It’s undoubtedly a tough time to be in the real estate development game, but companies that are in tune with their product and their market — in other words: they’re experts at what they do — seem to be faring better than others.

And that’s Pinemount Developments in a nutshell. The Toronto-based real estate firm has been honing in on Ontario’s purpose-built rental segment for the better part of a decade. Oren Turkienicz, Vice President of Acquisitions for Pinemount, explains that “it’s a family business” that all started with his father.

“My father Eli, who's the founder, worked in his family business and they were focused primarily on the commercial industrial side of things. He eventually wanted to start his own real estate approach focused primarily on multifamily,” Turkienicz says. “He sourced a site in Barrie for a lot that had allowances for 64 units and surface parking. We ended up building, occupying, and stabilizing that site and selling it to Starlight Investments in 2020.”

Turkienicz explains that this first acquisition, back in 2015, set the “foundation” for the company Pinemount is today.

A Focus On Long-Term Ownership

Although Turkienicz says that Pinemount has, in many ways, stayed true to its multifamily roots over the years, he also notes that this hasn’t been at the expense of the company’s growth.

“I think part of our evolution since the start has been to focus on becoming long-term owners and understanding the longevity that comes with purpose-built rental,” he says. “We've really drilled into that niche and drilled into that need.”

Today, Pinemount has assets in North York, Vaughan, Barrie, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Hamilton, and Guelph, all of which favour the mid-rise form and feature holistic amenities that take residents — and broader communities — into careful consideration (not to mention, easily rival those of a condo).

“We operate in different markets outside of the core, so there are more empty nesters, downsizing families, [and] young families trying to be in the neighbourhood with their parents. So we amenitize our buildings [specifically for] the area and [specifically for] those types of end-users” Turkienicz says.

One of Pinemount’s more recent projects, Oakley Ridge, is a prime example. Upon completion, the six-storey purpose-built rental building coming up in Guelph will bring 110 new dedicated rental units to the area, as well as a robust suite of amenities. Notably, the building will include a 6,000-sq.-ft space on the ground floor, to be programmed as a daycare centre for children.

“We know there's a major need for that in that market,” says Turkienicz. “So we really do a deep dive on the use, and the operator, and what that offers and brings to the end-user and renter.”

READ: Pinemount Taps Into Guelph’s Purpose-Built Rental Market With Oakley Ridge

Looking To The (Rental Sector’s) Future

Despite the economic uncertainty and roaring affordability challenges that have characterized the past few years, Turkienicz believes that the future is bright for not only Ontario’s purpose-built rental sector, but Canada’s at large.

“I'm bullish on the rental market in general. I mean, we're in the market, so it's hard for me to say otherwise. But I do think that in all forms, in all levels of government, they’re starting to understand and think about it the right way,” he says. “The HST removal, the DC reduction, some of the financing programs provided by CMHC, I think these are all great steps in the right direction.

As for the part Pinemount will play in the sector’s future: Turkienicz says they will keep doing what they do best: creating rental product that doesn't just meet demand, but surpasses expectations.

“We've got a couple of more [projects] in the pipeline in different markets. One in Peterborough, one along Weston on Finch, along the LRT. So we have a lot of work ahead of us. And I think a lot of them will bring a lot of value to their respective areas and respective demographics there,” he says. “And we're looking to grow. We're always looking for new opportunities and trying to understand, as the world changes around us, how to find those opportunities and execute them.”

This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.