– Words by Laura Goldstein Photography by Lia Crowe
You might catch a fleeting glimpse of her kicking up dust over the Okanagan back roads on her Ninja ZX6R motorcycle or her Harley Davidson Sportster 48.
Or, check out her sprint-focused swim practices at Kelowna’s H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre, where her high performance is a power-charged blur of strength and steely determination.
“It’s always been about how far can I push myself,” 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 and partner at MLA Okanagan.
Kelowna-raised, Taylor has sprinted up the real estate ranks beginning 12 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, she was engaged by MLA Canada 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 Taylor to head up their new Okanagan office a year ago.
“Caban is where I got my feet wet working with the MLA brand,” Taylor says. “I just love working with our clients in pre-construction and 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 the myriad permissions needed, take place usually within a 10-month period. It’s holistic planning and there is a lot of psychology involved,” she explains.
Taylor not only has the smarts and drive to succeed, but being part of the millennial generation places her in one of Canada’s fastest growing population demographics, according to Statistics Canada’s 2021 census.
And that translates well for the Okanagan’s real estate market, which has exploded as many singles and young families re-examine their goals following the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people now working from home are seeing the opportunity to move out of big cities like Vancouver and Toronto and take advantage of a more relaxed lifestyle in a smaller centre. Taylor is savvy to this demographic’s 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. Coinciding with the surge in people migrating to the Okanagan is a radical skyrocketing of prices.
“There’s normally a two to three per cent increase in residential prices each year,” she says. “But real estate prices have jumped 30 per cent in the last couple of years.”
Known as The Wine Capital of Canada, the Okanagan is the most prolific grape-growing region in the country attracting wine-lovers 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.”
Taylor is particularly excited about the green-lit plan by city council for a 46-storey tower to be built in downtown Kelowna. It will be the tallest building outside of Metro Vancouver, as it will house the state-of-the-art satellite campus of the University of British Columbia Okanagan.
“Up until recently we rarely had 312-square-foot studio rental apartments that are more affordable for students in the Okanagan,” says Taylor. “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 will attract future occupants with parking on the third and fourth floors, rather than below ground level because of the water table and the sheer expense to dig down.”
She also says MLA Canada is 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 at urban professionals and investors, the completion date of VIVO is 2025. Marketed as a “live, work, play, shop urban centre,” it’s a huge economic driver for the city. “And it’s in close proximity to hiking, running and bike trails at Knox Mountain Park and water sports on Okanagan Lake,” Taylor enthuses, also noting that Nolita, another project in the same location, is coming to market this year.
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, Taylor lives the lifestyle she espouses in her professional life.
“I’m in the pool at 5:30 am every day before starting work and I’m super passionate about both!”