CanFirst Capital Management is a specialized commercial real estate private equity company with a proven, consistent and disciplined investing record.
CanFirst co-invests with institutional and private high net worth investors in Canadian, high-quality income-generating industrial and office properties that have added potential to exploit for growth. CanFirst then innovatively creates value in these properties, it preserves capital and aims to provide investors reliable and attractive risk-adjusted returns. CanFirst employs a disciplined investment strategy that ensures investments are focused on specifically targeted properties. Each Fund’s structure ensures an alignment of interest between the fund advisor and our partners.
Tell us about yourself?
I graduated from McGill University in 1980 and accepted a position in the real estate department of the Prudential Insurance Company of America. Real estate sounded interesting and dynamic and I thought that it would be worth a shot. Throughout the ensuing years, I worked for various companies in the industry, including Canderel, V&A Properties and Dundee Realty Corporation, and in 2002, I set out with a partner to launch CanFirst Capital Management.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
When the pandemic hit, many in the business world hit the “pause” button and understandably so. What has since become clear is that some businesses benefitted greatly while others suffered. With the benefit of hindsight, the best advice would have been to “stick to our knitting” and all would eventually be fine.
What problem does your business solve?
Being focused on the industrial sector, our business is based on buying and building corporate homes for many of our country’s companies. While we do develop new facilities, we also invest in older buildings with an eye towards investing capital to modernize them in order to meet the needs of contemporary businesses.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
We launched our business based on the premise that we could create a conduit for private and institutional investors to own private real estate that would be professionally managed and administered.
What is your magic sauce?
I believe that we present investors with a unique offering. We are a nimble, entrepreneurial group with institutional pedigree and compatibility.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Our company has experienced significant growth over the last 5 years and I see that growth continuing over the next 5 years. We offer different products for different investment appetites – everything from core investments to value-add to development of new buildings. In addition to those existing products, we will also be looking to further expand our platform into other areas of the real estate business.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The real estate industry has been awash in liquidity for many years, which has made securing new investments challenging and the investing landscape competitive. Against that backdrop, we have had to be innovative, nimble and industrious in order to compete effectively and to invest our capital judiciously.
How can people get involved?
Our family of Funds are available to private investors and we can be reached through our website at www.canfirst.com.