The founding of a board of directors with three prominent Canadian commercial real estate (CRE) executives, and a seed fundraising round have kicked off the second phase for AltCrest Energy, according to founder and CEO Ben Gilbank.
Securing Anthony Broccolini, CEO of Quebec-based developer and property manager Broccolini; Trevor Blakely, CEO of Toronto-based real estate private equity firm Forgestone Capital; and Stu Wanlin, former executive vice-president at Vancouver-based real estate company QuadReal Property Group, is a sign the real estate market is serious about the net-zero transition, Gilbank said in an interview with Sustainable Biz Canada.
“It’s an outward statement of the real estate industry moving in this direction, and their involvement as high-profile people in the industry is a signal to the broader market that this is the way things are going in real estate.”
Formerly named Springbank Energy, AltCrest is a Toronto-based renewable energy project developer for real estate. It plans to develop on-site rooftop solar systems and geothermal energy projects using an energy-as-a-service (EaaS) model.
Bringing on CRE notables
The three directors were brought on to advise AltCrest as it advances on its first renewable energy projects, according to Gilbank.
He referred to Broccolini, Blakely and Wanlin as having “multi-decades experience of very large-scale projects for investments, development, asset management, operations and construction,” which are key elements of expertise needed for decarbonizing real estate.
They were convinced to join AltCrest because “they need solutions like this in their real estate portfolios,” Gilbank continued.
Following the EaaS system, AltCrest would invest in an on-site clean energy system in exchange for a long-term energy contract, which overcomes the high cost associated with a traditional funding model for clean energy installations.
The Broccolini company and Forgestone will have AltCrest’s offering as a built-in solution for their portfolios, while Wanlin can make connections with QuadReal, Gilbank said.
“We operate in a very specific place which is the intersection of real estate and renewable energy, and we can work with both sides, which historically are separate industries and sectors,” Gilbank said.
“In our view, AltCrest’s offering is aligned with this real estate cycle,” Blakely said in a release. “Going forward, sustainable development will increasingly emerge as a market standard.”
AltCrest has projects in the pre-development phase and is conducting studies to explore retrofits for industrial and multiresidential properties such as 8925 Torbram Rd. in Brampton, Ont. for QuadReal and the Martha Terrace apartment in Burlington, Ont.
Gilbank said it is also leading the district energy service procurement with Northcrest Developments on its Downsview project in Toronto and advising QuadReal on geothermal energy for its Bayview Village development.
Growing AltCrest from a startup phase
Forming the board of directors is part of AltCrest moving on from what Gilbank called its “startup phase.”
AltCrest also secured an undisclosed amount of seed funding as its first professional fundraise, with its board members also investing into the company.
Previously, the company was primarily self-sustained by raising funds from family and friends, Gilbank said. But the feedback from the market for its offerings led to the decision to raise funds and pivot to what he calls “AltCrest 2.0.”
The funds will be used to hire more staff and enhance AltCrest’s business development efforts.
In upcoming quarters, AltCrest plans to announce more projects, Gilbank said.