The 2.65-acre property at 60 Dundas St. E. in the Cooksville neighbourhood was acquired on Sept. 8 from a private investor group for $39.6 million. The existing plaza’s tenants include restaurants, a pharmacy, a small supermarket, a medical clinic, a Canada Post outlet and several other retailers.
“My dream is to build two rental buildings and sell a third building as a condo for a mixed development site,” Almega chief executive officer Basem Hanna told RENX. “That would allow our investors to recapture capital right away through the condo process, which is a much more transactional process.
“But the majority of the site would remain owned as rental and produce cash flow.”
Plans for Cooksville
Mississauga’s official plan pinpoints Hurontario and Dundas Streets as an “Intensification Corridor” that will be developed with a greater concentration of homes, employment opportunities, transit and other services.
“It’s an area that has not seen a lot of development yet, but it’s in all of the city’s plans,” said Hanna.
The goal is to have 20 per cent of the rental units classified as affordable. The development is also planned to include unique community space, though Hanna said it’s too early to offer any details about that component.
As with other Almega developments, 10 per cent of the profits will be donated to charities chosen by employees.
Windsor Private Capital’s involvement
After missing out on acquiring another Mississauga property at 180 Burnhamthorpe Rd., Hanna realized Almega needed a larger equity partner for this project when it first considered the acquisition in February.
A mutual contact helped put the company together with Windsor and the site was acquired for Almega’s fifth fund.
Toronto-headquartered Windsor is a merchant banking firm which, with its affiliates, advises and manages more than $2.5 billion on behalf of institutional and high-net-worth investors.
It has completed transactions in a wide range of industries, including real estate, financial services, technology, telecommunications, consumer products, manufacturing and retail.
“They’ve done several developments in Mississauga along the Hurontario corridor with other developers,” said Hanna. “They bring a wealth of knowledge and not just an equity cheque.
“They’ve been through this process with others and have been very valuable to us in terms of being able to make sure that we’re lined up everywhere we need to be in order to perform on a multi-tower site.”
Mississauga-based Almega is the development partner for the Cooksville property, but Hanna said major decisions will be made jointly by the two companies. The property is expected to be entitled within three years and fully developed within 10 years,
824 Sheppard Ave W.
Almega is going through the approvals process for a project at 824 Sheppard Ave. W., between Allen Road and Bathurst Street, in Toronto.
Two commercial plazas, 14 residential rental units, one detached home and surface parking currently occupy the property.
Almega has proposed to build a 14-storey mixed-use building with 270 residential rental units (with 20 per cent of them classified as affordable), four retail units, a daycare centre and 213 underground parking spaces.
Hanna is hopeful construction will begin in early 2023 and he estimates it will take three-and-a-half years to build.
The Almega development pipeline
Almega’s goal is to create long-term recurring cash flow through the acquisition, development and ongoing management of affordable and institutional-grade multifamily apartments.
“We have over 1,000 units under development and the total value of our assets is over $1 billion,” said Hanna. “We have over a million square feet under development.”
Almega is looking at potential acquisitions in Brampton and Mississauga, where Hanna believes it can include elements to benefit the local communities.
One project would be in the 300,000- to 400,000-square-foot range while the other would be more than two million square feet. Hanna said there’s a more likely chance of acquiring the smaller property.
“We’re starting to see bigger deals. The real estate community has taken us in and we’re trying to earn respect the old-fashioned way, which is doing good deals and executing on the things that we say we’re going to do.
“Real estate is a long game. My first major project will probably be done in five years. I’m building a pipeline and I’m working my (butt) off to deliver on the promises I’m making.”
Hanna wants Almega to start exploring acquisition and development opportunities in the United States next year.