Connecting communities

Crown Realty Partners creates a chain of value across the relationships it serves

Envisioning the future requires you to make connections between how things are today and how they can be tomorrow. This is essential to creating value at Crown Realty Partners, a private equity group that identifies undervalued commercial real estate across Canada and optimizes all aspects of operations to maximize the value of these as investment assets.

The company's success is not based on a predefined formula. Rather, each project requires careful assessment and applied creativity. The result adds value for all involved — from investors to tenants, neighbors, and communities. This makes Crown excellent stewards of community development and investor capital. By putting connections front and center, Crown has created a smarter, more integrated, and responsible model for real estate investment and management.

Building a team

To convert a vision for a property into reality takes a multidisciplinary team with expertise in investing, asset management, construction, leasing, and property management. "We're not an investment group that writes a business plan in isolation and then hands it off to another group for implementation," explains Jamie Christie, managing partner at Crown. Everyone participates in planning. The real-time transfer of knowledge is part of the connective tissue that ensures on-time and cost-effective project completion.

This integrated team approach ensures accountability and follow-through on promises. "Everyone is aligned from project strategy to execution, including the people responsible for implementing a strategy, which helps us to succeed," explains Emily Hanna, partner, Investments at Crown.

Teaming up with communities

Crown is committed to achieving high performance for its investors while creating the best possible experience for the communities it invests in. Crown's property management teams work to bring together commercial tenants and the surrounding communities.

This is easier to achieve in urban settings. For suburban or housing properties, in addition to fitness facilities, amenities, and communal spaces, common areas may include putting greens or housing a farmer's market to encourage tenant interaction. Buildings also establish green teams where operational staff and tenants have representatives, who participate in green sustainability initiatives.

Crown actively engages the real estate community. For example, through its participation in the NAIOP Greater Toronto Chapter Development Challenge, young industry leaders are using a Crown property as a case study to envision the future of the site. The firm's employees also participate in charitable activities, "We're proud to support the communities we serve," says Christie.

Growing the business by developing the community

The company's entrepreneurial creativity, combined with a strong fiduciary responsibility, has meant that investors continue to place their trust in the company. Today, Crown is working on its fourth value-added fund with $234 million of committed capital to invest on behalf of primarily institutional investors. With each successive fund, the size of equity to invest has grown significantly. "As we grow we are looking for bigger opportunities," says Hanna. "Increasingly we are looking to partner with other groups in order to expand the universe of acquisition opportunities."

As it looks to the future, Crown intends to diversify its investor base and fund types, including adding open-ended funds. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Canada's largest and most active commercial real estate market, remains the firm's primary focus. Local market intelligence, which relies on the strength of industry contacts and market experience, is a key competitive advantage in the entire value chain from sourcing deals to selling value-added properties, and it will remain a differentiator in future business growth.

Relationships with lenders are very important to Crown. According to Christie, "As we add value to a property, our financing needs are evolving. Wells Fargo takes the time to understand our vision and strategy and is flexible with the way they tailor financing to support a project's ongoing needs. Wells Fargo has been great in providing the right support to give us the education we need to make the best financing decisions to move forward."

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