EllisDon to complete Barrie’s Collier Centre after Fortress receives financing to resume work

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STAFF WRITER
The GTA Construction Report

Fortress Collier Centre Ltd., an affiliate of Fortress Real Developments Inc., has announced that it has successfully completed the acquisition of the Collier Centre project in downtown Barrie.

Following court approval in mid-November, all conditions were met, allowing Fortress Collier to purchase the property and secure complete control of the project. Financial terms of the purchase have not yet been released.

EllisDon will complete the project, and the developer says work will resume immediately.

Fortress chief operating officer Vince Petrozza spearheaded the process and relied on the collaboration of both internal and external personnel, the company reported in a news release. “This acquisition was made possible through the incredibly talented Fortress team who brings expertise from multiple disciplines to assess, process, plan and execute on the many facets of this transaction,” he said. “Financing, construction and legal were all integral parts of helping win and close this bid.”

The project began construction in September 2012 and is already 65 per cent complete, but came under distress in November 2014. According to the court appointed monitor’s reports, more than $7 million was unaccounted for in the project by the previous developer.

“This was an incredibly challenging process that was exacerbated by a very troubling situation left behind by those before us,” said Fortress executive vice president Frank Margani. “Our team was resilient in executing a sound plan to protect and improve this asset on behalf of all stakeholders. This represents the fourth transaction with this former developer in which a Fortress affiliate has successfully worked out a distressed project.”

Fortress sees this site as one with tremendous value as a marquee mixed-use development in the City of Barrie. “Our mortgage brokers and agents are pleased to pass this news on to the syndicate mortgage lenders in this project. We are impressed with the commitment Fortress has demonstrated time and again in getting projects back on track,” said Ildina Galati, a mortgage broker at Centro Mortgage Inc.

Full financing for the project is in place from Morrison Financial Mortgage Corp. with the timeline to complete the building on a planned construction schedule of about 12 to 14 months.

“We are thrilled to have awarded the contract to complete Collier Centre and LakeView Condominiums to EllisDon, one of Canada’s top builders,” said Jawad Rathore, Fortress’s president and CEO.

“This project needs to be finished in a timely fashion with quality workmanship and EllisDon can deliver exactly that.”

“EllisDon is excited to be part of the project team. Our team is mobilized and ready to commence work. We look forward to working with Fortress on this project,” said Kieran Hawe, senior vice president/Toronto area manager for Ellis- Don.

With more than 70 projects across Canada under construction, under development or already completed, Fortress continues to show its leadership and vision in the industry, Rathore said.

“This was not an easy deal. From the outset it was plagued by every conceivable issue. We were ready to close in August, but had to arrange a new financing package. This was a total team effort between our management team, legal counsel, lenders and all the dedicated professionals that support our business. We are thrilled to have acquired this asset and look forward to move in day for the wonderful commercial and retail tenants, and the residential condominium owners. From takeover to makeover, this is going to be an amazing addition to downtown Barrie.”

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