Feb 23, 2011
This week in Buzz Talk we’re switching it up a little.
Instead of talking to a veteran of the industry, we get the perspective of one of the new kids on the block – Michael Binder of Parallax Investment Corp.
Here’s what Michael had to say when we sat down with him.
BuzzBuzzHome: How did you get your start in the industry?
Michael Binder: I have a finance background, having worked in the investment banking world for a couple of years and then decided to jump into real estate development industry with my partner Stafford Lawson, his father Owen, and a year ago, Nigel Lawson, who has a legal background, joined us. It’s a great team.
BBH: Where did you go to college? Was it real estate related?
MB: I completed an Honors BA in Economics from the University of Western Ontario and also completed a Master’s in Real Estate Development from Columbia University in New York City.
BBH: iPhone, Android or Blackberry?
MB: Blackberry. I was debating making the switch to the iPhone but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of BBM. I do have an iPad though, so I think I have the best of both worlds
BBH: Downtown (picture, above left) incorporates a unique feature called Flexinatur in it’s design – is this something that Parallax will continue to look at in their projects – bringing something new and unique to the market?
MB: Yes, we believe that in today’s competitive environment, projects need to stand out. There are so many condominiums in the market and we believe that it is important to differentiate ourselves.
While we think that the location of Downtown is as good as it gets in the city (beautiful wide street, across from Victoria Memorial Park, close to amazing restaurants and bars), we want to offer our purchasers something unique that will enable them to both enjoy the building but also to be able to realize great capital appreciation when they go to resell it either a year from now or 20 years in the future.
BBH: What’s your view on social media as a real estate industry tool?
MB: I think it’s taking on an increasingly large role, judging from the success that you have had, as well as the vast number of real estate agents who have started using Twitter, etc. It allows people to learn about which projects would be suitable for them and I think it’s a great tool.
BBH: What part of the city do you call home?
MB: I live in the Avenue Rd. and Eglinton Ave area but in early 2013, I will be living Downtown, at Wellington and Portland!
BBH: Where does your motivation come from?
MB: When I worked for the bank, I really didn’t enjoy waking up in the morning. These days, I love waking up, going to work with a fun and dynamic group of people, and I love working on projects that change parts of the city for the better.
BBH: What do you do to relax?
MB: I love going up to cottage country on weekends and I have a new found love of skiing, thanks to all my business partners’ complete obsession with the sport!
BBH: Do you think that being a relative newcomer to the land development scene is an advantage or disadvantage?
MB: As a newcomer, I think it’s extremely important to surround yourself with experienced people.
I’ve been lucky enough to get to work very closely with the Parallax founder, Owen Lawson, who has been a developer for 30 years.
At Downtown, we have brought on some of the industry’s best: L.A. Inc for advertising, Milborne Real Estate for sales, &Co for Architecture, and Brandon Communications for our PR.
When you hire the best, you will get great results
BBH: What’s the best thing about your job?
MB: I love waking up never knowing what the day is going to entail.
Every day brings something new. I love the creativity that comes with this business and being able to create something that contributes to the ever-changing city landscape.
BBH: What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
MB: Working for another real estate development company during a summer in university. I was responsible for cleaning garbage off of large sites in the suburbs. It wasn’t fun at all!
BBH: What’s coming up for Parallax?
MB: Parallax has a lot of exciting things in the pipeline. Apart from Downtown, we acquired the parking lot on the NW Corner of Queen & Soho (beside Ultra Supper Club) and we are in the initial planning stages of what to build there. We are also working on a potential office building development site downtown and a number of retail projects as well.
Our thanks to Michael for taking the time to chat with us!