Tariq Adi, CEO of Adi Development Group, and Saud Adi, COO of Adi Development Group are revolutionizing the modern housing market, creating contemporary solutions in a market that’s hungry for urban alternatives…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Tariq: Building exceptional, architecturally significant landmark communities and revolutionizing the way people live, work and play.
Saud: Building cities’ landscapes and changing neighbourhoods forever by introducing high-design living spaces and architecture.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
Tariq: I was born for this position. At an early age I was an artist that loved to create. That trickled down to my background in music. The creative process doesn’t stop and naturally, being an outgoing people-person with a tendency to lead others, I can say that I truly have found my calling in life.
Creating buildings and spaces where people live is an art. Building them successfully isn’t easy, and it’s a challenge I welcome on a daily basis.
Saud: From the time I started to think about a career, I knew I wanted to be my own boss. I didn’t know what I was going to do or how I was going to achieve it. I just knew it. My dad always loved what he did and he was my inspiration to seek that kind of satisfaction for myself.
Construction and development have always fascinated me. Even today, I am always amazed at how buildings are put together to create homes in the sky. It’s a beautiful thing. It really is an art form. As developers, we try to show off our creativity by designing architecturally stunning buildings. So ultimately I got into this business because I’m an architecture enthusiast and I really wanted to create a legacy for my family and children.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Tariq: Every morning we wake up, there are challenges in our business. Being able to anticipate and accept them, though, makes them easier to face. From convincing an owner to sell you a property when it’s not for sale to designing a masterpiece on a challenging site, to making the design financially feasible without destroying it and making the plans and suites work, marketing and selling a project and finally building it, it’s all part of the process – not to forget servicing our clients afterwards. It’s a long, arduous process that requires a lot of focus and attention to detail and a tough personality. Not everyone can do what we do.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Tariq: Getting to the office at 8am and leaving at 8pm, and realizing all I wanted to do on the weekends was quietly recharge and read a book. Not to mention turning social outings down to focus on work.
Saud: When I see my wife for about two hours a day. That’s an hour in the morning and an hour at night. I am really fortunate to have an extremely understanding wife.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Both: We will be one of Canada’s top developers and smartest real estate investors building Canada’s most significant projects.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Both: Convincing the banks to loan us millions of dollars when we were in our late 20s and getting our first development project off the ground. We overcame it by building relationships and being tenacious. Selling the project out within a week helped others believe in our vision.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Both: Money isn’t happiness and certainly isn’t the end. To us, success is defined through significant achievements and changing people’s lives for the better, including our employees and the clients that we work with on a daily basis. Contributing to society through teaching and financial assistance is what comforts the soul. We believe that changing the way people live and contributing to society is true happiness.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Tariq: Being on the front page of the Toronto Star with a nearly sold out project outside of Toronto at the age of 32. That meant people were taking notice of what we were doing.
Saud: Closing my first major real estate development at 26 years old. After working so hard and exhausting every option, and even having my friends and family telling me to just give up and a get a job, it finally happened. That set the tone for how I would conduct my business moving forward.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Tariq: Find your passion, find your inspiration, and do what you love. If you’re not happy, ask yourself why. What could you be doing right now that truly makes you happy? Find it, study it, get a mentor (books are fine) and most importantly, do it. Immerse yourself in it completely and whole-heartedly.
Set your goals and achieve them. If you aren’t nervous or afraid when you set your goals, it means they’re not big enough. Think BIG!
Saud: Do what you love, find a role model in that field and aspire to be like them. Setting goals is the only way to achieve success. People will always tell you “you can’t do it”. Just because they can’t do it doesn’t mean you can’t. Never give up. And, like Tariq said, always think big.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Tariq: Di Mario’s in Burlington, and Ciao Wine Bar in Yorkville
Saud: Definitely Di Mario’s in Burlington, and Morton’s The Steakhouse in Toronto.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
Tariq: Sipping a hot cup of coffee and reading a book, working in the studio on mixing some music, or enjoying a raptors game.
Saud: I am a family man, so I love to spend time with the wife, especially since I rarely see her during the week. We are also Toronto Raptors season seat holders so I love watching them play.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Tariq: New York, Chicago, and Vegas. All are architecturally significant cities with a lot of energy. It’s great to take in the sites and sounds, recharge and come back to work.
Saud: New York and Rome. Both for the architecture, food, and the overall feeling that I get when I land there.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Tariq: 0 to 100 by Drake
Saud: Play Hard by David Guetta ft. Ne-Yo and Akon.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Tariq: Working in the music industry with top talent.
Saud: Working for someone else in the development industry.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Both: We are strong supporters of the Friends for Life foundations and the Canadian Diabetes Association. FFLF supports people with cystic fibrosis and cancer at sick kids. Both of our grand parents died of cancer and it’s a cause that’s near and dear to our hearts. We’ve been annual sponsors the FFLF gala for the last three years and counting.
The fight against diabetes is another cause that’s very close to our hearts as our brother was diagnosed with Type I as an infant. We’ve recently raised $20,500 for the CDA through an art auction and a fitness boot camp. It was a great feeling to raise awareness about living a healthy lifestyle and staying active, and raising a ton of money in the process.
What to you is notable?
Both: Taking a company from nothing, to a billion dollar company in less than 10 years.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Tariq: Die-hard Blackberry – I’m loyal. I don’t forget who made my life easier first, it gets the job done. That said, it may be time for a switch since technology is getting more interesting on the other devices. I might go with Android – time will tell.
Saud: Blackberry. I had an iPhone when I first started this business and noticed I wasn’t receiving emails fast enough. So I decided to switch to Blackberry and never looked back.