Bridging Real Estate Excellence and Education at Concordia University

Over its near fifty years of existence, SAJO has come to be globally recognized as an industry leader in the built environment with an extensive portfolio of projects, undertaken for a multitude of high-end global brands spanning the retail, commercial, public works, and utility sectors.

In recent years, SAJO’s diversification strategy has led to the development of its Real Estate Division where it has effectively deployed its specialization in the luxury retail market to build high-end, niche residential and mixed-use projects. Through its design, construction management, and procurement capabilities, SAJO ensures that its residential projects are built with the refinement, sustainability features, and timeless appeal characteristic of its luxury retail flagships. A case in point, is The Easton, a four-storey, 53,000 square feet mixed use condominium project, located in the historic, and vibrant municipality of Montreal-West.  It features high efficiency heating and cooling systems with advanced auto regulation technology, central to the project’s design and integral to the community’s environmental objectives.

Over the years, SAJO has cultivated a longstanding relationship with Concordia University, a renowned Montreal higher-education institution, with a sizeable student population. Notable among its faculties is the John Molson School of Business (JMSB), with its acclaimed academic programs and its 10,000-student enrollment, representing near one-quarter of the university’s total student body. 

In 2020, JMSB inaugurated a new teaching and research hub, the Jonathan Wener Centre for Real Estate (JWCRE), to enable industry leaders, innovators, and academics to work together and address the rapidly evolving demographic, environmental, and technological changes impacting the sector. The goal of JWCRE is to provide current and upcoming generations of students with the cutting-edge knowledge and experience required to advance the vision and practice of commercial and residential real estate. 

As part of its ongoing collaborative projects with Concordia University, SAJO recently partnered with the Jonathan Wener Centre for Real Estate, to provide students with the opportunity to experience real estate development projects and engage with project management teams, in real time. To this end, a group of 30 students alongside faculty members attended a presentation on The Easton condominium project, given by the director of the real estate department followed by a detailed walk-about tour of the complex. Both the lecture and the visit served to outline the full life cycle of the project and to highlight the operational junctures at which critical decisions were made. Discussions with the development team also centred on the project’s timeline, its economic viability, its innovative features, and its positive link to environmental safety and communal wellbeing. 

This event was SAJO’s second encounter with Concordia’s real estate students. The first occurred in conjunction with the Concordia Real Estate Club (CREC), a non-profit student association which was hosting its first Real Estate Conference. SAJO’s director of real estate development was invited as a keynote speaker in one of the Conference’s panels to address the issue of development responsibility, as it applies to ecological safety and community betterment.

Both encounters and exchanges proved successful and beneficial to participants. As a result, SAJO looks forward to expanding its partnership with JWCRE and CREC in support of the integration of the real estate community with academia. Such collaborative efforts serve to ensure state-of-the-art education, top-notch professionals for the real estate market, and insightful industry leaders ready to tackle the challenges ahead.

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