Unlocking New Development Opportunities through Ascend’s Rezoning Database

We recently met with Mathieu Fleury, the Vice President of Finance at Forgestone Capital — a leading full-service Canadian real estate private equity and advisory firm with $6B dollars in management and $1B in development projects. Their featured properties can be found across Canada, from the TELUS Garden in Vancouver, BC to the 925,000 sf office tower on 777 Bay Street. 

Mathieu has been an amazing advocate for us from Day 1, and using Ascend’s platform, especially our rezoning database, has helped him accelerate the process of finding promising acquisition sites that are undergoing the rezoning process. 

Researching New Development Sites Similar to Yours Shouldn’t take 1,000+ clicks. 

Previously, Mathieu used the City of Toronto’s site to search for development partners and high-potential developments. 

Government of Toronto Land Website
Source: Government of Toronto Land Development Website

There are many problems with this approach:

  1. You only find what you look for. The government website requires users like Mathieu to enter an intersection or address to find developments around them. The question is: How do you know what you’re looking for is the best possible development target?  
  2. Downloading 1000 applications will take you 33 hours. To understand every development, you need to download its Project Statistics datasheet and manually scan through each one. What seems to be a trivial task can take several hours – if not days. 
  3. Data crucial to internal rate of return becomes overlooked. There are over 9,000 development applications in Toronto alone.It is almost impossible to scour through all of them and obtain data crucial to the project’s internal rate of return, such as original and desired zones, number of units, parking spaces, and so on.

Solution: All Past and Ongoing Rezoning Applications, At your Fingertips.  

Ascend Past Development Interface
Example Dataset We’ve Scraped

We felt there must be a more intuitive way of analyzing rezoning opportunities, and built a tool that collects more than 9,000 applications and their project statistics. Armed with this new information, Mathieu benefitted from: 

A holistic view of development applications in 1 click.

Instead of manually parsing through hundreds of PDFs, he’s presented with a summary of top development applications along Yonge Street according to his specifications (e.g. frontage between 100 and 300 feet, and a proposed height between 10 and 50 stories). Less time wasted doing manual research means more time doing what he does best: prioritizing high ROI acquisitions. 

Application Timeline Updated Daily When You Are Asleep.

Ascend highlights how far along each application is in the process. Understanding the development timeline helps Mathieu more accurately predict cash flows and structure potential partnerships. 

Understand which upcoming regions to target.

Mathieu is able to see which regions have had the highest approval rates, and for what type of developments. No more guessing or spending months deciphering the “insider perspective”. 

A process that used to take 10 – 100 hours now could be done in less than 5 minutes. 

Rezoning Can Take From 6 Months to 3 Years. We Help You Uncover Sites That Are Not Built Up To Their Maximum Potential.

Hotspots of Buildings that Are Under Development Potential in the GTA
The buildings highlighted in white are under their highest and best use.

Rezoning activity can take too long and become less preferable – especially given the volatile post-COVID market conditions. We’ve utilised Lidar images to capture the building footprint of every building in Toronto and referenced Toronto’s Zoning By-laws to determine properties under allowable density. Using this data-driven approach, we’ve identified hotspots within Toronto, North York, and Scarborough where new developments are possible.

There more than than 5,000 properties not built to highest and best use, waiting to be found across Vancouver and the GTA.

Request a sample of our rezoning and underutilised property database today.

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