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Richmond Stories: Everglade Development

By Florence Gordon

Published 12:31 PDT, Fri July 5, 2024

In this edition of Richmond Stories, the Richmond Sentinel interviews three-time Georgie Award winning real estate development company Everglade Development to discuss their company’s journey since the start of 2010. 

Jim Gordon (JG): Here in the Richmond Sentinel offices, our Richmond story spotlight is a wonderful company called Everglade Development. Joining us is Jack Ma (JM), the managing director, and Sam Chen (SC), the marketing manager. Let’s start off with, Everglade was founded in 2016, a real estate development company based in Richmond. Jack I’ll start with you, give our viewers a little insight into the company. 

JM: Thank you Jim, my partner and I founded Everglade Development in 2016. We started off in the construction in the early 2010’s in single family development. Around 2016, we wanted to challenge ourselves, take advantage of the opportunity, as well as the market, and enter the multi-family sector. In 2017, we founded our very first project, a beautiful 12-unit boutique townhouse project in Richmond, on No.2 Road. Since then, that project helped us determine our foundation to grow. We’ve completed two projects in Richmond with more happening right now.

JG: You talk about taking it to the next level, was that a major step to go from putting together individual homes to these townhouse complexes? 

JM: Absolutely, I think it was a major step, in terms of product type as it is different. When you’re looking at single-family sectoral buildings, the construction, overall planning, and requirements of it is quite different than compared to multi-family. I think we were fortunate in terms of having that first project here in Richmond. The construct-ability is not that much bigger of a challenge. We managed it and we gained our experience and learned how to do it properly. 

JG: Sam, as the Marketing Manager, when do you come into the equation? 

SC: As the marketing manager of Everglade Development, is very unique because we are really picky with our projects. We look at a city, a plot of land that’s available, and then first decide what type of building we’re going to put on this assembled land. I actually start early with market research, to study the demographic occupying this community that we’re going to be crafting. Is it going to be rental or is it going to be residential strata, and then plan the project’s identity. 

JG: Jack, coming back to you, all they talk about in the news is housing, housing, housing, we need affordable, affordable, affordable. Do you see in eight, nine years, what you’re looking to build changing as the government keeps stating, we need to build this and this? Has that changed what you are doing project-wise?

JM: Meeting the needs of affordability is a very serious issue. As a company, that’s part of this equation, we are a huge supporter in terms of addressing the affordability issue. I’m sure everybody in different levels of this business will have to find their ways of addressing it. Back to what Sam said earlier, in all of our projects, from the beginning is finding that right identity and understanding who our buyers are and what the end users are looking for. What can they afford, and let’s not do anything out of their acceptance level. 

JG: Now it’s time to get to the big awards—Everglade cleaned up. Modesty aside at the Georgie Awards, as you said Jack, you would have been happy to win one, nice acknowledgment, you won three; Best Project Identity, Best Advertising Campaign, and Best Corporate Project Website. Sam, talk about the experience and what this means to Everglade going forward. 

SC: Winning these awards, meant a lot to us. It was actually our third year submitting for these awards. This year had been a very pivotal year for us because our Oakridge project on West 41st Avenue, OAKHAUS. As OAKHAUS was currently in the construction stage, we didn’t qualify for the categories like the build awards like Best Kitchen, Best Suites. We submitted (our project) from an angle of protecting what the project is going to become. The Bauhaus Identity factor of it, how we present that information on the website and also on digital assets on social media, campaigns, advertisements, YouTube, things like that. For us, it really is a reinforcing factor to continue doing what we do best, in that we’re seeing success now in our advertising and early stages of delivering these homes to their homeowners, and we’re very excited for what’s to come when the residents move in later this year. 

JG: Jack, what does the future hold for Everglades, especially after winning these awards?

JM: These awards have been extremely rewarding. We’re a few months away from the completion of this project, to have not just one, but three Awards is recognition of what we have accomplished so far. We want to finish this project strong and deliver to the new homeowners in the next few months. In the future, we have about four more townhome projects in the Greater Vancouver area. We’re creating homes in larger communities anywhere from 50 to 80 townhome products in one community and we’re situating projects in transit-friendly areas, close to Skytrain stations and family friendly areas. 

JG: I would like to end on a positive note. Winning three awards is a huge accomplishment. I know you never went looking for press, but I wanted to bring up that your company were also involved in a really wonderful campaign with Richmond Hospital. Can you elaborate a little on your community work?

JM: It goes back to the very first project we were doing. I remember that was when we first brought that project to the market, January of 2020. March comes around, and that’s when this craziness started happening COVID-19. By April or May we realized this is the single largest issue and problem we’ve seen in our world, in our time. My partners and I, and my other colleagues, decided to do our part. 

My partner was one of the first to reach out to the Richmond Hospital. We determined this is the direction we can actually play a part to make a difference. We set a target to raise $100,000 to go towards Richmond Hospital to purchase equipment. We started a GoFundMe page, did a full launch campaign for about a month, went to all our own friends, family, and the entire community and received so much support. In the end we put together $55,000, that we brought to the Richmond Hospital. It was extremely rewarding, and we’re looking forward to do more. 

JG: Sam, for those interested in finding out more information on Everglade, where can they go?

SC: They can follow us at Everglade Development on Instagram, and also visit our website everglade.ca

For the full video interview, visit richmondsentinel.ca/videos

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