Some people are reluctant recruits to a family business started by their parents. But not 25-year-old Joseph Feldman, the son of David Feldman, who is CEO and president of Camrost Felcorp Inc.
He remembers sitting at the company boardroom table as a toddler and in Grade 8, “almost forced myself in” to get a part-time job there. He spent that summer in a back office, shredding paper. In Grade 11, he worked inputting information on Excel sheets, going through every buyer’s agreements of purchase and sale to see if parking was included.
“It sounds cliché,” he admits about what intrigued him about the business, “but builders are tangibly impacting people’s lives. The buildings are here to stay and they affect not just the people who live there, but the people who pass by. Impacting the look of the city, and the lives of its citizens is a pretty cool privilege when you think about it.”
Feldman joined Camrost Felcorp as a financial analyst just under three years ago and is now development manager.
“At 25, I am fortunate to be given this much responsibility and I’ve been learning a ton,” Feldman says. “I have the opportunity to get involved in everything thanks to our corporate environment and group of experienced real estate leaders willing to share their knowledge with me.”
While his father has provided him with the benefits of his experience and instilled in his son an appreciation for hard work, the younger Feldman has offered something back to Camrost — insights into today’s young condo buyer, appreciation for the value of a sophisticated social media program, innovative pro-forma models, and the pursuit of technological efficiencies.
“I’m the type of person who goes at something and puts 100 per cent into it,” says Feldman. “My personality is so go go go go go. I have so much on the go that I’m impatient, almost.”
Almost too impatient to sleep.
A recent day in Feldman’s life had him home from work at 11:30 p.m., with an onsite meeting at 6:30 a.m. the following morning. It’s that wee nap in between meetings that gets him through — the saving grace of many busy and successful business people.
After graduating from McGill University in Montreal with a Bachelor’s of Commerce degree, the Toronto-born Feldman worked in investment banking.
“A business education and finance career was a natural fit for me, but real estate was always on my mind,” says Feldman. “No matter what I was working on at my investment desk, I was always thinking about real estate and obsessing over architecture.”
Today Feldman’s passion and profession are aligned.
His current focus is Imperial Village, a master-planned, mixed-use community on the south side of St. Clair, at Avenue Road.
“The community is best known for the award-winning Imperial Plaza condominium,” he notes. “It also includes a new purpose-built rental building at 101 St. Clair, and a very successful condo tower called Blue Diamond.”
“These are my babies,” he adds. “It’s the perfect blend of modern condos and a heritage retrofit done perfectly … It’s an inspired project, very unique … a project I can be proud of. You couldn’t ask for a cooler development.”
Despite having $1 billion worth of real estate projects in development, the Camrost Felcorp office is a small and close-knit operation, with only about two dozen employees, including Joseph’s dad and mother Angela, the company’s executive vice president who is involved in many areas of the company including design and marketing.
Working in the family business, however, doesn’t afford him any advantage, says Feldman.
“It’s almost the complete opposite,” he says. “I need to work harder than anyone else. David and Angela (he refers to his parents by their first names at work) demand the best from me and total focus.”
Even though he says he is “the biggest nerd when it comes to architecture and the real estate industry,” he does relax that keen focus occasionally, allowing for a rather full life of extra-curriculars, including dinners at his favourite restaurant (Nove Trattoria, at Yonge and St. Clair), re-reading his favourite book “A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America” by Vishaan Chakrabarti, or going on baseball road trips with his friends and favourite team, the Blue Jays.
But what’s really got him excited these days is the opera. Yes — the opera.
While not typically on the playlists of 20-somethings, it’s the music, the emotion, and of course, the beautiful architecture of Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, that has reeled him in.
“The first time I went to the opera there I was blown away … I fell in love with the building,” says Feldman, who sits on the board of the Canadian Opera Company’s Opera Club, a group for young patrons.
“I have been really enjoying getting to understand the opera – and by no means do I understand it at this point. I absolutely love sitting in a chair listening to such powerful voices.”