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Structure Set's Aspen Apart

Nov 29, 2011

The three partners behind the home-grown Aspen Properties invest in their own backyard, and that means their properties are personal.

“Our structure really sets us apart, because we don’t manage property for other people — we only manage properties we own,” says Scott Hutcheson, chairman and CEO of Aspen.“We are three partners who put our capital in first, and then bring our institutional partners with us. There aren’t a lot of companies doing that. It forces us to be very focused on our assets.”

Aspen Properties is a fully integrated, privately held real estate company based in Calgary, and together with its investment partners, it currently owns and manages about 1.1 million square feet of office space and 1,394 parking stalls in Calgary. The firm’s portfolio includes five buildings in downtown Calgary, as well as more than one million square feet of Class A office space on the drawing board for development in the Calgary market.

“We only invest where we live — Alberta,” says Hutcheson. “We only invest in Calgary and Edmonton down - town office buildings, and we are very specialized in our focus.”

Construction of the 300,000-square- foot Palliser South office tower was recently completed, and other projects are on the table, as well.

Aspen Properties was formed in 1997 by partners with extensive real estate experience, and today Hutcheson, along with Greg Guatto, president, COO and a principal of Aspen, and Veronica Bouvier, executive vice-president, CFO and principal of Aspen, has worked to establish the company as an aggressive Alberta investor. Aspen has become one of the best regarded commercial real estate firms in Western Canada, and with blended yields from existing operations, new acquisitions, institutional financial support in debt and equity and the development of new office buildings, Aspen’s financial position is strong.

“We rely on the fundamentals and the principles and values that make us a good landlord,” says Hutcheson. “We listen carefully to our tenants’ needs and we work hard to be responsive, honest, willing to learn and environmentally responsible.”

The organization gives priority to its three key stakeholders — tenants, investment partners and employees.

“Our employees are encouraged to get involved in charitable causes. We offer two days off for people to participate in charitable work and we match contributions,” says Hutcheson.

He says Aspen’s partnership with Calgary Economic Development’s Action Calgary program in its outreach across Canada and on a global front

“is helping attract bright, new talent to our community, and that benefits everyone in the city.” Adds Guatto: “Our mayor is a very good marketer of our city, and it’s important that we all work together for common goals.”

Calgary Herald article.