Formed in 2002 when business partners Mark Mandelbaum and Barry Fenton joined forces, Lanterra Developments is still a strong force in Toronto’s condominium market today. The developer currently has Ice Condominiums and Burano under construction, while sales are underway at The Britt – a conversion of the old Sutton Place Hotel – and a new phase is scheduled for a September release at Treviso Condominiums. On top of all that, the developer expects to release three new projects in 2014. Mr. Fenton is Lanterra’s president and CEO.
What were Lanterra’s goals when you formed the company?
We wanted to establish a reputable, honourable building company and provide really good product. Our goal has always been to find strategic locations; one of the ways you can pass on savings is by buying strategically and well. We also made the decision to pick areas in the city that we feel have a lot of growth potential, and have infrastructure in place that can support the market. We like to do things in size – we create communities – and that’s how we’ve succeeded.
How has the condominium market changed since Lanterra first formed?
In two ways. First, the city has done a great job in making developers create urban design that really works for the city. And they have also worked with us to put infrastructure in place. If they hadn’t done that, I believe downtown living for condominiums would be a lot more difficult.
The market has obviously slowed down since the record condominium sales of 2011. What advice would you give purchasers in the new buying environment of 2013?
I think as a purchaser one must be weary of the person they’re buying from. The last thing they want to do is buy from somebody where the project may not take off because of the financing or instability of the developer. So if I were going to throw some advice to someone I would say they should buy from a reliable builder. And they should also buy in a strategic location.
Where do you see the future of the market?
There’s no question we’re on a rollercoaster and we’re on the bottom part of the ride. But I think we’re going to be good. When people buy real estate, you have to look at the 10-year horizon. I think the next 10 years are going to be better than the last 10. I think we’ve built such a phenomenal base for purchasers, that I don’t see anything that could turn us back now. I’m very excited for the next 10 years.
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