By Laura Goldstein
You might catch a fleeting glimpse of her kicking up dust over the Okanagan backroads on her Ninja ZX6R motorcycle or Harley Davidson Sportster 48. At her sprint swimming practice at Kelowna’s H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre, her high performance is a power-charged blur of strength and steely determination.
“It’s always been about how far can I push my body,” admits Taylor Musseau who has parlayed the same concentrated intensity that pervades her dedication in sports into her work ethic and career as Managing Director, Partner MLA Okanagan.
Kelowna-raised Musseau has sprinted up the real estate ranks beginning twelve years ago as a determined 19-year-old, immersing herself in every aspect of real estate from realtor, sales agent and marketing strategist to specializing in managing and bringing pre-construction projects to market fruition. After cutting her teeth on projects in Toronto and the GTA for a year, MLA Canada engaged her to oversee the execution of the sales and marketing of Caban by Cressey; a six-storey condo and townhomes development in the cool Pandosy Village, Gyro Beachfront community on Okanagan Lake in Kelowna. MLA Canada was so impressed with the go-getter that they asked Musseau to head-up their new Okanagan office a year ago.
“That’s where I got my feet wet working with the MLA brand,” Musseau laughs, with no pun intended. I just love working with our clients in pre-construction development from the earliest stage of land purchase, figuring out their target markets and the nuances of design, floor plans and even how surrounding retail will affect the condo residents. All these important details including a myriad of permissions take place usually within a 10-month period. It’s holistic planning and there is a lot of psychology involved,” she explains.
Musseau, 31, not only has the smarts and drive but being one of the ‘millennial generation’ makes her part of Canada’s fastest growing population demographic, according to Statistics Canada’s 2021 census. And that translates well for the exploding real estate market in the Okanagan that was perpetuated by Covid-19 driving many singles and young families to re-examine their goals. Most working from home, saw an opportunity to move out of big cities like Vancouver and Calgary and take advantage of a more relaxed lifestyle. She is savvy to their housing needs and works with developers to be cognizant of sustainability, proximity to grocery shopping, retail and the superb facilities at Kelowna General Hospital, Okanagan College’s new Health Sciences Centre and of course, Kelowna International Airport.
But this lifestyle does come with a price tag. With the surge in people migrating to the Okanagan there has also been a radical skyrocketing of prices: “There’s normally a 2-3% increase in residential prices each year but real estate prices have jumped 30% in the last couple of years,” says Musseau. Known as ‘The Wine Capital of Canada’, the Okanagan is the most prolific grape-growing region in the country attracting wine makers from all over the world. “ There has been this huge shift in the Okanagan in the tourism and hospitality industries and of course the booming tech and film industry here that attracts younger people to the work force.”
Once mainly the playground of many wealthy retirees (and mega vacation homes for hockey players,) Musseau is particularly excited about the green-lit plan by City Council for a 46-storey tower to be built in downtown Kelowna – the tallest outside of Metro Vancouver, as it will house the state-of-the-art satellite campus of UBCO (University Of British Columbia Okanagan.) “Up until recently we never had 312-sq-foot studio rental apartments that are more affordable for students in the Okanagan,” says Musseau. “ Developers now make it an integral part of their planning along with gyms, bike and e-bike facilities and storage. And developers are also incorporating retail space on the ground floor that attract future occupants with parking on the 3rd and 4th floors rather than below ground level because of the water table,” she adds.
“We are currently working with the Calgary-based, Arlington Group on VIVO which is located just a five-minute walk from the proposed new campus in the downtown craft brewery district. Targeted towards urban professionals and investors the completion date is 2025. Marketed as a ‘live, work, play, shop urban centre,’ it’s a huge economic driver for the city and close proximity to hiking, running and bike trails at Knox Mountain Park and water sports on Okanagan Lake,” enthuses Musseau.
A former competitive body-building champion who is part of the Okanagan Masters Swim Club in Kelowna competing in the short distance sprint swimming events, Musseau lives the lifestyle she espouses in her professional life. “I’m in the pool at 5:30 a.m. every day before starting work and I’m super passionate about both! ”