Fortress Real Developments acquires Avenue Road project from distressed developer

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Brookedale

Fortress Real Developments, a Richmond Hill-based real estate developer, has acquired a prime approved residential site in Toronto’s Avenue Road neighbourhood and plans to start construction later this year with partners from Fernbrook Homes and Cityzen Development Group.

Originally owned by Mady Developments, Brookdale on Avenue Road comprises a full block on the west side of Avenue Rd. from Brookdale north to Fairlawn. With a total site area of just over an acre, the project is approved for 146,917 sq. ft. of residential and another 20,129 sq. ft. of at grade commercial and a small rental component. Fortress stepped in to acquire the site after Mady began to suffer financial strain and the property went into a power of sale.

“We had three other projects with Mady beyond Brookdale and our teams have been working overtime on those as a result of them closing their doors,” said Fortress president and CEO Jawad Rathore. “We have exited our interest in Burlington, we are the leads in Winnipeg and our team has an excellent bid ready for Barrie.

“The last item was Brookdale and we’re thrilled to now control it and own it with such excellent partners in Fernbrook and Cityzen,”he said. “It was left as a huge mess; all the mortgages were in arrears, taxes were unpaid, and there were many registered liens. But in a matter of weeks we navigated a series of complicated legal maneuvers and came out on top. It was amazing how hotly contested this property was . . . probably one of the most sought after sites in Toronto so far in 2015.”

With 50 per cent of units already presold, the rest are expected to move quickly. “Our office has received numerous inquiries and offers to purchase already,” said Sam  Crignano, president and partner of Cityzen Development Group. “In anticipation of our involvement, our sales team has a number of deals awaiting approval. We look forward to starting construction over the next few months. This is a great site and we are pleased to be working with our partners at Fortress and Fernbrook.”

The site garnered tremendous interest as many other developers sought to outbid each other on the prime asset on which Fortress was eventually able to control.

Vince Petrozza, Fortress chief operating officer, helmed the team that navigated this complicated process. “It was incredible. We were putting together our deal with our new partners at the same time as we were cleaning up arrears and liens that the previous owners had left behind on both the first and second mortgages,” he said. “Our counsel at Robins Appleby and I put in some late nights and early mornings to win this site. Multiple parties were bidding aggressively early on in the process on a site that we knew ourselves has tremendous value. That shows the depth of this market, the open market value of this site and the tremendous value we were able to obtain it for.”

With permits already paid for and multiple offers for complete project financing, construction is expected to start in the next few months. “The team at Fortress prides itself on being creative and innovative. We really showed all of that off on this deal and are very excited to move ahead with top shelf partners in Fernbrook and Cityzen”, said Frank Margani, executive vice-president of strategy and development at Fortress.

Fore more information about the project visit BrookdaleonAvenue.com

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