Ross has over three decades of senior level property acquisition, development, financing, marketing and appraisal experience in Canada. An Honours graduate in Arts from the University of Montreal, Ross also holds an AACI (retired) designation from the Appraisal Institute of Canada and is a Licensed Real Estate Broker under the Alberta Real Estate Act. Ross’ extensive background and proven leadership in the commercial real estate industry provides the experience that is vital to success in the business.
Ross, a native of Montreal, Quebec, moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 1977 to begin his real estate career as a commercial appraiser. He soon became a principal in Warren Research Associates, one of Alberta’s most accomplished real property appraisal firms. Ross was also involved in the management of the company, which was subsequently sold to Colliers, to establish the foundation for their national appraisal division. Ross continued to participate in the management of the national appraisal division of Colliers until 1988, dealing closely with financial institutions, pension funds and fund managers, establishing invaluable relationships within these groups.
Subsequently Ross served as a Senior Advisor and Agent with NovaWest Properties and as a Principal with Bingham Properties between 1988 and 1991. Ross then joined Roycom Realty, one of Canada’s leading pension fund and Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) advisors, directing acquisitions and dispositions in Western Canada. Ross acted on behalf of Roycom clients (including Summit Mutual Funds which became Summit REIT) to acquire major real estate projects, coordinating the purchase and sale of large assets for these funds.
In 1996 Ross formed Trillium Realty Advisors Inc., initially working with Fred Mannix and Mancal Properties in Calgary, to acquire properties on their behalf. In this role, we focused on acquiring strong covenant, single tenant properties in Alberta. Several were acquired, expanding the portfolio significantly. We also worked with Mancal to evaluate existing holdings and explore ways to enhance the portfolio overall.
Trillium grew to expand its client base to include Summit REIT and many others. Trillium was appointed as external advisor to Summit, directing the asset management and investment activities for the REIT in Western Canada, carrying out this role from1998 to 2003. During this period Trillium administered a portfolio of approximately $600 million, consisting of eight million square feet of office, retail and industrial space, spread between Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg. The portfolio was a diversified one, including a mixed retail portfolio, including one enclosed mall, seven office buildings in downtown Calgary comprising over one million square feet and a large portfolio of small to medium bay industrial properties with many hundreds of tenants. In addition to overseeing and supervising the property management and financial reporting, which was handled by O&Y Properties, and the leasing of this portfolio; Trillium sought out investment opportunities, acquired assets, divested of non-core properties and initiated a development program within the organization, which hadn’t previously been part of the activities of the REIT.
In 2003 Ross was asked by Summit to come in house as VP, Investments, Western Canada, Ross continued in this role very successfully until March, 2006, at which time he decided to reactivate Trillium to pursue investment opportunities with a variety of partners. Since leaving Ross has forged relationships with a number of investors and financial groups, identifying several interesting investment and development projects along the way.
The first project was Roper Ridge Business Park, which is described in detail herein. This investment was backed by Carttera’s Urban Intensification Fund, made up of three pension funds and a life company (Aurion, HOOPP, Hydro Quebec and Sun Life). The project, consisting of 250,000 square feet in three buildings, was initiated with AMECa s a lead tenant prior to the recession and successfully completed and sold in the middle of this downturn. The combined sale price of over $50 million generated an IRR for our investors of 18%, despite the delays in leasing and sale caused by the economic events.
Carttera co-invested with Trillium in a second piece of land in Edmonton, which was to be developed with a 150,000 square foot suburban office building. This 7.64 acre mobile home park, situated on zoned commercial land and fronting on 111th Avenue, was successfully decommissioned and prepared for development. Once again, the recession of 2009 hit us midway in the process and the project was put on hold. Eventually, due to the delays and the life cycle of the fund, the decision was made to dispose of the site. Trillium successfully sold the land for a price substantially above the acquisition cost.
As the recession hit and started to affect the economy in 2009, Trillium recognized that it was time to start acquiring high quality projects for its clients. With viable development options limited, the hope was that we would have a few years to assemble a portfolio at recession pricing. As it turned out, the recession in Canada was muted, with Alberta’s economy out-performing most others and as a result, the opportunity was short-lived. Nonetheless, Trillium was successful in acquiring a few assets at recession pricing on behalf of pension fund clients. In the process Trillium has continued to forge strong bonds with a small clientele, which we strive to serve in a variety of ways in boutique style advisory and asset management.
Trillium currently handles a portfolio of approximately $90 Million, having recently been reduced by the sale of our Roper Road project and the development land. We are actively involved in acquisitions and development projects that will continue to enhance our portfolio. Our objective is to continue to grow the portfolio selectively through strategic acquisitions and developments that meet our client’s needs and investment objectives.