We recently interviewed Jordan Fletcher, the president of Gorge Holdings Inc., a real estate development company based in the St. CathArines area of Ontario.
Q: First of all, can you give us an overview of your position with Gorge Holdings and what your company does?
Jordan Fletcher: Absolutely. I started with Gorge Holdings as a property manager in 2006. We have always focused on a variety of real estate projects and developments, with a mix of commercial, retail, residential, and industrial developments — all in southern Ontario.
In addition to St. CathArines, of course, where we’re based, Gorge also has developments in
Niagara Falls, Welland, Thorold, London and Niagara on the Lake.
I was chosen for president of the company in 2010. In the 10-plus years since, I have worked hard to expand our portfolio. That’s been accomplished mostly through acquisitions and developing new properties. The goal is to continue diversifying our portfolio by finding great new opportunities in these cities, which I think will continue to provide many great opportunities in the coming years.
Q: Southern Ontario is one of the hottest real estate markets in Canada, which continues to have competitive housing markets throughout the country. What are the major trends you see for the country’s real estate market this year?
Jordan Fletcher: That’s a great question. Although the pandemic slowed everything down for awhile, that really didn’t last as long as many of us feared. Commercial real estate, especially, bounced back pretty quickly last year and has continued to improve ever since.
Commercial real estate is in a good place and residential isn’t far behind. Morguard actually released a recent report that forecast more growth for commercial real estate in Canada this year. They wrote that investment stayed strong in 2021 for both industrial real estate and multi-suite rentals.
That bodes well for 2022, when we’re already seeing an economic rebound from the pandemic. The economy is expected to expand output by about 5 percent, and both the services sector and labour market should strengthen this year as well. Given that Canada in general — and Ontario especially — remains a highly desirable place to live and work, I think there’s room for success for Gorge Holdings.
Q: What kinds of projects is Gorge Holdings working on right now? Can you share any details with us?
Jordan Fletcher: I can share a few details, sure. Here in St. CathArines we’re trying to meet the city’s need for more residential developments. We own a parking lot on Ontario Street between Church Street and King Street. It’s a one-acre lot that we think is in a fantastic location for new residences.
We’re still in the planning stages for this project, but we’re looking at building a luxury rental building that would consist of approximately 150 units. We want to offer everything with this: protected parking, storage space, you name it. The area continues to grow and add new workers — and they’re going to need a place to live in an area with very low vacancy rates.
We also plan on making the first floor commercial to accommodate a variety of businesses and services.
Q: Is Gorge Holdings primarily pursuing developments in St. St CathArines right now? Or do you have projects elsewhere as well?
Jordan Fletcher: Of course! We’re active throughout Southern Ontario. In fact, we have two developments in Welland right now, one industrial development in Thorold, and a residential building in London.
We’re working on a new location in Welland for 25 residential building lots. It’s in an ideal location for new people moving into the city. It’s just a block away from Niagara Street, which has many local businesses, restaurants and cafes, and retail stores and services.
We just recently completed a new commercial plaza with a number of different services and shopping opportunities. Gorge has actually owned the property for several years and with the growth in the area, the timing was right to build a new plaza that attracted new local and national tenants including Starbucks, Sleep Country, and national quick serve food stores.
We are also adding a new Industrial complex in Thorold, located just off highway 406. Construction for this project has just started and we look forward to expanding our existing footprint in that market. The project will consist of 3 multi unit buildings totalling 80,000 square feet.
The London multi unit residential building is about 80% complete. We are very excited to finalize the development of these 60 luxury rental suites. It’s in a great location in North London and the project ios coming along great!
Q: Overall, it sounds like you have a positive outlook for the real estate business this year. Jordan Fletcher: I think there’s a lot to be excited about, yes. It’s a great time to be in real estate and I think Ontario is one of the best places anywhere to be doing it. I’m really looking forward to finding new opportunities to grow and I’m confident that Gorge Holdings has a lot of great work ahead of us.