The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Constantine eyes Korean partnership for Canada project

CEO visits Seoul to discuss partnership with Daewoo E&C, Hyundai Asset Management

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Dec. 13, 2023 - 17:18

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Constantine Enterprises CEO Robert Hiscox pose for photos during an interview with The Korea Herald at a Seoul hotel on Monday. (Im Se-jun / The Korea Herald) Constantine Enterprises CEO Robert Hiscox pose for photos during an interview with The Korea Herald at a Seoul hotel on Monday. (Im Se-jun / The Korea Herald)

Constantine Enterprises CEO Robert Hiscox pinned high hopes on the company’s latest condominium development project near Toronto, which could become the beginning of a potential partnership with two Korean partners, Daewoo Engineering & Construction and Hyundai Asset Management.

Hiscox and Rogers Communications Chairman Edward Rogers co-founded the real estate company Constantine Enterprises back in 2013. The company works as a developer, construction builder and manager of property projects, covering housing to commercial real estate.

The Canadian company is looking to join hands with the two Korean firms for a commercial-retail development project at 180 Steeles West Avenue, situated in the city of Vaughan in the Greater Toronto Area.

“The area has gone through a rezoning, and that is what has created the redevelopment of the area,” Hiscox said in an interview with The Korea Herald on Monday in Seoul, further mentioning an extension of a subway line to the area.

The project will be a medium-to-large condominium in the company portfolio with a buildable square footage of 1.8 million square feet. It will consist of four condo towers and commercial facilities. The construction is to begin in December and is expected to wrap up in May 2031.

Hiscox hinted that more joint projects could come after 180 Steeles West Avenue with Daewoo E&C and Hyundai Asset Management, especially in condominium properties. Hiscox said that the firms have formed a “replicable partnership.”

“Any good partnership has factors that are important when both parties are like-minded in terms of what they want to invest in, how they want to do the investment, and their vision for the long term,” he said.

“We are all very motivated not to have this as a one-off experience, but to have this as the start of a long-term journey together in Toronto, Ontario and Canada.”

One of the reasons for Constantine Enterprises to seek development projects in the Greater Toronto Area is pent-up demand for housing, partly due to a surge in the number of immigrants. The country has been working to boost immigration to combat labor shortages.

“We see immigration in Canada now at about 500,000 per year. Of that 500,000, 250,000 come to Ontario and most people are coming to Toronto for reasons of business, quality of life, infrastructure and more,” he said.

“We also have a healthy growing economy and there is movement of labor from within the country,” he added.

Though the real estate development industry has been slow, facing pressure recently due to high base interest rates, Hiscox projects the industry to lighten up next year as major economies loosen their grip on restrictive monetary tightening policies.

While Canada's key rate currently stands at 5 percent, he foresees at least a 100 basis point decrease starting before the third quarter, based on the market consensus. Furthermore, the Toronto area has been going through a housing supply shortage because developers have not released products due to the persistently high interest rates.

“We have reached a peak interest rate in Canada and the timing is good for entering these projects because we will be entering a sales cycle which will likely occur in Q3 of next year,” he said. "The timing is exceptional to go out to the market."