Canadian Lawyer InHouse

August/September 2021

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse 37 market last year, real estate investors have regained confidence, and the market is starting to rebound. "Real estate investors generally take a long-term view on the investment, and so once investors regained confidence that we weren't going to be living in a lockdown forever, I think that had a good positive impact on the transaction market, and things really started to come back," says Alison Harnick, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at First Capital REIT. The First Capital team focuses on finding silver linings amid the disruption, such as seizing opportunities to purchase proper- ties that would otherwise not have been available and filling vacant retail space with different operators. Harnick's legal department maintains an agile approach to support the organization through the evolving market. "We try to analyze new situations through a historical lens, but also looking through the pandemic and making sure that we're not getting stuck in what might be a reality today, but we absolutely do not expect to be a reality forever," she says. First Capital has seen a lot of deep demand expressed by small investors, private investors, family offices and institutional investors that want to capitalize on opportuni- ties that they see in the market. Harnick's team strives to address growth opportunities while also dealing with challenges. "We take a long-term view and see urban centres as the primary place where Canadians want to work, live and play," says Harnick. "Our strategy, pre-pandemic, has really paid off and will continue to pay off in terms of the focus on building thriving urban neighbourhoods." Morassutti is also bullish on the future of the industry. "Once we fully come out of COVID, Canada will get back to a very upward trend in terms of population growth, and that will drive a whole lot of growth in urban areas," he says. With 100,000 people estimated to immigrate to Toronto every year, Morassutti anticipates strong demand for housing, office, industrial and retail space. "Once restrictions are lifted, economies will absolutely explode," he says. "Once we fully come out of COVID, Canada will get back to a very upward trend in terms of population growth, and that will drive a whole lot of growth in urban areas." Paul Morassutti, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

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