In case you missed it, Urban Toronto sat down with Plaza's Scott McLellan. Here's the full interview:
The development industry has become one of Toronto's largest employment sectors in recent years, owing to the countless new residential and commercial projects being built around the city. Our Insider Q&A feature connects with the movers and shakers of Toronto's development scene, and this week, we had the chance to speak with Scott McLellan, Senior Vice-President at Plaza.
Scott started in another major Canadian industry: Hockey. He was picked up by the Boston Bruins in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft and played games in the NHL, AHL and OHL, later becoming a scout for the Bruins organization.
How did you move into development?
When I was still a hockey player I moved back to Toronto and got to know the president of Tridel, who suggested that I give the construction and development business a try. That was back in 1989.
What is your role at Plaza?
As Senior VP I am involved in every aspect, particularly operations. I am also actively involved in acquisitions, customer care, sales and marketing, as well as the relationship building that we have with brokers and the buying populace of Toronto and other markets.
Tell us about a current project you're working on and any future plans you'd like to tell us about?
We have about nine projects in the market right now. The most exciting one coming up will be in the 905. We are looking to launch a project in the next few months at Jane and Highway 7 called The Met, which will be situated in the heart of Vaughan Metropolitan Centre - the new downtown core of Vaughan - next to the first subway terminus in the 905. This project will teach us a lot about the 905 market.
What is your take on the current state of the Toronto market?
I worry about it for a number of reasons; number one being the fear that the greenbelt may inhibit city growth. Immigration is on the rise, and I am concerned about the potential of a housing shortage in the future. I hope we are never in a situation where we tax, levy and development charge away the current booming real estate market.
What are your work inspirations?
The next project. When we are in a situation where we are about to launch a project, the challenge of getting it perfect is what drives us. That always inspires me.
Favourite thing to do in the city?
So many. My favourite thing is actually to try different restaurants around the city. Toronto has much to offer in terms of multiculturalism, with so many neighbourhoods that each have their own tastes and flair. I love experiencing the cultures that shape our country, and tie in what we do professionally to what we do socially.
I enjoy 'One' in Yorkville, as our company does a lot of business there. I also like Tutto Pronto on Avenue, north of Lawrence, where I often go on Friday nights.
Argos, Blue Jays, FC, Maple Leafs or Raptors?
The Jays and the Raptors! Despite my hockey career, I am a real baseball and basketball fan. Our city draws a lot of international attention with the Jays and Raptors, which attract large international markets. The Jays really put us on the map in the late 80s and early 90s, and the Raptors are drawing a lot of attention this season. It is truly amazing to see the impact that teams playing in major markets can have on their international image.