Andrea DelZotto And The Tridel Group Of Companies: Shaping Cities Is Shaping Lives
Analyzing the growth of one of Toronto’s most prolific development companies with Andrea DelZotto, a member of the founding family.
Interview By Victoria Scott
For most Canadians, the ideal vacation, especially at this time of year, includes beaches and swaying palms. For Andrea DelZotto, director and executive vice-president of the Tridel Group of Companies, one of the largest and most respected real estate development companies in Canada, vacations involve buildings and urban landscapes.
“I have a love of architecture, so I often take urban and city trips so I have the opportunity to see some amazing buildings,” says DelZotto. “In Chicago, New York or Miami, I find not only some beautiful architecture, but also how it can create and enhance the social community, both for the surrounding environment and its residents.”
This passion for architecture and city building comes naturally to DelZotto; her grandfather, Jack, immigrated to Canada from northern Italy in 1927 as a stonemason and is seen as the pioneer of Tridel. His future wife soon joined him — they settled in Toronto and had three sons. The Tri in Tridel refers to these three sons. DelZotto’s father, Angelo, says of his education, “I graduated from the scaffold.”
The hard-working DelZottos started with single-family homes, graduated to full subdivisions, plazas, government housing and rental buildings, and eventually progressed to condominiums in the late 1960s. Today, Tridel is the largest builder of condominiums in the Toronto area, having built some 80,000 homes, under the direction of the four principals: Angelo DelZotto, Elvio DelZotto, Leo DelZotto and Harvey Fruitman. On the outside, Tridel might seem to be a textbook family business, but DelZotto has an interesting take on that perception:
“None of us were ever pressured to be in the family business — not that we’re a family business, because we’ve grown so much,” she says. “We are more of a business family and a business with family values. The family is not just the DelZottos, because we look at all of our employees as family.”
DelZotto’s wider insight about the power of buildings and how they contribute to the social capital of a city have elevated her to the top of her field. “I love the social aspect of design, as design clearly impacts our behaviour,” she says. “The aspect of blurred lines between public and private spaces, public art that can be shared and even touched and that you don’t even have to make an effort to encounter, that is embedded in our environments. I often share Churchill’s quote, ‘We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.’”
Tridel has been shaping cities and the lives of residents for 80 years, building some of the GTA’s most notable and recognizable buildings, including The Well, a mixed-use community under construction on the former Globe & Mail lands on Front Street. Tridel’s most recent and well-known building is 10 York in the South Core area of downtown. Soaring 65 storeys, this statuesque wedge is a commanding presence on Toronto’s skyline. Two other Tridel developments also speak to DelZotto’s passion for how buildings can enhance their community surroundings.
“I have a particular love of Aqualuna condominiums [in the Bayside Toronto community],” she says. “It has a unique skin and balconies that I almost find tranquil, inspired by the surrounding environment and water. And The Republic at Yonge and Eglinton, where I lived with my family, originated from a public and private partnership with the school and surrounding park. It is a great example of a successful collaboration. The Republic was the inspiration for my ongoing social media blog.”
Unit prices in Tridel developments reflect the quality, location and value of these properties. The Republic has an average unit cost of $900 per square foot, which has appreciated in value from the $450 average when it opened in 2007. Aqualuna offers 225 units with units from 1,400 square feet starting at $1.885 million, and available high-floor units at 10 York are priced between $2 million and nearly $4 million, spectacular views included.
Contributing to its community has been a trademark of Tridel throughout its history, evidenced by the Tridel Take Action initiative, an employee-driven charitable giving program that encourages “building things that matter” away from the workplace, here at home and globally. It also leads inside and outside of the workplace, making positive social impacts and contributions both locally and globally. It’s another example of how Tridel creates and empowers social and environmental change, moving — as DelZotto puts it —from selling to solving community issues.
DelZotto speaks modestly about her own professional accomplishments, including being the first female on the board, a significant achievement in such a historically male-dominated industry. “To work closely with my father as a mentor is a privilege that I’m extremely grateful for,” she says, “and witnessing first-hand our executive team and the willingness for an intentional collection of ideas — both those rooted in the past and those which are new and will prepare us for tomorrow.”
That future seems very bright for DelZotto, Tridel and its dedicated team of more than 500 employees, secure in the leadership position of building quality homes, providing innovative housing solutions and shaping the communities of tomorrow.
Executive at the Tridel Group of Companies
Andrea DelZotto is an executive at the Tridel Group of Companies, a director of the board and a member of the founding family. In her role, DelZotto focuses on governing the key brand drivers for Tridel including people, culture, customer experience, innovation, community, corporate social responsibility and communications, while ensuring alignment across all companies within the group. A visionary leader, DelZotto initiates and drives the change necessary throughout the organization to maintain and build upon Tridel’s commitment to market leadership.