REAL ESTATE PROFILE
A Q&A with Elias Khoury
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.