South Osborne experiencing business boom as empty storefronts snapped up

Game Knight and Grape and Grain have recently moved into bigger spaces in South Osborne. Grape and Grain/Facebook

It’s summertime and business is booming in the neighbourhood of South Osborne — even on a weekday morning.

Two locally owned businesses Game Knight and Grape and Grain recently moved into bigger spaces, and new restaurants like ice cream shop Chaeban and cocktail bar The Oxbow have popped up over the past few years. Other places, like Park Line Coffee have proved popular, Hermano’s Restaurant opened a second location and The Park Theatre has renovated.

“Things that sat empty for years, they’re starting to put new businesses in and old businesses are changing and becoming updated,” said Karen Gosselin, a South Osborne resident walking in the area Wednesday.

Some say the boom for South Osborne is a result of empty storefronts in Osborne Village — although that area is reportedly on the upswing – but many residents Wednesday pointed more to the neighbourhood’s convenience.

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“You can walk outside, you can go to your bank, you can go to the grocery store, you can go to all kinds of restaurants without even getting in your car,” said Gosselin.

READ MORE: New business opening on South Osborne a sweet success story

Despite all of the amenities, the neighbourhood remains peaceful for homeowners.

“Once you get off the main drag, it’s still pretty quiet,” said Katie Turner. “But there’s still lots of things to do and you’re not far from lots of lively things going on.”

Another resident cited easy bus accessibility, saying downtown was just a single bus ride away — and most other destinations required just a single transfer.

“A lot of people now, with more people biking and more active, it’s not that hard to walk downtown from that area,” Winnipeg Realtors vice president Peter Squire said. “Really, once you’re in South Osborne, it’s not that tough to get downtown.”

South Osborne is vibrant and friendly, according to residents. Diana Foxall/Global News

But while it’s a hot neighbourhood to be in, it’s not out of reach for first-time buyers.

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The area is divided into two zones: Riverview, east of the main drag, and Lord Roberts, said Squires.

“The more affordable area would be Lord Roberts, which is the west side of South Osborne. That’s the more affordable area,” he said. “When you get to Riverview, you are seeing more expensive homes selling. The average price is another $70,000 more.”

“The kind of benchmark we use for first-time buyers and some of the more affordable house prices are under $300,000.”

The past two years were a bit busier for Winnipeg’s real estate market than 2018 so far, but Squire said South Osborne is really the only place that has kept performing at the same rate.

“Bar none, it’s always performing well,” he said. “We’re seeing Riverview, the one side of South Osborne, have nearly a complete conversion of all their sales. It does extremely well, it’s sold 24 out of 28 listings so far this year, so we don’t have many [other neighbourhoods] that would be higher than that in terms of seeing that many sold out of all the listings that are available.”

According to Squire, the market in Lord Roberts is also doing better than most other areas in Winnipeg.

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“It’s selling out at over 80 per cent — 30 sales out of 37 so far this year,” he said.

“There’s no question, this is one of the better performing areas for our market in Winnipeg and throughout the metropolitan region.”

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