In Conversation With… Tariq Adi, President and CEO of Adi Development Group
If you’re in the market for a new home, or pay any level of attention to the new-home building industry in the western end of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, it’s hard not to notice Adi Development Group.
Based in Burlington but with projects extending into Toronto, Adi just feels like a different company. Thoughtful, on-target developments in choice locations, and a sharp focus on customer service, the condominium and townhome builder applies high standards to everything it does.
We spoke with President and CEO Tariq Adi for his insights on the home building landscape, and what lies ahead for the company in 2019.
Condo Life: Adi Development Group seems very customer-focused. How much does this help differentiate your company?
Tariq Adi: One of our top core values is that we’re “customer obsessed” – everything we do begins and ends with our customers. We feel that, in general, the customer service in our industry is not where it should be. We’re taking a radical approach to that and ensuring we treat our customers with five-star service and deliver on our promise. We aren’t perfect, but we wake up every day asking, “How can we better serve our customers?” Buying a new home is never easy, especially if it’s your first time. Our job is to make it as pleasurable an experience as we possibly can.
CL: Adi recently released Valera 2 ahead of schedule. What led to this decision?
TA: The launch of Valera was a huge success. The project was so well received, we didn’t anticipate how quickly it would sell. The buildings’ superior location and focus on design, coupled with the Adi brand’s customer-centric philosophy, was most likely what did it. We sold out the first building in virtually two days! This prompted us to launch V2 due to the overwhelming demand, so we could release more units. The project is going strong with VIP registrants still able to get a choice unit before the grand opening in early 2019.
CL: Uptown Burlington is really hot right now. What is it about this neighbourhood that makes it so popular?
TA: Uptown Burlington is by far one of the most desirable and hottest neighbourhoods in the GTA. The site is perfectly located right off the 407 ramps, with the 403 and Metrolinx GO station only a 10-minute drive south. The area is bustling with every kind of shopping and service-oriented retail, with schools, lush parks, walking trails and golf courses nearby. The site is in the middle of four major cities off Dundas Street, such as Hamilton, Waterdown, Milton and Oakville, and is perfect for commuters looking for something more convenient and more affordable.
The Niagara escarpment views give you the feeling of being somewhere scenic and secluded, while realistically being in the city with all the conveniences around you. The fact that new supply is virtually zero and the uptown corridor is built out from a lowrise and even infill perspective puts a lot of pressure on pricing. Single-family homes in the area exceed $1.3 million, and townhomes are selling for well into the $800’s. Not to mention the lack of rental accommodations available. The vacancy rate in Burlington has and remains very low at 0.5 per cent. All of these factors make the suites and townhomes at Valera a perfect investment for investors looking to rent their units, as they’ll never have a shortage of tenants.
Adi buildings will always rent at a premium. We pulled MLS listings of rentals in our recently completed LINK Condos + Lofts buildings, and the average rental in the building is inching to more than $3 per square foot, (per month), which is equivalent to downtown Toronto rents and a purchase price of half of what you’d pay in Toronto. From a value and affordability, and investment perspective and as prudent real estate investor, Burlington is probably where I’d choose to invest my money. And that’s where I’d put my money as a buyer looking in the GTA as well.
CL: Adi recently went before the Ontario Municipal Board for a review of your plan at Nautique in downtown Burlington. How have things progressed with this project since then?
TA: I’m happy to share that Nautique has finally been approved and construction will be starting this spring! It will retain its title of being the tallest tower in the city.
Municipalities need to realize that delaying developments leads only to an erosion in affordability and access to new homes for a much-needed sector of the market that can’t otherwise buy. Unfortunately, while they pretend to care, our pleas on building attainable housing and creating new jobs to stimulate the local economy fall on deaf ears. This is a bigger challenge facing our entire industry and local municipal planning departments, and city councillors need find more efficient ways of handling applications and accommodating growth without pandering to the NIMBYs. We’re seeing a YIMBY movement starting – which is always awesome!
CL: And what is the status of 64 Prince Arthur – a project you have called a “game changer” – in Yorkville, Toronto, which also went to the OMB?
TA: No updates yet, but we continue to work with our team to push our application forward. We feel the city needs to come to the table and ensure the success of these projects. As of now they appear to be overwhelmed with the volume of applications to the board and don’t have a real mechanism or process to deal with it. We still believe it’s a beautiful building that will put Toronto on the map from an architectural and urban design perspective,whether the city knows it yet or not.
CL: What are some exciting things taking place at some of your other communities?
TA: We’ve got a lot of great suites available in some of our current and existing communities that are either complete or under construction. There are some great units remaining at Link and Stationwest and, of course, Valera and V2.
There will be a lot of exciting things happening in 2019 with four major construction projects taking shape and new acquisitions in the pipeline.
We’re nearing completion of our Link Condos + Lofts community, with most of the units occupied and condos now registered. Stationwest by the Aldershot GOStation is taking shape, as well with the servicing program complete and buildings going up. We anticipate having some occupancies starting there in 2019. Nautique and Valera will also be starting construction soon, as well as a very small and exclusive townhome community called Aeria on the Burlington lakeshore.
Focus on value
CL: Affordability is a growing concern. How is Adi addressing this issue, to ease buyers’ entry into the market?
TA: Affordability and attainability are key focus areas for Adi in 2019. We’ll continue to deliver projects that offer cutting edge design, both architecturally and from an interior perspective, with a real focus on value and attainability for our buyers. I’m not sure how $1,500 psf is going to be sustainable for everyday folks in downtown Toronto. You’re really alienating an entire population at those prices. Projects such as Valera are perfect examples of that attainability, with one-bedroom units selling in the low $300,000s and townhomes, which will be released in the spring, from the mid $600,000s for more than 1,600 sq. ft. of living space. Assisting first-time buyers with mortgage options and down payment assistance will help us deliver housing to those buyers that are otherwise priced out of the market.
CL: Please finish the following statement: For Adi Development Group, 2018 was a year of:
TA: Customer focus and growth!
CL: And 2019 will be a year of:
TA: Even more customer obsession and growth!
- Nautique, Lakefront Residences, 374 Martha St., Burlington Now selling
- Nautique, Penthouse Collection, 374 Martha St., Burlington Now selling
- Valera Registrations only
- V2 Registrations only
- The West at Stationwest, Condominiums at Stationwest, 101 Masonry Crt., Burlington Now selling
- Stationwest, Smart-Style Townhomes, 101 Masonry Crt. Now selling
- LINK2 Condos + Lofts, Dundas Street West and Sutton Drive Move-in ready
- LINK Condos + Towns, Dundas Street West and Sutton Drive, Move-in ready
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