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Realty team empowers landowners to become infill developers

by Neil Sharma on 14 Jan 2021

A few years ago, a local Main St. store operator in southern Ontario entered into an agreement with a property developer, and thinking the process would be simple and not delay-laden, he briefly relocated to a larger commercial property out of which he ran his business.

The problem was that developing land is anything but simple, and not only was the merchant paying exorbitant rent at his new location, he was still paying the mortgage on a property that ceased generating revenue. The predominant reason for the delay was the developer’s sales team had plenty of resale experience, however, they were like deer in headlights trying to sell preconstruction units on what would eventually become a boutique 32-suite mid-rise.

Enter Shaminder Gogna, broker of record and founding president of Condoville Realty Inc., whose team stepped in to take control of sales in fall 2019 after the previous team only managed a handful of sales in an extended period of time. Within 16 weeks, Gogna and his team had sold 80% of the project to clinch construction financing.

Infill sites are a good way for neophytes to dip their toes into real estate development, however, Gogna says that guidance is imperative because there are too many moving parts, each of which can easily sink an entire project. Condoville, which works with landowners in secondary and tertiary markets to develop parcels of land brimming with potential, takes charge of those projects, even helping raise capital from multiple investors—who typically double their investments in three years—to avoid overleveraging.

“When we bring the idea to landowners, their main concern is always that they don’t have the money to go to the city for things like approvals and/or rezoning, or that they don’t have the know-how to do any of this,” Gogna told CREW. “One of the biggest things we do is, along with communicating with the landowner throughout the process, we raise private equity so that we can get them to the point where the necessary capital has been raised, the site plan approved, we attain 80% sales, help them design the building and find a builder. We make sure the mortgage on the land is completely clear, and we get construction financing.”

Condoville—which currently has operational sites in Sudbury and the Niagara region, with more to come this year—also invests some of its own money in a bid to raise additional equity, added Gogna, 37, a broker who’s been in real estate for 15 years.

Integral to the company’s success is its aggressive and proficient sales strategy. Using top-producing real estate brokers from a variety of communities, Condoville casts a wide net and finds buyers expeditiously.

“We have top-producing realtors in every cultural group—a top-producing Cantonese speaker, a top-producing Punjabi or Hindi speaker, a top-producing Italian speaker, a top-producing Farsi speaker—and we equip them with ad dollars so that they go on the radio or their local cultural TV station and spread the word. We use pay-per-click ads and our rich database, as well. It’s our dollars and our time.”

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