Formed in 1920 by Hiram Levy and his sons William, Phillip and David, Zenda was originally created as a holding company for the family’s Montreal real estate holdings. The first properties that Zenda acquired were 464 McGill Street, 69-83 Ste-Catherine St. East and 380-382 Cadieux Street, all located in Montreal. Hiram and William operated the company until the 1970s when the last of the initial portfolio was sold.
The name, Zenda, was inspired by the 1894 novel entitled The Prisoner of Zenda. In the novel, which was subsequently made into a movie, Zenda is the small town in which the lead character is imprisoned. The novel was Hiram’s favorite at the time.
In 1992, Gerald Levy, the founder’s great-grandson, revived the Zenda banner as a real estate consulting and investment firm. Having lived and worked in the industry in the Southwestern United States and in Montreal over the previous 15 years, Gerald used his multi-market experience and network of real estate professionals to bring Zenda to markets such as Tucson, Arizona; Raleigh, North Carolina; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Montreal, Quebec.
In 2001, Zenda’s business model evolved as it moved from a consulting firm back to a real estate investment company. The company also returned to being a true family business as William Levy, Gerald’s eldest son, joined the company as a financial analyst.
Between 2001 and 2008, to further its move back into acquisitions, Zenda partnered with another Montreal based real estate company to form Lexington Realties. Lexington bought and sold over $90,000,000 worth of properties located in Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Quebec.
From 2008 onward, Zenda acquired properties exclusively under the Zenda banner. During this period, the company focused its attention on the Atlantic Canada market acquiring over $75,000,000 worth of properties in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
In 2009, the company added a dedicated property management, leasing and construction management department led by another of Gerald’s sons, Michael, who joined the company after gaining several years of property management experience in Montreal.
Starting in 2012, with the U.S. economy on its way to recovery, the decision was made to re-enter the American real estate market. Since late 2013, Zenda has acquired 5 U.S. properties: one in California, 3 in Texas and one in Ohio.
Currently, Zenda owns and manages almost 1,000,000 square feet of real estate worth over $120,000,000.