A major leader in providing affordable rental units has expanded its portfolio in the Okanagan.
Mainstreet Equity owns 14,265 apartment units (352 properties) across Western Canada, in 15 different cities, valued at more than $2.3 billion. CEO Bob Dhillon’s said the company’s mantra is improving the lives of middle-class Canadians with affordable rental accommodations.
And now Mainstreet has picked up a Vernon and Penticton complex.
“We just love the Okanagan,” Dhillon told Black Press.
The purchase of the City View Gardens apartments on Centennial Drive is is the first Vernon asset, under the new name Vernon City View Apartments. Mainstreet also acquired Penticton Main Street Apartments, its second property in the South Okanagan city. The company also owns two properties in Kamloops.
Buying buildings that have been neglected over the last 30 to 4o years, Mainstreet works to upgrade units as they become accessible.”
“I’m kind of like a plastic surgeon,” Dhillon said. “A little bit of tummy tuck in there… I take these old bodies and we transform them into young bodies.”
Kari Gares and Dalvir Nahal, who are both Vernon elected officials, helped Dhillon find suitable properties.
“The wealthiest Sikh in Canada is looking to invest in this community,” Nahal said. “To tap into a market we’re already short of is a great opportunity.”
Work will begin almost immediately on the complex and if permitted by the city, expansions may also be on the horizon.
For Dhillon, it’s about helping citizens by transforming old units, while at the same time creating jobs locally.
“How can we help Vernon? How can I improve the middle-class Vernonites? How can I help grow the economy?”
Mainstreet sticks to old multi-family complexes, which keep the units affordable.
“If you build brand new buildings your rent has got to be considerably higher. There’s a reason why used car dealerships exist.
“Everybody is creating value for these rich guys on the lake and these tourists at these fancy resorts. I am for the real Canadians, the workforce people.”
And he can’t think of any better place to do so than the Okanagan.
“Any opportunity to escape the cold weather of Calgary,” he laughed.
“I love the valley — I meditate every day in Calgary. But when I go to the valley I don’t need to meditate, I’m in this state of Nirvana.”
Mainstreet is also interested in other Okanagan opportunities.
“We’d love to buy more assets there.”