The 9th Annual AptCon: The New Apartment Development Symposium

The 9th Annual AptCon:

The New Apartment Development Symposium

SVN Rock Advisors welcomes you to join Canada’s real estate fraternity at the 9th Annual AptCon – a two day event, being held June 3 & 4, 2020. AptCon 2020 is the prescription for rental apartment development in Canada: a lot has happened in the industry over the last year, and AptCon will refocus our industry’s vision for apartment development in Canada. Join us and your industry peers as we tackle the issues that rental apartment and student housing developers face in an increasingly competitive industry – seeing development clearly.

Join us over the course of two days, where North America’s foremost experts in the rental apartment, mixed-use, and student housing industry will address critical and timely issues that are driving change in the industry today using real world experience, data, and best-in-class case studies to support their conclusions.

AptCon 2020 Program

Day 1: June 3, 2020

12:00 – 1:00 pm

Lunch & Networking

1:00 – 2:00 pm

Session 1: The Apartment Developers’ Panel & Major Transactions Completed

AptCon 2020 is for developers only: Hear first-hand from some of Canada’s most successful rental apartment developers across the country as they discuss their recent successes, challenges, and their take on opportunities going forward. We’ll look at their benchmark developments and transactions and find out how these experts make their decisions and learn from their successes and missteps.

We’ll be asking the developers to speak candidly on everything they’ve learned. Which construction methods do they prefer and why? Which have the better development return? And which are suitable for the market you’re in. Working with architects – what successes have they had? And what did they say ‘yes’ to on the plans that they’d go back and say ‘no’ to now?

Each developer has built and gone through lease-up. Did the rents they penciled into their construction proforma, pencil out? And where do they see apartment prices heading? Is there be any more upside left for 2020 and beyond? This is a unique opportunity to hear from Canada’s leading developers in purpose built rental apartments.

2:15 – 3:00 pm

Session 2: The State of the Apartment Development Across Canada & The Opportunities that Exist for Land Owners, Developers, and Pension Funds

What is the long-term opportunity for apartment development across Canada? New rental apartment construction is arguably the hottest asset class in Canada today: Almost 40,000 new purpose-built units came to market in the last year, with development pipelines remaining strong moving into the new decade. We will provide updates and anecdotes on new apartment construction transaction activity, valuations, cap rates, and buyers metrics. Canada is a diverse country: Toronto and Vancouver are on fire, while Alberta is lagging. We will provide strategies for developers to be nimble enough to maneuver in Canada’s distinctly unique markets.

We will then take a deep dive into the development process: The good news is that most developers already have 80-90% of the skills they need to develop apartments. How do you re-structure your company to become a merchant apartment builder? Which developers have had success in this asset class and how? We will review the 10 largest new apartment construction transactions in Canada and also some of the smaller deals and discuss the vast opportunity to build mid-size apartment buildings. As the market gets more sophisticated, due diligence on both sides (buyer/seller) becomes more complex. How are buyers and sellers thinking? Sellers need to proactively identify potential deal obstacles and develop sales strategies.

The ability for developers to take advantage of the vast opportunity that new apartment construction has to offer, is dictated by the political mindset and policies in Ottawa. With more than 30 years of experience advocating for the Canadian apartment development industry, Derek Lobo will discuss who else speaks for the developer’s interest in Ottawa, provincial capitals and municipalities, and his take on what we can expect in 2020.

3:45 – 5:00 pm


Session 3: Apartment Research Methodology to Improve Profitability from Initial Feasibility Study, to Lease-Up, to Stabilization

Developers know data: You know the cost of materials and labour in your home markets, and you know the return on investment you need to make the deal pencil out. The Apartment Research Forum takes a deep dive into the data you may not be familiar with, that has the potential to significantly improve your return on cost by building the right product, for the right renter, who is going to want to pay top of market rents to live in your product.

Who to build for, and what product? The renter profile across Canada is changing. It’s no longer the stereotypical downtown roommates, and new families to Canada that rental developers of the past accommodated. And it’s no longer just a downtown product. The suburbs are evolving – Both boomers and millennials want to stay in the communities they’ve made their home for the past few decades. We’ll look at where these residents want to live, and how to create design-targeted apartments that not just meet but exceed resident preferences to achieve top of market rents.

Where to build? Development is a long cycle: It can take several years to secure a piece of dirt, take it through necessary rezoning and SPA, to get a shovel in the ground. Cheap land opportunities are found even further out, you have to hedge your bets on yet unproven markets. We’ll show you how to use data to improve your odds when looking for land development opportunities for purpose built rental (stick around for our Land Development Panel on Day 2 for more). We take a long-term view on metropolitan growth, population shifts, and forecasting rental demand and absorption of newly constructed apartments to allow you to identify tomorrow’ opportunity, today.

What are the next steps? Once you’ve got a shovel in the ground it can be up to two years to get occupancy. Your development manager will be busy during this time, but how do you prepare your building for a successful lease up? It starts in the feasibility stage – we’ll show you the data you need to be using and collecting to ensure that when you receive your certificate of occupancy you hit the ground running.

6:00 – 7:00 pm

Reception on Patio with Jazz Band

7:00 – 8:30 pm

Apartment Developers’ Dinner (By Invitation Only)

Late Evening

Informal Meeting in the Lobby Bar

Day 2: June 4, 2020

9:00 – 9:55 am

Session 4: Finding, Buying, & Entitling Land for Apartment Development

What are the differentiators that turn a good site into a great site? What land values can you pay and still make a project feasible/how are municipal taxes set and how do you plan for negotiating with the city and appealing your taxes if needed?

9:55 – 10:50 am

Session 5: Intensifying Shopping Centres & Apartment Sites with Purpose-Built Rentals

Both low density retail plazas and older rental apartment buildings have one thing in common: Surplus land with potential for intensification with new rental apartment buildings. The synergies between the existing and new use in both instances are strong, but developers need to be cautious of the nuances of intensification: Just because you have excess land doesn’t mean you can put a shovel in the ground without doing your due diligence on the highest and best use for the parcel of land.

For older rental apartment buildings, the opportunity to intensify can be a no-brainer, but the existing apartment owner needs to consider the finer details of parcel severance and the relationship between the existing and new building, including amenity sharing, parking, and operations. If severance is needed, what are the fundamentals you need to know before you start?

For retail owners: The world of retail is changing: 10% of all Canadian retail purchases are now made online – and this is growing every year. Growing online sales, and the exit of several large anchor tenants from the Canadian market have created challenges for shopping centre owners across the country. Most are now seeing the opportunity to intensify low-density retail sites with new purpose-built rental product. Making rental work on a retail site has the potential to be a strong marriage, but it has to be approached with an understanding of the nuances of both asset classes.

We’ll look at what makes a good candidate site for intensification, how you structure the deal and put together a team of professionals to get the deal done – to make these potentially challenging deals not just feasible, but highly profitable. How do the economics and cash-flow from the old building, the new building, and the newly intensified site compare in terms of cash-flow and long-term wealth preservation and growth?

10:50 – 11:05 am


11:05 – 12:00 pm

Session 6: The Capital Stack, Financing Apartments, and Affordable Housing

“If you want to do a better deal, find a cheaper cost of capital”: Money is widely available to build apartments. It’s about finding the right money – tailoring your financing needs to the right sources of capital. This will depend on the product you’re building, and in which market. We’ll hear directly from lenders which asset types and markets are most attractive (and challenging) to the sources of capital they work with, looking at construction financing, mezzanine financing, takeout financing, and inventory loans.

Alternative Financing:  CMHC financing is often misunderstood – the definitions of affordability and tenant selection have changed. We’ll show you how it’s possible to do a deal to build affordable housing with CMHC financing that will rival your return on cost from conventional apartment development with traditional financing.

Private Equity: When do you seek it? And what does private equity look for in apartment development deals? In which scenarios do these work and on what terms? We’ll look at how these funds can work with you and help you grow your business.

This session will lay out all financing options available to you, to help you determine the best capital stack for your next deal.

12:00 – 1:00 pm


1:00 – 1:55 pm

Session 7: Development Panel – Building Design, Structuring Joint Ventures, and Profit Splits

Building on the earlier Financing Panel, this session will take a deep dive into how to creatively structure joint-venture opportunities to push your position up the capital stack. Continual innovation in the rental apartment industry in the US is starting to flow into Canada – far beyond building design, but rather sparking innovation in joint venture structures, creative partnerships, and developers’ ability to get more financing further up the capital stack. We’ll look at some of the leading transactions in Canada that pushed the boundaries of profit by using creative financing and partnership structures.

1:55 – 2:50 pm

Session 8: Structuring Purpose-Built Rental Apartments for Inter-Generational Family Owned Companies for Longevity

The history of purpose built rental apartments in Canada has been dominated by families looking to build and generate long-term wealth for subsequent generations. While REITs are active in the asset class, multi-generational developer families with long-term hold portfolios are an undeniable force within the industry. New rental developments built today by these groups are designed to be legacy holdings for future generations.

As the portfolio, and importantly, the number of family members, within the holding expands, we look at how to structure the entity to involve family members with a clear vision from the founder for generations to come. Planning ahead creates security for all, and a defined career path for Generations 2 and 3.  Special issues crop up in a family run business and don’t occur anywhere else. It’s a topic that’s rarely discussed: We’re going to talk about the challenges of inter-generational wealth transfer for long-term apartment owners.

2:50 – 3:05 pm


3:05 – 4:00 pm

Session 9: Alternative Rental Housing Options that Drive Rental Rates

The purpose-built rental industry is not just about building one and two bedroom apartments. It is affected by the impacts of economic diversification, immigration in major downtown markets with demand for housing to accommodate the lifestyle of the “global nomad”, and rise of the shared economy. As expected, profit margins on conventional rental have tightened, developers increasingly look to alternative rental housing options to boost the rent per square foot metric in their proforma and maximize potential profit by targeting these residents. We look at co-living, purpose-built Air BNB suites, furnished apartments, long-term hotel suites, student housing, and micro apartments price pointed for first job millennials. We’ll be looking at how these alternative options pencil out in terms of rent per square foot, but also measure up against demand and operating cost inflations.

The program is not final and is subject to change with no notice. Additional details to come.

AptCon 2020 Speakers

Speakers to be announced

If you are interested in speaking at AptCon20, please contact Tanya Mohammed to discuss how you can be involved.

AptCon 2020 Registration Fees

Individual Tickets

Coming soon

All registrations include light breakfast, morning refreshments, and luncheon.
HST is not included.
Price is in Canadian Dollars.

For information about Group Registrations (5+), please contact Tanya Mohammed.

AptCon 2020 Sponsors


Title Sponsor for AptCon20: SVN Rock Advisors



Gold Sponsor for AptCon20: Chamberlain



Supporting Industry

If you are interested in a sponsorship opportunity for 2020, please contact Tanya Mohammed.

Venue & Hotel Information

2020 Exclusive Hotel Rate

SVN Rock Advisors has negotiated preferential hotel rates at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel – the same location as the conference – for Sunday May 31, 2020 through Wednesday June 3, 2020.

Rooms are available at a reduced rate of $299 per night.

Attendees are able to make their own reservations by calling in toll-free at 1-888-627-7175 and stating that they are part of the AptCon20 Conference group, or by using the dedicated reservation link.

The cut-off date to make reservations under the group block with the negotiated group rate is on May 5th, 2020.

Please Note: All guestroom related charges will be the responsibility of each individual. Guests will be required to provide a credit card at time of booking to secure the reservation; a valid card will need to be provided at check-in to settle the charges of the stay.  Cancellation without penalty is received more than 48 hours prior to day of arrival; cancellations received within 48 hours of arrival will be charged 1-night room and tax.


Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel

123 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2M9

Deal Room

What’s a Deal Room?

It’s where people meet to develop apartments.

It’s where stakeholders from across Canada come together to talk about structuring deals, joint ventures, partnerships, and alliances.

How does it work?

Alongside The 9th Annual AptCon: The Prescription for Rental Apartment Development Across Canada, we are happy to announce that we will be holding the popular Deal Room.

Arrange a one-on-one meeting with Derek Lobo, or another member of the SVN Rock team, to discuss the details of your project. We will help you determine exactly what you need to move forward with your project, and we will use that information to connect you with the experts in New Apartment Construction in Canada to ensure your project is a success.

Registration for AptCon is required. No additional fees for access to the Deal Room.

Terms and Conditions

Cancellation and modifications must be advised by email to and include your name and confirmation number.

Modifications & Substitutions
After May 15, registration modifications or substitutions will be subject to an administrative fee of $75. This fee will also apply to modifications on site.

Cancellations & Refunds
Registration cancellations received on or before May 15 will be refunded 80% of all fees paid. After May 15, refunds will not be made for cancellations or no-shows.


Please note that speakers and program are subject to change to without notice.

By attending this event, you may be the subject of still photography or videography which is used by SVN Rock Advisors Inc., Brokerage for purposes of promoting future events. By attending, you agree to grant SVN Rock Advisors Inc., Brokerage the right to use your likeness in any photographic or video coverage of the event.

By registering for this event you agree to all of the above policies.

International Attendees

Visa Information & Letters of Invitation

Pertaining to the New Apartment Construction conferences and workshops in Canada; SVN Rock does not issue formal Visa invitation letters, supporting letters, nor correspond with embassies regarding entrance to the country or attendance at the selected event. An administration fee of $175 is applicable to each registration which is non-refundable. To register, please contact Tanya Mohammed with credit card details, include a photocopy of your passport verification page, both sides of your credit card and fax to 905-319-2528. Thank you for your interest and understanding.

Electronic Travel Authorization – Visa Exempt Foreign Nationals

As of March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. Exceptions include U.S. citizens, and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents are not eligible to apply for an eTA. However, from March 15, 2016 until Fall 2016, travellers who do not have an eTA can board their flight, as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport. During this time, border services officers can let travellers arriving without an eTA into the country, as long as they meet the other requirements to enter CanadaFind answers to your questions about the leniency period.


Please call 905-331-5700 x 217 or email