One of the Toronto region’s most active investors and real estate companies is celebrating its 10th anniversary by rebranding from Marlin Spring Investments to Baz Group of Companies.
The branding change affects the parent company only; Baz Group’s four operating companies – Marlin Spring Developments, Spring Living Retirement Communities, Greyspring Apartments and Marlin Spring US Realty – will retain their current branding.
The company was co-founded by current CEO and CFO Ben Bakst and Elliot Kazarnovsky in 2013 with the acquisition of a low-rise development site which subsequently received approval to build 52 homes.
That paved the way for the formal establishment of Marlin Spring in 2014.
In the decade since, the firm has become one of Canada’s largest privately owned real estate firms. Its operating companies acquire, develop, construct and reposition assets throughout North America with investments spanning the development, multiresidential apartments and retirement community sectors.
It operates in seven Canadian and U.S. markets.
"In essence, the name change formalizes our company ethos,” said Rivki Mandelbaum, Baz Group’s vice-president, communications, in an email exchange with RENX.
Baz Group's strategic repositioning
It's a continuation of a strategic positioning process the firm initiated about three years ago.
“In contemplating the age-old debate between entrepreneurial agility versus institutional robustness, the Baz Group has consistently sought a harmonious blend of both, recognizing the unique merits and challenges each approach brings to the table.
“The pivotal shift towards institutionalization was formally announced by our CEO in 2020. We have worked hard to create that reality through the hiring of individuals that have had experience in some of the most well-known institutions in Canada and by implementing reporting and tracking systems for which institutions are known.
“This strategic evolution has strategically positioned our operating companies in a realm where they benefit from top-tier leadership — with both industry experts well-versed in their respective domains and visionary leaders who provide robust support and governance.”
The new brand, Baz, is an acronym which also contains a second meaning.
“Beyond being a clever amalgamation of 'BAkst' and 'kAZarnovsky,' Baz holds deeper significance in other languages, symbolizing a hawk or falcon,” Mandelbaum wrote.
“Recognized for its unparalleled vision, eight times more acute than that of humans, and remarkable speed, reaching up to 242 m.p.h., the hawk embodies the principles that have steered us to our present success and will continue to guide our future trajectory.
“Speed without vision is futile. So too, vision without speed can be worthless if one cannot get there in time.”
Current developments, real estate portfolio
Among Baz Group’s extensive list of current projects are several developments at various stages across the Greater Toronto Area including the 321-unit JOYA condos,and a three-tower proposal at 40-60 St. Lawrence Ave. (both in partnership with Greybrook); and 15 Ontario and Quebec retirement communities under Spring Living.
Its North American real estate portfolio includes more than 18,000 units in various stages of development, construction, repositioning and completion, and over 16.5 million square feet of gross floor area.
The completion value, as of June, was estimated at over $9.5 billion.