Skyline Group of Companies
As one of Canada’s most unique investment management organizations, the Skyline Group of Companies (“Skyline”) is no stranger to innovation. What began in the early 1990s as a single-property business venture among three university students (now Skyline’s three Co-Founders), brothers Jason and Martin Castellan and their friend Roy Jason Ashdown, has now grown into a multi-billion dollar firm specializing in apartment, industrial commercial, and retail real estate investments, and evolving to offer a host of additional wealth management services to its investors.
Skyline acquires properties across Canada, and, true to its roots, fully manages the properties in-house, ensuring that its residential and commercial tenants are proud to live and work in Skyline buildings. Each of these properties belongs to one of Skyline’s private REIT portfolios, which are offered to investors as unique and solid alternative investment products.
Since it was last featured in CBJ, Skyline has been consistent in providing remarkable investment opportunities for investors during the current shift in the Canadian real estate market. Skyline provides an alternative from the volatility of the public markets.
Over the past two-and-a-half decades, Skyline has adapted to major changes in the Canadian real estate investment landscape, constantly innovating while still remaining true to the real estate values that serve as the foundation of its core business principles. Skyline’s owners, along with its over-700 staff across the country, take pride in their company’s exponential growth, and exude a remarkable passion to bring meaningful value to each “Skyline community” across the country.
The Skyline Group of Companies is one of Canada’s best entrepreneurial success stories, with unique and highly-marketable REIT products, as well as a strong connection to the REITs through 100% in-house property and asset management. Skyline provides “A-Z” services for its three private Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), each created by Skyline itself, and each specializing in a different real estate asset class: multi-residential (apartments), industrial commercial, and retail.
With more than $411 million in real estate acquired over the past year alone, Skyline is now managing nearly $3 billion dollars in real estate assets among its three property portfolios – an increase of approximately 550% over the past five years. Performing acquisitions, property management, and investment services for its three REIT portfolios in-house (rather than opting for third-party management) is indisputably one of the secret ingredients to the company’s success, as it allows for an alignment of interests between all stakeholders, streamlined operational procedures, and efficient communication between all aspects of the business.
From Acquisitions, to Legal, to Mortgage Financing, to Business Operations, to Investor Relations, the Skyline business is synergistic, creating efficiencies that ultimately result in greater returns for the company’s over-2500 valued investors. Skyline’s shareholders appreciate the stability of its privately owned and managed alternative investments.
One of Skyline’s primary business goals is to consistently enhance the value and efficiencies of its established REIT products while also developing additional investment solutions for those customers who want even more from Skyline. Through its investment in green and sustainable technology, Skyline is able to fulfill both of these aspects.
New initiatives in green technology
When it comes to environmental initiatives, Skyline has earned a reputation as a “green” pioneer in its industry. Since the launch of its first REIT in 2006, the company has been taking advantage of the latest advances in sustainable technology and implementing them in its apartment and commercial properties across Canada, through its official “Portfolio Efficiency Plan” (PEP). Its significant natural gas, water, and electricity-saving measures have set the bar in the Canadian real estate industry for showing landlords how to reduce their environmental footprint, and have won Skyline many industry awards and accolades.
Eleven years after the PEP’s launch, Skyline is consistently making changes to the plan, and continuously adding new initiatives as green technology improves. Its newest initiative is the Skyline Illumination Project, a massive lighting retrofit across its over-17,000 apartment suites. Through 2017, Skyline is changing over 330,000 CFL and incandescent bulbs to high-efficiency LEDs, a $2 million undertaking that will save approximately 10 million kWh each year – equivalent to powering about 913 single-family homes annually.
Skyline has also elected to switch the bulbs in over 3,000 suites where tenants pay for their own hydro, allowing these families to reduce their electricity bills at no cost to them. This entire project will allow the company to cut its total hydro consumption (through lighting) by over 50%. The Illumination Project is currently underway, with several utility companies and more than 500 Skyline staff on the ground across Canada working together to help its 35,000+ tenants save more energy.
Another significant energy-saving tactic included in the PEP is the installation of solar panel systems. To date, Skyline has installed 61 rooftop solar systems on its properties. With each system producing approximately 12,500 kWh per year, together these rooftop systems generate enough energy to power an additional 69 homes annually. However, Skyline has just begun with its investment in solar: it has plans to install another three megawatts of solar panels on its properties in the coming year.
Skyline’s passion for taking advantage of the latest green technology is turning heads in the real estate industry, and it is taking great strides on the business side of green energy production. Leveraging its years of expertise in implementing green solutions for its buildings, Skyline has developed its own green energy business –one that will directly serve Skyline’s REIT investments as primary clients.
Through its new green energy venture Anvil Crawler Development Corp (of which Skyline is a Managing Partner), Skyline is developing exciting new sustainable energy products that are changing the landscape of the green energy industry. Not yet two years old, the company has already garnered industry attention as a winner of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association’s 2017 Developer of the Year award, and it is just getting started. Having developed multiple energy production and conservation products, Anvil Crawler allows Skyline to invest in renewables on a large scale.
In late 2015, Anvil Crawler unveiled the Anvil Power House, a completely portable and scalable solar energy facility with potential applications spanning across the globe. With a solar roof, internal battery storage system, and Wi-Fi capabilities, the Power House module can be custom-outfitted to serve as virtually any type of shelter, and provides 100% clean, green and “off-grid” power in any type of environment or terrain with at least occasional sunshine.
Anvil Crawler has also developed a fleet of micro-Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems, a perfect energy-offsetting component for a multi-residential or commercial building. Thermal energy generated by each CHP system subsidizes the boilers while heating the building. Each system generates almost 500,000 kWh annually. Skyline has installed nine of these systems in its buildings so far, and has applied to continue installations in an additional 200 properties—a potential $50 million investment.
Additionally, Anvil Crawler has installed nineteen 250-kWh large-scale rooftop solar projects across Ontario. Backed by 20-year government contracts to purchase the emissions-free energy generated from these sites, each solar project is built, managed and maintained by Anvil Crawler. This solar fleet is currently being packaged as a new investment fund offered to Skyline’s investors, called Skyline Private Opportunities Corporation (SPOC).
By investing in SPOC, Skyline’s clients will share a stake in green, sustainable technology backed by Skyline’s years of expertise, as well as its private asset manager’s solid track record of delivering an over 12.5% annual return to investors since 2006 through its other managed projects. While Anvil Crawler enables its customers to benefit from harnessing the most natural, efficient, and renewable power supply available (sunlight), its relationship with Skyline allows for thousands of investors to get in at the ground level and directly invest in sustainable technology with a positive social and environmental impact.
Preserving and building strong communities is an integral part of Skyline’s business model, as well as its corporate culture. Skyline has proven that “green” is both good for both the environment and the bottom line. Skyline also understands its great responsibility to implement the newest sustainable practices to make its business greener as a community partner and industry leader.
From humble beginnings to a $3 billion multi-faceted business, Skyline has embraced innovation every step of the way, while still maintaining the professionalism, respect, integrity, drive and efficiency that propelled the company sky-high to succeed in the real estate sector.
For more information: skylineonline.ca