The Canadian apartment industry has lost a leader, visionary and icon. Tom Schwartz, President and Chief Executive Officer of CAPREIT has passed away following an intense battle with prostate cancer. He was 68 years old.
Mr. Schwartz founded CAPREIT, along with Michael Stein, in 1996 and went on to serve as its President and Chief Executive Officer. Schwartz, who was widely praised for his leadership skills and industry expertise, helped lead the company to the forefront of the industry, growing it into one of Canada’s largest multifamily residential REITs with nearly 50,000 units situated across Canada and the Netherlands.
“We are greatly saddened by Tom’s passing,” said Stein, Chair of CAPREIT. “I, along with the rest of the CAPREIT family, will greatly miss his friendship, thoughtful leadership and ability to connect with employees. While Tom was extraordinarily passionate about his work and CAPREIT, his greatest pride was his family. We extend our sympathies to his family, who meant the world to him.”
Mr. Schwartz expressed optimism when he revealed his diagnosis to employees and unitholders in a letter last April, telling them that the disease had been caught early and that his doctors expected him to respond well to treatment.
“I appreciate the support I have received and want to thank our employees for the amazing work they do day-in and day-out,” he wrote. “We have proven our ability to capitalize on continuing strong fundamentals in the Canadian apartment business through all economic cycles. CAPREIT has a deep bench of outstanding and experienced leaders who, together with the support of Mr. Stein and the board of trustees, will continue CAPREIT’s success during my treatment and recovery.”
As news of his sudden passing circulates, friends, colleagues and industry peers are mourning the immeasurable loss while reflecting on the numerous contributions he made to the field he was so passionate about.
“The passing of Tom Schwartz is a great loss for the Canadian real estate industry,” said Michael Brooks, Chief Executive Officer at REALPAC. “He was a pleasure to work with over the years. A gentleman. A brilliant operator. A pioneer. A caring and loyal man. I will personally miss his warmth and intelligence.”
“A man of integrity, kindness and creativity,” said Kris Boyce, CEO, Greenwin. “It was such an honour to know Tom and work for him. Miss you already, you will never be forgotten.”
Rise to success
After graduating as a Chartered Accountant in 1975, Schwartz kick-started his career in real estate development by co-founding Intraurban Projects the following year. Since its launch, Intraurban has built and developed more than 2,500 housing units, serving all market segments, from luxury to affordable.
Through York Heritage Properties and Intraurban Projects, Schwartz participated in the development, construction, and management of over 600,000 square feet of office, commercial and retail space. He was active in industry and government affairs, serving on several Boards, including: the Greater Toronto Home Builders Association; the Ontario New Home Warranty Program; the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario; and Chartwell Seniors Housing REIT.
CAPREIT’s board of trustees announced it will begin the process of appointing a new Chief Executive Officer, but in the meantime, Mr. Stein will continue to coordinate CAPREIT’s management team.
Tom Schwartz will be sorely missed, but through the continued success of CAPREIT, his legacy will live on. He was a magnetic personality and a frequent contributor to Canadian Apartment Magazine’s features and video reports, as well as the focus of our Industry Influencer profile in spring, 2013.
Our condolences go out to his family and friends.