Colliers Development Advisory helps landowners through the development process


Land in the Greater Toronto Area is increasing in value every month. Some of them belong to experienced developers with plans for big projects. However, many large intensification-ready sites are owned by owners whose activities have nothing to do with development or construction, and they lack the knowledge to manage complex development processes.

625 Church Street, a Colliers project designed by RAW Design, image courtesy of RAW Design

“We manage risk for our clients because development is tough,” says Randy Gladman, Senior Vice President of Development Consulting for Colliers Canada’s Strategy and Consulting Group, experts in navigating the development process to ensure that customers derive maximum value from their sites in the same way that developers do. “The process is exhausting and very stressful. It can be politically dangerous, painfully complicated and financially treacherous. We lead the process throughout the project life cycle and ensure that our clients understand the process at every stage. The greatest value we provide to clients is enabling them to receive the financial rewards of development without having to give up control of their land. With our help, they can act effectively as developers. »

Podium of Colliers project 625 Church, image courtesy of RAW Design

The development consulting team consists of 19 employees in Colliers offices located in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Its portfolio of projects has a construction value in excess of $2 billion and includes high-rise mixed-use urban towers, affordable housing communities, large-scale industrial warehouses, urban and suburban office buildings and land. large-scale trade. Serving the public and private sectors, its clients include insurance companies, pension plans, private equity fund managers, corporations, family offices and nonprofits, universities and municipalities. . Colliers Development Advisory does not seek equity in projects – clients retain 100% control and retain all profits that Colliers’ efforts help generate.

Colliers 625 Church Project retail base, image courtesy of RAW Design

“In the past, these types of landowners usually had no choice but to sell part or all of the land to a developer,” says Gladman. “Now they can hire us as their development advisor so they can assume the risk required by all or part of the development process to improve the value of the land for themselves. We provide all the capabilities and capabilities needed to extract that value. We integrate our development consulting team into their business. »

Since the team is part of Colliers Canada, Development Advisory also offers a full range of services, including capital markets, debt advice, brokerage, project management, property management and appraisals. With its national reach of 40 Colliers offices across the country, Colliers Development Advisory brings a range of capabilities and resources that no other third-party development advisor in Canada can offer. As Gladman points out, for landowners, it’s important to engage these services as early in the process as possible.

Driveway at Colliers 625 Church Project, image courtesy of RAW Design

“We like to be engaged early on, when a landowner begins to realize that there are opportunities to intensify the land to extract value from it,” he says. “As they seek to understand and quantify these opportunities, we can conduct the development feasibility study. We can be engaged for the whole process or just parts. We often see situations where the client has hired an architect or planner, but they struggle to move the project through complex municipal approval processes.In our ideal situation, we manage all aspects, from delivery of feasibility studies to design, rights, construction and the start of rents.We identify exit routes at many points in the process where we can help clients exit the transaction when they wish.We take pride in leading all of our projects with an “ownership” mentality.

It is clear from the services provided by Colliers Development Advisory that many landowners turn to them to manage the often confusing development process. If the feasibility study shows that there is a beneficial profit to be made from scaling up, Colliers recruits the necessary design team consultants through a rigorous and transparent tendering process. They then lead the design process, manage engagement with external stakeholders including municipal politicians, resident associations and BIAs, and lead the eligibility process, whether it is plan modification official, zoning by-law amendment, plan of subdivision or site plan approval, etc. allowing.

Driveway at Colliers 625 Church Project, image courtesy of RAW Design

625 Church Street, a downtown Toronto site located between Hayden Street and Charles Street East, is an excellent example of the value that Colliers Development Advisory provides to its clients and, therefore, to the community. Colliers has led the landowner’s development efforts since the project launched in 2018.

“In the first quarter of 2022, this project was submitted to Toronto City Council and our zoning bylaw amendment was approved, authorizing a 56-story tower that will eventually offer 617 residential units, including affordable apartments,” explains Gladman. “This is not just a huge win for our client, but also for the city. In the midst of a housing crisis that only happens once in a century, we all stand to gain when so many new homes are built. less than a five-minute walk from three existing metro stations. We are very proud of this achievement.”

Land is a valuable asset, especially in a city as dense as Toronto. Colliers development advisory services can help landowners maximize the value of their land, while also helping the greater good.

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