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Real estate is 'in my blood': Legacy's Patrick Nihon

Grandson of Montreal industry legend Alexis Nihon develops third multires project, Verdora

Verdora in Vaudreuil will be the third multiresidential development by Legacy Development Corp. (Courtesy Legacy)
Verdora in Vaudreuil will be the third multiresidential development by Legacy Development Group. (Courtesy Legacy)

Patrick Nihon says he originally missed his true calling in real estate, but is making up for lost time.

Nihon, the president of Legacy Development Group, is developing his third multiresidential project in the Montreal area, the 245-unit Verdora in off-island Vaudreuil. 

He’s the grandson of the late Alexis Nihon – a prominent name in Montreal real estate. Alexis Nihon started Corporation Alexis Nihon in 1946 (later Alexis Nihon REIT), which would later become one of the largest real estate companies in Canada.

While real estate “was apparently in my blood,” Patrick Nihon started his career with a seven-year stint in banking and financing. He didn’t get involved in real estate until he was asked to join a real estate project in the Bahamas. 

“I loved every minute of it, so for me, I missed my calling early on and it took me a little time for me to figure out that real estate was in my blood,” Nihon says. 

Legacy focuses on multiresidential development

Formed four years ago, Legacy Development focuses on multiresidential rental projects.

"I wanted to focus on one thing I know how to do instead of doing multiple things,” he says. "My forte is not industrial or office even though I have done it in the past.”

Besides, he notes, the demand for rentals remains extremely high.  

The $60-million Verdora at 200-220 Harwood Blvd. in Vaudreuil will comprise 245 rental units in two buildings of three and six storeys. The buildings are slated for completion in September and December 2025 and are being built with partners Capital Property Development CPD and Alluvia Real Estate.

Legacy’s first project was the 10-storey, 176-unit Urban West at 17 Place de la Triade in Pointe-Claire on Montreal’s West Island. It was built with partners Kastello Immobilier and Urbania Immobilier and is now fully occupied. 

In March, Legacy also competed Le Celtis at 1819 Dollard Ave. in the Montreal borough of LaSalle. The 166-unit, five-storey building was developed with partners Kastello and Capital Property Development CPD. Rents average $1,900 per month for a two-bedroom and the development is about 48 per cent leased. 

Verdora launches into low-vacancy market

Nihon is confident Verdora will be leased rapidly given Vaudreuil’s vacancy rate of 0.2 per cent and the fact there is only one other multires development underway in the area. A new hospital under construction in Vaudreuil, eight kilometres away from the project, should also help attract tenants, he says.

Units include five appliances, private balconies and hot water. “We’re striving to be 26 per cent below the energy code of Quebec so we are going to be a very energy-efficient building,” Nihon says.

Verdora will offer underground parking, co-working spaces, a lounge, rooftop terrace, gym and a private dining room for tenants.

“Living in an apartment building, you can’t fit 12 people all the time, so you can rent out this room free of charge,” he says of the dining room.

Unit types in the development will range from studios to three-bedrooms and should attract everyone from students to empty-nesters, he says.

Verdora will be close to retail, including a grocery store and pharmacy “literally across the street,” Nihon says.

“That’s something that I find paramount so that people don’t have to jump in their cars because they forgot a loaf of bread on their grocery list. They can just walk across the street and be back in five minutes.”

Looking ahead for Legacy

Nihon says Legacy is in due diligence for three other projects on and off the island of Montreal. However, “I do have clients trying to convince me to look at projects in Ottawa,” so Nihon is considering that market as well.

He notes “we’re very hands-on developers. I like to be able to visit my sites regularly and put boots on the ground. I try to make sure that we can at least get there the same day.”

Along with companies like Kastello and Alluvia, Legacy brings in investors from private families who have long-term visions about real estate, Nihon says. “We are not flippers. We build our projects with quality in mind because everyone wants to hold for the long term.”

Nihon says the influence of his grandfather, who died in 1980 three months before he was born, lives on in his company’s Legacy name. 

“It’s a legacy. That’s the name of my company. It’s the reputation he had and the reputation I want to continue. For me it is very important for the Nihon name and his reputation, and I hope I’m doing him proud.” 

Alexis Nihon REIT was later acquired by Homburg Invest. In 2007, Homburg sold 72 per cent of the square footage of the Alexis Nihon REIT portfolio to Cominar REIT for $592 million.

The Alexis Nihon name lives on in the Cominar-owned Place Alexis Nihon development which hugs downtown Montreal and neighbouring Westmount. It comprises two towers with 618,000 square feet of office space, a shopping mall and a residential tower.

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