What Was Your First Big Real-Estate Venture?

We asked three business leaders: What was your first big real-estate venture?

Credit: Antony Hare

President & CEO, Okanagan Land Development Corp.
“I was 20 and without a pot to piss in. A friend calls me up and says, ‘You gotta get up to Kelowna; there’s a couple of motels for sale for $750,000.’ Once there, I start talking to this guy in a bar, and it turns out the seller owes his father $275,000. So the next day, I said, ‘We’ll pay $350,000.’ The realtor told me where to go but called me back two hours later. They went for it.”

Proprietor, Summerhill Pyramid Winery
“When I first looked at my vineyard, it had a house next to another house, and I couldn’t imagine why someone would take 80 acres with a sweeping view of the lake and build two houses on top of each other. So I passed on it. Then I was beaten out on another property, so I went back to the original one. The two houses? They’re still there. We’ve managed to screen it with some trees.”

Owner, Fuel, Campagnolo
“The Campagnolo property, at Main and Terminal, had been a restaurant run by two brothers ready to retire. It was on the market for about a year. Maybe savvy restaurateurs weren’t ready for that neighbourhood, but now there are all these condos there just screaming for somewhere to eat.”