Forest Gate Financial has been founded by CFO Frank DelZotto, left, and CEO Dan Marinovic. (Courtesy Forest Gate)

Two Canadian real estate veterans are heading Forest Gate Financial Corp., a new boutique private equity, private debt and real estate investment firm.

Dan Marinovic is chief executive officer and managing partner, while Frank DelZotto is chief financial officer and partner of the firm aiming to deliver premium risk-adjusted returns while being a good partner for developers, builders, investors and capital providers.

Marinovic told RENX the six people currently with the Vaughan-based company will use their collective financial and operational expertise to work alongside investors to ensure their return objectives are being met and that they have access to properties that meet high environmental and sustainability standards.

Vaughan-based home-builder Treasure Hill Homes is a partner in Forest Gate. Marinovic said Treasure Hill’s principals saw an opportunity in the capital-raising market to complement their existing business. Forest Gate’s advisory board is comprised of Marinovic, DelZotto, Treasure Hill president Nicholas Fidei and Treasure Hill CFO Mark Caruso.

The board members all have established relationships with banks, the construction industry, governments, brokers and other key stakeholders.

Marinovic was most recently chief development officer of Dream Unlimited, where his responsibilities covered finance, development, construction and operations. Before joining Dream in 2013 he was vice-president of finance for First Gulf, the commercial real estate arm of Great Gulf, for seven years.

DelZotto was previously a partner at BDO Canada LLP for 19 years, where he provided advisory services to Canadian real estate families and organizations and had direct experience in land development projects.

Opportunities in smaller markets

Forest Gate is initially targeting residential and mid-rise buildings throughout Southern Ontario, outside of Toronto, for its investments.

“We believe there’s a fairly robust and significant market that we would like to be able to support,” said Marinovic. “The deal sizes are getting much bigger and volumes are getting greater. There’s real demand out there.”

Marinovic said the past year has shown the attractiveness of smaller cities to people who can work from home and may be looking for larger and more affordable housing options than can be found in Toronto.

He expects that to benefit all real estate asset classes in these markets.

Attracting investor interest

Forest Gate representatives have been speaking with institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals and family offices, and Marinovic said there’s been plenty of interest from those who share the firm’s optimistic vision for real estate across Southern Ontario.

Forest Gate will co-invest in projects and opportunities with clearly defined and measured environmental, sustainable and corporate governance goals. It will also maintain an active management role alongside its operating partners to ensure optimal financial performance.

Marinovic said Forest Gate will likely come to the market with its first multiresidential investment by mid- to late April.

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