‘This Could Be Toronto’s Golden Age’: Allied CEO Michael Emory At Toronto State Of The Market
The biggest names in Toronto real estate will discuss the city’s resurgence at Bisnow’s Toronto State of the Market event June 20. Speakers will weigh in on how technology is shaping the city’s growth and what companies, asset classes and properties they are watching. Register here for the event.
When Michael Emory arrived in Toronto in 1979 for law school, the city was, in his words, “homogenous, parochial and generally a little boring.” But his belief that Toronto held a bright future led Emory to enter the city’s real estate market in 1988 and found Allied Properties REIT.
Thirty years later, Toronto is witnessing an unprecedented period of growth, with Emory at its centre. Allied owns 160 properties from Montreal to Vancouver, totaling over 11M SF. According to Emory, burgeoning talent pools in Canada’s urban centers are pressuring owners and operators to provide productive, healthy workspace. If they continue on the easy path of offering sterile, commoditized spaces, they will fall irreparably behind the times.
Emory gave Bisnow a sneak peek of what he will be discussing in his upcoming keynote at our Toronto State of the Market event.
Name: Allied Properties REIT CEO and founder Michael Emory
Years in the industry: 31
Bisnow: Why is Bisnow’s Toronto State of the Market event on June 20 important to you, and what are you planning on speaking about?
Emory: Toronto has become, in my estimation, one of the most diverse cities on the planet. Thanks to its educational institutions and the growth we’ve already had, its talent pool is becoming increasingly concentrated in a tiny urban area. Enterprises are working to capture that talent pool, and they’re competing for talent on a global level.
The boom right now is being fueled by demand. It isn’t like the boom from the late 1980s, which was just fueled by easy money. Deals are being funded by a great deal of equity, and I think this growth is stable. In 100 years, I think we’ll look back and think of this as Toronto’s Victorian Era, our golden age.
Bisnow: How would you describe your role at Allied?
Emory: As CEO, the most significant element of my role is striving to predict what’s going to happen before it happens. What I’ve done for Allied over the 30 years that it’s been in existence, and the 16 years it’s been a public company, is anticipate what is happening in the urban context.
As we are a public company, I’m also constantly in communication with our constituents. Our investor base has become a broad spectrum as we’ve grown from a local to a national to a global company.
Bisnow: In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue affecting commercial real estate?
Emory: Canadian cities are undergoing urban intensification, but so is the whole world. North American cities, Berlin and Scandinavian cities, they’re all facing the same pressures.
The downtown areas of cities like Toronto and Montreal are densifying, and operators are going to have to approach workspace creatively, not from a hypocritical marketing sense; they need to be attentive to wellness and create amenity-rich, neighbourhood-centric workspaces. A few decades ago, it paid to ignore design and create rectangular boxes with no interesting elements. Design actually pays now.
Bisnow: Outside of your work, what are you most passionate about?
Emory: What’s particularly thrilling to me is that I have two granddaughters under 2 years old. I’m absolutely passionate about them, and they do impact how I see real estate. The boomers and the millennials both think they’re important, but they’re not. The future generations are who I want to build for.