Housing beyond collecting rent: TCU Development Corporation

ABOVE: Billy Triantafilos and Mike Corneau of TCU Development Corporation. (Photos: robert@200f2.ca)

Amid Ottawa’s housing market crisis, TCU Development Corporation is transforming the way development and housing projects are done–for the better. With North America’s first Tenant Wellness Program, and projects that give back to local communities, TCU Developments is shifting the industry with its commitment to meaningful projects.

Co-founders Billy Triantafilos and Mike Corneau met at the University of Ottawa playing for the varsity men’s hockey team. Together, they helped manage housing for the men’s hockey team, but there was a massive shortage of accommodations for students.

Billy and Mike met the problem with innovation and developed small-scale housing in the neighbourhood. Their love for real estate sparked, and peers began to see the fruits of their expertise. Soon, the two friends became the “go-to” experts for real estate and development opportunities. The friendship grew into a professional partnership, and today, they are bringing that same innovative spirit to Ottawa’s housing market.

But for many athletes, like Billy and Mike, the transition from sports into business can feel like an impossible task. An athlete’s sport often becomes their identity. Billy and Mike had to learn to let go of full-time hockey and translate the intensity and passion they learned from hockey into the business world. Now, they take their experience as a responsibility to mentor students and athletes. They speak with athletes regularly about the importance of education and investing early to ensure they are financially secure after their game days end.

“We are always open to further support the growth of students and athletes,” Mike explains, “And we are continuously available for athletes and students to answer any questions or guide them in financial and/or business aspects of their lives. Many athletes end up feeling empty once retired from professional sports, investing early (both financially and in education) strengthens their lives after sports.”

Walking alongside athletes is one of the many ways that Billy and Mike have made TCU Development Corporation a company interested in more than “collecting rent.” The team is committed to integrating community and wellbeing into every development project. That is why they created the Tenant Wellness Program.

The Tenant Wellness Program gives residents access to 24/7 live counselling, virtual fitness programs, and resources to develop social, physical and financial wellbeing. This year, it will expand to include exclusive offers and discounts to put wellbeing within residents’ reach.

“As a company, we try our best to end the stigma around mental health,” says Mike. “The wellness program is our way of recognizing the resident communities who bring our development projects to life. It aims at supporting our residents’ mental and physical well-being.

“At the same time as being a property manager and renter at a young age we saw and felt the impersonal approach that is common in the industry. We made it a mission to not only develop purposeful real estate, but to go beyond just “collecting rent” when it comes to our residents. We worked to create a service platform that inspires, supports, and has a positive impact on all our residents that goes beyond just providing quality rental housing.”

The housing industry is beginning to see that the old model of just collecting, changing door handles, and offering a gym must evolve. Billy and Mike believe that the industry needs a shift its view of the resident experience. It needs to focus on the human element of property management. Not only is TCU’s model human-centred, but it is also a beneficial business model.

“Having healthy residents means having a healthy building. It is widely known that happier residents will take better care of the physical asset. Our vision is to provide purposeful rental developments and innovative management services that reflect the needs of modern renters.”

By changing the way TCU Development Corporation approaches the housing industry, they are hoping to have a broader impact on the industry so that tenants everywhere can experience healthier living.

Today, TCU Development Corporation has been involved in over 90 real estate development projects across Ottawa, providing over 900 homes in the community. One of their most recent projects, Capital Park, located in the heart of Robinson Village, is about to enter the Ottawa market. Capital Park will house over 400 people. The project includes the Resident Experience Program, a Giving Back Initiative that, together with TCU and residents, gives back to the community through fundraising events.

“With the current housing crisis Ottawa is facing, we find it meaningful to bring such a large rental development to the neighbourhood our dream first started in.”

Project by project, and unit by unit, Billy and Mike, together with the team at TCU Development Corporation and their residents, are transforming the wellbeing of Ottawa communities.