Building a Bright Future
Perhaps the single most striking thing about Fieldgate Construction is the extraordinary amount of repeat business it gets from clearly satisfied clients.
But the full story of Fieldgate Construction is an impressive slice of history dating back more than 60 years.
It began with Fieldgate Homes, which has been creating renowned neighbourhoods and family dwellings in Ontario since 1957. Then in 2007, FCML (Fieldgate Construction Management Limited) was established to generate high-quality commercial developments intended to serve the expanding residential neighbourhood sectors. Dedicated to creating quality commercial, residential, office, and industrial buildings throughout the province, FCML is a firm that specializes in building lasting relationships based on trust with clients, contractors, and staff.
Whether it’s active adult retirement living, outdoor shopping malls, or a variety of commercial developments, FCML takes on numerous projects across diverse sectors. With a full team of project managers, coordinators, estimators, and workers skilled in collaborating for success on every project they do, the company brings robust expertise and an enviable reputation for finishing projects on schedule and on budget.
“Since 1957, Fieldgate Homes has been building acclaimed family homes and communities across Ontario, using our expertise in home building,” says Vice President Robert Alonso. “Fieldgate Construction Management Limited was created to develop commercial developments around these homes to service the growing residential neighbourhoods we were building.”
As an extension of the home construction division, FCML developed commercial properties across Ontario, expanding into commercial, residential, office and industrial buildings.
“We now have about 70 staff members, with a head office in Toronto where we grow a roster of satisfied clients who come back for more business each year,” says Alonso.
Today, FCML boasts a full schedule of exciting projects both on-the-go and upcoming, with a focus on automotive dealerships, storage facilities, retirement homes, and mid-rise residential. Continuing its strong relationship with the AWIN Group, FCML’s $28 million Subaru dealership project using JDF Architecture is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2023. This three-level underground/two-storey project on Yonge Street will total about 120,000 square feet. It will include a service centre, a detailing area, staff offices, and a spacious new vehicle showroom.
FCML has also recently completed both the Audi service centre and the Grand Touring automobiles project in downtown Toronto, marking the company’s third project with AWIN.
“It’s been a really successful partnership over the years,” says Alonso. Fieldgate has also acquired an exciting new client this year and is looking forward to working with the Policaro Group to build a ground-breaking new BMW dealership at Wickham Road in Toronto.
“This is going to be exciting as it’s a brand new prototype for BMW, with BMW corporate head office in Germany involved with the design as well,” Alonso says.
The $30 million dollar project comprises a two-storey, 74,000-square-foot dealership which includes a three-storey display tower above the second floor.
Storage facilities are also a priority for Fieldgate. Last year the company began its relationship with the Vaultra Group and is currently going into production on the sixth storage facility it’s constructing for them.
“It’s been a great relationship,” Alonso says. “We’ve completed one in Toronto, a $25 million, six-storey storage facility which is one of the biggest in Canada, with 260,000 square feet of total floor area.”
This year FCML completed another storage facility in Mississauga, the Vaultra at 3020 Lenworth Drive, a six-storey structure, along with a project in Ajax, a $14 million, four-storey, 8,400-square-foot structure.
“We’re also working on one in Markham for them, on Heritage Road, at $22 million and 160,000 square feet. We know their buildings extremely well and help them with value engineering without compromising on Vaultra’s vision and branding. It’s become a real collaborative approach to building their ideal storage facility.”
It’s a solid partnership, too, one that’s definitely flourishing, with two more projects in Scarborough and Welland starting shortly.
Retirement communities are another sizeable source of projects for FCML, where they develop active adult living neighbourhoods and provide environments that are both inviting and encouraging.
“Retirement homes are a big sector for us,” Alonso says. “We’re working right now on a 221-unit, $60 million home in Lindsay that’s about 191,000 square feet, and then we have another project in London that’s $80 million and 206,000 square feet that are both with Cogir. That’s further to the projects we did last year for them. They’ve been extremely pleased with the successful completions of both retirement homes and we’re moving forward with the above mentioned new projects,” he says.
“It’s keeping our existing clients happy that leads again and again to repeat work and referrals,” and FCML takes great pride in its success in fostering and maintaining these relationships.
“Every time we get a new client, we strive to make sure they become a recurring client. That’s our goal,” says Alonso. “And that’s exactly what’s happened here with AWIN, Cogir and Vaultra.”
The company is also committed to giving tenants and investors outstanding service through an impressive mix of industrial, commercial, residential, and retail properties, a portfolio that routinely outperforms comparable portfolios in the real estate sector.
Other exciting upcoming projects include the brand-new Deane condo development at 100 Deane Ave in Oakville. This $45 million, 126-unit project includes an atypical one-level underground parking garage with a car hoist system for all owners.
“It’s an exciting luxury condo,” Alonso says. “We are working with a new client, Rise Investments, and hoping to break ground this fall.”
In the meantime, the company is finishing up a project with another of its repeat clients, Starlight Investments, Sheridan Park rental apartments, a $40 million, 112,000-square-foot rental apartment with 138 units and 17 storeys.
“That was our largest multi-residential project to date. We completed a stacked townhome project for Starlight last year and based on the success of that project, we were lucky enough to be working with them on this second project in the hopes of more projects in the future.”
Lastly, FCML is working with another new client, Lancaster Homes, at 35 Red Arctic Drive on the Charing Cross condominiums, a four-storey project that they look forward to being as successful as the company’s previous projects.
“Commercial developments have definitely slowed down over the last few years due to the reduced demand for commercial spaces due to COVID,” Alonso says, although FCML has been fairly active with projects like the four-building development in Brooklin, which features a Longos grocery store, another big commercial plaza in Milton—a six-building development including some city roadwork—and a recently completed development in Shelburne: a five-building development for another repeat client in FreshCo.
All in all, satisfied clients are keeping FCML very busy, despite the ongoing issues of COVID, particularly when it comes to completing projects on schedule. Lingering supply chain issues concerning subcontractors and material delivery delays are still an everyday occurrence, says Alonso.
“It’s been increasingly difficult meeting deadlines and budgets with various suppliers and subcontractors issuing never-before-seen material and labour increases. Over the last few years we’ve seen substantial delays with respect to deliveries of materials as well as historic increases on the supply of those materials,” Alonso shares. Fieldgate has been able to mitigate price increases by pre-tendering some items in order to meet the client’s schedule, which has helped mitigate future delays and increases.
As for accomplishments, Fieldgate certainly can boast a little.
“I think it’s the success and ongoing relationships with our current and longstanding partners, Vaultra, COGIR, AWIN and Starlight properties,” Alonso says. “It’s been an honour working with them year after year with the continued growth on both sides of the relationship. I think we work well together because we function as an extension of our clients’ business and work with them very closely throughout the whole project.”
It’s not easy keeping clients happy year after year through different projects and challenges, he adds, and obviously, COVID has created never-before-experienced issues such as trying to stick to budgets and schedules despite delays. But the company is persevering and has plenty to look forward to.
Milestones, says Alonso, include continuing to develop in the mid- to high-rise construction department. “I still feel despite the current slow-down that this will continue to be a huge growth sector into the future,” he says. “We want to capitalize on that. That’s our biggest future focus.”
The company will also continue to develop the invaluable expertise it has gained across so many project types, and that benefits each new project.
“We’re innovative solution providers and construction specialists, and we work closely with all our clients to customize the right approach for every project,” says Alonso. “It’s worked well for us in the past.”
It’s this commitment to clients that defines Fieldgate’s clear path forwards. “When you evaluate how to make future partnerships more successful, you learn and adapt based on past projects to better construct their future ones,” Alonso says. “We really understand our clients and learn from them and that helps us to better construct the next project.”