Building a community from scratch is hard work. You’re planning to meet the needs of families who don’t live there yet, looking out at an empty expanse of land and picturing where to place commercial real estate, where the school should go and how dense the housing should be. It’s a fine balancing act. It takes both a great imagination and good business sense to visualize what will best suit the space. Pollyco Group of Companies and the firm’s president, Connie Chow, have this in spades.
Balancing land use for years to come
This ability to fully plan for, and balance, the needs of future communities while creating a beautiful living space is one of Pollyco’s strengths, due in part to their unique ability to both purchase and develop land. “A lot of people just know how to buy a lot and build a house on it. To turn the land from farmland that is not zoned to a residential community takes a lot of effort and time.
We are proud to be able to plan and build communities,” Connie explains. “Not a lot of companies do that from start to finish.”
Pollyco evolved into this hybrid builder/developer over the last 10 years as Connie’s desire to expand her commercial portfolio grew. “It takes time,” she says. “To buy land and get it all through from rezoning to building roads, sewers, houses and shopping centres, etc, People don’t see it through start to finish. Companies are willing to buy our lots at a high price when we have put all the services (roads, sewers, water, utilities, etc) in because they can just build. When we buy the land, and take our time to develop and build phase by phase, this allows our profit margin to be much higher.”
Connie’s ultimate goal is to continue expanding Pollyco’s commercial portfolio, so she can leave a legacy for her children.
Managing an empire and a home
In the midst of all of this expansion, one wonders if it was possible for Connie to maintain an active role in her family. “I make myself available for any family function and have family dinner regularly even though my children now live in different provinces,” Connie explains. “We watch movies together. We also go away on holiday together whenever possible.”
“It’s just as important to schedule time with my family as it is to arrange business meetings.” Connie says.
Managing work priorities is also an important skill to master in order to maintain your work and home life balance. To keep things running smoothly at work, Connie has developed a simple but effective method to outline her days. “I list the work in order of priorities and always try to complete the highest priority work first,” she explains. "If there are multiple projects with high priority, I will try to work hard and complete them all on the same day.”
However, this approach can lead to some long days, and sometimes even long nights at work when there are large projects with important deadlines looming. Getting through times of high stress and multiple priorities can mean taking a step back. And when either her work or home life is out of balance, Connie has one tactic that she comes back to from time to time.
“When work or with family are not balanced, pause and put things away for a day,” she advises. “Spend a day doing what you enjoy and do not think about the problem at all. Then find some quiet time to go through all the items that have caused things to become unbalanced. You would be surprised, as ideas will come to solve the problems and make things balanced and smooth again.”
Neither land nor schedules are ever completely even
But building an empire does take a toll on a person’s schedule. Connie has found herself in situations where work has started to put more and more demands on her time, but when this happens it’s important to take a step back.
“When things become unbalanced, I sit down both with my staff and with my family and try to find a balanced solution,” Connie says. “When we come together as a group, we can always find a good solution.”
This straightforward, no-nonsense pragmatism has helped keep the foundation of both of Connie’s worlds on the proper grade.
Canadian Western Bank (CWB) has stepped up to the plate as well, helping Pollyco and Connie with the more difficult and complicated banking details that accompany operating in the real estate world. “CWB has helped me and my business balance priorities with my projects,” she says.
Puneet Agrawal, Senior AVP of Real Estate Lending at CWB and the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Group, ensures that there’s always a balance in the books. This branch specifically focuses on construction financing on a larger scale offering clients the support and guidance that they need to succeed in the hot Vancouver market.
CWB is here to support companies throughout every stage of their business. Speak to a CWB advisor today to see how they can help your business grow. We can also provide support in the area of commercial real estate lending, such as through our Greater Vancouver Real Estate Group in the BC region.