REAL ES­TATE PRO­FILE

A Q&A with Elias Khoury

Montreal Gazette - - NEW HOMES & CONDOS - LORRI BENEDIK

Elias Khoury, pres­i­dent of E. Khoury Con­struc­tion, is a self­made man. He was born in Egypt, did well in school, and be­gan post-sec­ondary stud­ies at the Don Bosco In­dus­trial Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tute in Cairo. In 1970, at 16, he left school and em­i­grated to Canada, join­ing his older sis­ter who was liv­ing in Mon­treal. He stayed with her for a few months be­fore set­ting out on his own. Sev­en­teen years later he launched E. Khoury Con­struc­tion.

We sat down to­gether at the sales of­fice of his most re­cent de­vel­op­ment, 36Lakeshor­e Con­do­mini­ums, in Pointe-Claire.

What was your first job in Mon­treal?

It was dif­fi­cult to get work be­cause I was very young and com­pa­nies were look­ing for people with Cana­dian ex­pe­ri­ence. In Egypt, I had learned French in school, but my English was not strong. I fi­nally be­gan work­ing as a welder — a skill I had picked up in tech­ni­cal school. The com­pany that hired me was Sid­bec-Dosco, a Que­bec cor­po­ra­tion in steel pro­duc­tion. I stayed with them for five years and took cour­ses to im­prove my English.

In 1976 I was of­fered a job with RDC Elec­tron­ics, a com­pany that spe­cial­ized in man­u­fac­tur­ing printed cir­cuit boards. I be­gan as pro­duc­tion su­per­vi­sor and later be­came a man­ager. I stayed for 11 years — un­til they moved their op­er­a­tions to Toronto.

How did you get into con­struc­tion?

While work­ing at RDC, I earned a de­cent salary and be­gan buy­ing and ren­o­vat­ing houses, which I would then sell at a profit. I lived in these homes and did most of the ren­o­va­tion work my­self. I had be­come quite handy dur­ing my years at Sid­bec-Dosco and con­tin­ued to learn as I went along. In 1987, I de­cided to start my own build­ing com­pany.

What was your first big project?

At first, E. Khoury Con­struc­tion took on mostly ren­o­va­tion work. Then, one day, I was con­tacted by an en­gi­neer at Spar Aero­space. They were look­ing for a con­trac­tor to build a spe­cial­ized plat­ing (metal fin­ish­ing) fa­cil­ity in Ste-Annede-Belle­vue. I knew a lot about plat­ing be­cause of my work with printed cir­cuit boards. Their bud­get for the project was $350,000. I was awarded the con­tract, which took one year to com­plete.

When did you be­gin res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment?

Be­cause of my ex­pe­ri­ence ren­o­vat­ing homes, res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion. In 1989, I heard about a water­front prop­erty for sale in Dor­val. It was an ex­pen­sive piece of land, but I ne­go­ti­ated and got the fund­ing from At­lantic Trust with some sup­port from my brother. Af­ter ac­quir­ing the land, the city pro­vided sub­di­vi­sions and per­mits to create six luxury dwellings. I built the homes and sold them in a mat­ter of months, earn­ing a very good re­turn on my in­vest­ment.

The prof­its al­lowed me to pur­sue other land ac­qui­si­tions and to con­tinue build­ing qual­ity homes.

My rep­u­ta­tion as a builder grew. I con­tin­ued to take on in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial projects.

What are you work­ing on now?

One of my cur­rent devel­op­ments is 36Lakeshor­e, which con­sists of 63 luxury con­dos. Al­though 70 per cent has been sold, we still have units of all sizes avail­able, in­clud­ing one pent­house. People love the lo­ca­tion, be­side Lac St-Louis, with its beau­ti­ful views.

An­other project, which will break ground in April 2019, is on Hy­mus Boule­vard (in Poin­teClaire), a few blocks from the Lakeshore Hos­pi­tal. I will create two build­ings; one will con­sist of 135 ren­tal units and the other will be 140 mod­estly-priced con­dos (with one, two, or three bed­rooms). These (build­ings) are des­ig­nated as TOD (tran­sit-ori­ented devel­op­ments) be­cause of their prox­im­ity to the new REM (Réseau ex­press métropoli­tain) train sta­tion. The city of Pointe-Claire will build an over­pass from Hy­mus, over High­way 40, to the sta­tion, which will be ad­ja­cent to the Fairview mall. My two projects on Hy­mus will be com­pleted by Septem­ber of 2020.

What do you en­joy, when you are not work­ing?

My wife and I love good food and spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends. We are for­tu­nate to have the op­por­tu­nity to travel two or three times a year. I would love to ex­er­cise one or two times per week, but rarely have time.

What puts the spring in your step?

I have al­ways en­joyed the chal­lenge of buy­ing and sell­ing real es­tate. There is a kind of thrill in­volved in clos­ing a deal that works for ev­ery­one.

When I started E. Khoury Con­struc­tion, I put my name on the com­pany and feel great pride in the rep­u­ta­tion we have built. For 31 years, people have cho­sen to do busi­ness with us — with con­fi­dence. I am very happy to say that my niece, Carol Khoury, has joined E. Khoury Con­struc­tion. She is won­der­ful. I am so happy to have her with us.

E. Khoury Con­struc­tion is sched­uled to break ground in April on Le 265 Hy­mus, a project that will con­sist of two build­ings on Hy­mus Boule­vard in Pointe-Claire: one with 135 ren­tal units and the other with 140 con­do­mini­ums rang­ing from one- to three-bedroom units.

Pri­vate bal­conies at 36Lakeshor­e Con­do­mini­ums in Pointe-Claire of­fer breath­tak­ing views of Lac St-Louis.

PHOTO SUP­PLIED ARTIST’S RENDERINGS COUR­TESY OF E. KHOURY CON­STRUC­TION

Elias Khoury, pres­i­dent of E. Khoury Con­struc­tion

36Lakeshor­e, an eight-storey build­ing with 65 units, of­fers liv­ing spa­ces that range from 886 to more than 3,400 square feet. The lux­u­ri­ous project el­e­vates sub­ur­ban liv­ing to lakeshore liv­ing.

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