After almost completing the necessary training to become a Red Seal plumber, Matt Peulen decided a career in the trades wasn’t for him. He left behind his tools and switched from working on one-off houses to a much bigger vision — creating entire housing developments.
After 15 years in the industry, Peulen founded Stride Properties in 2016. He wanted to align his professional interests with his personal values: affordable housing in an underserved area of Vancouver Island.
“I grew up in Saanich and I’m raising my young family here, so it felt like a natural fit for me to focus on that area,” says Peulen, adding that the Saanich Peninsula in particular is desperate for new housing units.
Already Stride Properties has four developments in the works — two in Saanich, one in Sidney and another in Colwood. Together, these projects will add 162 housing units to the South Island.
While the company does develop market condos, its main focus is on building affordable rental units. What sets Stride Properties apart is its partnership with the Greater Victoria Housing Society, which will own and rent roughly half of the units in two of the new Stride buildings. The company will own and rent the rest.
“Housing affordability is one of the biggest issues facing everyone on the South Island,” says Peulen. “Whether you’re looking for a place to rent or buy, or even if you’re an employer, the cost of housing is having a major impact on your ability to thrive.”
Q&A With Matt Peulen of Stride Properties
What was the best business advice you ever received?
Have integrity in all that you do — and get involved in your community.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Find great mentors and really listen to them. Be curious and use that curiosity to learn everything you can about business and your industry. From there, you’ll find a passion in yourself that you maybe didn’t even realize you had.
What was the scariest part of starting up?
Giving up the security of employment was a scary prospect, but my desire to start Stride was stronger. I’m glad I did and I’m looking forward to the future.
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This article is from the April/May 2018 issue of Douglas.