Elad becomes Almadev, expands its development pipeline | RENX

A rendering of the Wallace Emerson Community Center which will be part of the Galleria on the Park development in Toronto by Almadev. (Courtesy of Almadev)

Toronto-based Elad Canada has been rebranded as Almadev as the multibillion-dollar real estate development, investment and asset management company aggressively expands its residential development portfolio.

Almadev has 4.4 million square feet of construction in its pipeline, over 6,000 residential units under development and 7.4 million square feet of income-generating properties.

CEO Rafael Lazer told RENX that Almadev was part of the Elad group, but the major shareholder recently sold the company to a group of Canadian investors.

“So we changed hands and as part of this ownership transition, our modus operandi didn’t change, but our name and branding had to change. That’s what drove him,” said Lazer: “And we think that beyond the legal and corporate requirements, it was definitely time for us to freshen up.

“Alma means ‘world’ in Aramaic and it also means ‘soul’ in Spanish and Portuguese.

“So we think that has a very big and very meaningful meaning because it kind of shows a forward-thinking approach to things and how we wanted to bring a bit of opportunistic change to our existing brand. It was time to create a new identity for us and to be something more current.

The genesis of Elad Canada/Almadev

Lazer said that when Elad Canada was established in 1997, it focused on income-producing assets across various real estate classes, from office and industrial to retail and multi-residential. At one point, she even owned a casino in Fort Erie.

“We have been everywhere. . . primarily focused on Quebec and Ontario,” said Lazer. “At some point, we started to get more and more enterprising when it came to development.

“It started with conversions of some assets and then slowly progressed to building full-fledged multi-family communities, which is, if you like, our niche, what we are known for today.

“Many of the older, more historic projects we’ve done, whether it’s Emerald City in Ontario or Cité Nature and Le Nordelec in Montreal, were actually spinoffs from the portfolio of revenue-generating assets. income we had.

“We basically identified excess land, maintained it, and then added density and built mixed-use, multi-family residential communities on that land.”

The company continued to progress by starting to buy sites. Lazer said that nearly 8,000 units later, it has become known for its development of planned communities.

“Massive projects. . . . Most of our projects are thousands of units, millions of square feet, multi-phased communities rather than your standalone tower here and there. We try to engage in the economy of scale in this continued added value that these progressive communities provide while we focus on development activity.

“We have not abandoned our aspirations to generate revenue. We also own approximately 7.5 million square feet, primarily industrial and office, the majority of which, approximately 6.5 million square feet, in the United States in 11 major markets.

The mix of condos and rental apartments

Initially, Elad Canada owned thousands of multi-residential rental units, which were sold over the years and excess land was converted to build these mixed-use communities. Today, these communities are primarily comprised of condos, although a significant amount of rental housing remains.

For example, Lazer said Emerald City, the 35-acre planned community in North York, contains about 3,000 condo units and a few hundred rental units. It was recently completed.

“We see the value of both types of assets by providing solutions for both. To have a complete community, a healthy community, you have to consider both elements,” he said.

Lazer said the company has between 7,500 and 8,000 units in various stages of development and nearly seven million square feet of construction in the pipeline, including what’s under construction and proposed.

Almadev is currently developing Galleria on the Park, a planned community that will transform a 1970s Toronto shopping center into a vibrant mixed-use community that includes a 95,000 square foot community center and nearly eight acres of parkland.

IMAGE: Rafael Lazer, CEO of Almadev.  (Image courtesy of Almadev)

Almadev CEO Rafael Lazer. (Image courtesy of Almadev)

Located in Dufferin and Dupont, it will have 2,746 residential units with approximately 150 affordable rental units, including the Wallace Emerson Community Center, an aquatic center, a daycare center, a gymnasium with running track, a community kitchen, park facilities of eight acres with BMX/skateboard park, multipurpose court with basketball hoops, wading pool and kindergarten.

The project is expected to be completed by December 2024.

Lansing Square is another big project in Sheppard and Victoria Park with 706 condo units and 80 affordable rental units, with construction expected to begin as early as next year.

Lazer said the company also has active construction in Montreal of two rental properties comprising about 340 units.

The company also recently acquired a well-connected 11.6-acre site in Vaughan, adjacent to the Vaughan Metropolitan Center. This project is at the design stage.

“We haven’t gotten the density and zoning there yet, but we’re hoping it’s also going to be a really big site with thousands of units,” he said.

Almadev and the condominium market

“Lately we’ve seen a bit of a slowdown in sales, but I would still say condominiums are still coming. There are launches. There are sales. It may take a little longer to sell, but the demand is still there,” Lazer said.

“When you look at the Toronto and GTA market as a whole, even in Ontario you have to look at the macro, and the macro is, as long as this great country will need a steady stream of immigration to sustain GDP growth, demand would always seem to outstrip supply, especially when you see everywhere that some steps are being taken to reduce supply in a way that makes things a little more difficult in various jurisdictions. he explained.

“As long as this demand is growing, it is greater than the supply and we cannot even meet the demand in a regular year, much less have sufficient supply to cover the backlog of delays from the gaps between supply and demand. from previous years. There is a severe housing shortage in Ontario.

Even with rising interest rates, Lazer said he still sees demand for housing.

Real estate is a cycle; there are periods when it continuously rises and periods when it slips. However, investing in real estate, he said, is still probably the most stable and secure investment route you can find.

“If you want to find a market where you have a very good chance of a stable, overinflated return, that’s still your best bet.”

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