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Sophies Landing Gated Waterfront Community

The Cabins at Sunpeaks, BC

Owner Profile

Eric Kerzner Biography

Eric Kerzner - President Signature CarletonEric Kerzner graduated with a civil engineering master's degree (cum laude) in 1983, and hit the ground running. Without experience or capital, Kerzner drew from his vision and creativity to develop a hotel in the west end of Toronto, which opened just one year after his graduation. He was able to put together financing for this hotel, and he designed and built it himself.

The hotel opened in 1984. He also created his own hotel brand (Signature Inns) under which he went on to build seven hotels around Toronto during the 1980s. He designed each hotel and hired a management company to run them after opening. "We reserved rights to this brand name [Signature Inn] in Canada, and we were unaware that there was a company in the u.s. developing hotels with the same name," says Kerzner. "We met to discuss our options." Facing a potential lawsuit, Kerzner ultimately sold his seven hotels to the U.S. company and never looked back.

In 1989, Kerzner purchased land for $3 million to build the Radisson Suites Hotel Toronto Airport, a $20 million, 16-storey, all-suite hotel. He assembled a joint venture with a $3 million equity partner. He arranged $14 million of construction financing, and put his land into the deal free and clear. Unfortunately, the hotel market collapsed in late 1989,just before he broke ground. His equity partner pulled out.

Through sheer determination, a touch of creativity and some very difficult negotiations, Kerzner managed to build the 16-storey hotel for $17 million. When asked how he managed that, Kerzner replies, "I did whatever I had to do. I found ways to shave $3 million from my costs. I worked from the job site every day. I hired no site super. I negotiated very hard with my trades. I used fly form construction and poured two floors per week and shortened the construction schedule from 14 months to nine. I hired no general manager (GM) or hotel management company and did all the pre-opening work myself. I flew to New Orleans for two weeks to train as a (GM) and went on to open the hotel as GM, a position which I held for two years. I hired a strong sales and marketing team, and the hotel filled to 100% occupancy on opening day." Kerzner hit a home run with the Radisson Suite Hotel. The hotel hit 100% market penetration in under six months and went on to win Radisson's Presidents Award within its first year of operations, a first for Radisson. It became one of, if not the most, profitable hotel on the Toronto airport strip.

Builder Architect Magazine Featuring Eric KerznerThroughout the 1980s, Kerzner was also designing and building custom homes. He hired an in-house design team, and Kerzner personally oversaw the design of every home he built. He also personally designed the hotels and resort that he built. By 1990, he had earned himself a strong reputation in design of hotels, resorts and custom homes. In 1993, he sold the Radisson Suites Hotel Toronto Airport to focus on new developments and merged his custom home division (Carleton Homes) with his hotel and resort division (Signature Inns), and Signature Carleton Inc. was formed.

Signature Carleton Inc. went on to become renowned for quality design and construction of some of the finest hotels, resorts and high-end custom homes in Canada.

During the 1990s, Signature Carleton designed and built over 20 custom homes valued between $1 million and $5 million. It also built more than 20 hotels and resorts across Canada and the United States. The firm designed the Canadian prototype for Days Inn Canada and the Comfort Inn & Suites for Choice Hotels. Signature Carleton Inc. joined forces with RBC and Choice Hotels and traveled across Canada to build a base of new franchisees. Kerzner went on to design and build those hotels as well.

In 1995, Kerzner was approached by Intrawest to develop a lifestyle resort community of custom homes to be situated within the heart of Intrawest's redevelopment of Sun Peaks Resort, in British Columbia. Kerzner designed and built the highly prestigious "Cabins at Sun Peaks Resort," an award-winning lifestyle community at the base of Sun Peaks Ski Resort, adjacent to a golf course. Purchasers in the Cabins saw their values double in five years, and Kerzner had discovered his new niche - Lifestyle Communities.

Thus, in 2003, the concept for Sophies Landing was born. The concept behind Sophie's Landing was to offer a very high-end custom designed residential unit within a four-season recreational resort environment, with in-house resort style amenities located close to other recreational amenities all for the purpose of living a quality lifestyle. Sophies Landing is currently over 95% sold and built out, and was named Ontario's premier gated waterfront community.

This article was written using excerpts from an Article from Builder Architect Magazine by Michael McKay from June 2010. For more information on Eric Kerzner, read the full article unedited, here. For more information on Signature Carleton Lifestyle developments, visit the links in the sidebar.