Staff Announcement: Managing Director, Real Estate
From: Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations & Real Estate Partnerships
Date: January 20, 2023
Re: Staff Announcement: Managing Director, Real Estate
I am writing to announce that Josh Mitchell will be stepping down as Managing Director, Real Estate effective February 3, as he and his family return to New York City.
Josh’s departure will likely not surprise anyone who has worked with him since he joined Operations & Real Estate Partnerships (OREP) in May 2019; we were well aware when he joined us that his star was rising in the world of real estate and acquisitions, and that stars were aligning for a brief time as he sought to return to Toronto for a few years. Josh brought to us extensive experience in large scale, double-bottom line real estate development, including mixed-use office, residential, cultural, educational, healthcare and life sciences projects, along with a strong background in institutional and community relationship building. Josh is a UofT grad in both Urban/Economic Geography and the Master of Science in Urban Planning program and we have benefitted from his UofT experience and affection.
Josh was brought to UofT to lead the University’s 4Corners Strategy, which aims to develop more than 4,000,000 square feet across its three campuses. In particular, the Strategy will develop almost 4000 units of housing and over 1,000,000 square feet of innovation, retail, and amenity space over the next 10-15 years, while generating a sustainable source of net cash flow for the University’s academic mission. UofT has one of the largest development pipelines in the country and partners with some of the most respected development companies in the world. The University already has the land, capital, and in-house expertise to realize this vision, and from the start of his time at UofT, Josh worked with an innate understanding of the university’s need for synchronicity between the challenges of a critical need for on-campus housing, innovation space and other services.
Josh has established and led a multi-disciplinary team of eight with acquisition, development, underwriting, leasing, property management, and accounting expertise whose identification and evaluation of real estate development opportunities, and related negotiations and marketing, have been, and will continue to be, essential to the success of the 4 Corners Strategy and all other real estate-related initiatives. I have every confidence that this team will keep us on the path that Josh has set for them, and for us, as we seek his replacement.
Josh’s diplomacy and tact have been much appreciated through the many negotiations which have taken place during his tenure, and governors and administrators have appreciated his generosity and thoughtfulness through the processes required on the many files he and his team have led or been involved with. Josh’s responsibilities have also extended to providing strategic direction to multidisciplinary project teams that comprise planners, architects, engineers, property managers, lawyers, and communications and government relations specialists across other divisions to realize this vision.
In his almost 4 years with OREP, Josh has accomplished a great deal on our behalf. Directly supporting the academic mission, Josh acquired 9 properties in the downtown campus alone, including Knox College, a brick and beam building at 229 College, and commercial office condominium at 203 College, as well as leased more than 300,000 square feet for off-campus academic uses, on-campus innovation companies, and exciting new food and beverage retailers around the campus periphery. For the 4Corners Strategy, Josh supported ground breakings for Spadina/Sussex Student Residence and Schwartz Reisman Innovation Campus West Tower, brought forward the Graduate Student Housing Expansion project and UTSC Student Residence for capital projects governance approval, and developed strategic plans, including running North America-wide search to find best-in-class development partners for Schwartz Reisman East Tower and the forthcoming Gateway project at Bloor and Spadina. He also co-led the merger of Real Estate and Ancillary Services into a new business ancillary called Spaces & Experiences, and formalized quarterly reporting to an internal 4Corners Steering Committee and external Real Estate Advisory Committee which includes some of most seasoned executives in the Canadian real estate industry. This is an impressive feat especially considering many of these years were spent navigating market volatility and uncertainties of all types associated with the pandemic. In particular, Josh’s thoughtful leadership supported our retail tenants through the real estate challenges faced during COVID.
Josh came to us having been Senior Vice President, Real Estate Transactions at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where he excelled from 2013. and we look forward to watching his further ascension through the real estate industry in New York City and beyond.
In short, we will miss him and all that he brought to our team, and to our institution.