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 CenterCourt Developments & New Condo Sales with Vice President Gavin Cheung

 CenterCourt Developments & New Condo Sales with Vice President Gavin Cheung
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Table of Contents -  CenterCourt Developments & New Condo Sales with Vice President Gavin Cheung

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George El Masri [00:00:00] Hello, and as always, welcome to another episode of the Well Off podcast, I interviewed Gavin Cheung today, who is the vice president of Center Court. For those that don't know, center court is a developer. They have several projects on the go. I personally have worked on Transit City, which was a set of four buildings in Vaughn Itchin and Highway seven. So I was selling these units a couple of years ago and it's a beautiful project. So Gavin and I, we had a chance to discuss kind of the state of affairs today with preconstruction condos. How are the sales going? How how's the construction going? What are some of the bottlenecks and the challenges with covid? What's reality versus what's in the news? And in terms of like some of the statistics that we're seeing, are people still buying? Who's buying? Is it investors as the end users? We covered a lot of ground in terms of preconstruction, condo sales in the GTA. So if this is something you're interested in learning about, I think there's a lot of data in here. There's a lot of information for you to take in. I hope you'll enjoy the episode. And again, just a reminder, if you are looking to get some more knowledge on real estate, I do offer some free reports. So all you have to do is go to well-off Dossie forward slash report. And there's a whole bunch of stuff you could download there for free. Eye contact info is also on the website so you can reach out. If you ever want to connect, enjoy the episode and I look forward to connecting too soon. Welcome to the podcast, where the goal is to motivate, inspire and share success principles. Today, I'm here with David Chang, who is the vice president of Center Court. And for those that don't know, center court is a developer. They have several big projects that you may have heard of, the Forest Hill condominiums. Fifty five Mercer Transit City and several others there, one of the top developers in the city. And they currently have 12 projects in various stages. That number might be a little bit different right now, actually. So today, Gavin and I are going to discuss the future, the present, everything to do with preconstruction, condos, that sort of thing. So, Gavin, welcome to the show. I appreciate you being here.

Gavin Cheung [00:02:06] Yeah, well, listen, thank you for having me on. I'm excited to be on the show. And, you know, I followed your podcast and appreciate the chance to share my share some time with you.

George El Masri [00:02:17] Great. Thank you very much. So either way, I like to start off. Gavin, I want to ask you a little bit about your childhood, where you grew up and a few things you remember.

Gavin Cheung [00:02:27] Yeah, I was anticipating that question because it's one that you like to ask. It's yeah. So listen, my background not dissimilar to a lot of people in Canada. I'm a I'm an immigrant to Canada. So my parents, they moved here from Ireland. My dad's the choung part of my name is is my dad obviously. And he came from Hong Kong where he studied as a doctor sorry, where he moved to Ireland to study as a doctor, where he met my mom. And the two of them decided after I was born to relocate to Canada when I was only three years old. So I I've been in Canada basically my whole life, but certainly my whole adult life. And I guess just by way of background, since we're we're on a real estate podcast, the reason that my parents relocated, despite my dad being a doctor, was for a change of career. So it is a very, very odd thing of becoming a doctor and then realizing his passion was in real estate. And I know I've heard a number of your guests sort of have interesting narratives on how they get into the world of real estate. My dad is probably one of the more interesting ones, but he went from medicine into real estate and had a passion on on coming into what he calls the new world. It's very it's a very interesting way of looking at it. But he moved to North America and specifically like like Canada, the opportunity saw and was set with some of the drawbacks of our of our neighbors to the south. And initially, that was a short term move. But it turned out to be obviously not a short term move. Thirty years later. Thirty five years later, we're all still here. So, you know, my my upbringing has been in Toronto with constant trips back to Hong Kong, where my dad's from. Ah, Ireland, where my mum's from and keeping one foot in the in the past, but certainly putting down our roots here. I grew up in the city. I did study abroad for for a portion of my undergraduate, but then came back to Toronto, where am I at the time. Girlfriend and now wife. And we've, we put down roots here and plan to live in Toronto the rest of our lives. I took a more direct route into real estate than my than my father. I, I, from a very young age, was immersed in real estate. I was interested in it, had a keen interest in it, and always had it in the back of my mind as as something I knew I was going to get deeply involved in and was passionate about. So my career arc was that led me to where I am today, started off in in law school where I was taking only real estate law courses. And I did a joint degree with an MBA where I was focused on on on on the real estate courses, anything I could take. And I had had a great exposure academically to to law both pardon me, to real estate, both on the legal and business front, and then ultimately went into a finance role in investment banking in a real estate group at National Bank of Canada, where I sort of learned the technical side of of the numbers behind financial modeling, specifically in the real estate sector, before going out on my own, doing an entrepreneurial endeavor, trying to buy a business that that took me probably two years to raise the capital and then ultimately return the capital at the end of the of the period, knowing that we'd searched and found that the market was that there wasn't a target. That was exciting for us at the time, at which point I was looking around for for my next step. And it was the natural fit. I had my eye on them for a very long period of time. Center court is. An amazing place to work, it's an entrepreneurial developer, and in the five plus years that I've been here has gone from one of the most promising developers in the city to a household name in one of the largest developers in the GTA. And it's been an exciting, exciting period for the company's history and for me personally to be involved in as we've we've grown our portfolio and continue to execute on our market.

George El Masri [00:06:51] Awesome. Yeah, I have a lot of questions to ask you about center court and whatnot. But before we do that, I'm just curious about your dad. You said he was involved in real estate. Was he an investor or was he a realtor? And what way was he involved in real estate?

Gavin Cheung [00:07:06] Yeah, so he was coming from Hong Kong where it's been. If you talk to any expats from Hong Kong, it's it's who are Chinese and who whose parents lived in Hong Kong for the period where the the the power is with communist China. There was always a long standing interest in getting abroad and for for a variety of reasons, including just the potential which I think is causing headlines today of change Hong Kong that would impact real estate more than anything. So the idea he was interested in real estate, he was passionate in real estate and the idea of of investing became a global question for him. It wasn't, you know, do I do I invest only in Hong Kong? That wasn't his mindset. And and so when the opportunity came to be in Canada as an investor, to answer your question, it was it was something that obviously he did his homework on a number of places and landed on a place where we view it as an amazing long term place to be a real estate investor and to live.

George El Masri [00:08:16] Mm hmm. OK, awesome. So let's let's continue on your journey here with Center Court. I can tell you my first exposure to center court was maybe two or three years ago. I was actually selling units at Transit City. So I think it was phase one of transit city. And there was like a ton of people. Everybody was going crazy. You guys sold all your units in the first couple of weeks or something like that. I forget what it was. So that's when I realized that you guys are a pretty, pretty big developer. So if you want to tell us a little bit about center court and your role there, we can start with that.

Gavin Cheung [00:08:54] Sure. So so let me start with my role and then I'll talk at length about the company. So my role is I'm a vice president here at center court and. I oversee certain key elements of of operational groups at center court, but my main role is in an execution capacity from front to back. So I'm glad we crossed paths at some point in Transit City and I'm sure in the future. But I I'm involved in the project from the period where we commence acquisitions and look at it from a financial perspective and engage in negotiations with the landowner through the sales window that you referenced through the development cycle, construction, customer care, financing, the full lifecycle. And my role is to to make sure that at every touch point we're coordinated as a team and delivering on the promises that we make to our purchasers and our partners in the industry. What what that actually means is deep, deep involvement in each of the of the sort of functional groups I just described to you and making sure that everything that goes goes on isn't done in isolation, that we don't have any silos in our company, that there isn't one group that's operating in isolation from another, but the exact opposite, that we're doing everything in very tight coordination so that we're completely in sync and that the goals that one one group are doing are pushing forward are realistic because they're fully integrated and fully involved with the complementary other parts of our company, the classes employees develop or they get slowed down because construction isn't able to proceed, because you don't have some sort of approval from the city. That is something that corporately we take very seriously and making sure we're completely insane, of course. But on your question, it's like talking a bit more about where we are. We are a company that I think has come on the radar of people like yourselves increasingly as as the company's profile has grown. And that happens in a number of ways. It happens through public recognition. We were recently recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in Canada on the profit list. I think it would top ten. Our our our president was recently named one of the top 40 under 40. We've had incredible growth. And depending on how you look at market share, whether that's by units or by total sales on an annual basis or projects in development, we're in a very short time span. Being a very young company of 10 years. We're at number one or number two in market share, all of which I think has been something it's been a big source of pride for us corporately, but I think it's been one of those very quiet but increasingly loud success stories in our industry, where I think if you're in the space of preconstruction condominiums in the GTA, you certainly know who we are. But I think now in the public consciousness, it's starting to become more of a household name. And people are starting to just by virtue of the scale and the growth and the the the execution to date start to know center court is more of a household name. And despite being only 10 years old, it's very much feeling that way.

George El Masri [00:12:17] Absolutely. From what I remember when I was working on Transit's city, I believe that center court owned about two hundred acres. So for those that don't know, a transit city is located at Highway seven and Jane and Vaughan, and that's a developing area. They recently have the subway kind of extended to that area and beyond. So is it am I accurate in saying that you guys own two hundred acres of land there?

Gavin Cheung [00:12:43] So the transit city project in particular, we're really fortunate to have a joint venture partner and smart centers. So Smart Centers owns a very large about one hundred acre site. And the development of transit city at that broader masterplan community is one that has everything, everything under the sun. We're talking about the residential component, and that's the part that you were involved in. And I was involved in smart centers who are just incredible partners have this vision for something that is much bigger than just just the residential component that is already, frankly, taking shape, because the way that VONNE is managed, that is just been visionary, along with our partners, they've built all of the infrastructure before. They've built the the residential component. So it's very rare. I actually can't think of a single opportunity outside of the city where you're able to come in and be the residential joint venture partner in the form of transit city for a site that not only had existing roads, infrastructure, a subway, triple-A office location, a YMCA on your doorstep, but still and by the way, a 10 acre park that's coming in as well, that Smart Centers is building in conjunction with the city of having all of. That plus plus plus the growth potential and being right at the subway. It was such a unique project and you're right, it was it was one that was reflected in the sales velocity, because I think people saw that vision. People saw the bigger story about what five years ago was just a vision. And today is buildings that are registered, populated, have are fully, fully tenanted and are very the YMCA is there. The the offices, they are great tenants are in place. That sort of vision that that smart centers brought to the table. And we were fortunate to to play a role in and executing on the residential component. It's it's it's really a very unique one in the context of Toronto. And so we were we were very excited to have that opportunity and continue it after after the launch you're talking about, we ended up launching two more towers with with smart centers and have continued to grow that that corner of

George El Masri [00:15:08] what was a competitive earning, that that joint venture, that contract with smart centers or how to. I don't know if you were involved in all of that.

Gavin Cheung [00:15:19] So every joint venture partnership that we that we. Choose to enter into is done with a lot of a lot of consideration and it has to be the right marriage. So it's not it's not just about whether it's a competitive process, because often there's a direct discussion and you're the only ones at the table. And then in other instances, it's it's it's it's a very, very competitive process. But regardless of how many people are at the table or or or how the negotiations go, for us, it's really singular. And in terms of how we evaluate that deal, it's are they are they the type of complementary partner that, you know, that you will have a good working relationship with and that you can have success because. There are a lot of different ways to develop promising land in Toronto, there's a lot of different ways to spend your time and you have to spend that time wisely. It's your most precious commodity. You have to allocate your time and make sure that you're developing properties with people that are going to have your same shared vision and values so well. Well, I won't comment specifically on on on how the joint venture was formed on the city, but I will say that any time we get get together with a joint venture partner, which is one of our favorite ways to to develop land, we we look for the marriage first and foremost and then make sure that the execution of that is done in a way that sets you up for greater alignment and great outcomes. Right.

George El Masri [00:16:59] Yeah. So one thing I'm curious about, we haven't really touched on it, but how has covid and all the recent activities and whatnot impacted your business and your sales? Because obviously as a realtor, I see that the market for freehold properties is increasing substantially at this time. However, we have noticed a slight decrease in demand for condos, specifically in the GTA or in Toronto. More so. So how has your business been impacted?

Gavin Cheung [00:17:34] So I'm going to I'm going to narrow your question. I know you're because I think you asked about the business more broadly, but I think I'll focus on sales because construction is I could go on for an entire year now that

George El Masri [00:17:48] I think that's important to to to discuss that as well.

Gavin Cheung [00:17:51] Well, on the construction front, it's. You know, it's it's an incredible challenge because of the way that it's like a finely tuned machine to get these buildings done on the schedules that are required to meet the promises we make, everything has to go well, which is a challenge without covid. So when you have supply chains disrupted, when you have people, people getting sick or even just being scared of being sick, which is completely understandable when you put in precautions on site, when you make it so that those precautions limit meetings, limit the ability to be boots on the ground, limit the number of people who can go into a hoist, limit any number of things that create practical bottlenecks for construction. That's a challenge. And then just to the overall level of apprehension that creeps in from time to time, whether or not there's an actual sickness on site. So it is it's been a challenging year from from a construction perspective. But I can say it's also been one where it's been one of the most gratifying years to see those buildings continuing to rise, to see people's homes deliver, people who are banking on those homes, people who have planned their lives around delivery of homes and being able to come through for them. That's been one of the most rewarding things I would say about despite the challenge, is being able to cut through. And just this past year, we were able to deliver almost two thousand units to new purchasers, which is which is a lot of units. And all of them are on schedule or almost on schedule. There's some minor tweaks to the schedule. But by and large, the construction story, despite being a lot of time, tears, blood, sweat and effort, has been a positive set of outcomes. At the end of the day. I think just switching gears to the sales side, since you asked, it's really been interesting. It's been, I think, one of those cases where it really has been driven at different times by very different changing sentiments. So let's fast forward or let's rewind pardon me to March, when everyone was in full lockdown. We would have these sort of check ins with with people like yourself and and sort of ask, what's the sentiment out there? What are you hearing? How are things if if we had a project launch today, we actually didn't even get to that question of like if we had a project launch today because in March it was assumed that the market was not not on the preconstruction front, was going to be almost permanently shut down, was the sentiment. It was so negative. And it's funny around our company, we always have the phrase don't get too high, don't get too low, because it will never be as bad as it seems, nor will it ever be as good as it seems that at the top of the roller coaster and twenty twenty was a stark reminder of the wisdom of that that phrase. Because if you took that sentiment I just described to you in March and then fast forward to July, we actually had enough confidence at that period on the tail end of some of our some of our colleagues in the industry, launching smaller launches to launch a really ambitious launch in July of this summer, which was one ninety nine church. And it was it was it was in the midst of covid in July. It was it was from a sentiment perspective, it looked like things were coming more under control. This is before the sort of second wave. And so the the timing of the summer was was was a point where we sort of we made the judgment call that the market was supportive and the demand was there and that people who are interested in this market, who had a long term lens on this market had the confidence and the inclination and saw value in the proposition. And we made the judgment call that the summer would be the very first drive in movie theater launch event in the history of the industry and did something on the water that was really special. And, you know, it all started from a place of acknowledging the work of the health care workers that put us in a position to have that that that moment in time and have that launch work. And then back to the theme of the roller coaster to where we are today. I would say your your sort of the way you frame the question at the front is on a lot of people's mind, which is, you know what? What's the where do we go from here? What are we what what does the market look like for future launches? And it's a question that's on our minds all the time. So when I sit around the boardroom table that I'm at right now and we're talking about launching a project and we're looking at the market. What we don't do is we don't look at the headlines, I can tell you that we don't look at the headlines of newspapers and and try and base our decisions on that, because I think what's really interesting and what we do focus on is when you look at the data and what that says and what people that have a real pulse for the market are saying so. If you look and just take a look back at the data from Twenty Twenty, it tells a very different story from what the headlines tell you, pricing. There's been ups and downs. Twenty twenty as an aggregate is a story not dissimilar from twenty nineteen or the ten to 15 years before that, it was a story of price inflation in the preconstruction market overall. And that's just for me. It's the most amazing story of the resiliency of our market, the fact that despite a year in twenty twenty, that is completely unprecedented, that we actually saw price inflation and third quarter, the highest volume of preconstruction activity in the history of our market. Those two factors are ones that when we take a step back and we say, what's the health of our market, not just in the long term, but I think we all see the secular trends that make Toronto an amazing place to invest and to build your career and to invest for the long term in real estate. When we look at the short term, and I'm defining that is 20, 20, it's it's a story that is much more positive than the headlines would ever suggest. And it's it's one where while the headlines are very important for sentiment and for the timing of any specific point, we have this underlying confidence that the fundamentals of our market are as strong as they have ever been. And we have to do what what any wise person would do as a purchaser or as a developer, which is find the time where people have the long term lens that they're looking at the market and have that long term outlook and also have the practical ability to direct their mind and attention to what is, for most people, the single largest investment that they'll make, which is a condo purchase. So you do certainly have to react to something like covid-19 in the context of that, because people need to be focused, they need to be thoughtful. They need to be fully engaged and walking through in their mind what's the most important capital allocation decision of their lifetimes for many people when they invest in a home or in a condo and taking that taking that, of course, requires a conducive environment where the headlines are or aren't scaring them and keeping them up, because that's the last thing you want, is developers to have a bunch of purchasers who have have buyer's regret. Nobody wants that. We want to launch in the timeframe where people feel great about their investment. But where we do take a lot of comfort is in the data, looking at that data, analyzing that data, looking past the headlines, knowing that the headlines are, of course, important, but that the sentiment will ultimately, in the long run or in the very short run, turn on a dime and reflect reality over the long run over that.

George El Masri [00:26:03] Yeah. And do you have data on the demographics of your purchasers? Do you know typically like the people that are buying your units in Toronto right now? Are they younger people or are they older folks that are buying for their kids? Do you have any of that information?

Gavin Cheung [00:26:21] Wee wee, wee, collect some information by virtue of what we're allowed to collect and other factors, just you're not allowed from a from a privacy perspective. Right. Right. So we have a I think, as good a feel without without formal means and methods of our purchaser's, just by virtue of the approach, the consistent approach to delivering value. A lot of our purchasers are repeat purchasers. A lot of our purchasers are people who have been with us since our early days, who have seen the evolution of the company, have learned to appreciate some of the things that are unique about center court, the way that we deliver on our promises, deliver on time frames that our industry leading that you you invest and you see a building three or four years later and you don't move in on interim occupancy. You get to actually own it and you get to close on your unit and you don't fees in the form of interim occupancy that is unique in the industry. Most people, in fact, I think just about every developer has an interim occupancy period that we we do not have have never had. So we do see and have a great feel for that repeating demographic. And then in terms of the broader trends, it's typically people who are who have the ability to to invest in in a unit either for themselves or for their children and and view it as a as a as a long term, long term investment. And typically, if I had to pick a an archetypical purchaser, it's it's someone in their late thirties, early forties and and knows knows that they want to put money away for what they view as a great long term, long term hold.

George El Masri [00:28:10] Sure. And do just I know you might not be able to share this or you may not have this data, but you know, approximately what percent of your purchases were for. Twenty twenty were done by investors versus actual homeowners or whatnot.

Gavin Cheung [00:28:26] Yeah. You know, it's it's it's a question that's it's another instance of where the headlines are completely at odds with completely at odds with reality. You hear about the foreign investor all of the time. I read about it and I won't comment on on other developers. I can only talk for ourselves. We have. But I suspect this is true across the industry. In fact, I know it is everyone who wants to get a construction loan to build their development, which is every single developer needs to find a bank that's going to underwrite their purchasers and go through every single agreement and look at the agreements and take it with the lens of your question, are these people credible buyers? Are they going to live in the building? And without that process, I would have a lot less confidence saying that the market is is not it's not certainly not driven by foreign investors. There is a there's a in fact, a cap on the number of international investors that you can accept that the banks will even count towards the obligations of of allowing you to draw on your construction loan. So it's speaking for ourselves. It's very hard to tell who's an investor or who's an end user. You look and you can't ask them. They're not going to tell you. And ultimately, we don't have great visibility into it. But what I can tell you is it changes. It's very different based on location, some locations, you know, if it's directly beside a university and the major draw of the of the development is that it will be an incredible investment in the long term as a as as a very stable proxy for for student residences. That's that's the type of building that's going to be seeing more investors. And then if you look at the project you were on, for example, on Transit City, its majority end users as people who saw the chance to live in an amazing new neighborhood, but have an affinity, Tyvon, and have the opportunity to live in a place they've always felt like was home, but live in a highrise which they've never had the chance to do right on the subway, surrounded by amenities that sort of you know. So the answer is is specific to the building in many, many regards, I'll say. The majority of our of our time and energy goes into thinking about the end user rather than the investor in the way that we create our spaces and certainly in the programing. For example, in our upcoming launch of eight Wellsley, which is it's the one that's going to be the bellwether for the 20, 20, 20 launches, will be the likely the very first project out of the gate. It's a project that's it's got. All of the amenities programing, whether that's the the the the location, the fantastic location just on the subway, whether it's the fact that it's surrounded by restaurants, retail from the most exclusive in Yorkville down to the the faux restaurant you can get on Young Street, whether it's the amenity program that that that that has an amazing gym and it has an amazing workspace, a shared coworking space. All of those things are focused on the end user, on the on the belief that we're selling to end users and as well as investors. So it will likely be one of those buildings where it's rapidly, rapidly sold to a mix of both investors and.

George El Masri [00:32:13] Sure. And just looking, projecting for this year, do you see yourselves maybe delaying some projects, delaying the sales or anything of that sort at this time? Or is everything good to go green light for everything? You're still full going ahead, full speed.

Gavin Cheung [00:32:34] We will listen to our our our our partners in the industry, which is as it builds and we're in constant discussions with with people like yourself about how. How we want to approach sales launch, so we do, I think, as much background research on our product going into the launch, making sure that it's tailored for for the right market. And then the actual timing of it will depend on on sentiment and it will depend on how we feel about what the future looks like. And in the case of today's market, covid is a big part of the discussion. And as I mentioned at the top, having a government shutdown, it's it's it's difficult to to do a launch. We've proven and I think the industry is proven by virtue of the the third quarter that we have, that the pandemic doesn't stop our market or the thirst and desire to be in the market and for savvy investors to have a long term purchase on their minds, knowing that the delivery of this product is in the case of three to four years out, in the case of the industry, more generally, probably four to five to six or more years out. So I think in terms of in terms of does it delay launches, it has the potential to delay launches, but. It's it's a picture that changes quite rapidly, and what we've done philosophically is we've been ready to launch multiple launches and when the market is is conducive and ready and people are able to take care of their kids through putting them back into school and have the full mindset, mindset and capacity and and willingness to sit down and look around and fully survey the landscape and say, where do I want to put my capital? What do I believe is a is is a judicious use of my family's finances? How am I going to set myself up for success, that they'll come back to the answer that, yes, now is the time to to buy now that I have the headspace and don't have a kid running around my my living room, now is the time where I'm willing to get back into the market. But we listen to the trusted advisers like yourself. We listen to our purchasers who are often through our website asking us, when are you launching, when can I buy? Who do I who do I talk to? One of the floor plans released. We have a we have a great feel for one that is and we're very responsive to that, to that feedback.

George El Masri [00:35:04] Awesome. Awesome. Good. Well, good luck with all your projects and everything. I know you guys are doing a great job. We're going to jump ahead to the next section, which is the random five. So I'm going to ask you five random questions, and you just tell me the first thing that comes to mind. OK, so number one, what's the last adventure you went on?

Gavin Cheung [00:35:27] The last adventure I went on, I would say the last. Adventure I went on was to the Amazon, and this was so let me caveat all this, but I used to be much more adventurous before I had three children in the Prickett. I was traveling as much as I could. And I would say going to the Amazon is probably the most adventurous. We went we stayed in was by no means lamping. We stayed. We were given a guide and we went into the middle of the Amazon. And we we we had a few days that was at times thrilling, at times terrifying. Even just getting there was quite an adventure, let alone once we got boots on the ground and realized what wasn't included in the package that we thought was. So I would say that that would be sort of the classic adventurous thing and then more and more close to home and my more mature child's childbearing years, I would say the adventure of of of trying to balance. The challenges of this past year has been quite, quite an adventure, having three kids, very understanding wife and both of us in very demanding jobs has been has been an adventure in and of itself.

George El Masri [00:36:48] And now and now I can see why you're in your office as opposed to working from home. All right, cool. So, number two, who in your life has had the best luck?

Gavin Cheung [00:37:01] I you know, I would say we've all had some in my family or in my life.

George El Masri [00:37:08] In your life.

Gavin Cheung [00:37:09] Yeah, I would say in my I would go back to my family regardless, like my family. I feel very fortunate to be in a very close family. And, you know, as a as a person, my answer is that my my my mother and father are probably the most lucky, not because they had me by any means, but because I think they've just been very pleased with how they grew up. And they had a big family and they made a lot of major decisions, the decision to immigrate, the decision to be one of those people that are driving the condo market to come in and be an immigrant and build their life and start something fresh and take a take a leap of faith with a mixed race couple moving at the time was very odd, moving to Canada, to a new country, taking a big bet and having and having everything work out from the long term outlook that we've had on the Canadian real estate market and the financial fruits that have been born out of that outlook. And more on a more personal note, just having the opportunity and privilege of living in a country where, you know, it's incredibly stable compared to anywhere else, you look at where the where the same wise grandfather of the English speaking world right now. And it's it's a it's been such I see in them and in particular around the holidays where we're all more reflective about what's gone right in our lives. I see my my family and my my parents in particular as having lived a somewhat charmed life. Awesome.

George El Masri [00:38:40] Awesome. Number three, what benefit do you bring to the group when you hang out with friends, which you can't really do right now?

Gavin Cheung [00:38:47] But, you know, it's funny, have I've had the same group of core friends since I left high school, and I think we all bring something to the table. I think in when my when my guard is down and I'm with my my dearest friends, long term friends, it's you know, it's typically myself that's bringing some some dry joke to the table. And I you know, it's other people that will will will will bring up more philosophical topics and we'll go back and forth. And one of the great things about sort of having a group of friends that's been solid over the years has been watching my friends grow and watching all of us celebrate our mutual successes and wins. And just as luck would have it, a lot of my close friends, not by design, these guys were friends before we were professionals. They're all in our industry or a lot of them are in our industry and having having the opportunity to seamlessly walk through from the long term friendship basis into really respected outlook on on their their professional wins, losses, strategies, thoughts, hopes, wishes. All of that has been has been really great. It's been interesting to watch. And we still have the healthy debates that we've always had just now. They're they're not just about who you're dating. It's it's it's now about, you know, our market, our our our our condo market and and beyond.

George El Masri [00:40:22] Sure. Yeah. And it's a great industry for all of you guys to be involved in. So good for you. No. For what makes you feel old.

Gavin Cheung [00:40:33] Increasingly, a number of things, my my waistline and my children being talked to, I, I don't actually feel old. I feel very invigorated. So Center Court is a company that that that is a very we're young as a company. As I mentioned to you, we're ten years old. And I within that company, I'm thirty eight. I'll be thirty eight in February. I'm one of the gray haired individuals in the company. I'm one of the we're a company of fifty people and I'm, I'm, I'm one of the gray hairs both in terms now of longevity at the company, but also in absolute terms, because we have a we have a very young, vibrant team and open culture, very transparent, no walls. Everyone's got an open concept desk. We we try extremely hard to stay in sync and we we push one another. We have very, very high, high, high expectations of one another being in that sort of environment, surrounded by people that I just find so compelling and so talented and so motivated. I actually feel very young, like every every day I walk into the office. It's invigorating, obviously less invigorating when it's an empty office like today. But when we're in our pre covid world and once everyone's vaccinated and the other side of this, I come in feeling very invigorated, very energized and lucky to be around all these these people who are my age or younger.

George El Masri [00:42:02] Cool. And then the final question is what success principle do you live by?

Gavin Cheung [00:42:09] Great question. So I actually, like most of my colleagues at center court, have. A very, very long answer for you on that, but I'll just keep it very brief if you've ever read Ray Dalio. He's he's got a book called Principles and it's it's it's you should read it if you if you haven't already. It's a great read and I'd recommend it to any of your listeners. It's it's a very unique way of thinking of the world and thinking about principles and set you up for success. And even rarer, I would say, in terms of how it's practiced, it focuses on a number of of key principles. But I would say the very, very one of the bedrock principles is the principle of being transparent with one another. And that's not just what the good stuff, that's with the bad stuff. It means openly bringing to the surface issues and doing it without fear that you're going to be reprimanded anyway, because everyone should know about things that are going wrong so that everyone can direct their attention towards it and doing it in a very transparent, open culture. That and the fact that it's a meritocracy, that's that's principle number two, that the best idea doesn't matter if it comes from me or someone who's been in our company for five minutes or it comes from the CEO that founded the company ten years ago. If it's a good idea, it's one that's going to be listened to. If it's a poor idea, it doesn't matter your seniority, it will be one that people question and and really, really go after and get to the root cause and try and understand your logic and and dove in because we're in an environment. And part of the success we've had is, in fact, almost all of the success, any success we've had has been rooted in these principles and striving to where an open, transparent, fast moving culture. And that is really, really fueled all our all our dealings and inside a transit city. And it feels how we do our business. It feels it keeps us young to your other points and makes us think. And, you know, as far as core principles go, that's the short answer. But I encourage you to pick up the book if you have it.

George El Masri [00:44:16] Yeah, I've listened to the audio book, actually, so I'm I'm familiar with what you're discussing, but it's been a while, so I may have to review. But, yeah, that's that's I think that's it for us here. We've covered a lot of ground. Do you want to just let the listeners know how they can reach you and if there is any services that you might provide?

Gavin Cheung [00:44:38] Yeah, so absolutely, you can follow us on on just about any social media channel at Center Court or at Center Court Inc and our website, Westat Center Court dot com. And then more, more, more to the point. And if you're interested in following our new product, which is which is going to be Wellsley launching very shortly, you can reach out to anyone on our sales team. I briefly touched on the opportunity earlier in this call, but it's our next launch. It's coming very shortly. It's one that we're incredibly excited about. It speaks to everything that we've talked about on this call in terms of things that are exciting about Toronto, that are exciting about being on the subway, being transit oriented, being near museums, restaurants, Queen's Park parks, museums, restaurants, bars, sports, educational facilities, everything. So it is one of our most exciting, centrally located right off young street locations. And I know a lot of people have been asking about it. So if you are interested specifically in a Wellsley, I highly encourage you to reach out to myself, or probably better that you reach out to anyone on our sales team, Jason Lamm or any of the other sales members.

George El Masri [00:45:57] Awesome.

Gavin Cheung [00:45:58] OK for you, too, George. I'm sure we'd love to. We'd love to see you as well. I know Transit City was a shared success and please do reach out on it.

George El Masri [00:46:07] Sure. Yeah, sounds good. Gavin, thanks so much for your time. And I'll be sure to include all the contact info in the show notes. And I wish you all the best.

Gavin Cheung [00:46:18] Thanks so much for having me, really appreciate it and stay safe, I'm sure we'll talk again soon. Tocsin. Thank you.

George El Masri [00:46:26] Thanks once again for listening to another episode of the Well Off podcast, just want to remind you that if you do appreciate the content, all I ask is that you comment, maybe like it if you can, on the platform that you're listening to it on and finally share it with friends and family. I'd love to get the message out there and it would mean a lot if you can share it. And finally, I just wanted to offer you as a valued listener, a free copy to the roadmap to real estate investing, which is a document that I've put together which helps you identify what strategy would best suit your needs at this current time. You go over certain things that are included in this document step by step, and it'll hopefully provide you with some clarity. So have a look. You can go to w w w well off Dasia Forward slash guide. Download your free copy.

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