The shareholders that own the historic Carriage House at the corner of Blackburn Avenue and Osgoode Street have passed a motion to list the property for sale by May 31, 2022 —with the preferred buyer set as Bettye Hyde Co-operative Early Learning Centre (BHCELC).
The decision was made during SHO Developments Limited’s Annual General Meeting on March 21. The Carriage House at 43 Blackburn Ave. has been a model for innovative community ownership since it was purchased in 2012 by a group of more than 25 investors.
That project was led by Sandy Hill resident Leanne Moussa, and stemmed from her desire to see the home become a family and community hub, as opposed to another multi-unit student rental. With the heritage home renovated and restored, the non-profit Bettye Hyde daycare moved into the property in 2014, after nearly 40 years operating in the lower level of the former All Saints Church.
“The Carriage House project is a beautiful example of cooperation that reflects the spirit of Sandy Hill,” says Leanne Moussa, whose four children attended the daycare. “After a decade of investment, shareholders understandably would like the ability to transition the property to other ownership.”
While a listing price has not yet been decided, Moussa says there have been open lines of communication between SHO and the Bettye Hyde Board of Directors to come up with flexible terms of sale that would enable them to purchase the property.
Both Moussa and Cindy Mitchell, who was the director of Bettye Hyde from 1992 until her retirement in 2020, say the current situation has been emotional for everyone as many feel a deep connection to the school and its continued success.
“The school must move quickly to secure financing to purchase the Carriage House, or, alternatively, find new investors or a new landlord,” said Mitchell in a written statement to IMAGE. “The last 10 years have demonstrated that investors owning the property, the school renting the main floor, and the Child, Adolescent and Family Centre of Ottawa renting the upstairs, is a viable economic model and great for the community.”
SHO and Bettye Hyde say they hope to find a “strong champion” to move the project forward, and suggest this could be a Sandy Hill resident or a Bettye Hyde parent or alumni.
For more on this story, watch future editions of IMAGE. For interest in the project, you can reach Leanne Moussa, President of SHO Developments Ltd. at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Board of Directors of Bettye Hyde Cooperative ELC at BettyeHydeOttawa@gmail.com.