Harcourts Hilton celebrates A move to New premises after 20 Years !
Hilton village in the Midlands has been watching “that building on the corner” for months now and finally the secret is out! Harcourts Hilton have moved premises after 20 years in it’s previous lodgings. Andrew Line spoke of the origins of this well known Midlands Estate Agency.
“Harcourts Hilton was started by Mr Ken Edmonds during the 70’s in what is known as the Hilton Village Center, where the current Bottle Store is. This was in the day when there were only 2 Agencies in the Village. Edmonds affiliated himself to what was the Natal Building Society, and opened an Agency on their behalf at the offices. Edmonds was not only an agent but also dabbled in a bit of development. I am pretty sure he developed Manor Close, off Vlei Rd in Hilton. I can remember visiting his thatch homes he built on spec, in this cul de sac.
Edmonds moved away from Hilton and settled in Knysna after owning the business for a few years. Hilton Garden Estates as it was known, sold to a Mr Schultz, a keen builder developer who owned the land in Cowan Rd ( now zoned for education). He managed to purchase the original Laddsworth school and swop the zoning out to Cowan Road. I can only assume that his reasoning was that Cowan Rd was in the sticks and no one would want to buy there.
Mr Schultz did not own the estate agency for long, when it was sold to Jane Robinson and Moyra Ford who were already trading as Ford and Robinson Estates at the back of the original Bottle Store. Jane and Moyra, I remember had an excellent business and were well respected, with a great market share in the Hilton area. In 1992 Garth Ware and I were the lucky guys who acquired Hilton Garden Estates. At this stage we still traded from the Village Center with the NBS agency that brought folk through our doors on a daily basis.
As Hilton started to become a sought after spot on the property map some will remember the controversy that the new shopping center (The Quarry) caused, with residents threatening to boycott it and shop elsewhere! Hilton was on a real growth spurt and further rapid development occurred: the offices on either of the Quarry, the Lower Quarry shopping center, attracting the famous Cannon and Cannon auctioneers. Residential developers were then attracted to the area building spec town houses (Laddswood lodge, Hilton Lodge, Mountain Lodges etc….).
In 1994 we experienced a drop in prices with people uncertain of the future after the elections. Well, we are still here and Hilton has become an aspirational place to live.
In 1995 the original Poles store which in turn became Andersons bottle store, came onto the market, and Garth and I took the plunge, buying and renovating new premises at the Village Centre. 1996 saw us taking occupation of the property, a huge step for us, and the real estate market died for a few months. It was a “hand to mouth” time!
Our story did have a happy ending though and the NBS moved with us, and of course we now had more office space so we attracted some top agents into our office. Garth chose a new career path during this time which left me holding, unbeknown to me, a gift! It was during these years that we joined the Homenet group, a loose referral network. A difficult decision was taken to close the NBS agency as robberies became an all too frequent occurrence.
In 2008 Homenet was approached by Harcourts International to buy the group. The rest, as they say, is history, and our firm, and the Group has grown te fold with the little Hilton company maintaining a position in the top 10 in the entire country and often in 5th and 6th place.
2015 permission was granted for an office block to be built on the corner of Hilton Ave and Cowan Rd opposite the Hilton Hotel. The position enjoys fantastic road frontage and super views of the Drakensberg. In 2016 the building was completed, and after showing it to a prospective client one day, the top floor view persuaded me that the property should be ours!
Rusty our mascot agreed to the move and packed his bags, and tells me he is loving the breeze and attention he gets from Hilton cars on Hilton avenue .