Property Biz Canada

Intracorp growth leads to North American consolidation


Intracorp is one of North America’s largest developers of multi-family homes, with about $4 billion worth of projects on the go. The company is moving to bring that sprawling organization under one leader and one corporate banner.

Intracorp CEO Don Forsgren.

Intracorp will consolidate its North American operations under its Intracorp brand, and under the leadership of CEO Don Forsgren. (Image courtesy Intracorp)

Intracorp North America president and chief executive officer Don Forsgren will be responsible for all Canadian and U.S. operations, the company recently announced. The business will also operate exclusively under the Intracorp brand (projects had formerly been marketed as stand-alone developments in the U.S.).

“What has changed has been significant growth in all our regional markets to a scale that shared services and wide-scale collaboration and best practices became viable,” said Forsgren. “The opportunity to collaborate to add innovation to each real estate market created a strategic advantage.”

Intracorp’s developments

Owner Joe Houssian founded the Vancouver-based company in 1976 as Intrawest, but the name changed to Intracorp in 1994.  Over the years, the company has developed 27 million square feet of real estate and delivered more than 22,000 homes in 176 communities.

Intracorp has 40 active development projects in Ontario, British Columbia, California and Washington that combined represent approximately $4 billion worth of real estate, according to Forsgren.

“It takes three to 10 years from site identification to completion,” he said. “We consider longer-term trends and analysis more so than what happened in the market over the last quarter from a business planning perspective. 

“All of our existing markets are expected to be over-performing for many years. We also have two or three additional markets on the radar we are evaluating at the present time.”

Intracorp’s current Canadian projects

Intracorp has 43 communities in B.C. It’s currently selling three developments in Vancouver:

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* 26 three-bedroom townhomes ranging in size from 1,617 to 1,804 square feet at 7430 to 7488 Granville in Vancouver, which will be completed early next year;
* Belpark, a collection of 120 one-, two- and three-bedroom homes and three- and four-bedroom lock-offs around West 59th Ave. and Alberta St., which will be completed in the summer of 2019;
* and The Jervis, which is being developed with Inform and will feature 58 two- and three-bedroom suites ranging in size from 1,149 to 2,912 square feet when completed next fall.

Intracorp is also developing two 30-storey towers in downtown Vancouver’s west end in partnership with Strand Development. The first is expected to come to market next fall.

 “Metro Vancouver is extremely supply-constrained and getting more so,” said Forsgren. “This is a major reason why we like this market. It has been and will be desperate for homes for a long time.”

In Toronto, Massey Tower is being developed in partnership with MOD Developments Inc. and Tricon Capital Group’s Tricon XII Limited Partnership at 197 Yonge St.

The 60-storey tower designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects integrates the 1905-built Bank of Commerce and will have 697 suites ranging in size from 377 to 1,085 square feet. Intracorp’s only current Ontario development is scheduled for completion next fall.

Intracorp’s Washington and California activity

Intracorp has 11 communities in Washington. Seattle is also supply-constrained and has great prospects for growth and stability while shifting from a strong regional city to an American leader and a global player, according to Forsgren. 

“We are advancing an innovative affordable rental building with 319 homes and 12,000 square feet of retail in downtown Seattle,” said Forsgren. “The project is unique in the way we are including an experiential retail laneway to knit our new development into the existing fabric of the community.”

That project will move forward in late 2018.

Intracorp has 18 communities in California. There’s less constraint in terms of land and product choice in southern California, where Forsgren likes the long-term housing prospects.

“In southern California we have recently commenced construction of the first of three urban infill townhome communities that together will include 247 homes in the city of Irvine,” he said. 

Intracorp also has a presence in the hot technology market of San Jose, Calif., where Google, Adobe Systems and Oracle Corporation are all building new capacity in the central urban core. The company expects to break ground on a 381-unit rental apartment building near the newly announced Google campus in the spring.

Intracorp also built two condominiums in Waikiki, Hawaii: Watermark, which was completed in 2008; and Allure Waikiki, which was completed in 2010.

Intracorp is a prolific partner

Forsgren said much of Intracorp’s business is conducted with a wide range of partners, including: private land owners looking to participate in redevelopment; commercial land owners looking to retain income assets while monetizing the residential potential of their property; non-profit housing societies seeking renewal or densification; and housing co-op group properties.

Capital investments have come from private equity firms, large institutional investors, real estate investment trusts and high net worth individuals looking for real estate exposure.   

“We find creative and smart real estate solutions for our partner, whoever they are or what their needs might be,” said Forsgren.  

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Steve McLean

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot Canadian Bands and has taught reporting to college students. He is based in Toronto.

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