These days more than ever, in the real estate development game, experience counts. And at Averton, an award-winning homebuilding company that’s been in the Greater Toronto Area since the 1960s, there’s experience in spades.

Now, with expertise built up over decades — and with a particularly strong presence in both the Alberta and Ontario markets — Averton is announcing its entrance into the purpose-built rental sphere.

In tandem with entering the purpose-built rental realm, Averton has welcomed Thomas Burr as Senior Vice President for the company's rental division. A long-standing real estate development and investment professional, Burr brings a wealth of high-profile business and project leadership from various markets, including London, Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton.

Burr is a seasoned pro. Well-versed in private capital, P3, and consulting, he brings abundant experience working with merchant developers, long-term investors, and operators. The University of West England graduate is also a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst.

Burr's introduction to the company is an integral step in Averton’s broader mission, which, according to President and CEO Paul Lanni, is “to use functionality and design to help close the gap between what people dream of and what they can afford."

“The need for affordable housing is more important than ever and our deep, diversified land holdings allow us to bring functional and beautiful rental product to the market in multiple markets," Lanni explains. "We are excited for the opportunity to create new relationships with people living in Averton homes, and one day, help them transition into Averton homeowners.”

A “Deep Rooted” Focus On Alberta And Ontario

If you peek behind the curtains at Averton, there’s a “deep-rooted” focus on Alberta and Ontario — and there's also a notable focus on design. Lanni points to “the architecture and interiors” that define the company’s housing products, as well as the materials they tend to use, all of which are products of intentional, carefully considered choices.

“We aim to future-proof the homes and communities that we build, so that they look beautiful and perform well now, and 20 years from now,” Lanni says. “[We] provide everything from rental, to entry-level multi-family, and life-style oriented luxury product.”

And at the core of it all, he explains, there’s a “commitment to creating communities — not just building homes.”

Parkside Urban Towns, Kitchener ON (Averton)

One may wonder where Averton’s heavy Alberta and Ontario focus stems from — to answer the inquiry, Lanni points to his own history.

“The Lanni family immigrated to Toronto from Italy, and through that experience, was able to hone in on markets that demonstrated the greatest potential for growth."

Averton has been a family-run company for over 60 years, Lanni explains. “The second generation took over operations in the 1970s, and began building in Alberta by the end of that decade,” he says. “The 1980s and 1990s saw further development in Ontario and Alberta, as well as the entrance into the US market with residential development in Dallas and Las Vegas.”

By the early 2000s, Averton began to really hone in on the Ontario and Alberta markets, as well as BC. “[That] paved the way for a more design-focused, modern approach to building and development, that was rooted in the tradition and experience of the 40 years of business that preceded them,” Lanni says. “The idea of pursuing opportunities in other markets to diversify our business has allowed us to be more nimble, more creative, and more open minded about what constitutes the greatest communities and places to call home.”

Over the last decade-and-then-some, Averton has occupied thousands of Ontario units, and has broken ground on some of the company's most ambitious Alberta projects, Lanni explains. The resulting recognition for design and development efforts — "Builder of the Year, BILD Alberta [in] 2018 and 2021, and Builder of the Year, CHBA National Awards for excellence in 2019" — are just cherries on top of an already fulfilling commitment to two integral Canadian marketplaces, where the company has come to deeply understand community needs and desires.

And now, the need for an emphasis of purpose-built rental is all but speaking for itself. Averton is pleased to expand its offerings in order to meet that need and, such as with all the company does, to meet it with high-quality care.

Looking To The Rental Segment’s Future

“While many developers of purpose-built rental are positioning their projects as commodities, we are recognizing that today’s renter is more discerning, and is seeking something that is a better reflection of who they are,” says Lanni.

“This evolution has been more and more apparent in recent years, as people have prioritized their individuality and well-being above all else. A good housing product is something that allows the resident to live a happy and fulfilling life. We appreciate that the homes we build, and the communities we develop, are the backdrop to our customers’ everyday experiences. This is something we don’t take for granted, and the pursuit of excellence is what fuels us.”

Victoria Highlands, Mt. Albert ON (Averton)

On the whole, Lanni describes Averton’s product as “design-forward,” and centred around longevity and functionality.

“The segment needs to continue to expand, as obstacles in housing policy over the last 40 years have put Canada at a severe supply disadvantage, relative to its growth over that time period,” he says. “There is no quick fix, and we must be innovative in how we meet the demands of a growing population. That means being open to new ways of doing things, departing from what has worked in the past in favour of solutions that work better for today.”

For Averton’s part, that means a greater emphasis on “diversity” in what the company purveys to prospective homebuyers.

“With continued growth expected from here on, we believe that Averton not only has the opportunity to be a leader in this segment, it also has the responsibility to develop the best product in the best communities to help meet the needs of more and more Canadians,” Lanni says.

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This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.