Real estate development insiders have been watching with mouths agape over the last month as two industry titans have left their prestigious posts and assumed high profile roles at Fortress Real Developments.
The first to join Fortress was Ben Myers, the market analyst best known for his work at Urbanation over the last six years. And now, Frank Margani, a mortgage financing whiz at MCAP, has announced his departure from the independent lender to join the Fortress ranks.
Margani will assume the role of Executive Vice President, Strategy and Development at Fortress. We spoke with him about why he decided to make the move to Fortress and his vision for the future of the company.
BuzzBuzzHome: Why did you decide to leave MCAP and move to Fortress?
Frank Margani: I’ve been working for MCAP for 10 years and established myself there as an expert in the construction development industry in terms of providing capital for developers and clients and builders. So, I’ve known Fortress and I’ve been watching them for a couple of years and have been very impressed. They quickly established themselves as market leaders with national exposure in the real estate development sector, and they’ve done so pretty impressively.
Having spent 10 years with a national lender specializing in the field, my expertise really aligns with what Fortress is doing and where they’re going. And, together, our young yet experienced management team will be able to continue delivering excellent product and value to shareholders and stakeholders within the marketplace.
BBH: For those who aren’t familiar with Fortress’ vision, how would you describe it?
FM: I would describe the vision pretty simply – partnering with the best developers and builders across the country in delivering the best projects to the marketplace. And doing so, I’m offering an ability for investor participation in those projects and with those partners.
BBH: What exactly will your day-to-day job encompass? What will you be doing on a typical day?
FM: My title is Executive Vice-President of Strategy and Development. My experience is primarily in the development and construction lending space. I’ve worked with some of Canada’s most trusted developers and builders and I’ve assisted in financing some of Canada’s most desirable commercial and residential projects. Having deep relationships with market lenders, both from the development community and from the lending community is sort of my key focus. One of my responsibilities will be to look for key projects and partners with whom we want to work with. Once we sort of establish that, I’ll be assessing the partners and the projects. That will take up a lot of my time on a day-to-day basis. In addition I’ll be assisting in moving all of their existing projects forward to the final delivery of the product.
What that would entail would be to work with lenders across the country in order to maximize the capital structure opportunity within the project. This will enable our investments to realize maximum value and deliver those maximum returns that our stakeholders and investors expect; all at the same time minimizing risk. And I think a final role would be to assist in the education of the promotion of a product to the financial community, so that there’s a real understanding of how truly unique and exceptional the product is, how well it’s structured, and how it delivers the maximum upside value with minimum downside risk.
BBH: Ben Myers, formerly of Urbanation, recently made the jump to Fortress. Will you be working with him closely on projects?
FM: Yes, the management team will be really tight-knit and Ben brings incredible expertise and experience from Urbanation and from his past experiences to the team. He’ll be able to assess projects very quickly and very rationally. We’ll be working together hand-in-hand on every deal that comes through our pipeline and I’m really excited because Ben’s been a huge market mover and he really gets the business. He’s got a sound approach and he’s rational. From a banking and lending perspective, that’s what I look for in my partnerships and working with him is going to be really exciting.
So the two of us will be working together with Jawad and Vince and the entire staff at Fortress to continue delivering what we specifically wanted which is maximum value and best quality products across the country.
BBH: Where do you see Fortress 5 years from now? How is the company going to expand across Canada or even North America.
FM: I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t have an endgame five years from now, but what I can say is we will be coast-to-coast. One of our goals will be to have projects across the country in every major market. We’re already in nine major markets, we’re well over 30 projects. There’s a few other markets that we will be assessing and evaluating and if they’re right, and we find the right partners and projects, we will be in those markets.
I see continued growth of the company and I see continued growth in the quality of development clients that we work with. We’re dealing with an entrepreneurial team and incredibly bright people in the management team. I wouldn’t hesitate to speculate that there might be a continued product development and flexible structures that will continue to add value to our stakeholders and our partners.