Finding the Balance

Intergulf Development Group consistently delivers excellence in real-esate development

Intergulf Development Group has had to learn many lessons over its 30-year history in order to adapt and succeed in the highly competitive real estate world. The company has been at the forefront of the real estate development industry in Western Canada since 1982, and boasts $2 billion in sales and more than 6,500 homes built.

Headquartered in Vancouver, the real estate development company has been building in B.C. for decades, with many mature neighbourhoods to its credit. It has also received 22 awards, twice for Best Home Builder in B.C., from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of British Columbia.

Intergulf has a presence beyond B.C. as well. The company is a major player in Alberta and has developed premiere projects up and down the California coast. The Intergulf team is currently working on 10 projects that span B.C., Alberta and California.

“Intergulf has several new exciting projects on the market, including Grand Central 3 at Coquitlam Centre and Empire at Queen Elizabeth Park,” says Shaadi Faris, vice president of Intergulf. Grand Central 3 at Coquitlam Centre will have 38 floors and 249 units, while Empire at Queen Elizabeth Park in the Cambie Corridor will feature six floors and 176 units across three buildings.

Empire at Queen Elizabeth Park, set to launch in fall 2013, is one of Vancouver’s most anticipated new developments. The project combines premium quality finishing and a first-class address, being situated directly across from Queen Elizabeth Park. Perched on the hill, views in every direction will be exceptional. Add in being in close proximity to the Canada Line SkyTrain and amenities such as Oakridge Centre, and tenants have a new community already creating a buzz.

“The challenges typically centre on finding the balance between design, environmental efficiency and market requirements,” says Faris. “We engineer to a very high standard of environmental sustainability, adhering to LEED standards in our projects. This requires a lot of planning and coordination which must be managed against our other requirements, namely building a beautiful product that meets what the market is demanding.”

Another priority is to provide top value for money. “This is often found in the details; reliable quality over flash, maximizing views and outdoor living space and providing state of the art security,” Faris adds.

Intergulf recently completed two major projects: Kits360 in Kitsilano, which has 10 floors and 251 units and Cedar Creek at Burke Mountain, Coquiltam, featuring 82 townhomes. With the completion of these two developments, Intergulf continues to add to its list of B.C. projects with the aforementioned Grand Central 3 build underway and a project soon to be named in Metrotown, Burnaby, that will have 38 floors and 304 units.

In Calgary, the Aura 1 high-rise and Beacon Heights (Master Planned Community) are happening. In California, Intergulf has projects in Santee, Chula Vista and Long Beach.

All current projects are scheduled for completion between 2013 and 2017.

Faris attributes Intergulf’s sustained success to having the right team in place to keep land acquisition, development, construction, marketing, sales and warranty service all in-house.

“Our people are our primary strength,” he says. “Intergulf is vertically integrated, able to take a project from acquisition, through the development and construction phases and on to sales and does this all in-house.” This approach allows a level of coordination not found in a more fragmented environment, he adds.

“We work together from start to finish, ensuring that our product meets Intergulf standards at every stage,” says Faris. “Our structure allows us to work efficiently, with each department providing input early in a project’s life. The result is a product that is the absolute best we can deliver, and an efficiency few can match.”

[pagebreak]Intergulf—founded by Nabih Faris, Hani Faris, Moh Faris and Joe Houssian—is primarily a residential developer, but has been involved in all asset classes, including retail, industrial and office. With extensive experience in the development industry and the oil and gas sector, Nabih Faris has led the Intergulf team through continuous growth and innovative projects. “While we are certainly proud of every project we complete, there are a few milestones that occupy a special place at Intergulf,” Faris states.

“The Regent, located in downtown Vancouver, was our first high-rise and was completed in 1991. Treo at Kettner was our first foray into California and the 328-unit high-rise, occupying a full city block, marked the beginning of an incredible presence in that state. Finally, our Westgate project in Calgary is comprised of 480 homes in three towers, making it the largest project of its kind in Alberta when it was under construction.”

Intergulf also participated in the first phase of UniverCity at Simon Fraser University, which included 585 apartments and townhouses, new stores, restaurants, offices, a town square and the first portion of an extensive pedestrian and bicycle pathway network. Future phases will include an elementary school, community centre, neighbourhood parks, additional shops and offices, as well as a broad array of housing. It is expected that when the community is completed a decade from now it will house up to 10,000 people.

Some of the most important business lessons Faris has learned over the company’s history include learning to be nimble while traversing the business cycle. “This meant having a keen sense of what the market was demanding at any one time, and being sure to build to that demand,” says Faris. “This has led Intergulf into several asset classes, from single family to wood-frame multi-family on to high rise concrete. The key is always to adapt to market pressures and deliver what the buyer wants.”

So what makes Intergulf really stand out from the crowd?

“Intergulf prides itself on a consistency that is hard to find,” says Faris. “The flexibility of a vertically integrated company like Intergulf is a trait few others can match.”

The company is also well known for its philanthropy. Education and health are priorities for Intergulf’s charitable efforts. Intergulf helps Quest Food Exchange, B.C.’s largest not-for-profit food exchange program, which provides affordable access to healthy food choices. The Lions Gate Foundation, which raises funds to support health care in North and West Vancouver, is another cause dear to Intergulf.

In 2012, Intergulf made headlines by providing housing to a family in need following a tragic accident. The family of an East Vancouver hit-and-run victim was greatly assisted when Intergulf donated them a rent-free home.

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