Click on the link to view the video on Skyline Wealth Management's YouTube channel - Skyline's Nomination Video for the 2014 Grant Thornton Private Business Growth Award.
Jason Castellan: The company informally got its roots back in the early ‘90s, when my brother Martin and I came [here] to go to the University of Guelph, and realized how much we were paying in rent. Dad helped us buy our first student rental, and we lived for nothing while going to school.
We realized that if we didn’t actually live [in the rental house], we could make profit on this, so we bought another rental, and we continued to buy houses throughout Guelph.
We got up to 52 houses, and we were learning everything about the rental business, and doing it all ourselves. We realized that if we could buy one apartment building, it would have one roof, one lawn to cut, etc., and we could have on-site staff to help maintain it while we weren’t on site. We put together a group of investors for a particular building, and then we did that again and again, while we managed it.
We realized we had to find a more efficient model to manage all of this real estate, so we launched Skyline Apartment REIT. Today, we have a portfolio of over $1.1 billion worth of real estate, about 140 buildings within the portfolio, and about 3,000 investors with us.
I say that private businesses are vital to the success of the Canadian economy. Private businesses can do it more efficiently. It’s necessary just because of our geographic diversification to be able to be nimble and to move. Private business can do that. We can add properties through new equity, or through cultivating our organic equity that we develop and grow within the portfolio.
A lot of investors who have built their business, who’ve built up their own equity, they can relate to where we’ve come from, and how we built this business. Because of that, they feel comfort in investing with us, which allows us to grow indefinitely as we go forward.
We get to hear lots of stories because we touch a lot of people in our business. They love to share the moments of how Skyline has positively influenced them. That really does go a long way with us, because we never dreamed we were going to be a company the size we are today.
If you have a belief, or a business model, or a theory that you think works or that you have a passion for, follow it, go with it, and give it your all, and you’ll be successful.
See an article from the Globe and Mail featuring the Skyline Group of Companies and other finalists for the 2014 Grant Thornton Private Business Growth Award.