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HBNG Holborn busy on development front, names first president

Wayne Garrett steps into newly-created role after leading construction firm Maystar

CityPointe Heights in Brampton, Ont. (Courtesy HBNG)

HBNG Holborn Group has appointed its first president to drive its expansion plans, which include two recently acquired retail properties and a host of planned developments in the Greater Toronto Area, Southern and Central Ontario.

HBNG has over 30 years of history as a developer and builder of industrial, commercial and retail properties, municipal infrastructure, institutional buildings and residential lands.

Wayne Garrett was appointed to the company’s newly created position of president after previously serving in that same role for HBNG-owned Maystar General Contractors.

Garrett presided over a wide range of construction projects — including multi-storey retirement residences, a number of Toronto Transit Commission and hospital upgrades, and the Vaughan Civic Centre — during his tenure at Maystar.

“Management took a look at the company and felt that there was a gap in the organizational structure that needed to be filled,” HBNG vice-president of planning and development James Stevenson told RENX, discussing the methodology for hiring the 40-year-plus veteran of the construction industry.

“Wayne comes with a lot of experience and organizational skills that make him the best-suited to oversee managing the HBNG group of companies.

"He's going to implement some business strategies to increase our revenue and really improve our efficiencies.”

Erin Mills Town Centre

Among the properties Garrett will oversee is Erin Mills Town Centre in Mississauga, which was acquired from the Ontario Pension Board-affiliated OPB (EMTC) Inc. for $272 million on Jan. 31.

HBNG’s RGF Real Estate Fund is part of the investment consortium, currently managed by Pemberton Group, that purchased the property.

The site is comprised of a 900,000-square-foot shopping centre on more than 80 acres of land at 5100 Erin Mills Pkwy., close to Highways 403 and 407. 

“There are pockets of parking lot areas surrounding the mall that can be redeveloped into mixed-use, high-rise developments,” Stevenson said.

“We're still in early discussions with the city to essentially come up with a vision for the property that is going to be supportable by the city and that makes the most sense for that area.”

St. Catharines retail acquisition

HBNG also acquired a shopping plaza at 101-121 Lakeshore Rd. in St. Catharines in November for $14 million from a private investment company. 

The 5.25-acre property is anchored by Metro, Shoppers Drug Mart and a Liquor Control Board of Ontario outlet and has longer-term redevelopment potential because municipal officials are looking to increase density in the area.

“We have no real plans at this moment because there's some long leases and strong covenants at a great property,” Stevenson said. “We can just wait and see how the market evolves and explore other opportunities with it.”

Redevelopment of Mississauga YMCA site

RGF (Mississauga) Developments Inc., led by HBNG, purchased the Mississauga YMCA and an adjacent 182-space parking lot at the northeast corner of Burnhamthorpe Road West and Confederation Parkway for $90 million in December 2020. 

It’s working on a site plan application for the 4.5-acre property that would see the construction of five condominium towers ranging in height from 52 to 65 storeys, built over two podiums with ground-floor retail.

With an eye to current economic conditions, the goal is to launch sales for Phase 1 of the two-phase project in the fall of 2024.

The Bank of Canada raised the overnight interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.75 per cent on June 7, which Stevenson said could hinder an already slow condo sales environment.

“A lot of folks out there, including ourselves, are just waiting to see what the reaction is going to be in the marketplace. It's definitely going to be tough for 2023 and going into early 2024, but our hope is that by the end of 2024 the interest rates will start to come back down again and the market will start to pick up.”

Toronto, Markham and Brampton developments

In Toronto, the RGF Real Estate Fund has invested in The Pemberton, a 68-storey, 1,144-unit condo development at 33 Yorkville Ave., led by Pemberton Group. It’s under construction while sales continue and is scheduled for completion in 2027.

DRC (Markham) Inc., a joint partnership between Bratty Group and HBNG, purchased 1.75 acres at 8127-8149 Yonge St. in Markham for $26.5 million. The current retail site south of Highway 407 is viewed as a prime location for a residential high-rise development incorporating retail and commercial mixed-use space.

Zoning and Official Plan amendment applications have been submitted to build two 40-storey towers.

The hope is for sales, construction and occupancy to coincide as closely as possible with the future delivery of the northward extension of the Yonge Street subway line.

In Brampton, HBNG-owned housing developer Poetry Living is building its first high-rise project, CityPointe Heights, at the northeast corner of Queen Street East and The Gore Road. TACC Developments also has an ownership stake. 

Excavation for underground parking has been completed and it’s hoped 35- and 25-storey buildings with a combined 657 condo units will be ready for occupancy in late 2025.

The goal is to add another eight condo towers and medical/office space to the 7.5-acre site in the future.

Low-rise development in Asphodel-Norwood

HBNG has 130 acres of land in the Township of Asphodel-Norwood, a 20-minute drive east of Peterborough, for which it will soon submit applications to build approximately 700 low-rise homes and a six-acre commercial block anchored by a grocery store.

Stevenson said the local mayor, councillors and support staff are enthusiastic about the project and he expects approvals in place in time to launch the first phase of sales in the fall of 2024.

He anticipates building approximately 100 houses per year on the site.

HBNG is seeking other opportunities

HBNG is in the market for similar acquisition opportunities with good existing rental income, but also the potential for future redevelopment through the addition of housing, according to Stevenson.

The fully integrated development company is interested in building low-rise and high-rise housing and is also seeking industrial and retail properties.

“We're finding now that prices on land are finally starting to come down to values that are starting to make more sense from a financial point of view,” Stevenson said. “Before, with the lower interest rates, we were noticing people's expectations on land values were very high.”

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