October 27th, 2010
This week on Buzz Talk we sit down with Rizwan Dhanji, Vice President Sales & Marketing for Canderel Stoneridge Equity Group, the team behind the fabulous DNA3 [map] and Aura [map] developments that are going to help change the condo scene in Toronto over the next few years.
We here at BuzzBuzzHome love what Canderel are doing in the city and jumped at the chance to talk to the always engaging, always interesting, and always entertaining Mr. Dhanji.
Over to Riz……..
With DNA, Canderel has developed a brand – was this a conscious decision? What role does ‘brand building’ play in today’s condo market?
Brand building to me is critical in today’s condo market.
There are a number of developments being marketed all across the GTA and no shortage of choice for buyers. The key is to set your project apart from the rest. Cutting edge design, marketing, architecture, amenities, and most importantly, execution on delivering the product is what differentiates you from the rest.
At DNA 1 and 2, we had a vision of delivering a great urban product to users that had never seen the type of floor-plan layouts, interior design, finishes, architecture, and retail in the downtown core before.
Those who bought in to our vision were rewarded with hefty increases in value and a building that is one of the most sought after in King West and we have taken the same formula when designing the Residences of College Park I and II and Aura at College Park.
At DNA3, buyers have already heard about the DNA brand and it made it a lot easier to sell. Plus the fact that they can walk across the street and see first hand what we already built. I don’t think we could have achieved the same success if we started from scratch having never built a product in that area before.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I hate admitting this but the french fry guy at Wendy’s. My first job at 16. The burners were so hot that I had got burns scooping up fries everyday. Lasted only two weeks. Do you know why Wendy’s has square patties? Cuz they don’t cut corners on quality. Only thing I learned there.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
My older brother who is a big property tycoon in Thailand. I worked for him out of university and he made me do everything from telemarketing, cold calling, touring prospects, and read a ton of sales books.
It was hard knocks working with him but it really trained me to work hard and never take anything for granted. They always say in sales that you’re only as good as your last sale.
What part of the city do you live in? House or Condo?
I live in a home up in the Bayview and Eglinton area. It’s a great family area, however, I hate the whole maintenance and upkeep you have to do to your property. That’s why condos make so much sense.
What’s the most exciting aspect of your job?
Working with really great people from my sales and marketing staff, to the designers, architects, and other consultants on our jobs.
This condo industry in Toronto is the most innovative in the world. We have some great people that do work internationally. Developers from all over come to Toronto to get ideas on what to do in their cities. It is exciting to be part of such a great, innovative industry that is recognized worldwide.
iPhone, Android or Blackberry?
Blackberry. Getting the new Torch and excited to see all the new features in the operating system.
Describe your ideal weekend off.
When I do get them off, it’s really doing nothing. Reading the newspaper, going for brunch, and hanging out with my family. I’m a simple guy…(though my wife will say otherwise).
What role can social media play in condo marketing?
I think what BuzzBuzzHome is doing is changing the way information is delivered to the consumer.
Before, a person would have to find out about a project if they read the newspaper or saw an ad. Unfortunately, not every development is featured. BuzzBuzz has allowed a person looking for a condo to log on and find out about practically every project going on in this city and its various attributes. I admit, I find out about projects by reading the blog.
Social media allows us as developers to provide real time information on what is happening with our projects. I can communicate one on one with my market like I could never do before. It really will revolutionize the way condos are marketed and sold in the future.
If you could be a superhero for a day who would you be?
Six Million Dollar Man. It would make it much easier to get to work than drive.
What’s going to happen to the Toronto Condo Market in the next 10 years?
I think the market will continue to grow as more and more people move into the GTA each year. Furthermore, Toronto has been recognized as a safe investment for International investors especially in light of the global financial crisis.
Ten years ago, you would never think that stainless steel appliances would be a standard feature in almost all condominiums downtown. The envelope is being pushed every year and developers are coming out with more innovative design, architecture, green solutions, and suite finishes. We can only expect the industry to get better and better each year.
What’s up next for Canderel?
Lot’s of stuff…but I can’t tell yet!
Thanks to Riz for taking the time out of his schedule to talk with us. For all the latest news on Canderel Stoneridge‘s projects be sure to check back here often. More Buzz Talk next Wednesday!