AptCon 2020: The Rental Apartment Development Symposium – Making it Happen, Making it Work

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, this event has been postponed until further notice.

AptCon Rental Apartment Development

AptCon 2020: The Rental Apartment Development Symposium

Making it Happen, Making it Work


Now in its 9th year, AptCon 2020 brings together leaders, developers, and interested parties in the purpose-built rental apartment industry, from across Canada to learn, share and exchange best practices. AptCon fosters collaboration through mentoring, dialogue, education, and problem-solving while exploring issues of urbanization, conservation, regeneration and intensification. land use, capital formation, and sustainable development.

SVN Rock Advisors Inc. is known for providing objective information on urban planning, portfolio growth, disposition, acquisition, and development of purpose-built rental apartments.

AptCon 2020 Program

Day 1: June 3, 2020

12:00 – 1:00 pm

Lunch & Networking

1:00 – 2:00 pm

Session 1: Making It Happen, Making It Work: Apartment Developers’ Panel & Canada’s Major Rental Apartment Transactions

Making It Happen, Making It Work: 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 how they make rental apartment development work, and happen. Our panel will 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, and answer your questions: 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: General Session: Making It Happen, Making It Work – The Opportunities for Rental Development Across Canada

The need for purpose-built rental apartment development in Canada is constant, because populations, technology, and resident tastes never stop changing. New generations. New lifestyle choices, and revolving immigrant groups, coupled with the evolution of the apartment industry in Canada, create continual demand for new purpose-built rental stock: Almost 40,000 new purpose-built units came to market in the last year, with development pipelines remaining strong moving into the new decade.

In this session, Derek will answer the following questions:

  • Where are the development opportunities? With so many opportunities across Canada, how do you select a site?
  • Practices and standards for assessing a site’s constraints have improved in recent years, but the difficulty of locating buildable sites has increased markedly; How do you assess these trickier deals?
  • Which developers have had success in this asset class and how?
  • How do you re-structure your company to become a merchant apartment builder? The good news is that most developers already have 80-90% of the skills they need to develop apartments.
  • How are buyers and sellers thinking? Sellers need to proactively identify potential deal obstacles and develop sales strategies.

3:45 – 5:00 pm


Session 3: Making It Happen: Planning and Analysis: The Market Perspective

Apartment development involves the cooperation of many different entities, and each must stay informed with sufficient data about the level of risk involved in a development project, whether for the project itself or the company. In this session, we examine issues related to market information – finding it, using it, and understanding its relationship to the apartment development project. We will define a holistic version of the feasibility study – the most critical decision aid and management tool in the development process.

In this session, we answer the following questions and more:

  • What is the appropriate target market and market position for your project? How do you determine this?
  • What is the size of my target market and how is it growing? And what percentage of that market can be attracted to my project?
  • What are the opportunities, gaps, or specialized niches were a need exists in the marketplace? What rents can you expect based on market and asset class?
  • What types of units and unit sizes are suitable for the market you’re developing in?
  • What amenities and unit features should be provided to appeal to your market?
  • What are obstacles to development not related to supply and demand (indirect economic constraints), such as regulatory issues, the physical site, community opposition, or other difficulties that impact feasibility?

You will learn which metrics a lender will assess your deal through, and what your proforma should be testing.

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: Making It Work – Finance Part 1 – Financial Feasibility Analysis

How do you assess the financial performance of a rental apartment project that’s in the planning stages? What metrics do you need to pay closest attention to, and how is your lender going to judge your project? (A deeper drill on this will come in the following session).

In this session, walk through a detailed financial feasibility analysis taking a project from pre-construction, through construction, lease-up, to stabilization for potential sale. See first hand which aspects of a project have the greatest impact on your profitability including:

  • Equity input, debt structures and rates;
  • Development fees and rebates, and duration of pre-planning phase;
  • Rents and operating expenses;
  • Municipal taxes;
  • Lease-Up Duration;
  • Construction Cost Variances; and more…

What\s your maximum loan balance and is that the appropriate debt structure to maximize your return? How do you put together a discounted cash flow for investors? What development yield should you be targeting? And what does your IRR tell you about your decision to become a merchant apartment builder? This is an interactive session.

9:55 – 10:50 am

Session 5: Making It Happen – Finance Part 2 – The Lending Process & How Your Lender Views Your Deal

Without financing (debt, equity, or some combination), no real estate development is possible, so it is critical for developers to keep up with trends in real estate finance and different sources of capital. More importantly, when you bring your project to a lender, what process are you going to be required to go through to get financing? How do you need to prepare? In this session, learn directly from the people who help you obtain financing how lenders and investors are going to view your project and how you can prepare. You’ll learn the critical steps in the lending process:

  • How do different lenders view a project? What financial analysis do you need?
  • What does the financial process look like on different deal structures?
  • What financing options are available for the various stages of development?
  • What is the difference between the risks taken by a construction lender and those made by a permanent lender?
  • What is hybrid financing? What sources of equity and debt financing are open to different deal structures and markets?
  • What financing options are open at each stage of development?

This session will lay out all financing options available to you, to help you determine the best capital stack for your next deal. And how to be fully prepared for the financing process.

10:50 – 11:05 am


11:05 – 12:00 pm

Session 6: Making It Work: Site Planning and Product Design

The developer’s conceptualization should be based entirely on the target market – not their personal preferences. Rental apartment markets are segmented into many submarkets, with each niche demanding specific elements. Submarkets vary enormously by demographics, level of competition, and preferences related to unit mix, unit finishes, parking arrangements, and amenities. Design standards and preferences differ enormously from one geographic region to another. No matter how good the pro forma for a project might look, if the product does not satisfy the market’s needs, at a price that customers will pay, the project’s viability will be negatively impacted.

In this session, hear from Canada’s leading architects and planners in the new apartment rental space to answer the following key issues:

  • How big is too big? And how many washrooms do I need (among other questions)? Unit mix and suite design.
  • What is condo ‘spec’? Do I need to match it or beat it? Interiors, finishes and features.
  • My site is constrained – what are key site planning considerations, and how much should I spend on landscaping?
  • How much parking do I really need? What are some creative solutions to minimize spend on underground parking?
  • How do I maximize privacy and security through design to minimize operational spend?
  • What trends in mechanical systems are we seeing? What can I submeter? How do you design a ‘green’ building, and should I?
  • What amenities do I need?

12:00 – 1:00 pm


1:00 – 1:55 pm

Session 7: Making It Happen: Multifamily Niche Products

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.

In this session, we look at a wide range of multifamily niche products including:

  • Co-living
  • Purpose-built Air BNB suites
  • Furnished apartments
  • Long-term hotel suites
  • Adaptive use, conversions, and repositioning
  • 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.

1:55 – 2:50 pm

Session 8: Making It Work: Marketing and Leasing Up the Project

How much is too much to spend on marketing? Can I lease my building up myself? And what should I look for in a property manager? The marketing and lease-up of your building is the end result of years of planning, construction, and a huge investment on your part. How do you make sure you reach the finish line of a market leading, stabilized building with strong rents and a solid reputation in the market?

In this session we will review aspects of marketing analysis, strategic planning, and implementation. We’ll look at:

  • Developing the marketing strategy and plan; Plan for success.
  • The marketing and leasing budget; How much is too much?
  • Advertising and measuring the marketing plan’s success;
  • Should I do the lease up myself? What do I need to know if I want to?
  • How do I choose a leasing team, and is it the same as my property manager?

2:50 – 3:05 pm


3:05 – 4:00 pm

Session 9: Making It Happen, Making It Work: 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.

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

Registration Opens on Monday, March 9, 2020

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 tanya.mohammed@svn.com 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 tanya.mohammed@svn.com.