Of all the standout qualities of Victor International – its focus on multi-generational living, low-density developments and sustainable communities, for instance – the company’s most defining quality is the thing that makes everything else possible – staying flexible. 

“We don’t have debt, so we don’t have that challenge on our projects,” Chairman David V. Johnson explains. “It keeps us entrepreneurial and it keeps us nimble, because we can make decisions, adapt quickly and make changes instantly. I can wake up at 3 a.m. and have an ‘a-ha’ moment and implement it at 8 a.m. It gives us the ability to adapt to the marketplace to meet the customers’ desires better than anyone else.” 

When you’re a developer selling buyers on natural beauty and charming local culture, it pays to make sure those things aren’t diminished by development. When you’re developing 2,500 acres of a largely undeveloped island – one that is a mere 18 miles long and five miles wide – your charge is even greater.

Fortunately, the Christophe Harbour development on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts is headed by a pioneer at this kind of thing. Buddy Darby, CEO of the Christophe Harbour Development Co., is the former CEO of Kiawah Partners, which developed the famous Kiawah Island, a private community off the coast of South Carolina. It was a development that succeeded in preserving the place’s unique natural environment and folksy Lowcountry flavor, while integrating luxury real estate and championship golf.

In a competitive landscape, being able to do what you say makes all the difference. As it celebrates its 20-year anniversary, Rosecroft Custom Homes has built its business on that concept. 

President Veral Herbst founded the Alberta-based homebuilding company in 1994 and today runs the business with his two sons. The company started in home maintenance work and quickly moved up to small home builds. Today, Rosecroft builds an average of 65 homes a year serving the starter and mid-range housing market. Herbst says the company plans to increase that number to an average of 75 homes a year. The only challenge in getting there is land. 

“It’s competitive for land,” Herbst says. “There are a lot of builders competing for land position with developers but that’s the only way to grow your business. You need land to build on. The developers only allow so many builders on each development so you have to get in a good position with them. Things are different here versus in the United States. In the U.S., a big builder can develop its own land and build houses, whereas we have to rely on developers to supply us with land.” 

Canada has enjoyed a long, hot housing cycle that has been a boon to many industries – residential development and construction, obviously, but also home renovation and even retail.

The real estate market in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is one of the strongest in the world right now. Tower cranes fill the downtown skyline as builders work to satisfy tremendous demand for condos in the city center. There are 55,000 condo units currently under construction in Toronto, and condo prices there have jumped 25 percent since 2009.

Taylor Morassutti, a partner at Toronto real estate developer North Drive Investments, explains that there are several factors driving the city’s condo market. For one, “Toronto ran out of available land to do much new single-family home development, so everyone transitioned to urban high-density development – condos,” Morassutti says.

After nearly two decades, Madison Pacific Properties Inc. has earned a reputation for providing a high level of value in its portfolio, CEO Marvin Haasen says. “We’re highly focused on customer service in our business,” he says. “We want to ensure that our tenants are happy with the facilities we own and that we’re responsive to their needs.”

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Madison Pacific focuses on acquiring and developing income-producing real estate properties located primarily in its home city of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland region. The company started operations 16 years ago, and today has a portfolio of industrial, office and retail properties worth $366 million, Haasen says.

Founded in 1975, Larlyn Property Management Ltd. has seen a great deal of change since its early days in London, Ontario. Nearly 40 years after its creation, Larlyn offers real estate management services across Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, employing more than 500 people and managing more than $6 billion in real estate assets.

Having grown into one of the largest service-focused fee management companies in Canada, Larlyn serves its markets by combining its national headquarters with regional branches. The company approaches the market in a variety of ways, offering services that include condominium management, residential management, commercial management and developer consulting.

Numerous cranes hover throughout Toronto’s skyline, making it one of the busiest cities for construction in North America, according to the city council’s economic development committee. And one of the leaders of the pack when it comes to the city’s construction development efforts is Brad Lamb, founder and president of Lamb Development Corp. (LDC). 

Lamb founded LDC in 2001 after spending more than 13 years consulting, marketing and selling more than 100 of Toronto’s major projects. His goal in creating LDC, the company says, was to “bring something different to the development world” and directly participate in the development of “stylish, urban condominium projects.” Since then, Lamb has completed 12 projects with more than 2,000 units. Additionally, LDC has four projects under construction for 1,050 more units, as well as eight projects in development, which will result in 2,000 units. 

If you ask Yosi Behar, the broker of record and the president of The Behar Group, the company’s agents are so much more than just employees. The charismatic industry veteran admits that he would, if he could, adopt all of them. “We treat each other like family here,” Behar declares. 

Executive Vice President Greg Evans agrees. “He treats me like a son,” Evans says, noting that Behar does the same for others within the company’s office.  “He introduces them to business opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

Based in Toronto, The Behar Group provides commercial real estate brokerage, advisory, and construction and property management services. Yosi Behar founded the company in 1992, after working for another development firm for 24 years.

When the development known as Auguston broke ground in 1998, it was located on the outskirts of Abbotsford, British Columbia. Beautiworld Development General Manager Ian Renton says that although the site benefited greatly from the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and valleys, it was a little remote. However, the growth of the community on Sumas Mountain in the intervening years has changed all of that. 

“Like a good red wine, it was ahead of its time and needed to mature for a while,” Renton says. 

For many people, homes are not just places where they dwell, but instead places where they create memories as they build their families. United Communities specializes in helping clients do that through its work.

“For more than 27 years, United has developed new communities where parks, pathways and vibrant streetscapes frame some of life’s most memorable moments,” it says. “With operations in Calgary; Edmonton; Sacramento, Calif.; and a resort community in Kimberley, British Columbia, United operates with one common mission and philosophy.”

United’s philosophy includes the tenets of acting with integrity, respect, dedication and understanding, while its mission includes such values as providing customers with continually improving products and services. Additionally, “[We strive] to create and maintain an environment where responsible employees can achieve their objectives,” it says.

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