developer and a new resident
Over near McArthur Avenue, Longwood Building Corp. is preparing to break ground on Sonia by the Rideau.
This eight-storey luxury condo development offers 70 suites and 29 different floorplans. Suites feature nine-foot ceilings and curved high-efficiency window walls. Two months before construction is due to start, the Sonia is already more than 50 per cent sold.
Project Manager Florent Filion has already purchased one of units and will become a resident of Vanier for the first time when the building is complete in 2018.
Why did he choose to move to Vanier?
“This is a great location with a view of Rideau River, only five minutes from downtown, with easy access to community services such as hospitals and just down the road from the airport,” he said. “It’s all the benefits of living downtown without having to be right downtown.”
Like Domicile and Regional Group, Longwood is committed to maintaining the community character that makes Vanier unique.
“Every community needs to revitalize itself with new residents,” he said. “We are serving that need with a residential property that fits in and benefits everyone.”
Filion expects new developments like the Sonia to appeal to local government workers and perhaps even draw back to Vanier residents who may have left.
“We considered no other neighbourhood for the Sonia,” he said. “Everybody knows Vanier is the next place to be.”
Vanier is the place to be
Businesses want affordable, quality real estate in a community that’s rich with character, shops and services. Young professionals want an affordable and stylish living option close to downtown in an “authentic” community that walks to the beat of its own drum.
They can all find what they want in Vanier, and this is just the beginning.
Did you know..
In the first half of this year, 61 homes sold in Vanier. About 72 per cent of them sold for less than $400,000. Compare that to Hintonburg, where only half of the homes sold during the same period priced under that amount. In the Preston Street area, only 24 per cent of homes sold for less than $400,000. In the Chinatown area, it’s only nine per cent. Another point to consider – all these other neighbourhoods also saw far less selling activity than Vanier during this period.
“Based on these residential stats of central areas that are in similar gentrification as Vanier, nothing compares to Vanier in terms of affordability and volume,” says Subhir Uppal, broker/ manager with Metro Ottawa-Carleton Real Estate Ltd. “You can buy a decent detached home in the $200,000 to $400,000 range which is not the case in comparable urban areas.”
Go to www.investinQV.com to download the free digital magazine and meet the businesspeople of Quartier Vanier, hear their stories, and learn more about the opportunities for developers, investors and retailers within this thriving community.
Interested in setting up shop in Vanier, visit www.vanierbia.com or call the Quartier Vanier BIA office at 613-745-0040.