Heritage Pointe Properties: Land, love and loyalty
The story of the hamlet of Heritage Pointe starts in 1989 with the Upper Lakes Group diversifying its business portfolio by getting into land development in the Calgary area. The company gave the goahead to Carolina Oxtoby, president and CEO of Heritage Pointe Properties, to negotiate the purchase of 1,000 contiguous acres of land south of the city from six landowners.
It was a gamble that, 27 years after buying the land, has paid off, with more than 800 homes surrounding a worldclass, 27-hole public golf course, and more to come.
The chapter of the story that ensured the gamble would pay off was written a couple of years after development began when Oxtoby expressed some concerns to company owner, Jack Leitch.
“I said, ‘Jack, I don’t think I’m doing a good job for you. I don’t know that I have the skillset. I don’t know if I have the expertise and I’m really worried,’ ” says Oxtoby. “He said, ‘you do not have to know how to play every single musical instrument to be able to be a great band leader. What you need to know is what instruments you want, how they should be played and if they are no longer in tune. Then you change that.’
“Then he went on to say ‘If you were an engineer, you wouldn’t have to hire an engineer. If you were an urban planner, you wouldn’t have to hire one. So, what you do is, you bring all this expertise in and you stand there and you’re the orchestra master.’
“And I just thought, wow, and that was my turning point.”
Shortly after, Heritage Pointe’s second showhome parade opened, under the auspices of the Street of Dreams marketing company.
“It was an unbelievable success and really put us on the map in 1996,” says Oxtoby. “It was considered the Oscars of the building industry. There were five showhomes and people had to purchase a ticket to come. We held a great cocktail party, the street was lined with beautiful lights and people just meandered down the street into each of the showhomes, which were done up to the nines.
“It was a very high-end marketing platform.”
It put the community on the street to success. Today, it is made up of six developed neighbourhoods: The Ridge, The Summit, The Meadows, The Ravine, The Lake and The Ranche and the developing neighbourhood, Artesia at Heritage Pointe, a countrythemed oasis just south of the Bow River.
“Artesia is doing well,” says Oxtoby. “We felt the softening of the economy, as did all the other builders and developers, but we’re now seeing glimmers of hope. I think there are enough positive indicators out there that consumer confidence is coming back and as a result, we’re seeing sales starting to really pick up again.”
There have been many players in the story.
“Twenty-seven years later, I say ‘Oh, my gosh’, look what we have created and I say the ‘we’ word because it might have been me that was the leadership but you cannot do it on your own,” says Oxtoby. “It’s all about partnerships with your builders, trades and suppliers and most important, it’s the team at Heritage Pointe Properties. My team is the best team that a company could ever assemble. A balance sheet is full of assets but there’s never a line item that says ‘people’ and there should be because that is your biggest asset.”