• Datta Khalsa

Past Meets Future

By Datta Khalsa, Broker


An interesting aspect to handling real estate is our role in the transition from what it has been to what it will become.


Consider the handing down of a home from its former owners to its new ones. The significance of this event hit me when I purchased my first home several decades ago, 18 months into my career. The sense of history was palpable, as not only was it the first time I had owned a property, but also that this property had been held in the same family for 48 years.



In fact, the home was nearly twice as old as me and had already led multiple lives, having started out as the clubhouse for a golf course, before being converted into a residence by the family who developed it. As I learned stories from various people who had visited or lived there through ‘Sixties, ‘Seventies and ‘Eighties, I felt more like the property’s steward than its owner. And once I moved in, my life’s story now had a new backdrop for each chapter to come.


Flash forward several years to when I purchased my first investment property, a strip center in downtown Soquel. The moment I took title, my relationship with that building and the five proprietors who ran their businesses there was forever changed from being just a customer to being the person they pay rent to and the one to call when something needs to be fixed.


This change is even more dramatic when a property gets developed, either for the first time, as a building is put in where none has ever been, or when an old building is renovated or torn down and a new one takes its place. At these moments, the patterns of who comes and goes from the property are forever changed as its old life fades into memory and its new life takes shape.


The significance of these transition points in the history of a property hit me once again when I was chosen by board of directors for Pacific Cultural Center to handle the transition of this iconic facility to find its new owners. The property’s zoning presents interesting possibilities for development under the new density bonus rules being passed down by the state, but then again the facility is in exceptionally good condition that suggests continued use in its current configuration.


The impact of an impending transfer is heightened exponentially for a property such as this, which has played an active role in so many people’s lives. For decades, the Center has been a destination for countless classes, performances and events, before COVID shut down activities and its once vibrant halls sat fallow.


As the news starts to spread through the community and we bring people through, I get firsthand accounts of their memories and personal connection to the property and have a sentimental hope that it gets acquired by an entity who carries on its use as a space for congregation, education or performing arts.


The transition that lies ahead remains to be played out, and I am as curious as anyone to see what the future holds for it.



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