The recession may have hit the real estate market particularly hard in Southern California, but it would be difficult to make that claim based on the performance of Advanced Real Estate Services’ (ARES) portfolio. The investment company and property manager owns and operates more than $1 billion in multifamily residential properties. This portfolio consists of more than 6,000 rental units in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

For Thompson Centres Inc., the future is looking up – literally and figuratively. The Mississauga, Ontario-based retail and commercial developer is making plans to double its number of projects and take its developments vertical. “We see a lot of retailers looking at the inner city, and my project manager and myself have experience in high-rise condominium development as well as retail,” President Louis Meandro says. “We’re planning to focus on mixed-use developments in city environments.”

For more than 30 years, Sirina Fire Protection Chairman Anthony Florez partially owned a New York metropolitan area fire sprinkler company not unlike Sirina. However, after a falling out with his business partner in 1990, he was forced to choose between an early retirement and starting over again. Although wise investments over the years had left him financially secure, he hated to end his career on a sour note and knew he’d miss the daily challenges of running a fire protection contracting business. 

Large national development corporations may have the financing and access to resources to be profitable wherever they launch satellite offices. However, these firms rarely match the regional know-how of a family owned company that has spent generations in a specific area. 

With more than 100 locations and 2,500 employees  serving customers in 41 states and a dominant national market share in post-frame building construction, Morton Buildings Inc. is a large company by any standard. Although its size and status give it a number of capabilities that make it a go-to builder in the agricultural industry and other sectors, Morton retains the kind of personal touch small, local contractors are known for.

With capabilities including construction management, land planning and property management, York Development Group Inc. is a one-stop service provider to commercial clients.

Amid a cross-provincial recession, Leon’s Furniture Limited an­nounced bold plans to continue growth in its established markets and expand into new provinces. The company plans to open four to five new corporate stores and one to three franchise stores each year for the next five years. This could result in a 50 percent increase in its retail network. During a contractual period when many are tightening their belts, some may find the move a bit odd. But as Leon’s President and CEO Terrence T. Leon explains, it is all strategy.

As property development firms have learned the hard way, developing assets for long-term profitability is the most promising way to survive the ups and downs of the market. Fortunately for Fortis Properties Corp., headquartered in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, the company has focused on retaining strong assets in select markets, efficient operations and cost control as well as emphasizing customer service to spur its growth.

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