For Pierre Heafey, the decade was marked by the acquisition and sale of 2,400 condominium units across Canada. Taking advantage of declining real estate markets and favorable tax environments, Pierre Heafey made his first major acquisition in Montreal through the purchase of Place Simpson (253 units). However, it was in 1985, through the acquisition of Habitat 67 that Mr. Heafey shot to the top ranks of major real estate developers in Canada.
For the price of $10 million, Pierre Heafey bought Habitat 67 from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This internationally renowned housing complex was then resold to a coalition of residents who wanted to own their dwellings. The transaction was very controversial given the short period of ownership. However, it allowed Pierre Heafey to cash-in considerable profits that garnered headlines in the business press.
Following the acquisition of another property in Montreal (Le Challenger, 89 units), Pierre Heafey focused on the real estate market in Edmonton, Alberta, through the acquisition and sale in 1987-88 of more than 1,160 condominiums, including Hillside Estates (344 units), Strathcona House (222 units) and Crescent Place (297 units).
The decade ended with the acquisition and resale of 700 additional units in Ottawa, Ontario (475 Laurier: 140 units), Winnipeg, Manitoba (The Colonnade: 182 units), Hull, Quebec (Tours Notre-Dame: 180 units) and Longueuil, Quebec (Tours du Parc: 91 units). The profits and experience gained during this period allowed Pierre Heafey to enter a new decade carrying out the most important acquisition of his career.
The savings and loan crisis in the United States had an impact on the direction Pierre Heafey took. At its peak in 1989, the crisis had a devastating impact on the United States’ real estate market. It was then that Pierre Heafey was able to buy from the Bank of New York a mixed use real estate complex located in Miami, Florida, for $50 million.
The 2.4 million square-foot complex included a 152-room hotel (Doubletree Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay), an 80,000 square-foot shopping centre (The Grand Retail Centre) and 800 residential condominium units. With this transaction, the Heafey Group acquired 472 units and sold them back to investors, most of whom entrusted the Heafey Group with the management of their assets.
Despite the size of the acquisition, the Heafey Group continued to grow by diversifying its investments, in particular through purchase of three St-Hubert restaurants in the Gatineau region, a 182,000 square-foot commercial real estate complex and a 66-room Howard Johnson Hotel in Campbellton, New Brunswick, a 325,000 square-foot shopping centre in Aylmer, Quebec, and a 410-lot mobile home park in Gatineau, Quebec. Furthermore, in 1997, the Heafey Group acquired and managed the 200-room Ramada Plaza Hotel de Hull in Gatineau, Quebec. In 2000, this hotel was sold to foreign investors.
This thrust towards commercial property didn’t dampen Pierre Heafey’s passion for residential real estate. In 1995, the Heafey Group bought from Coopers & Lybrand a 17-storey building located on the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario. The construction of the building, Commodore’s Quay, had been discontinued following the developer’s bankruptcy. The Heafey Group completed the construction and sold the 115 housing units. Today, Commodore’s Quay has become one of Ottawa’s most prestigious addresses.
In 1996, the Heafey Group also acquired and sold the Saint-Patrick, a 40-unit condominium building located prominently on Grande-Allée in Quebec City.
At the beginning of the new millennium, the Heafey Group once again took advantage of a stagnating real estate market through the acquisition of several commercial properties in Gatineau, Quebec.
|424-470 St-Joseph Blvd., Gatineau||Commercial / Retail||61,000 sq. ft.|
|490 St-Joseph Blvd., Gatineau||Offices||55,000 sq. ft.|
|920 St-Joseph Blvd., Gatineau||Offices||55,000 sq. ft.|
|975 St-Joseph Blvd., Gatineau||Offices||200,000 sq. ft.|
|1040 St-Joseph Blvd., Gatineau||Offices /||69,000 sq. ft.|
|15 Gamelin Street, Gatineau||Offices||60,000 sq. ft.|
|420 Wilfrid-Lavigne Blvd., Gatineau||Commercial / Retail||24,000 sq. ft.|
Furthermore, the Heafey Group partnered with other real estate developers in the region, in particular Multivesco Inc., for the construction and marketing of a 525,000 square-foot three-phase office complex which is now almost entirely occupied by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC).
Later, in 2004, Pierre Heafey focused once again on Florida by acquiring and managing two boutique condo-hotels right in the center of high flying South Beach in Miami, the Bentley Hotel (53 rooms) and the Bentley Beach Hotel (95 rooms), the latter now being operated under the Hilton banner.
In 2005, in partnership with one of Canada’s biggest pension funds, the Heafey Group acquired a 300,000 square-foot office building in Gatineau, Quebec, leased by Environment Canada (Place Vincent Massey). The building has since been completely renovated to meet the new standards of the Government of Canada at a cost of $60 million.
In 2006, the Heafey Group acquired two additional St-Hubert restaurants in Ottawa and Orleans, Ontario. Two years later, the Group bought the DoubleTree by Hilton Gatineau-Ottawa hotel in Gatineau, Quebec (formerly known as Chateau Cartier Resort & Spa Hotel), a 128-room resort hotel with an 18-hole golf course.
In 2011, to meet the added space requirements of Public Works as well as Environment Canada, an 110,000 square-foot annex was built beside Place Vincent Massey. Most recently, the Heafey Group, in partnership with Leclair Management, acquired two A-class residential complexes in Jacksonville Florida, (Heritage Deerwood (121 units) and Milestone and Fieldstone Village (160 units)) as well as Majestic at Baldwin Park (171 units) , in Orlando, Florida, in April of 2014. In addition, the Group initiated the development of multiple projects in downtown Gatineau, including the VIU, a spectacular 19-storey residential condominium building overlooking Parliament Hill.
The Heafey Group’s forward determination is constantly extending and enhancing its portfolio of assets in each of its business fields. Indeed, this growth is unfolding according to the principles that have always driven Pierre Heafey since the beginning: healthy diversification and a rapid but comprehensive assessment of business opportunities.
Founder / chairman / president
Pierre Heafey is president and founder of the Heafey Group. In 1974, he obtained his law degree from the University of Ottawa and practiced for 15 years in his law firm before devoting all his time to real estate development. Since then, Mr. Heafey has developed expertise in the acquisition and turn-around of troubled real estate projects, the acquisition and sale of condominium buildings, hotels, restaurants, commercial management and many other related fields.Meet executives that make the magic happen