How the asset manager tripled his business during the pandemic
It spent the first year laying the foundation for its investments and launched its “apartment fund,” the Canadian-based Equiton Residential Income Fund Trust, in 2016. It has apartment buildings in Ontario and has acquired the Riverrain District Development Project in Ottawa.
Roque said Equiton would close two more apartment buildings — near Guelph and Kitchener — in early March. All three fit Equiton’s criteria of finding properties in smaller markets that are economic hubs for their community and buildings that they can renovate or operate more efficiently to unlock their intrinsic value.
The fund currently has 26 buildings in 13 communities, but is considering expanding into Montreal or Alberta.
In 2019, Equiton also launched its Balanced Real Estate Fund, which invests in commercial income-generating properties, offers some real estate-based lending, and invests in real estate development projects. It acquired its first business assets in late 2021. This includes a bank and a Wendy’s, “tenants that you won’t have a problem with during a recession,” he said. Equiton is looking for more commercial properties this year as it continues to grow.
Roke isn’t one to brag about, but he said, “The charm of the product we offer is that it’s very stable. It’s the private market, so it’s really unrelated to the public markets. But we find that in times of crisis people start to notice. So, we find that we get a lot more people who might not have been paying attention to private market real estate, in times of crisis, to pay attention. .