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All the best, The Editorial Team We will keep adding business units that enhance our offering and separate us from our competition. “ ” Editor From The Dear Reader, Welcome to the latest issue of Construction Source Canada, the magazine that highlights the best in building and building products across the country. In this edition, we’ve taken a particularly close look at our nation’s property development industry, at companies both public and private, and at some of the landmark projects those companies are doing. Most notably, this edition marks the beginning of our three-part focus on the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation – a public entity formed in 2007 to execute an ambitious plan to revitalize the city’s historic Rivers District. In this issue, we cover the first phase of that program, which was revitalizing East Village. Sticking toCalgary, this editionalso features RoyopDevelopment Corporation, one of the city’s leading and longest-standing real estate developers and property managers. In order to cover that history, and to cover some of their projects today, we spoke to Jacob Weber, Senior Vice President of Development, and Amanda Dutton, Vice President of Construction. They talked to us about the company’s massive growth over the past few years about the diversification that has powered it. Looking west, we also covered Redekop Ferrario Properties – a new and progressive BC development company that combines the youth and enthusiasm of a young, proven entrepreneur with the experience of a renowned real estate and constructionbased businessman. The latter is James Redekop, who’s also the founder of Redekop Development Corporation, one of BC’s most notable developments companies. With this new company, James and his partner Stefan Ferrario – backed by an expert team of highly-skilled professionals and future leaders – are making their mark in BC’s multi-family residential sector. For those stories – and a lot more like them, about more of Canada’s leading developers, builders, and their key partners – just keep reading.
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OCTOBER 2022 CALGARY MUNICIPAL LAND CORPORATION The rise of Rivers District ROYOP DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION The new experts in mixed-use REDEKOP FERRARIO PROPERTIES Enhancing communities N C K INC. The best engineering solutions BERTONE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION Building value SUNRISE GROUP CANADA Providing peace of mind MORIN SUPPLY The best possible building solutions SOUTHERN IRRIGATION Intelligent water solutions SEAGATE CONSTRUCTION The reliable choice ARSENAULT PROPERTIES The sky’s the limit MEERHOLZ Price, quality, service DESIGN WORKS ENGINEERING Complete communities INDUSTRY INNOVATIONS INCINERATING TOILETS IN THIS ISSUE OCTOBER 2022 BERTONE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION SOUTHERN IRRIGATION
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THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA Water connection not required Requires little space No odour Easy installation No frost protection needed Secure for children ash to be emptied No waste handling, only and more Bunkies, For Home, Cottages, Shops, 3 - 4 visits per hour High capacity Propane&Electric models ABOUT CINDERELLA ECO GROUP Cinderella Eco Group is a family-owned company located in the north-western coastal community of Midsund in Romsdal, with deep roots in the beautiful Norwegian fjord-landscape. We have more than 20 years’ experience with the Cinderella Incineration Toilet, a water-free, ecological solution for the management of toilet waste. Cinderella, the natural first choice for those who place high demands on quality and functionality. HIGHLIGHTS OF INCINERATION TOILETS:
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The rise of Rivers District
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the City of Calgary, incorporated in 2007 to implement and execute the Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan – a public infrastructure program approved by the city and the province to kick-start Calgary’s urban renewal. The Rivers District, a 504 acre area of Calgary’s east end sits at the centre of Calgary’s birthplace and at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers. Several of Calgary’s most popular and historic destination attractions are located in the area, including Fort Calgary and the Calgary Stampede. Unfortunately, prior to CMLCs involvements, many parts of the district were neglected and characterized by stagnated development, environmentally contaminated lands, inadequate infrastructure, and access problems – thus, Calgary City Council and the province of Alberta created the Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan, and created CMLC as a specialized team to deliver it.
The Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan outlines a public infrastructure program that will facilitate the reclamation, redevelopment, and revitalization of the underdeveloped inner city area in the plan’s title. From the start, the plan was ambitious, and Calgary City Council put a lot of faith into CMLC when they assigned them the task – and they haven’t disappointed. “Our success traces back to the fact that we deeply believe in the project,” says Clare LePan, Vice President, Marketing & Communications. “The Rivers District Revitalization Plan provides our city, province and country with an extraordinary asset that’s helping to elevate Calgary’s reputation as one of the world’s best places to live, work and visit.” The Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan is funded by the Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) – an innovative funding system created specifically to ensure CMLC could fulfil the plan’s ambitious economic, social, and environmental objections. This financing mechanism was designed to provide up to 40 years of stable funding without creating an additional tax burden for citizens. Similar to Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which is used widely in the United States, the CRL provides a means to segregate property tax revenue increases that result from redevelopment in the Rivers District into a fund for infrastructure improvements in the area. The City of Calgary levies and collects the CRL through the property tax system and then allocates the funds to CMLC to implement the Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan. OCTOBER 2022
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The first phase of the Rivers District plan involvedrevitalizing the historic neighborhood of East Village, which spans 49 acres between Fort Calgary and the downtown business core, and is centrally located along the banks of the Bow River. It’s actually the place where downtown Calgary first began – where Indigenous people and American and Canadian fur traders first met to do business. Over time, the area had become increasingly industrialized and then later neglected, and East Village had become associated with vacant lots. The idea of bringing East Village back to life as an urban village resurfaced in 2005, as an idea and a discussion involving the City of Calgary, urban planners and the public. Two years later, city council created CMLC to revitalize the Rivers District, starting with East Village. “The City of Calgary had identified the potential opportunity that existed in East Village,” Clare recalls. “The community sat right on eastern edge of downtown Calgary. It was also flanked on two sides by two rivers – on the north side, by the Bow River, and on the east side, the Elbow River. There are not many areas in the city that have that proximity and access to the two rivers. From a land perspective, it had a lot of opportunity and a lot of value.” “The problem was that it had been really stagnant in its development for a number of years,” she adds. “There had been development in the 70s, 80s and 90s and very little since then. There were a lot of vacant buildings and surface parking lots.” The main reason the area had OCTOBER 2022
been neglected like it had was because it needed a significant amount of infrastructure improvements – things like raising the flood level of the streets, improving the streetscape conditions, and upgrading utilities. “There were a number of barriers that prevented the private development industry from coming in and doing the development themselves,” Clare says. “That’s why CMLC was created. The goal was to form a development entity that could be tasked with that development effort, and that could also be involved with with attracting the private development industry into the communities it built out.” To guide their redevelopment efforts of East Village, CMLC created the East Village Master Plan. They authored that plan with the help of Broadway Malyan – one of the world’s top architectural practices, and the unanimous choice in the international competition CMLC organized in 2008 to find an urban design practice to provide advice on the master plan. Broadway Malyan’s plan was inspired by some of the world’smost liveableplaces, and it established the framework for redeveloping East Village into “a vibrant, mixed-use, creative city neighbourhood,” Clare describes – “an urban village and one of the most dynamic areas within Calgary’s downtown core.” Fast forward to today, and that neighborhood is in the midst of an exciting transformation. Since2007,CMLC’scommitment to date of over $400 million into infrastructure and development programs has so far attracted nearly $3 billion of planned private development. East Village is now home to more than 1,500 new condos and more than 3,500 residents, a variety of retail options, and restored heritage buildings that add to the character of the district. According to Clare, the area has become known “for its vibrant events calendar, innovative public arts program and diverse mix of residential development projects.” “Progress has been rapid,” Clare says. “As developers and retailers have come to see the value of the East Village transformation, many of our available parcels have been snapped up.” “The infrastructure and development projects all materialized as a direct result of CMLC’s passion, focus and determination to succeed in fulfilling our mandate,” she adds. “It’s a new era for East Village – and an exciting future for urban living in Calgary.” There is a strong pipeline of development projects to launch in the coming years, and CMLC anticipates two new residential projects will break ground in 2023. THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA
Bringing spaces to life East Village includes a long list of exciting development projects that CMLC played a key role in delivering. A recent example is the Platform Innovation Centre & Parkade a mixed-use building that combines seven storeys of parking for visitors to East Village and surrounding communitieswith50,000square feet of innovation space. That innovation space is home to Platform Calgary – a non-profit organization with a mandate to bring together the resources of Calgary’s tech ecosystem to help start-ups launch and develop. (Learn more at www. platformcalgary.com/). Balancing a present-day need for parking with a vision for a future that relies less on the use of personal vehicles, the multi-use building was designed with eventual conversion of the space into commercial and/or residential uses in mind. To accommodate future conversion, instead of traditional parkade ramps, a gently sloped slab winds all the way to the top of the structure, so each floor can be leveled OCTOBER 2022
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individually as uses within the structure change. Each floor has the appropriate height of an office or apartment-building level, at one and a half times higher than in a typical parkade. Today, the Platform Innovation Centre & Parkade offers: 503 vehicle parking stalls; six electric vehicle chargers (with capacity for more), and 99 bicycle spots (60 are reserved and 39 are first come/first served). It is easy walking distance to countless downtown, East Village, and east Victoria Park amenities. In addition to parking, the building offers a publicly accessible sport court on its main level and outdoor event rental space on the seventh level, giving “a panoramic backdrop” to corporate events, community gatherings, and more. The Platform Innovation Centre, meanwhile, is integrated within the first two floors of the building. According to Clare, it “showcases the uniqueness of thisprojectandthecommunity’s dedication to a rapidly growing tech community.” In this space, she says “innovators across Alberta will have access to programming and mentors to support their ideas through immersion in a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, investors, and start-ups.” CMLC led the delivery of the Platform Innovation Centre & Parkade on behalf of Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) and Platform Calgary. They completed the project on budget, following two and a half years of complex construction. An even more complex East Village development was the Central Library, located one block east of City Hall. That project comprised roughly 240,000 square feet of functional, flexible, and beautifully designed space, OCTOBER 2022
and is now home to a physical collection of 450,000 books, more than 30 free community meeting areas, a performance hall, café, outdoor plazas, a children’s library, dedicated spaces for teens, recording studios, and much more. In 2018, Architectural Digest chose the Central Library as one of the “most anticipated projects” of the year, as well as “one of the world’s most futuristic libraries.” After opening in November of that year, it was visited by nearly half a million visitors in its first 100 days. The next year, the library was featured New York Times’ “52 Places to Travel” in 2019 and received more than one million visitors in the first year. CMLC also led the delivery of that project, that time on behalf of the City of Calgary and the Calgary Public Library. Over the five-year construction program, they were able to deliver it on schedule and under budget. Valued at roughly $245 million, it remains one of their most significant projects to date, with approximately 1.7 million construction hours and as many as 200 workers on site at any one time. “That was such an interesting project,” Clare says. “The original masterplan did not include the library, and the site was a tricky one because the LRT runs underneath it. It was just a surface parking lot that sat adjacent to the back of City Hall. When the opportunity for the library came up, that turned out to be just the right type of project that could physically connect City Hall and Downtown and East Village.” “We had the opportunity to work with the design team and come up with a facility that was not only a beautiful, functional library, but that could also THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA
serve as a gateway to East Village,” she says. “The result has been incredible. It’s led to such a dramatic change in the area. The library has over 1.2 million visitors a year and many of them are also coming in and enjoying East Village as well. It’s become a massive attraction.” Another project that dramatically transformed East Village was the Jack & Jean Leslie RiverWalk – the “true soul of the Rivers District,” according to Clare. When completed, it will meander four kilometres along the Bow and Elbow Rivers, “restoring the natural beauty of the riverbanks and linking neighbourhoods from Chinatown to East Village to Inglewood, Stampede Park and beyond.” The RiverWalk was actually one of CMLC’s first infrastructure projects in East Village. Previously, access to the river was very limitedas the riverbank was really overgrown. The impetus behind the RiverWalk was to “give back the river to the community.” “Designed as both a journey and a destination, RiverWalk is a key connector and commuter route for pedestrians and cyclists. At the same time, with its outdoor art installations, lighting, outdoor furniture and extensive landscaping, it’s a sought-after recreational destination – a place where Calgarians can reconnect with the river and literally dip their toes into the Bow.” Clare recalls opening the first stretchof RiverWalk in2012. She says that “it really transformed people’s perception of East Village,” and that “it was and continues to be one of our busiest public spaces.” She also believes that it was a key driver in the development that followed. “I don’t think a lot of the revitalization that followed would have happened if it wasn’t for the development of RiverWalk really setting the tone for what East Village was becoming.” Another high-performing public space is the newly-revitalized St. Patrick’s Island Park – one of Calgary’s oldest parks, with a history as a public space dating all the way back to the late 1890s. More than a century later, CMLC has helped the park “re-emerge as an amenity-rich, family-friendly” – and National Urban Design Award-winning – “park space for all Calgarians to enjoy.” Today, St. Patrick’s Island hosts more than 75 annual events, including festivals, guided nature walks and family picnics. Features include hiking and biking trails, a plaza and amphitheatre, play areas, an elevated rise and restored river channels. “CMLC’s redevelopment of St. Patrick’s Island was a key component of our placemaking strategy for the Rivers District. Creating infrastructure and developing programs to bring public spaces to life are central to our redevelopment efforts.” Those are just a fewhighlights of CMLC’s successful revitalization of East Village, and East Village was only the first phase of the Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan. Following their success there, CMLC has turned their attention to the nearby Culture + Entertainment District. There, they are playing a vital role in some cityshaping projects, including the BMO Centre’s $500 million expansion. For more on that project and others – andmore on howCMLC is bringing the Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan to life – check out the next edition of Construction Source Canada. OCTOBER 2022
THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on CMLC’s current and future projects, look out for the coming editions of Construction Source Canada. For more on Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, their mission, their funding, more of their past projects, and their project partners – plus all the latest news on the Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan – visit https://www.calgarymlc.ca/ For more on East Village, specifically, and everything it has to offer to residents, visitors, and business, visit https://www.evexperience.com/
The new experts in mixed-use
Royop Development Corporation is a leading Calgary-based real estate developer and property manager. For more than 60 years, they have been delivering innovative, top-quality properties to the local real estate industry. Over those multiple decades, they have built and maintained a professional reputation based on providing exceptional value for investors, tenants, and the communities in which they work.
“Our vision is to be the most creative, fair, organized and professional commercial real estate company in the industry, where investors want to invest in us, and tenants choose our properties,” says Jacob Weber, Senior Vice President, Development. Royop’s story began in 1964, when their founder, Morris Kowall, developed Western Canada’s first enclosed mall. In the decades that followed, the company continued to deliver top-quality retail, industrial and commercial centres throughout Alberta. In recent years, however, they have sought to push the envelope. Under the leadership of Jeremy Thal, who took over as CEO in 2019, the company has diversified and greatly expanded. In 2021, Royop launched Phase 1 of a project called ‘Township’ – a 61.78-acre mixed-use development which, when completed, will have approximately 1.5 million square feet of retailers, restaurants, offices, hotel, and residences. In 2022, they broke ground on their first multiresidential project. All the while, they are developing multiple other mixed-use communities and retail centres in Lethbridge, Airdrie, and Calgary. “For a long time, our focus has been on retail and commercial,” explains Amanda Dutton, Vice President, Construction. “We have done some mixed-use and residential, but the market over the last 10 years hasn’t really supported that. Over the last couple years, however, I think it’s come back in style. That’s our current focus now.” “As we grow, our goal is to go out and diversify this business,” adds Jacob Weber, Senior Vice OCTOBER 2022
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President, Development. “We see an opportunity to really grow beyond retail, and we’re taking advantage. We want to become the new experts in mixed-use in Western Canada.” “We want to diversify from a geographic perspective as well,” Jacob says. “A lot of our projects historically have been in the Alberta market. Now we’re expanding into other markets in Western Canada and exploring expansion into the United States. We have an aggressive strategy to diversify in geography and in asset class and in scope.” Amanda has been with Royop for just over 10 years. When she joined, the business was a lot smaller than it is now, but they already had a longstanding reputation as an industry leader. “They were really well known locally for being the developer of choice for new shopping centre construction,” Amanda says. “Anyone who was in this industry knew Royop. That’s what drew me here. It was the opportunity to be a part of this team and learn from the mentors who were here and running the company at the time.” Jacob, for his part, joined the company roughly five years ago. Similarly, he was attracted to the company due to their standing in the industry. “They had a reputation for being honest, straightforward, and customer-service focused. They were known as a true family values type of business. They were looking for someone to help grow the development side of the business. I had the opportunity to come over here and partner with Amanda and really help run the constructionOCTOBER 2022
development component of what we do, and I couldn’t say no.” Since Amanda and Jacob’s involvement, Royop has transitioned into a new generation of leadership. The previous generation is still around to offer advice when needed, but Jacob says their current executives are all in their late-30s or early-40s. “We’re an ambitious young group,” he says. “The previous generation built a really solid and impressive foundation and now we’re working on taking it to the next level. We’re looking at growing exponentially. We’re off to a really great start.” As previously mentioned, Royop is growing in many ways – they are expanding their geographic reach, they are taking on larger projects, and they are diversifying their asset classes. In addition, they are building on their construction management and project management capabilities – “that’s a huge area of growth for us as well,” Jacob says. Even as the company grows and diversifies, however, Jacob clarifies that they will continue doing what they are best known for: “We’re still going to stick with what we call our ‘bread and butter,’ which is well-located grocery-anchored shopping centres. We’ve built some really outstanding relationships over the years with all the land developers, brokers, and tenants throughout Western Canada. We do generally get a good first look at all the different grocery-anchored centres that are coming online – typically greenfield, although we do look at a number of THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA
brownfield centres.” Jacob sees Royop as having “three pillars” of growth. He calls those kinds of ‘bread and butter’ retail centres “pillar one.” In that sector, since they are already so experienced and they are already recognized as industry experts, they are looking at expanding beyond Alberta. “Pillar two is brownfield, innercity mixed-use,” he explains. “We have a number of those projects on the go right now ranging in size and scale. Most of those are here in Alberta. In that sector, we’re sticking closer to home, where we have some really strong relationships and connectionswithmunicipalities, which helps push projects through.” The “third pillar,” lastly, is what they call their “investment portfolio.” There, they are focused on acquiring existing shopping centre assets – particularly ones “that need a bit of love,” Jacob describes – and then using their expertise to redevelop them and help them better realize their potential. When it comes to all three pillars, Jacob believes Royop’s persistent success is a result of the same factors. The number one factor, he says, is the relationships they build with their tenants – he calls that “the foundation of our business.” “We pride ourselves on learning and understanding our customer and knowing them better than they know themselves,” heexplains. “That’s really how Royop has built its business, by understanding its customers better than anyone, and by custom designing each project to suit those customers.” Another key factor behind the company’s success, according to Jacob, is that unlike many developer-builders, Royop typically builds “to own and hold.” “Because of that, a Royop project always has that next level of quality and we always spend the extra dollar to get there,” he explains. “We’re not one of those groups that go out to build something and then try to get rid of it right away. We don’t churn and burn. Our projects go into an investment fund. They are projects we hold long-term. We design and build them so they’re going to last.” “We’re property managers, too,” he continues. “That’s an important part of our business. So in our building division, we want to make sure we hand our property management division a really well-built, thoughtful product that they can take care for the next 20, 40, or 60 years – however long it is before we redevelop it and do something new with it. That’s definitely one of the things that set us apart.” OCTOBER 2022
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The right thing to do In addition to building relationships with their tenants and renters, Royop also strives to deeply understand and build relationships with their other project stakeholders – including their contractors, consultants, and suppliers. Amanda says those relationships have been equally vital to the company’s longevityandsuccess. Again, she says the fact that they ultimately manage the properties they build has a beneficial effect on those relationships: “Because we’re the owner of our projects, we have the unique ability to work in a pretty meaningful way with our trade partners,” she explains. “We can leave a dollar on the table. We can be expeditious. We can avoid sacrificing quality. We can make sure everyone walks away going ‘This was a good experience, let’s do it again.’” “We love building repeat relationships with everyone we work with – with our consultants, our brokers, our contractors, our subtrades, our suppliers, and our customers.” OCTOBER 2022
When it comes to customers, Amanda says that Royop has some retail tenants that own three different shops in three different Royop centres. When it comes to consultants and contractors, meanwhile, she says they have relationships that go back multiple decades. One example of a long term partner is EMBE Consulting Engineers – they are a full-service mechanical and electrical firm that takes pride in providing simple, elegant, and cost-effective solutions that enhance the long-term value of their projects. Their fully-integrated mechanical and electrical engineering allows them to deliver complete building services for all types of projects, form new construction to tenant fit-ups, and their dual services model is particularly well suited to LEED-accredited projects. According to Amanda, by working with top-quality experts like EMBE and others, Royop is able to deliver their projects to a consistently high standard of quality. “We’ve always used the best in class consultants. We’ve never sacrificed when it comes to design and constructability. If it’s the right thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. It’s never a matter of ‘We can’t afford that.’ That’s how we ensure quality.” “That’s paid dividends for us – particularly in our relationships with municipalities,” she says. “I would say we have excellent relationships with the City of Calgary, with the City of Lethbridge, with the City of Medicine Hat and the City of Edmonton, and that’s because they know that when it comes to quality, Royop is there. They don’t have to worry about us.” In addition, Jacob says that the money they spend on quality up-front is almost always later recouped in valuation. “We often hear ‘How are you able to spend the money?’ – and the answer is it comes back as revenue,” he explains. “When we build a shopping centre or an apartment building, we command some of the highest rents. We get those rents because people know that they’re moving into a place where they are not going to have to deal with deficiencies.” “We have that reputation,” he says. “We’re known for doing the right thing. That’s something that’s core to our business.” THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA
Keeping busy Currently, Royop has “all kinds of stuff going on,” Jacob says. As mentioned earlier, they have a couple diverse projects under active construction, including 182 residential units. In the pipeline, meanwhile, they have roughly $1 billion worth of real estate in development, including 1,700 residential units. Jacob says that in the seven days preceding his interview, he sent LOIs for another $250 million. “We’re out there chasing it,” he understates. “We’ve got a lot happening.” “There’s a lot coming down the pipe, and a lot under construction too,” he says. “We keep our team hopping busy.” Moving forward, Royop intends to stay busy. According to Jacob, their goal is to double in size every two years – so in two years, they aim to have $2 billion in the pipeline. They will achieve that growth by continuing to diversify their asset classes, continuing to acquire existing assets – with rising interest rates and inflation, they foresee some interesting buying opportunities – and lastly, by continuing to grow on the “owner-builder front.” “We’re going to take on more and more of our construction directly,” Jacob explains. “We also launched Royop Project Services this year. That’s an additional construction division that can provide third-party that can provide third-party services. We already have a few customers right now that we’re working with. We plan to aggressively grow that business as well.” OCTOBER 2022
THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on Royop Development Corporation, their expertise, their range of services, and their past and present projects, visit https://royop.com/
Redekop Ferrario Properties (RFP) is a new and progressive BC development company that pairs the youth and enthusiasm of a young, proven entrepreneur with the experience of a renowned real estate and construction-based businessman.
Theyoung,provenentrepreneur is Stefan Ferrario – he ran a successful shipping company for many years before recently transitioning into commercial development. The renowned businessman is James Redekop – he’s the founder of Redekop Development Corporation (RDC), a company which has been operating since 1985, and which has developed approximately $400 million worth of real estate throughout BC. Together – and backed by an expert team of highly-skilled and dedicated professionals – James and Stefan have created a company that has quickly become known for delivering high-quality residential developments that enhance the communities in which they’re built. The company’s first project was a collection of condominiums in historic Downtown Abbotsford, called ‘Upper Montrose.’ That was a five-storey, mixed-use condo building that included over 100 residential units on the upper levels, with groundoriented commercial and retail, plus a few live-work units below. The residential units included a mixture of one-tothree bedrooms. The project sold out quickly. “The response was fantastic,” says Jess Dhillon, a key member of RFP’s management team. “We exceeded a lot of people’s expectations, both in terms of the absorption rate and in terms of the per square foot sales price. Any way you look at it, it was a success through and through.” Jess credits that market response to a number of key factors. Firstly, he points to the location – Downtown Abbotsford is an interesting, with a history dating back to OCTOBER 2022
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the origins of Abbotsford. Today, it’s a recently-renewed and vibrant neighborhood “that blends rural charm with urban convenience.” It’s sometimes called the ‘Gastown’ of Fraser Valley. “We’re all born and raised in Abbotsford and we know the areawell,” Jess says. “Downtown Abbotsford is a place where ‘if you build it, they will come.’ We felt it was an area that was ready to take off.” “Stefan led the way,” Jess adds. “He approached James about doing this project. He was very involved in the Downtown commercial area. He owned lots of businesses and was on the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association. His motivating factor was to bring Downtown Abbotsford back to life. And that’s what happened. This project was a turning point. The area is doing really well now.” Again, Jess says that renewed commercial activity was a big selling point for the area. To market Upper Montrose, RFP converted an old Greyhound bus station into a presentation center. There, they “really tried to encourage people who were interested in buying to go out and check out the local businesses.” As part of that effort, they handed out gift cards and samples from different local stores. “A lot of people hadn’t come to the historic downtown in a while, or maybe they never had,” Jess says. “Having people see what was going on here from a business perspective opened a lot of eyes.” Jess also credits the project’s success to the appealing design by Keystone Architecture, which OCTOBER 2022
“pulls in many historic elements that the area is made famous for.” Brick and wood starts at street level and carries through the upper floors, capped off with a signature roofline. The homes feature bay windows and balconies, which also encourage privacy. The interiors of the homes are also exemplary, Jess adds. They also feature brick and wood, combined with features like barndoors andbuilt-in shelving. The kitchens feature quartz countertops and backsplash, Samsung gas ranges, Blomberg fridges, and convenient details like large basin sinks. Elvin Toews is an experienced real estate agent and another member of RFP’s management team. He emphasizes how important it was for the building “to look like it belonged in an historic downtown neighborhood.” “We wanted the buildings to be new and have a lot of modern features, but we wanted the exterior to reflect the history of the neighborhood,” he explains. “We believe we accomplished that. The building is obviously brand new, but there are a lot features that make it blend in. It looks like it belongs.” It’s been about a year since Upper Montrose was fully delivered. Elvin says the feedback they have since gotten from residence has been “really, really positive.” “There have been no real issues,” he reports. “People are really enjoying the area and they are enjoying their homes.” On top of everything else, that enjoyment speaks to the quality of the product that RFP delivered. They have an in-house building division that builds out their own projects, so that quality is a credit to both their supervision and the relationships they have built with local subcontractors and trades. “We’ll go out to a lot of subcontractors, but we use the same people probably 85 per cent of the time,” Jess explains. “We like to stick with the people we trust, and with people who trust us.” THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA
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Urban living with a small town vibe Following the completion of Upper Montrose, RFP took over a project in Maple Ridge that was in foreclosure and about 30 per cent complete. They finished that off and then sold it to the BC Housing, who is now utilizing it for the purpose of middle-income subsidized housing. After that, RFP’s next project was ‘Eastleigh’ – a six-storey collection of contemporary condominium homes in downtown Langley, which is under construction. That project includes 88 units totalling approximately 76,850 square feet. Like Upper Montrose, it sold out quickly – it actually sold out in less than a month, and that was “before the market started going absolutely crazy,” Elvin says. Again, Jess credits that successof that project to the location – he describes Downtown Langley as offering “downtown urban living with a small town vibe.” He calls the community “pedestrianfriendly, culturally engaged and full of everyday conveniences, OCTOBER 2022
with parks, playgrounds, cafés, breakfast spots, craft breweries and so much more.” Countless amenities, including the Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the Willowbrook Shopping Centre, are only minutes away. The location also offers easy access to nearby highways, and a future SkyTrain station is within walking distance. Once again, he also credits the design by Keystone Architecture. In that case, the project wasn’t in an historic downtown, which meant “there weren’t as many elements to pull from – so what we did is we went with a fairly modern building.” “It’s a very walkable neighborhood,” Elvin adds, “so our goal was to draw in a younger demographic, because walkability is something that appeals to them. To that end, we wanted to keep the building looking very modern and very sleek. We wanted something that young people would find appealing.” Keystone Architecture delivered on that vision, he reiterates. He says they are a firm that they really enjoy working with, because they are experts and because they understand the local market. Keystone Architecture equally enjoys working with Redekop Ferrario. In a testimonial on their website, Eric Poxleitner, Keystone’s senior principal, praised RFP for the clarity of their vision and their communication. “Theirknowledgeable,professional,andexperienced development staff take the time to communicate their vision, mission, and goals for each project before we commence work on a design,” Eric wrote. “Throughout a project, they consistently maintain clear communication lines, quickly respond to any questions we may have, and are open to exploring new design ideas and engaging in the design process.” THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA
First through the wall Moving forward, one of RFP’s main goals is to honour the Redekop name – in the BC development industry, that name goes back at least three generations, and it’s currently shared by several other development and building companies run by relatives of James. It’s important to the whole team at RFP that they don’t do anything to blemish the name for everyone else. “The name is indicative of quality,” Jess says. “It’s a really well trusted name. It means a lot in the community. We never want to lose sight of that. We want to keep doing what we say we’re going to do. We want to keep delivering projects that we can be proud of.” Currently, RFP has several projects in the pipeline that they believe fit that bill. For example, they have one application in Downtown Mission – another developing area, like Downtown Abbotsford and Downtown Langley – for a two-building project that will comprise a little over 120 units. They have also partnered with some of James’ long-time associates for a project called ‘Park Langara,’ located just steps south of Langara-49th Avenue SkyTrain inVancouver – that will comprise a collection of contemporary, concrete homes ranging from studios to three-bedrooms, complemented by four modern OCTOBER 2022
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duplex-style townhomes. That project is preselling now. “We’re being pretty selective,” Jess says. “We’re looking for areas that are underdeveloped.” “Our company is definitely not afraid to be the first, or one of the first, into a new area,” Elvin adds. “If we think there’s potential, if we think there’s going to be a market for that area, we’ll dive in. Even if there aren’t any multi-family projects in the vicinity, if we think the time is right for one to go there, we won’t hesitate to be the first through the wall.” OCTOBER 2022
THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on Redekop Ferrario Properties, their story, their team, and their past, current, and future projects, visit https://rfproperties.ca/
The best engineering solutions
Photo: Vincent Brière NCK is one of Canada’s leaders in structural engineering. From their headquarters in Quebec, they mobilize locally and globally the world to carry out the most complex and innovative projects of their clients. Over their almost-60-year history, they have completed more than 10,000 projects, including some of themost significant tower projects in Quebec and Canada. Today, they offer a full range of structural engineering consulting services and they are capable of carrying out structural projects of any size and complexity. Their firm’s vast experience – combined with the knowledge and professionalism of their expert team – makes them uniquely proficient at satisfying client requirements, complying with budget and schedule constraints, and meeting or exceeding current industry standards.
Over the course of their long history, NCK has also remained committed to providing high quality and personal service to their clients. Over the years, the firm has grown exponentially in both size and renown, and they have won numerous industry awards and accolades to show for it, but they have never lost sight of the importance of customer service. “When clients have a question, they know they can call us,” says Valérie Chartrand, Vice President and Senior Partner. “They know that we’ll pick up the phone.” “They also know we’ll work hard for them,” she adds. “We’ll do everything we can to find innovative solutions that meet their needs and save them money.” “There are many possible solutions to any one problem,” she says. “We believe the main role of an engineer is to find the best solution, the most appropriate solution for the project itself. That’s what makes us different.” Valérie is currently the project manager for some of NCK’s most significant projects in Montreal, including the Maestria Condominiums and 1 Square Phillips – both residential towers more than 60-storeys high. She is also the senior partner responsible for projects in Quebec’s Far North. Prior to joining NCK, Valérie obtained her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from École Polytechnique de Montréal in 2007 and a master’s degree in structure from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2009. Having been involved with the firm from 2006 to 2008 as an intern, she joined the OCTOBER 2022 Photo: Vincent Brière
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OCTOBER 2022 Photo: Vincent Brière
team on a permanent basis following her master’s degree. In the years since, she has been involved as an engineer in the structural design of many of the firm’s most important projects. In 2019, following a corporate reorganization, she was recognized for her professionalism and achievements and became a senior partner and vicepresident. Valérie is proud of all the projects she’s contributed to as part of NCK, but she points to her role on 1 Square Phillips as being a career highlight – which makes sense, as it’s currently one of the most prominent resident and commercial projects in the city, as well as one of the most architecturallyinteresting. 1 Square Phillips is a tower project that will consist of three phases. The first of these phases is a tower with a unique silhouette that will rise to 61 floors. Situated in the heart of historic Phillips Square, in an area with few high-rise buildings surrounding it, it will be the tallest tower in the city. It will comprise more than 800 residential units – half apartments for rent, half condos for sale – and it is expected to greatly contribute to the revitalization of the downtown area. The secondphase of the project, announced in March of this year, will have its own identity within the overall project, and will “blend modernity” while still “recalling the history of this important sector of Montreal.” It will involve a new 21-storey tower being added to the perimeter of the main 61-storey building, and will comprise 324 new condominium units, as well as 17,000 square feet of THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA Photo: Vincent Brière
common spaces, including coworking facilities, cozy lounges, a rooftop terrace, and a dog park. Currently, phase one of 1 Square Phillips is under construction – Valérie says it’s “going very well.” She says the excavation was challenging because the site is surrounded by at least 10 existing buildings, but it was ultimately conducted successfully and the project is proceeding on schedule. In addition to NCK as the structural engineers, the project team on 1 Square Phillips includes Brivia Group as the developer, MSDL as the architects, and Magil Construction as the builder. Brivia Group is one of Canada’s leading real estate development and investment companies, with an expanding portfolio of major projects in Great Montréal Area, Greater Toronto Area, Quebec City and Mont-Tremblant. Founded in 2000, they have the expertise, track record and business networks needed to fulfil bold and innovative projects such as 1 Square Phillips – as well as other landmark projects, such as Mansfield Condos and YUL. In recent years, Brivia and NCK have formed a close and lasting partnership. Valérie says that Brivia are “one of our main clients, and we love working with them.” Of Magil Construction, meanwhile, Valérie says the relationship is also very close. In general, she says that NCK likes to collaborate with their builders at a very early stage. “We like to get them involved in day one,” she explains. “We like to sit with them and talk through the project and how they see it. We’re engineers, but they have more experience in building things. Their input is extremely valuable.” OCTOBER 2022 Photo: Vincent Brière
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All one company Beyond their headquarters in Montreal, which employs roughly 65 people, NCK also operates a smaller branch in Toronto, which employs roughly seven-to-10. According to Valérie, the goal is to integrate the two offices as much as possible so clients of both have the same premium experience. “Our clients should not see two different companies,” she says. “We’re all one company. We want our clients to see us that way. We want them to receive the same service no matter where they are or what office they are dealing with.” Moving forward, Valérie also says they want to grow the Toronto office. Their goal is to eventually grow it to the same size as the office in Montreal. Project-wise, lastly, the firm wants to do more work internationally. They already have a number of exciting and envelope-pushing international projects on the books. For example, they are currently creating a joint venture with a structural engineering firm in Dubai – and they see the potential for more projects in Dubai in the near future. OCTOBER 2022 Photo: Vincent Brière
THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on NCK, their firm, their services, and their achievements – including more on their acclaimed projects such as One SquarePhillips – visit https://nck.ca/en/ Photo: Vincent Brière
Building value Bertone is a leading real estate investment and development company based in Montréal, Québec. Since forming almost 20 years ago, they have completed a large number of retail, industrial, offices, residential and mixed-use projects throughout Québec – and more recently, Ontario. Over the course of those years, they have enjoyed an impeccable reputation, backed by the exceptional quality of their projects and by the strength of their relationships with their various stakeholders, including their partners, investors, tenants, communities, and suppliers.
“Bertone stands for longterm relationships, visionary development, innovative design, quality projects and personalized attention,” according to Michael Bertone, founder. “Over the years, we have earned a solid reputation for ‘building value’ for stakeholders.” ‘Building value’ is a sort-of lodestar for Bertone– it’s a goal that guides every action the company undertakes. In order to live up to that goal, they strive to always take a “winwin approach,” where every stakeholder on every project can achieve their objectives and walk away happy. “Our success has been largely fueled by a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit and a relationship-driven approach,” Michael says. “We strive to be partner-friendly, we’re committed to exceeding expectations, and we’re very adept at identifying and capitalizing on opportunities for our stakeholders. Our projects consistently reflect the needs and values of the surrounding communities.” Michael co-founded Bertone Development Corporation alongside his brother Claudio. Both were born and raised in Montréal, and both had a background in football – Michael was selected by the Montréal Alouettes in the 1986 CFL draft, and Claudio was the Toronto Argonauts’ first pick in the 1994 CFL draft. Following their football careers, they teamed up and entered the real estate business – where they applied the same “teamoriented, win-win, hands-on, and can-do attitude” that they developed on the football field. OCTOBER 2022