Sustainability, Transparency, and People – Matrix Real Talk Series Phase III: Exploring the Development Continuum

Written in collaboration between Ryan Ram, Chandran Fernando, and David Bendea

“The importance of intangible assets in any development project are: a strong team, brand reputation, customer service, market perception and human capital – they make up a larger share of the value than the physical building itself.” – David Hoffman

Conversations that matter are integral.  Matrix Real Talk Series was created from conversations with emerging and thought leaders who saw a need to address real topics that are just not being discussed.  The purpose is to inspire and educate professionals through a solution-focused dialogue.

Matrix Real Talk Series Phase III - Event Photos Collage

The series theme spotlights the Deconstruction of Corporate Real Estate. On October 22nd 2015, Phase III continued the conversation and introduced the topic: Exploring the Development Continuum: Harnessing the Real Power of People and Making It All Actually Work. The conversation was co-moderated by:  Barbara Ciesla, SVP Occupier Strategies & Solutions at JLL, and Brad Keast, VP of Development at Osmington Inc.

The A-list panelists included: Peter Busby, Managing Director of Perkins & Will, Jonathan Westeinde, President & CEO of Windmill Developments, Roger Johnson, SVP Enterprise Real Estate at TD Bank, David Hoffman, General Manager of the TD Centre, Cadillac Fairview, Lalit Aggarwal, President of Manor Park Capital Advisors, and Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, Community Activist and former City Councillor.

Matrix Real Talk Series Phase III - Panelists

Pictured from Left to Right: Barbara Ciesla, Peter Busby, David Hoffman, Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, Roger Johnson, Jonathan Westeinde, Brad Keast, Lalit Aggarwal.

The panelists shared with the audience that transparency with clear communication needs to occur for a successful development continuum.  All stakeholders have a responsibility for the community – and need to be engaged prior to the execution of the project.  The primary focus is community – more specifically, the people.  Sustainability is more than the structural elements of buildings; it includes the wellness of the people who occupy the space, the impact of the building within its community, and the structural future of the building.

The importance of having ALL stakeholders at the table is therefore, imperative.  Developers, tenants, operational management, investors, designers and the city need to cohesively focus on the long-term drivers – the community of people they serve – tenants and the people around the buildings. The value of buildings is far greater than the physical construction costs; the long term operations are a primary key to the success of any development projects.

Matrix Real Talk Series Phase III - Audience 2

The conversation highlighted the importance of pre-construction planning and engagement, and that PPPs- Public- Private Partnerships, have to be focused on efficiencies.  Yes, there are potentially lower costs and cheaper-built buildings, but the development continuum needs to focus on sustainable structures that affect the overall community, for the sake of our future. There is an ever-increasing demand for this.

How about key takeaways from this discussion for your Career?

  • Be conscious of emerging trends, remember that your impact on the industry goes beyond your work duties, it affects the community.
  • Continuous professional development is always needed.
  • As technology and expectations of communities are ever changing, conversations with action and transparency will ensure that we as a society are working toward the common goal-Sustainability.
  • Sustainability is mandatory for the survival of communities.
  • Generational values of the millennial cohort greatly affect the workplace and technology advancements need to be incorporated into the development continuum.

Matrix Real Talk Series Phase III - Audience 1

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For more information, updates, and details about Phase IV, please email