This is the moment where the qualities we value as a company, like perseverance, tenacity, adaptability, agility, and innovation, made a meaningful difference.
Matt Young, CEO
When I think about how to describe 2020, a lot of things come to mind. No doubt it’s been a challenging year, and for many individuals and businesses it’s been a year of pain and tragedy. I don’t want to dimmish this for anyone, but if there is a silver lining, it is the resiliency and perseverance that so many have demonstrated while being forced to evolve in this continually changing environment. And for many, that resiliency and perseverance unlocked opportunities and resulted in many great accomplishments. Take vaccine development as an example. The fastest vaccine to be developed in history was for the mumps, and that took 4 years according to National Geographic. Here we are not even a year into China releasing the genetic sequence of COVID-19 and we’re already in the early stages of administering the largest vaccination program in human history. Remarkable.
I started 2020 with a great sense of optimism having just launched Republic. I had just closed on a partnership with my friends at Harlo Capital to develop a 4.5-acre parcel of land in South Scarborough, which by the end of Q1 had turned into approximately 26 acres of ultra-prime re-development land surrounding a GO station (only 18 minutes to Union Station no less). This land was a blank canvas in my hometown of Scarborough which has the potential to reshape a sizeable district of Toronto.
At this point, Republic was a team of one, and the idea of being a part of such a transformational opportunity felt more dream-like than reality. But like all dreams, eventually you wake up. In this case, the wake up came in March 2020, when the world locked down to combat a virus we knew very little about. Initially, we expected a few weeks of downtime. However, weeks turned to months, which turned into the rest of the year (and now into 2021). During this time businesses scrambled, lending slowed, stock markets collapsed, and capital markets virtually froze as the world stopped to assess the situation. Our ambitious vision for South Scarborough was in jeopardy.
This is the moment where the qualities we value as a company, like perseverance, tenacity, adaptability, agility, and innovation, made a meaningful difference. Our business plan hadn’t changed, and neither did our long-term outlook on Toronto and Canada, but the market dynamics certainly had. We had no choice but to swiftly recalibrate our strategy. One of the great benefits of being an agile organization is how quickly you can micro adjust your plan to deliver the outcomes you want. Even as we grow into a larger organization, agility will always be a part of our culture, but I digress. Once we recalibrated, we had to put our head down and execute relentlessly. Over the spring, summer, and fall, we began hiring our first team members (welcome Vladimir and Arben), took a new innovative approach to financing the project (big thank you to Atrium Mortgage Investment Corporation for believing in our vision and stepping up to support it), and worked tirelessly with our consulting team stress testing countless iterations of our plan until it was meeting our corporate and social objectives. Without their commitment, we would have never achieved what we have. In August, we introduced ourselves to the community and began an important conversation around city building, gathering necessary feedback that initiated further iterations of our plan. We also worked in partnership with Metrolinx to incorporate a new GO Transit station into the community, ensuring mobility and accessibility were key pillars of our plan. Finally, in October we submitted zoning applications to redevelop the 26-acre South Scarborough property which marked an important milestone for this project and our company. This is the short and sweet summary, but truthfully, I could write a book on everything that happened this past year. Maybe a project for another day!
To close this out, I’m incredibly proud of what our team has accomplished this year and am excited at what’s in store for 2021. One thing is for certain though….We are just getting started.
Happy New Year, and bring on 2021!
CEO, Republic Developments Inc.
2020 By The Numbers:
Property Acquisitions: 9
Property Dispositions: 1
Team Hires: 2
GFA Under Development: 5,500,000 sq.ft
Residential Units Under Development: 6,619
Capital Raised: > $60,000,000