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Jul 31, 2019

RANCHO MOVES UP THE WHO’S WHO LIST IN CANADIAN REAL ESTATE PROPERTY AGAIN IN 2019

Calgary, AB  Canadian Property Management Magazine has released its Who’s Who list for 2019, and all of Rancho has made its mark yet again.

Moving up one spot from fifth to fourth based on the total square footage of condos managed (over 36 million sq. ft.), as well as being ranked the 15th largest property management company in Canada (up from 17th last year, now at 42.68 million sq. ft.), Rancho continues to see impressive growth in its condo, commercial and residential divisions from all across Western Canada.

Some of that growth is even occurring in markets that are facing challenges. Rancho Calgary’s commercial department is managing 1.1 million sq. ft. over 11 properties in Calgary and Red Deer, including suburban office and community service retail.  At the same time, Rancho’s condo division in Calgary has experienced a 32 per cent growth in the number of condos managed within the last 10 months.  

After Monterey Shot

Operating in a Challenging Market

Mike in’tVeld, Vice-President and General Manager, Rancho Calgary, noted the significance of making it into the top 15 or top five on a list like the one published by Canadian Property Management Magazine.“I think it’s important from a brand recognition perspective to be on that list and to show our continued growth,” he said. “Our business is built on relationships, so it shows that we value and work hard to maintain our existing relationships, as well as forge new ones. That recognition and branding is also important on the employment side. If we want to continue to grow and be one of the best property management companies, we need to hire the best people.”

According to Mike, there are a variety of challenges in the Calgary market, and the Alberta market overall, for both condo and commercial management at the moment.

“This economic downturn has been a long one and we are still feeling it in many ways,” he said. “On the condo side, developers are struggling with selling units and condo owners are sometimes faced with having to close on a unit that is already valued at less than what they paid for it. While it is no one’s fault, it can result in somewhat of a negative start to the relationship between developer and condo owner, and we come in to manage the project and quite often find ourselves acting as the mediator.”

When it comes to the commercial side of things, Mike said one of the biggest concerns is Calgary’s property tax situation. Retail centres have been experiencing significant increases in property taxes over the last couple of years, with some of Rancho Calgary’s tenants seeing increases of up to 40 per cent.

Focusing on Upgrades, Modernization, Repairs and Maintenance

Rancho’s strategy for dealing with the current market challenges in Alberta is multifaceted. Rancho works closely with the commercial property owners to help manage major upgrades to a number of properties within the portfolio, ensuring there is plenty of tenant coordination and discussion to ensure the renovations run smoothly. For example, a $4 million renovation was completed on the Monterey Square Shopping Centre in 2016 and a $2 million renovation to Southpointe Common in Red Deer is scheduled to be completed in October.

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Monterey Square Shopping Centre After and Before Renovations.

Mike said that renovation projects such as those being done in Red Deer help Rancho Calgary continue to provide a quality product for tenants to lease.

“Just like your home, after 15 or 20 years, you need to re-invest in the property and give it a facelift to improve its appearance and modernize the site,” he said. “It is important that we help our tenants with providing a good shopping experience at our retail sites. Part of that is coming to a property that shows well, is clean, and is well taken care of. Additionally, if we can attract more traffic to the site, our tenants’ sales go up allowing rents to increase over time.”

Growing the Condo Division

In Calgary, Rancho has seen a 32 per cent increase in the number of units it’s managing, going from 3,358 units in September 2018 to 4,448 units today. There are plans to take on about 600 more units in 2019 involving new development projects.

Much of this growth can be attributed to Rancho Calgary’s relationships with both developers and condo owners, noted Mike. He estimated that 90 per cent of Rancho Calgary’s growth comes from existing clients or the company’s name being provided via a referral.

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Condominiums Rancho Calgary is managing - Radius in Bridgeland - include an on-site yoga studio and SPUD room for online grocery pick up (guaranteed any day delivery). 

Currently, Rancho Calgary has been focused on new or newer larger-scale, apartment-style condo buildings. These projects typically offer medium to higher-end finishes and provide services or amenities that are in high demand in today’s market, such as a theatre room, gym, dog wash, electric car stall, rooftop gardens and 24/7 concierge and security staff. The sites are often mixed-use, with commercial retail spaces on the main floor. Two examples of these larger-scale condo buildings are Radius (622 units) and Parkside at Waterfront (923 units split between two sites).

“As a result of the growth in this division,” said Mike, “and the type of product that we have been taking on (larger, higher-end condo sites with numerous amenities), we are seeing an opportunity to create an internal operational service team, similar to what we have on the commercial side.”

In addition, Yardi, a comprehensive property management software platform, will soon be implemented to facilitate Rancho operations. The platform will help Rancho reduce the number of programs in use for things like maintenance log tracking, billing, and reporting, allowing the team to be more efficient in these areas and provide better service to customers.

Looking to the Future

According to Mike, there are no plans to slow Rancho Calgary’s growth in the near future.

“On the commercial side, Rancho’s growth is only limited to what Qualico Commercial can build for us,” he said. “On the residential side, our plans are to continue to have controlled growth and continue to focus on high quality, high density sites. We also see a great opportunity to grow our rental management division, as we are seeing a big wave of purpose-built rental projects coming to the market. Because we already manage these types of buildings and have strong relationships with a number of these developers, I feel we are positioned well to take on a number of these projects in the coming years.”

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