Bridgit building on past success with $2M investment

KITCHENER — With a $2-million investment from a Toronto-based fund that helps women entrepreneurs, the startup Bridgit plans to further develop a new product for its mobile platform for construction managers.

Stand Up Ventures and MaRS IAF led this round of investment in the company launched by co-founders Lauren Lake and Mallorie Brodie in 2014.

“We are obviously very happy to be one of their first investments,” said Brodie.

Bridgit employs 34 at its office at 100 Ahrens St. W. in Kitchener and is hiring.

It will use the new investment to further develop a new product that evaluates data from clients, and alerts them to trends on construction sites that will cause more delays and cost overruns.

That new product, called Project Insights, was launched earlier this year, but there is potential to expand it, providing details in real time to help construction managers.

Bridgit is all about “the punch list”— the list of work by subcontractors that was not done properly and must be corrected as soon as possible.

Maybe the work was sloppy, or the materials were incorrect or there were delays in getting supplies to the site. There is a complex sequence to the work on construction projects, and the punch list must be cleared in each phase.

“We are looking to double down in that area, and then ensure that any new module we launch is also feeding back into Project Insights to give teams even more data and numbers to help them make their decisions,” said Brodie.

The longer the punch list, the bigger the disruption to the orderly progression of work on a construction site. Bridgit’s platform helps construction managers identify what needs to be fixed, assign the work, and track it. Photos of problems, and later photos of complete work are shared using the app.

Project Insights uses data analytics to provide detailed information about that process. Construction managers typically hold a weekly meeting on-site. If it was taking seven days to clear a punch list before, and now it is taking twice that long, everyone will know about it right away with Project Insights.

“That will then give them the information to go back to all their subcontractors, go back to their team and really figure out why it is taking longer,” said Brodie.

“Is the bottleneck on the subcontractor’s side? Is it the internal team not approving the work?” she said.

Bridgit’s customers are evenly split between Canada and the United States. Its mobile platform is being used in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Miami and San Francisco. Locally, Momentum Partnership uses Bridgit’s platform on its condo projects.

In April 2016, Bridgit announced a $2.2 million investment, led by Hyde Park Venture Partners with participation from Vanedge Capital. The latest investment from MaRS IAF and Stand Up Ventures came together during the past couple of months.

“I think that is due to the fact we have been able to know a lot of these different investors,” said Brodie. “The relationship had already been built essentially, so that allowed things to come together really quickly.”

Photo credit: David Bebee, Record Staff

Article: Terry Pender, The Record @PenderRecord

Sale of Huck Glove factory to transform plans for Innovation District

KITCHENER: Earlier today, Momentum Partnership and KingSett Capital, on behalf of KingSett Real Estate Growth LP No.6 announced the acquisition of the former Huck Glove factory at 120 Victoria Street South in Kitchener, Ontario. The former factory will be incorporated into a commercial space and will be joined by additional commercial floors and a 23-storey residential condominium tower. CBRE Canada brokered the sale of the site.

“This is the culmination of an idea that we’ve had going back to 2012,” says Brian Prudham, Principal at Momentum Developments. “Combining the former Huck Glove property into our adjacent One Hundred condominiums project allows us to build something that will transform the west end of the Innovation District. The combined development will make this location a popular destination for residents and businesses.”

The six-story commercial development will incorporate a revitalized Huck Glove brick-and-beam factory, and provide amenity space for condominium residents. In total, the development is slated toprovide130,000 square feet of office space, 11,000 square feet of retail and approximately 300 residential units.

“This acquisition lets us do something bold and transformative for the neighbourhood,” says Zac Zehr, VP of Development for Zehr Group. “Along with the nearly sold out double towers currently under construction, the entire development site will add 650 residential units to the community and employment space for more than 500 people. This mix of uses so close to the transit hub is a huge step forward for Downtown Kitchener in its goal of becoming an accessible urban community.”

Joining the project as an investment partner is KingSett Capital, Canada’s leading private equity real estate investment firm. The involvement of KingSett Capital is a strong indication of the growing interest that developers and investors across Canada are showing in the continued growth opportunity in Kitchener-Waterloo.

“The concentration of technology companies in the Innovation District, investments in transit infrastructure and strong conditions for continued growth make Downtown Kitchener an increasingly attractive location for this type of mixed-use development,” said Matthew Johnson, Executive Director of Investments for KingSett Capital. Detailed plans for the new residential tower, including pricing and suite availability, will be made public once they have been finalized. More information about the project can be found at momentumdevelopments.ca.

A new partner joins Momentum on its 10th Anniversary

Momentum Developments is excited to announce that Seth Jutzi has joined the company as its newest partner. This past June marked the 10th anniversary of Momentum Developments, and Seth’s skillset is perfectly suited to help Momentum look towards our next 10 years of growth.

Seth comes to us from Sorbara, Schumacher, McCann LLP, where he developed an extensive body of work in both real estate and commercial law. His collaborative approach in deconstructing legal and business issues, along with his diligence and creativity have earned him a sterling reputation among coworkers and clients alike.

Seth also contributes his time, professional expertise, and leadership to a number of local charities. For the past eight years, Seth has served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region, including two years as Board Chair. Currently, Seth serves on the Board of Governors for the Grand River Hospital Foundation and is the Chair of the Governance Committee. This dedication to community improvement is one of the many reasons Seth is a natural fit for Momentum.

Momentum’s first priority has always been to help build Kitchener-Waterloo into one of the best communities in Canada. As we look back over the last 10 years, we couldn’t be prouder of the impact that our projects have had. In both Uptown Waterloo and Downtown Kitchener, Momentum’s mixed-used developments have created spaces where residents live, work and play – revitalizing neighbourhoods and contributing in our own way to the rapid changes that are transforming the Waterloo Region into a global destination.

Our diamond anniversary inspires us to consider what our community will look like on our 20th anniversary. We see our projects past, present and future connected through a modern light rail transit system. We see the 1 Victoria, One Hundred and Charlie West condominiums making an indelible mark on the skyline. We see our continued focus on sustainability and customer service rewarded with even more opportunities – new additions to the skyline that we’ve only begun to imagine.

Everyone at Momentum, including our new partners at Zehr Group of Companies, looks forward to working on another decade of successful projects. Together we are truly living up to our namesake, and couldn’t be more excited about building on our momentum over the next 10 years and beyond.

Thalmic Labs leases building across from Charlie West

Kitchener – The rapid pace of growth in downtown Kitchener continues, with the latest development happening directly across the street from Charlie West. The historic building at 27 Gaukel St. that’s been the longtime home to Shreiter’s Home Furnishing for years has been leased to Thalmic labs, the Kitchener-based technology company that currently occupies the adjacent building.

The top two floors of the 26,000-square-foot building are going to be used as office space, with the main floor containing an employee cafeteria and meeting space. Schreiter’s is the process of moving to their new Belmont Avenue location.

The Gaukel Street building was acquired last year by Vanguard Developments Corp., which plans to heavily invest in renovations.

“We are renovating the whole space into classic brick-and-beam office space,” said Vanguard co-owner Tom Rakic.

Thalmic Labs is anticipated to move into the new space this Fall.

We’re rallying for the 2021 Canada Games!

@CanadaGamesTogether with the Cities of Waterloo and Cambridge, Kitchener has submitted a bid for the Waterloo Region to become the host for the 2021 Canada Games. Momentum would never miss an opportunity to promote the Waterloo Region, and this bid is another great chance to put our home on the map!

But we need your help! The 2021 Canada Games is the largest multi-sport games in the country. Every two years, it alternates between a summer and winter event, and in 2021 we want to see the summer games in our amazing Region!

We are competing against three other Ontario communities: Ottawa, Niagara Region and Sudbury for the privilege to host this event. We can help convince the organizing committee that our Region’s enthusiasm to host the games is unparalleled – making Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge the best option to showcase the amazing athletic talents of our country’s youth.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

It’s as easy as 1 -2 -3!  

1.       First, please go now and join the grass-roots campaign #WeRally2021, to capture and share your support of our local bid. Simply go to www.werally2021.ca and fill out the online form expressing your support. Also, please share this with your friends and ask them to do the same. 

2.       Second, you can also help by “liking” the WeRally2021 Facebook page and by following the @WeRally2021 Twitter account.

3.       Third and lastly, you can add the attached graphic and tagline “Help us win the 2021 Canada Summer bid – join #WeRally2021 www.werally2021.ca” to your e-mail signature until a decision is announced on March 30th.

Your support will make a big difference!

One Hundred Condominiums breaks ground in downtown Kitchener

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and Regional Chair Ken Seiling were on hand today to celebrate the ground breaking of One Hundred (100 Victoria St S), a large condominium project consisting of two towers and 348 residential suites in the Innovation District of downtown Kitchener. A strategic development partnership between two local development groups – Momentum Developments and Zehr Group – was announced.

After a lengthy OMB appeal that delayed the project by over 18 months, ground has now been broken on the first phase of One Hundred. The two towers will ultimately rise 15 and 19 storeys above a three-storey podium on Victoria Street. The first tower is slated for occupancy in late 2018. The second tower will be ready in 2020.

The City of Kitchener’s approval of the project was upheld by the Ontario Municipal Board, and One Hundred is now set to contribute to the advancing landscape of Kitchener’s Innovation District.

This past summer, Momentum Developments completed a 19-storey condo project at 1 Victoria St S. One Hundred is the first joint venture between Momentum Developments and Zehr Group, but the two teams previously worked together to develop the Red Condominium (188 King St S, Uptown Waterloo).

“Our previous experience with Zehr Group demonstrated the attention to detail and discipline that makes them the perfect partner for condominium development,” said Brian Prudham, Principal at Momentum Developments. “Our experience in condominium development is the perfect marriage for their experienced construction and property management teams.”

This joint venture is a new approach, allowing local developers to satisfy the development needs of the Innovation District.

“Both local teams lend significant value to such a large mix-used condominium project,” says Don Zehr, CEO of Zehr Group. “Momentum brings condo development experience and strong skills in marketing, sales and customer service to the table. Zehr Group brings a well-rounded team with strengths in finance, accounting, construction management and property management.”

One Hundred is now 70% sold in both phases and public demand for presale units has resulted in an updated design for the project, allowing 40 new residential suites to be added.

The increasing demand for condominium living in downtown Kitchener can be attributed to the Region’s new Light Rail Transit system, which will soon provide rapid public transportation between the Tri-cities, as well as the increasing employment opportunities within the high-tech sector that is fuelling growth in Kitchener’s Innovation District. A planned multi-modal transit hub for the GO Train, Via Rail and Grand River Public Transit is also slated to be built on the corner of King and Victoria Street in the near future. Living at 100 Victoria Street will also give residents quick access to the many restaurants, shops and entertainment venues in downtown Kitchener.

Visit onehundred.ca for more information.

Property Near Transit Worth 30% More

Location location location! When it comes to real estate we all know that location is paramount. A new study in Toronto focusing on the downtown core has confirmed this. The study from Avision Young determined that condominium towers within 500 meters of subway stations sold for 30% more than condominium towers more than 500 meters away! 30% is a substantial margin. The study suggests that the millennial generation desires to be close to transit because they often don’t own a car. 500 meters seems to be the distance that people are willing to travel. Any further and real estate values drop and vacancy rates increase.

Momentum Developments is certainly following the trend of developing close to major transit nodes. In fact, it’s one of the principles of our business. Both 1Victoria Condominium and One Hundred Condominium are within a 400 meter walk to the new Transit Hub. 1Victoria is literally kitty corner to the hub! We have certainly seen many millennial buyers and the access to the new LRT and GO Train to Toronto is a major draw.

The full article can be found on the Financial Post:

http://business.financialpost.com/news/property-post/toronto-property-near-public-transit-worth-30-more-than-other-buildings-study-finds

Peter Whitby

Waterloo Talent Attracts Top Employers

The Region of Waterloo continues to earn its reputation as the Silicone Valley of Canada. In the past week, two major Canadian corporations have announced new offices in the city. Shopify Inc will be leasing the historic Seagram building in Uptown Waterloo and TD Bank is opening a new office beside the University of Waterloo. The theme of both expansions seems to be talent acquisition. Waterloo Region is a mecca for software engineering, computer science and the skills employers require for their companies to excel in the modern world.

Shopify Inc. is one of Canada’s brightest technology companies and is headquartered in Ottawa. The rapidly growing company provides online sales tools for small and medium sized businesses. The company went public in May and is currently valued at over $2.7 billion dollars. Waterloo’s strong engineering and technology talent is the driver behind the expansion into Waterloo. In a statement, the company said: “Shopify chose to expand its offices in Waterloo because of the amazing talent pool that is available in the region.”  Shopify will be hiring 300 new employees for the Waterloo office.

TD Bank is also looking to acquire Waterloo talent with the opening of a new Technology Innovation Centre. Located close to the University of Waterloo main campus, this office will focus on IT and software engineering, with the goal to attract data scientists in the near future.  TD Bank’s Senior VP and Chief Information Officer Jeff Martin had this to say: “We recognize that there’s a lot of innovation talent in the area. We need to be where they are. They’re not going to come to us. You need to have that talent to really build the bank of the future.” He also noted that proximity to the region’s post secondary schools was a draw for the bank.

Well done Waterloo! There is a lot of smart people in this city and the best companies in Canada are taking notice.

  • Peter Whitby Jr.

Is The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor the Next Silicon Valley?

What lead to Silicon Valley’s success, and is it possible to replicate this success in Canada? This article in the Globe and Mail highlights the potential possibilities of the Toronto-Waterloo corridor to become a true innovation centre in the country and the world.

Written by Iain Klugman, the CEO of Communitech, and Kevin Lynch, the Vice-Chair of the Bank of Montreal, this article rolls out the key “missing piece” that could be the difference between turning our region in the Canadian Silicon Valley.

Within the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, we produce superb technical talent, creative ideas and intellectual property to rival the world’s best – tens of thousands of our graduates work in Silicon Valley or Seattle or L.A., while others have opted to stay in Canada, or return after a stint away, to start companies.

Canadian entrepreneurs have repeatedly shown they can build game-changing technology right here at home, but too often these successes have been in spite of, not due to, the business conditions our innovators face.

To capture the full potential of the Toronto-Waterloo innovation corridor, we cannot think incrementally. We need a bold vision and even bolder leadership from government, the private sector and universities, buttressed by the ambition and confidence that we can take on the world and win. We also need to create concrete conditions for success, including more direct government support of technology development, faster transit links, financial lending services tailored to knowledge-based startups, strategic procurement by both governments and large firms, expedited visas for global talent and clear numeric targets for creating billion-dollar firms and tech jobs.

Read the full article on The Globe and Mail website.

Rent Or Buy The Top Floor in Waterloo?

comparing-penthouses-thumbThere is a lot of discussion on the economics of buying versus renting, and in some major markets – like Toronto, New York, and Vancouver – often the balance sheet tips toward renting being the less expensive option.

Even taking into account the recent growth of the Waterloo region, the economics of Kitchener-Waterloo real estate still favours the investment of buying a condo over renting one.

CTV Kitchener did a recent segment on the buy versus rent question when it comes to upscale, top floor, and penthouse suites in the region. Their calculations and the experts they talked to align: here in KW, you’ll definitely spend less if you buy, especially if you’re looking for a home to last you more than a year or two.

Check out the CTV video segment on the CTV Kitchener website.

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Waterloo, Ontario
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