Renx Homes News Canada (RENXHOMES)
c/o Squall Inc.
P.O. Box 1484, Stn. B
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5P6
Canada: 1-855-569-6300

Tribute enters Hamilton with $112.5M land purchase from Greybrook

Aimed at satisfying demand for remote work, commuting, affordability

A view of 405-526 Fletcher Rd. (Courtesy Tribute Communities)

Tribute Communities is entering the Hamilton housing market with the purchase of an interest in two parcels of development land totalling 151.85-acres from Greybrook for $112.5 million.

Tribute purchased the interest in 405-526 Fletcher Rd. in late June in what the firm's chief financial officer considers a “great deal.”

“It’s in a small (former) township just outside of Hamilton . . . They are expanding their urban boundary, which made this appealing for us,” Tribute CFO Gus Stavropoulos said in an interview with RENX Homes.

Based in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) community of Pickering, Tribute is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2023. Stavropoulos, who has been with the company for two decades, said the firm has evolved from its roots as a low-rise builder to a developer and high-rise builder that also has experience in the commercial and mixed-use buildings sector.

Tribute has developed over 40,000 homes and condominiums across the GTA. Stavropoulos said Tribute seeks to be an innovator, developing product which matches market needs.

One example is the RCMI Tower, a 42-storey tower in downtown Toronto on the site of the Royal Canadian Military Institute.

Stavropoulos said it was the first major downtown tower to be constructed without parking for the residents. It houses the institute on the lower floors and condominiums, generally smaller units in one-bedroom, or one-bedroom-plus-den configurations, on the upper 36 storeys.

About the Hamilton transaction

The 151.85 acres in Hamilton were purchased through a joint venture between Tribute and Greybrook, which had in turn bought it from Greybrook’s initial partners.

Stavropoulos called Greybrook one of Tribute’s closest, if not closest, partner, having already worked on 15 previous projects.

Not all the land will be available for development, due to the presence of a creek running through the site. In conjunction with local authorities, Tribute/Greybrook will work to finalize exactly how much of the property will be developed and how much needs to be protected.

While both partners also have experience with higher-density projects, this property is slated for a low-rise residential community consisting of over 1,200 townhomes and single-detached homes.

Plans for development

“We like to push the limit on high-rise and put it in the 905 areas, but this particular pocket is probably not conducive to high density. This is probably a low- to medium-density market and situation over here,” Stavropoulos said.

Tribute will evaluate the market before it turns it into a live project, and expects approximately four to five years to create a draft plan, achieve all the approvals and then go to market.

“Hamilton is a great place to live,” Sasha Cucuz, CEO of Greybrook, said in a statement about the transaction and planned development. "We look forward to bringing new low-rise homes at attainable price points to this growing part of the city to help address the significant need for housing in Ontario.

“The desirability of the city is growing as a significant transformation, fuelled by over $1 billion in investments, is underway. Alongside our experienced developer partner, Tribute Communities, we are thrilled to contribute to this thriving city’s growth.

"This will be Greybrook’s 16th residential development with Tribute Communities.”

The patient approach for this site arises in part from the changing housing markets. Stavropoulos noted smaller products are in vogue currently due to concerns over affordability, when five years ago potential homebuyers were demanding larger lots.

“People are now unfortunately forced to drive further and still settle for a little bit of a smaller product. If we had to launch tomorrow morning, it would probably be a lot of small products, a lot of townhouses, entry-level 30-foot homes. But we’ll see where the world is in a few years when we get closer to a launch date and we’ll make our decisions then.”

Affordability and work from home

What is “top of mind” for Tribute is finding ways to increase affordability and allow more people to move into a Tribute home.

“As much as we would love to be able to build huge subdivisions in areas that are a lot closer to Toronto, (i.e. jobs) and things of that nature, the world has changed,” Stavropoulos said, with work from home creating a major upheaval.

The purchased land offers the best of both worlds as people can live in Hamilton for remote work or commute, and allows affordable homes compared to other locations Tribute could consider.

Stavropoulos said Tribute will remain cautious in considering future development land acquisitions.

“We’ve lasted 40 years because we’re conservative in how we approach things,” Stavropoulos said. “It’s a tough time right now” because of interest rate hikes, rising construction costs and affordability “going the wrong way.”

He described the company’s current strategy as looking for specific horizons to see how the economy plays out, potential changes in interest rates, and where buyer interests go next. Tribute will balance location and other considerations such as affordability and livability in its decisions.

“Going in an area that you like, may not work if the economics don’t work,” he explained.

Industry Events