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Dandurand starts new brokerage

Mike Dandurand has closed a lot of deals during his more than 35 years in the commercial real estate industry.

In addition to countless properties and businesses in Central Alberta, his list of transactions includes a heli-skiing facility in British Columbia, a high-rise seniors complex in Quebec and a 500-room hotel in Portugal.

But Dandurand’s most memorable was a $6,000 sale that earned him $64.93 in commissions.

“It was a small tailor shop that I’d sold to a single mom, who came from India and had little or no money but had somehow managed to save this little bit of money.”

He recalls sitting at the woman’s kitchen table and telling her a deal was in place.

“That lady cried,” he said, noting with satisfaction that the Red Deer business went on to prosper and grew under her guidance.

“Moments like that, to me, they’re extremely rewarding.”

Dandurand’s name was conspicuously absent from the market last year, as he dealt with a life-threatening illness.

But at 67, he’s back in the game and recently struck a deal with Olympic bobsledder Lyndon Rush to create Dandurand, Rush & Associates.

“Lyndon was a real asset to recruit,” said Dandurand, who hopes to share his knowledge and expertise with the 33-year-old.

Rush obtained his Realtor’s licence in 2005, but stepped back from the industry four years later to focus on racing. Now retired from competition, he’s eager to work with Dandurand and learn from the veteran.

“I thought it would be a great fit,” said Rush, who lives in Sylvan Lake.

The new firm will deal in investment real estate, business brokerage, development co-ordination and leasing.

Dandurand thinks his associate’s athletic background will serve him well, both in terms of his discipline and work ethic, and the many contacts he made while racing.

Rush, who won a bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics and is World Cup champion, agreed.

“I think people who do well in sports are the kind of people who know how to get it done,” he said, describing the link between hard work and success.

“I started learning that from a very young age, playing sports.”

Dandurand also has an athletic background.

Growing up in Montreal, he played with Montreal Canadiens legend Maurice Richard’s children, who lived down the street. Dandurand was later recruited by a local tennis club, and went on to represent Montreal in the sport.

The tennis club also afforded him the opportunity to ski in the winter, and Dandurand developed into a professional skier. He competed on the Benson & Hedges pro circuit with the likes of Olympic superstar Jean-Claude Killy, and became an instructor and coach.

“I travelled extensively because of that, in Europe and the United States and Canada.”

Dandurand opened a ski shop at Mount Tremblant, which expanded to include scuba diving in the summer. After he became a certified dive instructor and hyperbaric technician, Dandurand pitched hyperbaric chambers to hospitals across Canada, including Red Deer’s in 1976.

The following year, he moved to the Central Alberta city and earned his Realtors licence. After working for several brokerages, he started Mike Dandurand Realty.

He specialized in a variety of areas, including selling foreclosed properties for banks, sourcing and developing real estate for clients, and selling businesses.

“I loved (business) brokering so much that I just stayed in it all my life.

“It’s highly specialized, it’s highly technical; every day is different.”

The industry has undergone tremendous change over the years, said Dandurand.

“Back when I started, people were writing offers on apartment buildings on residential stationery.”

He remembers when Red Deer reached a development tipping point, with national and international businesses choosing the city as a place to operate.

During 3 1/2 decades in commercial real estate, a bit of déjà vu is inevitable.

“There’s a business in Red Deer that still exits — I won’t name it — I sold that one five times,” said Dandurand.

He’s sold Village Shopping Centre three times, and been called upon repeatedly to market a 90-acre parcel in Gasoline Alley.

“I sold that at least four times.”

Dandurand has three adult children — Ryan, Elise and Rachelle — and is married to Heidi, a Red Deer mortgage planner.

He’d just completed a $117-million real estate deal before undergoing treatment for cancer early last year. He closed Mike Dandurand Realty, but following his recovery joined Sundance Realty & Management in Innisfail.

“I feel like a million dollars,” he said of his current state of health, adding that he still has a passion for the industry.

“Even after 30-some years in business, I still learn new things.”

Dandurand, Rush & Associates is expected to open in early June. It will be located at No. 104, 4719 48th Ave. — the longtime premises of Mike Dandurand Realty.



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