“Many large office buildings have a BOMA BEST certification,” said Strategic Group chief executive officer Riaz Mamdani. “However, in Calgary, not many mid- to smaller properties have any form of certification.
“We felt this was an opportunity to bring attention to the improvements we have made at our properties and to validate all of our staff’s efforts. We have also completed Energy Star ratings on all of these properties, which have provided another source of information for us to consider when allocating capital to our project list.”
BOMA BEST is a national program launched in 2005 by Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada to address an industry need for realistic standards for energy and environmental performance of buildings. More than 3,500 buildings have applied for certification or recertification since then.
Strategic Group has implemented a number of energy reduction, water conservation, waste diversion, environmental and recycling initiatives and made significant aesthetic and mechanical upgrades to its portfolio in the past few years.
“Any energy-saving initiative with a payback less than three years that also has immediate cost savings to our tenants is being considered for every property,” said Mamdani, who added that Strategic Group recently improved its recycling program so that it mirrors how Calgarians recycle at home.
All of this led to the mass BOMA BEST certification for all of the company’s office, retail and light industrial properties in Calgary.
“We did not certify our multi-family projects or any property that is currently slated for demolition, development or redevelopment,” said Mamdani. “We will be looking at certification of the multi-family, Maritime, British Columbia and Edmonton properties sometime in the near future.”
The privately held and fully integrated company launched in 2001 and now owns, manages, leases, develops, redevelops and repurposes buildings in a portfolio valued at more than $1 billion. Properties are primarily based in Alberta, as well as in British Columbia, Washington and Atlantic Canada. They include office buildings, retail centres, industrial facilities, residential units, development projects, heritage sites and parking lots.
Atlantic Canada expansion
Strategic Financial, a Strategic Group subsidiary, obtained portfolios in Atlantic Canada in 2014 through acquiring the debt of the Atlantic Living Group of Companies. It has assumed ownership of 84 buildings with 1,766 residential apartment units in Saint John, N.B. and Halifax, Dartmouth, Kentville, Windsor, Glace Bay and Sydney, N.S.
Mamdani said the focus for the rest of this year and into 2016 is to reinvest in its office buildings and increase its residential portfolio. The company is building four multi-family residential rental sites and has another four preparing for construction.
“Strategic Group’s business mission is to optimize around recurring revenue,” said Mamdani. “Only in rare circumstances would we sell an asset.”
While real estate is Strategic Group’s main focus, it also owns businesses in other industries, including construction, building services, oilfield services, hospitality, pet care, agriculture, technology and corporate finance.