Tag Archives: Ottawa

Emblem Developments aims to make its mark in condo development

Emblem Developments aims to make its mark in condo development

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Emblem Developments aims to make its mark in condo development

Walking into Emblem Developments, the first thing that strikes me is the intersecting glass walls of the company’s 42nd floor Bay St. offices, which overlook the most expensive office space in Canada. I think to myself, this is no average builder. A writer in real estate for more than 20 years, I am more than intrigued, and want to learn more.

Emblem Developments aims to make its mark in condo development
Artform co-working lounge

I’m greeted by a background out of the TV show, Billions, a calm white environment, reminiscent of an art gallery, combined with the high energy of a stock trading floor. Incredible original art adorns the walls, set against a myriad of people focused on their computer screens. I can’t help but wonder, who is Emblem Developments and why have I never heard of them?


Emblem Developments
Artform condos south of Square One in Mississauga, by Emblem Developments 

As I sit in a comfortable boardroom overlooking the financial district of Canada, in comes the impeccably dressed Kash Pashootan, CEO and brand maven of Emblem Developments. He greets me warmly with a strong handshake and a genuine welcome. At first, I’m taken aback, maybe a little intimidated by his calm demeanour, and direct, let’s-get-to-it attitude.

Kash Pashootan, CEO and brand maven
Kash Pashootan, CEO, Emblem Developments

Pashootan is the visionary and leader of Canada’s fastest growing entrant to the condominium development market. A space for those with a keen sense of what people want and need in an ever-changing landscape. I ask him why condominium developments? He warmly smiles, and with a tone of incredible confidence replies, “We recognized that this industry would be a growth market in Canada for many years to come. As the cost of living rises, the demand for living ‘up’ will become more pronounced. This landscape, combined with $1 billion-plus of capital our investment management arm, First Avenue, manages, means we are able to take advantage of this for the benefit of our clients and firm.

“Investors want and need to be able to pursue growth in their portfolio outside of simply the stock market,” Pashootan adds. “In 2018, the stock market was down double digits and our real estate investments were up double digits. March of 2020 we saw most stocks drop as much as 30 per cent, but our real estate holdings held steady. And that makes a blue-chip investor, like myself and my clients, sleep very well at night.”

First Avenue has been featured in Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, Hong Times and Washington Post, to name a few. The company has built its reputation on its long term portfolio performance during good and bad markets.

“Managing stocks will always be a core focus for us, but first and foremost is protecting and growing the wealth of our clients,” says Pashootan. “When one’s portfolio is able to pursue growth and not have it solely reliant on stocks, given our exposure to real estate, it achieves an effective portfolio approach that up until recently only billionaire families were able to access.”

Emblem Developments has sites ongoing across Ontario, with more than 1,600 condominium units currently under construction, pre-sale and planning, in four distinct markets – Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and Mississauga.

“The expansion is at a rapid pace because, like most pension funds or REITs, we don’t require third party financing to acquire a new development site,” says Pashootan. “With more than $1 billion of permanent capital under our management we are able to move faster than our competitors. Which places us in a very enviable position.”

Emblem Developments has already started construction on Robinson Village in Ottawa, comprising 291 units of purpose built rental living. Style and design are the pillars the Emblem brand is built on.

“Regardless of the market we are building in, you will feel the soul behind our brand when you see the buildings or walk through them. Our brand comes through in our design and our finished product,” says Shamil Jiwani, associate director of real estate for Emblem Developments. “We are obsessed with exceptional design, recognizing that it is the main factor that determines quality of life for a homeowner.”

Shamil Jiwani, director of real estate
Shamil Jiwani, associate director of real estate, Emblem Developments

Emblem’s next project in Mississauga is no exception to this unique philosophy. The new project is aptly named Artform, and located south of Square One. Emblem has spared no expense in its creative design of a timeless, cool and luxury feel in the heart of Mississauga.

The icing on this project is that the new community will be set against the new Dundas Connects transit system, which links Dundas from Oakville to Toronto in one line.

“This is a unique and incredible opportunity for condominium buyers to get in on the ground floor of this change that is happening in Mississauga,” says Hunter Milborne of Milborne Group.

“Emblem Developments is a full-service condominium developer,” adds Raki Raoufi, vice-president of construction, Emblem Developments. “We will design, build and service all of our units, which makes us care a little more, give a little more and hope you come back for a lot more.”

Raki Raoufi, vice-president of construction
Raki Raoufi, vice-president of construction, Emblem Developments

Raoufi brings with her more than 20 years of highrise building expertise to the Emblem brand.

“The Mark of Exceptional Design” is the Emblem mantra, and it seems to be spot-on. It becomes evident very quickly that no corners are being cut with any facet of the company’s business, most noticeably the quality and commitment of the experienced professionals I spoke to.

“I love design,” says Pashootan. “There is no substitute for great design. I am passionate about Emblem creating spaces that give you that intangible feeling of you don’t know why, but ‘it feels right.’ That feeling is not achieved by what kind of floors you have or the colour of cabinets. It is achieved by how all parts of the design interact, behave and work together. Exceptional design is not just our slogan, it’s our belief as an organization.”

I leave this interview with the conclusion that: Stocks and real estate can mix well together, not all Bay Street professionals are only number crunchers, and most interestingly, that Kash is a killer but more humble than most with a fraction of his success.

With more than $1.1 billion in real estate assets, Emblem’s mindset, and the strength of an award-winning team, the developer is truly making a mark in this industry.

Cooksville - BEFORE
Artform in Cooksville, today
Cooksville - AFTER
Artform in Cooksville, tomorrow

Click here to view video.


This story previously appeared in Toronto Life magazine. 


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Downtown Toronto

Toronto still one of the fastest growing cities in North America – even with the impact of COVID-19

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Toronto still one of the fastest growing cities in North America – even with the impact of COVID-19

Toronto was the fastest growing metropolitan area in Canada and the U.S. last year, overtaking Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington, Tex., according to new data from the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development (CUR) at Ryerson University.

Downtown Toronto
Photo: Wayne Karl

And even though Toronto will take a hit as a result of COVID-19, it is still expected to be one of the top cities in North America.

Toronto was the only Canadian metropolitan area in the top five; Montreal was sixth and Vancouver twelfth.

Metro Toronto grew by 127,575 persons in 2019, outpacing Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington, which grew by 117,380 persons, to become the fastest growing metropolitan area in all of the U.S. and Canada.

Short-term impact

The research for this latest report was conducted prior to COVID, covering the period of July 2018 to July 2019, so the results are likely to change over the next year, CUR says.

“COVID is estimated to drop immigration (to Toronto) by half this year,” Diana Petramala, senior CUR researcher told Condo Life. “Therefore, this will likely push Toronto down the list of fastest growing cities.

“Toronto’s main strength is immigration, whereas places like Dallas are benefiting from millennials leaving more expensive areas like New York. Toronto, however, will continue to do better than New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – areas that are seeing large outflows of millennials in search of more affordable housing and jobs.”

The impact of COVID in Toronto will be short term, Petramala adds. “Immigration is still allowed, so as other countries move out of lockdown and processing offices open up and airlines start flying again, you will like see a snap back in immigration.”

Outpacing New York

Toronto, in fact, had almost three times the population growth from immigration as New York in 2019. Both regions experienced a loss in resident population to other areas (domestic net migration), but the rate was four times faster in New York.

In terms of population growth on a city basis, as opposed to the metropolitan area (GTA), Toronto (45,742 persons) and Montreal (31,565) represented the two fastest growing cities in all of the U.S. and Canada over the study period. Overall, Canadian cities represented 11 of the top 20 central cities in the U.S. and Canada in population growth, with Calgary, Ottawa and Edmonton placing fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

While the city of Toronto’s population grew by 45,742, New York City’s decreased by 53,264.


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Toronto and Canada to lead global markets in post-COVID-19 real estate recovery: ReMax

Toronto and Canada to lead global markets in post-COVID-19 real estate recovery – ReMax

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Toronto and Canada to lead global markets in post-COVID-19 real estate recovery – ReMax

Canada’s – and Toronto’s – real estate markets will be among the strongest in the world in a post-COVID-19 recovery, according to a new report from ReMax Canada.

A Leger survey conducted on behalf of ReMax indicates that 56 per cent of Canadians who are planning to engage in the real estate market expect to do so in less than a year, showing an eagerness to get back to buying and selling.

Almost half (44 per cent) of Canadians believe the real estate market will bounce back to the strength it was before COVID-19 by 2021. Moreover, 29 per cent believe that before the end of 2020, the market in Canada will return to its pre-pandemic strength.

“While the Canadian market has seen a steep year-over-year decline in the volume of transactions during the peak of COVID-19 this spring, transactions have been happening and prices in particular have been resilient in much of Canada,” Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director, ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada, told Condo Life.

Christopher Alexander
Christopher Alexander

Alexander points to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), showing that national home sales in May were up 59.6 per cent from April. “Now that economies are beginning to reopen across the country, and in light of some of the recent activity we’ve seen in various cities across Canada, we anticipate that demand could begin to improve much faster than we initially anticipated at the beginning of COVID-19.”

In Toronto, Canada’s largest market, housing demand is already showing signs of rebounding. “The city has experienced an uptick in activity and a number of multiple-offer scenarios, pointing to a post-lockdown housing market outlook that is not nearly as dire as some suggested. Actual May 2020 sales increased by 55.2 per cent compared to April 2020.”

“Canada’s housing market was strong before COVID-19 hit, and despite the tragic impacts of the pandemic, we are optimistic that housing market could be restored much sooner than initially expected,” says Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president, ReMax of Western Canada. “As we saw in our 2020 Liveability Report, Canadian communities are resilient and people love their neighbourhoods, showing a collective commitment to bounce back.”

Pre-existing pent-up demand for homes in hot markets such as Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa may help mitigate the decline in buyers who are suffering pandemic-related job losses, ReMax says. Exceptionally low inventory in much of Canada may also contribute to upward price pressure as restrictions ease and demand increases further.

In line with economists’ predictions, ReMax Canada estimates relative price stability by the end of 2020, with a possible price correction in the single digits. Exceptions include regions such as Alberta and Newfoundland, which are still struggling to rebound from a host of shocks, the dive in resource revenues, and the potential for a second wave of COVID-19.

Real estate technology

The pandemic has pushed the global real estate industry to embrace a variety of technology tools that were previously available but not always adopted to facilitate a transaction. Now, professionals are integrating 3D home tours and virtual open houses into their listing and selling practices. Given that almost half of Canadians (46 per cent) say that in a post- COVID-19 landscape, they’d prefer to work with real estate agents who use technology and virtual services in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, agents will need to adapt in order to secure and build their businesses.

This sentiment is shared across both the U.S. and Europe, which have witnessed a shift in consumer wants toward a more digitalized homebuying and selling experience, such as e-signatures, virtual meetings and digital paperwork. ReMax notes that in some instances, buyers are still requesting in-person home tours before completing a transaction.


Canadians loving their neighbourhoods in COVID-19

Why Canadians should think long term in real estate – especially now

Outlook 2020 – 5 things you need to know about real estate this year





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Broccolini River & Fifth

Broccolini preparing for market return with hiring push, plans for Toronto

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Broccolini preparing for market return with hiring push, plans for Toronto

Canadian industrial, commercial and residential real estate developer Broccolini is ramping up hiring activity in anticipation of when market activity returns.

It also has plans for expansion in the Toronto residential market.

Broccolini River & Fifth
River & Fifth, at 5 Defries St., along the banks of Toronto’s Don River

The Montreal-based company, also with projects in Toronto and Ottawa, is looking to fill several positions in the coming weeks, ranging from planning to construction to property management.

“We are proud to have been able to keep our entire team employed throughout the pandemic, with the exception of the day labourers directly affected by the closure of the construction sites,” says Anthony Broccolini, chief operating officer at Broccolini. “Our exceptional positioning in the real estate market is now affording us the opportunity to further expand our team following these difficult times.”

Positions are available in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

Strong growth projected

Once construction activities resume, Broccolini says its expectations for growth are excellent, thanks to a full backlog of contracted projects; a reflection of the quality, scale and prestige of the various industrial, commercial and residential projects the company has delivered over the last few years.

To carry out the projects already underway, and those that will be launching in the coming months, Broccolini is looking to hire a senior project manager, manager of real estate development, site superintendent and more.”

While we expect sales velocity to take some time to return to pre-COVID levels, the fundamental imbalance remains between supply and demand in the residential market in Toronto,” Phil Brennen, associate vice-president, real estate development, told Condo Life.

“The bottleneck that existed before the pandemic, which is essentially a function of approvals processes that have seen cycle times of three years or more, has been closed off completely as already overworked staff at the City have unable to accept new submissions. Add to that the fact that a number of projects that were slated for launch this spring and summer have been pushed back indefinitely, and you potentially have a major issue with supply. So, though demand for new units may initially be slower when activity resumes, the units available for buyers will be significantly diminished. As a result, the expectation is that while velocity will take some time to come back to normal levels, pricing will not soften.

Bullish on Toronto

“At the end of the day – particularly in times of uncertainty – residential real estate in a rapidly growing global city remains a safe and desirable investment,” Brennen says.

Broccolini has two large residential highrise projects underway in Toronto, in downtown east. River & Fifth, at 580 units and 38 storeys, was under construction until the industry-wide pause in activity.

“Once the provincial government gives the okay, excavation and shoring work will continue,” Brennen says.

The second project, at 385 units and 34 storeys, is close to the finish line for approvals, he says. The intent was to launch sales in the summer, though this will be reviewed depending on the timing of the return to the “new normal.”

Broccolini has several sites in the works, and is actively pursuing new acquisitions during the current slowdown, says Brennen.

“We believe strongly in Toronto’s high-density residential market and will continue to invest a significant portion or our resources in new deals in the months and years ahead.”

Broccolini is a single-source provider of planning, construction and property management services for industrial, commercial, institutional and residential buildings. Its real estate management subsidiary manages a portfolio of more than 50 properties, representing a total of more than 6.5 million sq. ft. of assets.


Homebuyer intentions still high: HPG COVID-19 Real Estate Survey

How buyers can prepare for the busy buying season – post-COVID-19

Why Canadians should think long term in real estate – especially now



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Work Smart, Not Hard – Chalk Your Drywall

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Work Smart, Not Hard – Chalk Your Drywall

A standout idea: Use chalk to tint your drywall mud


Paul Gonsalves of PTG Construction in Ottawa shares his tip on highlighting drywall touch-ups before painting.

It can be hard to see drywall touch-ups if the room isn’t heavily lit up or if the mud is a close colour to the wall. Mix in a little chalk line powder to your mud and it will easily stand out on the wall once dried. A light sand, primer touch-up, and you’re good for topcoats.

A cut above

Got a colourful tip of your own? Share it with us and you could win a great prize from DeWalt. Send your tips to allan@renocontractor.ca, or snail mail us at:

Work Smart!, c/o
Renovation Contractor
37 Sandiford Dr., Suite 404
Stouffville ON L4A 3Z2


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Fresh Towns

A Fresh new take on capital living

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A Fresh new take on capital living

by Gale Beeby
Editor, HOMES Magazine & Condo Life

Ottawa may well be the ultimate company town, with most employment centered around the government of Canada, be it federal employees or any number of supporting industries from law firms to lobbyists to restaurant and hotel workers. It also has a reputation for being a little, er, straightlaced.

But that isn’t so true anymore. Residents of Canada’s capital no longer have to head across the Ottawa River to Hull, Quebec, in order to find some evening entertainment or fine dining. Ottawa has grown up and is now growing out and is seeing a growth spurt in population and residential developments.

And why, you may wonder, is this interesting? I always want to know what is happening in the real estate market, not only in the GTHA, but also throughout Ontario and Canada. So, when Fresh Towns came to my attention, I couldn’t help but be interested.

Located in Ottawa’s increasingly popular west end neighbourhood of Qualicum, Fresh Towns by Greatwise Developments has sold over 70 per cent of its first phase in less than a month and every indication points to the imminent release of the community’s second phase being met with the same enthusiasm.

With a unique urban design and highly desirable features, Fresh Towns offers a stunning contemporary option along with an affordable price point.

Greatwise used online surveys from the earliest stages of development to help pinpoint precisely who their buyers are and what they are looking for — the best in modern living with an indoor/outdoor element and lots of opportunity to tailor their homes to suit their individual needs.

As a result of this inclusive approach, available models at Fresh Towns include three-storey rooftop towns, which offer residents their own personal sanctuary overlooking this growing neighbourhood. Traditional three-storey towns are also available, and every model in both styles offers a private garage.

Features and finishes throughout are hand picked by Ottawa’s West of Main Interior Design. With designer backsplashes and countertops and engineered hardwood floors, buyers can also custom tailor their living spaces through lifestyle finishes packages.

The neighbourhood has everything residents want, especially families and first-time buyers, including proximity to schools, shops, transit, highways and downtown, as well as Morrison Park, Andrew Haydon Park, the Nepean Sailing Club and the Ottawa River, all big draws for those who love the great outdoors. For those looking for a delicious culinary experience, the area boasts numerous restaurants, clubs and pubs. Fresh Towns starts in the low $300,000s for more than a 1,000 square feet, and although the largest units are a spacious 1,663 square feet, prices go up only into the $400,000s. Highly affordable by GTA standards.



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