Q&A with Denciti's David A. Fawley on real-estate development in Greater Victoria
Mike Kozakowski, Citified.ca
Published November 10, 2022
Citified's Ten on the 10th is a monthly question-and-answer segment connecting our readers with the insight and knowledge of Victoria's top real-estate and business professionals.
Ten on the Tenth's November, 2022 segment features David A. Fawley, Co-Founder and Principal of Denciti Development Corp.
Asking the questions is Ross Marshall, Senior Vice President of the Victoria offices of commercial real-estate brokerage CBRE. As a leader in facilitating large-scale commercial real-estate transactions throughout the Capital Region – which include apartment complexes, industrial retail and office properties, and land/development opportunities – Ross and his team are at the forefront of market-leading real-estate transactions on Vancouver Island.
Would you like to be featured as part of a future Ten on the 10th Q&A? We'd like to hear from you.
Tell us a bit about Denciti Development Corp. and your role there.
Denciti Development Corporation is a British Columbia-based real-estate development company creating urban industrial, commercial and residential developments.
I co-founded Denciti and have over three decades of experience in real-estate. My skills encompass project and development management, with a diverse portfolio in multiple asset classes. Together, our team has nearly a century of combined experience delivering planned developments across Western Canada and the United States. The Denciti team has delivered over $2 billion of real-estate.
Why have you made the Greater Victoria Region a focus of your development efforts?
People are naturally drawn to the Greater Victoria Region because of its stunning scenery, comfortable weather, and employment opportunities. The region continues to grow in popularity, with new residents moving here all the time and this summer saw the return of tourists. With a strong sense of community, we believe in this region and want to be a part of its growth.
At present, Denciti has multiple projects underway in the region, offering a mixture of rental apartments and condominiums. These developments will showcase our expertise while also making a positive contribution to the community. Greater Victoria really does have it all and we are excited to be part of building the next generation of housing here.
As Victoria transitions into a medium-sized city, what are some of the housing challenges you believe local politicians will face in the coming years?
As municipalities mature and grow, there will be a challenge to balance the needs of their residents - those who would like to move into a community and those who have lived there for many years. With a housing crisis currently gripping the country, each community must build more homes, and the sooner the better.
To do so requires the cooperation of local government and the commitment by developers and builders to deliver more housing choices, be it workforce, condominiums or single-family-homes. There is also an acute need to provide affordable housing which will require all levels of government (municipal, provincial, and federal) to band together in order to deliver housing to residents.
In terms of zoning and development timelines, where does Greater Victoria stack up relative to other regions Denciti develops in or has developed property in?
The Capital Region has the same challenges other areas of the province have - too many municipalities with varying land use and zoning regulations. This makes it difficult to develop new housing stock. A uniform set of regulatory standards would be beneficial as it removes a measure of uncertainty. A great example of cooperation is the Galloping Goose Regional Trail and the bike infrastructure that’s now in place – from my observation, these amenities are well utilised and are a clear benefit to the Capital Region.
Are there areas of the Capital Region that you believe excel in the delivery of new housing, compared to their peers?
Some cities embrace growth and others resist change, which is understandable as change can be scary if not managed well. We’ll need to see what the new municipal city councils decide over the next 4 years. What we worry about is regulatory fatigue setting in and the delivery of housing being slowed. That would exacerbate the housing crisis to an untenable situation.
We are hearing that the province plans to take steps to address housing shortages province-wide under Premier Eby. How could the policies outlined by the incoming premier impact larger scale developers, such as Denciti's?
Under Premier Eby's leadership, the province is taking steps to address housing shortages province-wide. This could impact developers, such as Denciti, in several ways.
One of the most significant changes is the introduction of more rapid approvals. As I mentioned earlier, we need housing now, not later, so this policy if implemented may result in faster build times. Additionally, the new one-stop provincial approval process is simplified, which could make it more certain for developers to get their projects off the ground.
The increased density in urban centres that are called for in the new plan may also result in more competition for developers. However, with the right team and experience, Denciti is well-positioned to compete in this new landscape.
The bottom line is that the province's new housing policies could have a major impact on Denciti and other developers. As always, adaptability and being able to anticipate change will be key to success in this ever-changing industry.
You’ve successfully achieved a large-scale rezoning in Victoria, on the downtown border. What advice would you have to other developers working towards approvals within the City of Victoria, specifically?
The property on Herald Street was already zoned, however, a complex development permit was necessary. What is notable about this project is the downtown location, scale, massing, and number of dwelling units for workforce housing that will soon be available to the citizens of Victoria.
Developing this type of project required the engagement of City staff and advisory committees, as well as input from key stakeholders - all within a transparent forum and framework. This had to be balanced with the property’s significant context (border of historic Chinatown) and the Old Town Design Guidelines. Our design team did an excellent job in providing a sensitive and creative design that satisfied all these parameters.
In addition to your Victoria project, you also have a proposal currently before Esquimalt council for the old bingo property on Esquimalt Road. Can you tell us about that?
The old bingo hall will be replaced by approximately 120 workforce dwelling units, which aligns with the Township’s Official Community Plan. The property is well located near shopping, is very walkable within Esquimalt, and is a short distance from downtown Victoria (cycle, walk, transit).
It is close to elementary and secondary schools, as well as parks, including Barnard Park with convenient water access.
Are there any other projects Denciti is working on that we may not be aware of?
The other property we acquired in Esquimalt is located at Craigflower and Tillicum. While in the early design stages, it will be a mixed-use commercial/residential project providing condominiums for the community.
How do you see Denciti evolving over the next few years?
Our company is continuing to grow, and we are focusing on multi-family residential buildings (work force rental and condo) as well as light industrial. The properties we are considering purchasing are becoming larger and more complex, which is in step with our company’s continued evolution and growth. C
Receive Citified's timely real-estate news straight to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter, and connect with us on Facebook:
© Copyright 2022 by Citified.ca. All rights reserved.
- Would you like to be featured as part of a future Ten on the 10th Q&A? We'd love to hear from you
- View CBRE Victoria's website here
- To receive exclusive investment opportunities from CBRE’s Investment Properties Group, opt in here
- October, 2018: Reed Kipp of Devon Properties talks about Victoria's rental housing industry
- November, 2018: Business Development Bank of Canada's Chris Boissevain talks about interest rates
- December, 2018: Aryze Development's Luke Mari and Ryan Goodman talk about real-estate development
- February, 2019: Phung Horwood's My Phung talks about real-estate appraisals
- March, 2019: Luke Mills of Megson Fitzpatrick Insurance talks about the insurance industry
- April, 2019: Greg Damant of Cascadia Architects talks about architecture in Victoria
- May, 2019: Real-estate development with Robert Fung of The Salient Group
- June, 2019: Rental housing industry Q&A with David Hutniak of LandlordBC
- July 2019: Harris Green redevelopment Q&A with Mark Chemij of Starlight Investments
- August 2019: Land remediation Q&A with Harm Gross of NEXT Environmental
- September 2019: Business banking Q&A with Raj Wirk of Coast Capital Savings
- October, 2019: Real-estate development Q&A with Mike Miller of Abstract Developments
- November, 2019: Real-estate development Q&A with Byron Chard of Chard Development
- December, 2019: Interest rate and commercial mortgage brokerage Q&A with Dave Ganong of Canada ICI Capital
- January, 2020: Real-estate development costs Q&A with Doug Foord of Invictus Commercial Investment Corp.
- February, 2020: Private lending and the mortgage industry Q&A with Len Shorkey of Shorkey Mortgage Corp.
- March, 2020: Strata insurance premiums Q&A with Luke Mills of Megson FitzPatrick Insurance
- April, 2020: Rental housing and COVID-19 Q&A with David Hutniak of LandlordBC
- June, 2020: COVID-19's impact on Victoria's real-estate Q&A with Jordan Milne of GMC Projects
- July, 2020: Multi-unit residential and commercial building fire safety services Q&A with Tim Lindsay of the Vancouver Island Fire Protection Association
- August, 2020: Royal Beach Q&A with Georgia Desjardins of Seacliff Properties, developer of the 134-acre Colwood project
- September, 2020: Victoria real-estate development Q&A with Sam Ganong of Curate Developments
- October, 2020: Real-estate development Q&A with developer Dan Cox of Cox Developments
- November, 2020: CRD affordable housing and CRD parks services Q&A with Stephen Henderson of the CRD
- December, 2020: Real-estate values, wine and housing market Q&A with Johnathon Sipos of Cielo Properties
- January, 2021: Mass timber construction, the Mayfair District and junior hockey Q&A with Edward Geric of Mike Geric Construction
- February, 2021: Excavating industry, sewage treatment pipe and COVID economy Q&A with Trevor Mann of Don Mann Excavating
- March, 2021: Victoria industrial sector investment opportunities Q&A with Brent Sawchyn of PC Urban Properties
- April, 2021: Northern Junk, Capital Iron lands and Victoria real-estate development Q&A with Jon Stovell of Reliance Properties
- May, 2021: Victoria housing delivery and affordability Q&A with Adam Cooper of Abstract Developments
- June, 2021: Institutional investment in Victoria's rental housing market Q&A with Alex Messina of Nicola Wealth
- October, 2021: Mortgage products, interest rates and inflation Q&A with Gagan Lalli of CMLS Financial
- November, 2021: Future of Tillicum Centre, real-estate trends, and industry outlook with Jordan Carlson of Anthem Properties
- December, 2021: Commercial real-estate market recap and a look to the future with Jason Kiselbach of CBRE Vancouver
- February, 2022: Downtown Victoria's largest rental development, and more, with Andrew Browne of Starlight Developments
- March, 2022: Alberta developer shifting gears to build in Victoria, with Namrita Rattan of Aquila Pacific
- April, 2022: Post-COVID Victoria office market and development outlook, with Robert Jawl of Jawl Properties
- May, 2022: Residential housing market and supply, with Island Realm Real Estate's Tony Zarsadias
- June, 2022: Meeting community and municipal expectations of new housing with Chris Bradley of TLA Developments
- July, 2022: Changing mortgage rates and the 2022 lending environment with Peter Fast of ICI Capital
- August, 2022: Victoria's changing rental housing market with Renee St. Germaine of Devon Properties
- September, 2022: Delivering 'missing middle' housing to Victoria's West Shore with Kyle Ryan of Formwell Homes
- October, 2022: Lending for developers and businesses in current economic times with Glen Welin of Roynat Capital
- Looking for a new-build home or commercial space in Victoria? Use Citified to research new-build condos, rentals and commercial spaces
- Follow Citified on Twitter
- Connect with Citified on Facebook:
You may be interested in:
Q&A on lending for Victoria real-estate developers and businesses in challenging economic times