Edmonton-based Mayfield Management Group Ltd., a property management company for rental apartments and condominiums, continues to grow its footprint in Alberta as it prepares for expansion into other provinces, including Ontario.
A.J. Slivinski, president and CEO of the company, told RENX Mayfield has recently launched in Ontario.
“We are exploring and taking our model to Ontario and we will eventually be moving into B.C. as well,” he said.
Mayfield, which began operations in 1991, manages apartment buildings and condominium buildings in Edmonton and Calgary where it has about 3,500 apartments and 4,000 condo doors. The company does not own any of those properties.
“With inflation on fuel and food, we are starting to see a whole new migration into Alberta – Calgary and Edmonton. And many of these people are looking for these A-class, purpose-built apartment buildings,” said Slivinski, adding housing costs in places like Vancouver are also driving people to Alberta.
“We’re seeing the demographic there being the Millennials, the Gen Zs and then the empty nesters who are leaving the suburbs and re-establishing themselves in these purpose-built A buildings.”
Roundabout journey into property management
Slivinski’s journey to heading up Mayfield operation is an interesting one.
After receiving a commerce degree at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, he started working for Maple Leaf Foods in 1987 and was promoted to Calgary where he eventually became a regional manager for Western Canada. Later he was transferred to Toronto and handled the Walmart and Costco accounts in North America.
“In 2001, I started to invest in real estate. The reason I started to invest in real estate had to do with the fact that the tech crash happened in 2001. I lost half my RSP money in the stock market and I thought ‘What am I going to do to control my health?’ ” Slivinski said.
“I found out that most people had made their first million in their lives investing in real estate. So I taught myself investment in real estate, started buying condos across Canada.”
In 2003, Slivinski became the vice-president of business development for an online gaming company. Nine months later, the company asked him to move to Cyprus to build a contact centre.
“The Americans were looking to make online gaming illegal and Europe was embracing online gaming and licensing, so we needed to have more of a physical presence in Europe,” he said of the move.
The operation started with two people, he said, and within three years 127 people were dealing with clients in 12 languages in a 24/7 operation.
Switch from condos to rental apartments
While he was in Cyprus, he continued to invest in real estate. He sold his condo investments and started buying apartment buildings in Edmonton.
“As the saying goes, I traded in those four green houses for one red hotel and in our fifth year in Cyprus we became the No. 1 contact centre in the world in customer service,” he said.
“We beat out FedEx and Carnival Cruise Lines in the finals. Something special happened on that island.
“I ended up retiring at 45 and moved back to Calgary.”
Seeking a warmer climate in which to live, Slivinski said he and his wife moved to Panama in 2010, “bought a place there and continued to invest in real estate and developed my apartment portfolio.
“(I) also wrote a book, The Leadership Code. It talks about values and infusing a values-based culture into an organization. I really believe that’s what got us to be No. 1 in a very established industry in the contact centre in such a short time.
“The property management business I feel is very lethargic, complacent, not very technologically sound and coming from sort of an online background, and also loving real estate and investing in real estate and managing in real estate, I thought if I could buy a property management company I want to see if I can disrupt the industry and really change and build a world-class property management company.”
Slivinski had several companies in Edmonton managing his portfolio at that time.
One of them was Mayfield. He approached the owner and original founder and asked her if she would sell to him. In 2016 she did, and Slivinski set out to provide property management from an owner’s perspective – since he had owned properties.
Focus on high-end, amenity-rich buildings
He said he is also trying to incorporate the values he espouses in his book into Mayfield.
“About two-and-a-half years ago . . . I could see that people were looking at rentals differently. They were looking at them as long-term solutions to their housing needs as opposed to short-term,” he explained. “That’s when we got into purpose-built A apartment buildings.
“That is an apartment building that is brand new, with the highest-end finishes, but also extremely amenity-rich.
“We as a company repositioned ourselves. . . . The condo industry over the last five or six years has really dried up and condo developers were moving into this purpose-built A property space, but it’s a lot different in how to build a condo and sell it as opposed to build an A-class apartment building and hold it.
“There was a void for MMG to fill to offer that expertise on how to build these A-class properties. And that’s where we fell into and we’ve really resonated with developers. We’re picking up several developers almost every month here who are really relying on the expertise we have in the management of these A properties.”
Slivinski said Mayfield is a fully licensed, registered and bonded real estate brokerage specializing in property, condominium and asset management. It offers 24/7 on-call maintenance and qualified managers for buildings.
Recently, two new apartment properties being managed by Mayfield announced that leasing had begun.
The Eleven building is in Calgary’s Beltline neighbourhood, with Intergulf Development Group as the developer.
Rundle at Riverview Crossing is in the Beverly neighbourhood of Edmonton and is being developed by boutique investment firm Ayrshire Group.