Fortress reaches agreements on new GTA sites

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            Land portfolio passes $1 billion mark

GTA Construction Report staff writer

Fortress Real Developments Inc., a Richmond Hill based real estate development and investment company, has entered into agreements on several high profile sites in partnership with some of Canada’s top developers, the company says in a news release.

“The six projects include two new mid-rise buildings in Toronto and Woodbridge with Cityzen Development Group and Fernbrook Homes, as well as a high-rise downtown Toronto tower and a pair of low-rise projects in Nobleton,” the announcement said.

Cityzen, headquartered in downtown Toronto, has been part of 22 projects over the past 14 years and completed more than 4,500 units with over 2,000 under construction and another 9,000 under development.

In 2014, Fortress presented an opportunity to Cityzen and Fernbrook to participate in a mid-rise site within the historic Old Market Lane in Woodbridge, the Fortress announcement reported. “With a neighbourhood success already under their belt, Cityzen and Fernbrook were the first choice for Fortress when seeking a top shelf development and build partner.”

 

“We had found the site a few years ago, and purchased it with an exciting vision for what could be done,” said Jawad Rathore, president and CEO of Fortress. “After working through initial concepts and discussions with the city, we wanted to make sure we had the right partner to turn that vision into reality. We could not be more pleased to be working with Cityzen and Fernbrook on this site.”

The site appealed to the new partners on many levels. “I’ve done projects of all scope and size and I really liked the scale of this handsome building for Old Market Lane,” said Cityzen president Sam Crignano. “Our friends at Fernbrook were a natural fit to join us on this site; our firm has worked closely with Danny Salvatore and the Fernbrook team for years and enjoyed tremendous success with them. We are excited to work with Fortress and start selling units soon.”

Fortress said it has also acquired the Brookdale project on Avenue Rd.. Fully approved by the Ontario Municipal Board and over 50 per cent sold, Brookdale is only the second new condominium project to come to this neighbourhood in the past decade.

Brookdale on Avenue Road 1

“We had the option to increase our involvement in this project and actually become an owner, which is an exciting opportunity for us,” said Fortress COO Vince Petrozza. “We were first involved only on a development profit participation basis and this full site acquisition now allows us to add an incredibly prestigious project to the $1 billion portfolio of lands we already own. We are meeting with several different developers and may engage Cityzen on this project.”

Fortress has also acquired a site in the Spadina and Adelaide area to develop with Cityzen that will launch later in Q1 of 2015. Frank Margani, executive vice-president at Fortress said in the news release that the “new Adelaide project will be our fifth in the area, with two already under construction and one topping off on the very same street.

“The old adage holds true – location, location, location. With location having been fully underwritten, the next piece of the puzzle is the partner, and I’m hard pressed to think of any other new partner we wanted to work with more than Cityzen, given the great relationship we’ve formed,” he said.

Cityzen has also partnered with Fortress on two low-rise sites on Highway 27 in King Township currently referred to as Nobleton North and South internally. “The new low-rise market in the GTA experienced strong absorption in 2014 despite a continued lack of available supply, especially in York Region,” said Ben Myers, senior vice-president at Fortress.

Old-Market-Lane-rendering1-full

“Much needed supply has been added recently in Nobleton, but demand is still far outpacing available product, as new single-detached house prices have increased 36% between 2010 and 2014 per CMHC data.”

Joe Valela of Tercot, also a partner on the sites in Nobleton, said: “The partnership between Fortress, Cityzen and my company is very exciting and I see many more opportunities in the hot single-family market. We see tremendous growth potential and value creation for all stakeholders in this partnership, primarily within Toronto and the surrounding GTA market.”

Fortress continues to look for opportunities in growth markets to expand its portfolio. The company says it has passed  the $1 billion dollar mark “with some tremendous projects and great partners.”

“We are thrilled to have acquired so many quality sites, and to be able to grow our relationship with our top tier partners,” said Rathore, adding that “2015 is shaping up to be a banner year, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

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