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Southport Commercial Tenants

A Day in the Life of a Property Manager

Every day millions of people log into their devices and play games. Games that entertain, that educate and that mimic real life scenarios, creativity and strategy, but what most of these games have in common is they attract people who love progress, assertiveness and a sense of adventure.

In real life, with real people and businesses, it is no game, but a strategic balance between knowing the rules and serving people.

Property Management at Southport

Southport, MB, is the setting for such a display of decision-making and strategy, playing out in the arena of property management. It exists on the grounds of a former Canadian Forces Base located three kilometers south of Portage la Prairie that has transformed into a small, prosperous community. With 188 residential properties, almost a dozen businesses, a day care, recreation center, and much more, Southport has a strong community feel.

Commercial and residential property management aerialProperty Management at Southport is a unique role, one that Dean Rennie and Curtis Calvert step into every day. Established in 1992, Southport is a not-for-profit corporation that has built its own community, literally. It has sought out tenants and successfully developed properties and buildings from the ground up. With more than its fair share of diverse tenants, Southport’s Property Management office must operate intelligently and assertively for the success of the entire community.

For example, Rennie and Calvert essentially serve as landlords for the noteworthy KF Aerospace (KF Aero), which serves as the primary flight training program for all the Canadian Forces nation-wide. KF Aero is Southport’s anchor tenant, utilizing spaces for education and ground school training, as well as housing facilities for students and staff, not to mention a maintenance building, three ? hangars, and the vast airfield.

Southport is also home to a wide range of additional commercial tenants ranging from health administration (Southern Health–Santé Sud and Portage la Prairie EMS), education and training (Red River College Stevenson Aviation, Assiniboine Community College, Accelerated Christian Education Canada), manufacturing (Airport Technologies Inc.), addictions counseling (Addictions Foundation of Manitoba), childcare (Portage Day Care Centre), a local food producer (Nutri-Pea Limited), recreation facilities (Southport Golf Club), our newest agriculture-related tenant, Roquette, and support services for the military flight contract (KF Aerospace – Defence Programs). The diversity of these tenants that make up the property management portfolio is immense.

Rennie and Calvert are the ones who are responsible for preparing and managing the agreements between Southport and their diverse client base. It’s a true test of knowledge and customer care for any professional.

“The most challenging part of my job would be building and maintaining a relationship with my customers,” says Rennie. “With the wide variety, large number and diversity of our customer base, it is difficult to be aware of the day to day operations of all our customers. That being said, when an issue arises, it is a pleasure to touch base with the customer and to work with them toward a solution.”

Southport offers residents quiet country living just minutes from the city of Portage la Prairie, and only a short 60-minute drive from Winnipeg, the province’s capital.

The managers and vision-casters of Southport are committed to preserving a desirable lifestyle for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life and there is currently a high demand of people wanting to move to the community.

Southport has grown rapidly in the last five years and currently has a waiting list for its 188 two, three- and four-bedroom rental properties that have a good amount of privacy and large yards featuring detached single car garages. Southport also has a fresh new 42-lot rental property development, Centennaire South. Centennaire South duplex units each offer 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms and a den. Each unit also features an attached double garage and fenced, landscaped yard. The welcoming community and peaceful country setting of Southport is perfect for those looking to escape city life.

Residential tenants can apply for a rental unit as easily as filling out an online application. Interested commercial tenants are a little bit different.

“Prospective commercial tenants would typically contact and work with our Business Development Manager to determine what requirements they have,” says Calvert. “Southport also offers the option of leasing and developing land.” From breaking ground to handing the building over to our customer, Southport has the ability to provide support through the entire process and provide continued maintenance service after a tenant has occupied their new space.

“The Business Development Manager [then] works with Property Management to determine rates and lease details. Property Management creates the lease and administers the lease signing process.”

After the lease signing is complete, Rennie and Calvert remain the direct point of contact for the customer. They are acutely responsible for serving clients well, addressing any concerns as they arise, and striking a strategic balance between employing legal knowledge and gracious customer service.

“The agreements we enter into with our customers are more than just a handshake,” says Rennie, “ they are contracts that have obligations that need to be met by both parties. There are rules in place to ensure the working relationship between the customer and the property management company is fair.”

Rennie’s people skills stem from a long history of working with people. “I ended up in Property Management while I was attending University. I was fortunate to become a building manager of an apartment block… to supplement my income while I studied,” says Rennie.

“I first had a building in Regina, then spent seven years at a building in Winnipeg. After university, I spent time working for the Canadian Mental Health Association as the Portable Housing and Supported Housing Worker. This entailed assisting people with mental illness [to] reintegrate into the private housing market in Portage la Prairie. These experiences are what lead me to Southport.”

Calvert’s journey also includes extensive experience working with people, with added experience with building and equipment maintenance. After completing additional training in technical writing and project management, Calvert was promoted to Manager, Properties in 2015.

Together with Rennie, they are a considerate and capable team. The bulk of their tasks in a day can vary widely, but understanding the diverse and detailed legal agreements keeps them learning all the time.

“The responsibility that takes up most of my day is learning. Ensuring that I fully understand the agreements we have entered into with our customers is very important to me,” says Rennie.

Southport puts utmost importance on ensuring the tenants are happy with the buildings they occupy. The rental facilities must fit their needs.

Southport’s record of growth supports their reputation for secure and successful tenant relationships.

“Successful Property Management relies on many factors,“ says Calvert. “It takes an entire team, more than just a Property Management Department. The team effort put into customer experience by all Southport staff has made success a reality.”

Rennie and Calvert are especially excited to see the growth of the residential properties of Southport continue—growth that Rennie sees as the perfect opportunity to employ his passion for caring communities that truly integrate every person, from every age, into a fully-positive living environment.

“[We] have been tasked with looking into the future of our site in developing a long-term residential plan,” says Rennie. “This plan will include increasing the diversity, density and overall number of our residential units. This growth will reflect the need and the demographics of our region and help to maintain our feeling of community.

“I have a good understanding of what community entails including… focusing on Life Cycle Housing (something for every stage of life). This plan also gives Southport an opportunity to explore green and sustainable building practices that can make us leaders in environmental stewardship as we move forward.”

Southport has recently become the first “Climate Smart Certified” business in Manitoba. This accreditation identifies Southport as a leading organization that is tracking and taking action to reduce its carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

Southport has already completed numerous construction and renovation projects to ensure the longevity of the units they offer, as well as the overall satisfaction tenants receive from being part of the unique community. Further studies and customer surveys are planned to continue to provide input and guidance into developing plans for Southport’s continued success.

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