As a member of our Commercial Real Estate and Development Group and co-lead of our Affordable and Social Housing Group, John represents clients acquiring, disposing, developing, and financing real estate.
A former development executive, John brings a unique blend of legal and business thinking to his clients. He specializes in real estate development, social and affordable housing, and construction.
John possesses extensive front-line experience gained in his previous positions. As General Counsel, Development and acting Vice President, Development for Toronto Community Housing, he was responsible for the organization's redevelopment mandate, including at Regent Park. In that capacity he dealt with private sector partners and the City of Toronto on joint ventures, construction contracts, and funding agreements. John was also Chief Executive Officer of the Batawa Development Corporation, which is re-developing the former Bata Shoe factory in Batawa, Ontario.
John's practice always involves the development of real estate – from acquisition, investment vehicles, financing, and construction. He acts for private developers, public sector actors, not-for-profits, and co-ops.
John has unique knowledge and experience in the development of social and affordable housing having been active in the Housing Sector for the past 20 years. Since returning to private practice, he has founded the Robins Appleby Affordable and Social Housing Group. Examples of his work since returning to practice include representing the City of Toronto on the incorporation of 80 units of affordable housing into a high end condominium building on the Waterfront, working with the Region of Peel on the development of its housing plan, and working on behalf of private developers participating in the delivery of affordable housing, including the Weston Artscape project.
Recently, John represented Habitat for Humanity in negotiating a contribution agreement from a private developer intended to seed a land trust, which will develop housing in the local ward and across Toronto. In the Summer of 2019, John was part of a Rooftops Canada delegation to Durban, South Africa where he and the Rooftops team provided advice to government officials on the regeneration of housing stock in South Africa
John is active in his community. He is a former chair of the Laidlaw Foundation and the Daily Bread Food Bank and is now a retired hockey coach.
- Awards and Recognition
- Dalhousie University, LL.B., 1993
- McGill University, B.Comm (Jt. Hons, Econ & Fin), 1990
- Law Society of Ontario
- Blue Door Shelters, Champions Circle Advisory Board, Current
- Dixon Hall Community Services, Real Estate Committee, Current
- Leaside Girls Hockey Association, Coach, 2013 - 2019
- Laidlaw Foundation (Toronto), Board Member and Chair 2011 - 2015
- Daily Bread Food Bank, Board Member and Chair, 1998-2005
- Canada's Top 40 Lawyers Under 40, Lexpert Magazine, 2007
- Ontario Voluntary Service Award, 10 Years