Walkability Becoming More Important to Tenants and Homeowners
The last time I drove through Barrhaven with a client of mine (who was looking for a spot to open a pub), I was amazed to see that the City of Ottawa still builds neighborhoods without any provision whatsoever for local shopping, offices or services. Need a liter of milk? Car trip. Want to go for a pint? Car trip. Visit a doctor? Car trip.
The fear is that a local plaza will be noisy, attract teens, be a source of litter, depress property values. Well, the truth is a new generation of buyers wants an urban lifestyle and developers who ignore this trend end up with projects that not only sell for less, their sell-through periods are longer, further depressing profitability.
Windmill Developments told me that they won’t even consider another project with a low walk score after getting burned by one already. Their newest project is on a key piece of land in downtown Ottawa known as the Domtar lands. A development plan for Chaudiere Island is shown above.
I also show walkability scores* for 2 homes I just helped clients buy in neighborhoods that are supposed to be quite walkable plus the score for Windmill’s Domtar project**. Walkscore.com gave Chaudiere Island a 92 (“Walker’s Paradise”). My clients’ places got 55 and 65. How did Barrhaven do? It got a 45, “Car-Dependent” rating.
* There is an excellent service that’ll produce these scores for you–just type in the address in their search bar and hit return, https://www.walkscore.com/.
** I actually used 555 Wellington Street, location of nearby Mill Street Brew Pub.
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