The story behind Lawen Group reflects the values of commitment, craft, character, and community that are embraced today. Forged and flourished by founders George and Genevieve Lawen, and driven by their children, the Lawen Group is making its mark on Halifax.
Here are the notable steps along the way that influenced who we are:
December 26, 1958
A journey across the ocean
Seeking better opportunities for their family, Toufic and Najla Lawen—along with their five children— leave their small village of olive farmers in Kfeir, South Lebanon, sell the little livestock they had and board an Italian ship bound for North America. They arrive at Pier 21 in frigided Halifax, Nova Scotia in January of 1959.
The family moves into a rooming house on North Park and Cogswell Street with Najla’s sister, Sophia. With every family member contributing, the Lawens eventually save enough money to purchase the rooming house and begin renting out rooms.
George meets Genevieve
On a visit to Lebanon, one of the eldest Lawen sons, George, meets Genevieve Tanal. They marry, return to Canada, and start a family of their own. George works in laundromats while Genevieve helps the Lawen family manage the rooming house.
The family grows (and grows and grows!)
After a year of saving, George and Genevieve purchase their own rooming house, which was also their home, on Compton Avenue. But their business isn’t the only thing expanding. Soon their young family grows to include six children: Louis, John, Peter, Joanne, Toufic (Danny), and Diane. They continue buying more rooming houses, and the Lawen children naturally learn every aspect of the family business.
Acquiring bigger and better properties
George purchases the family’s first real 8-unit apartment building at Willow & Robie in central Halifax, then quickly buys several more.
The Lawen children join the business full-time
George helps his three eldest sons purchase their own buildings, whilst they are still in school. In 1994, after graduation, Louis, John & Peter officially enter the family business, deciding to stay in Halifax, followed shortly by their two sisters. (Though really all six children have technically been in the family business for as long as they can remember.)
A golden opportunity
The Lawen Group opens its first office on the corner of Robie and Willow Street, Lawen Realty. Later that year, they take a big risk and purchase an old liquor store on Hollis Street, which will eventually become the Lawen Group’s first ever concrete development.
On May 27th, 1999 Dexel Developments is born, allowing The Lawen Group to handle construction, renovation, and architectural design entirely in-house.
The Waterford is complete
The Waterford opens its doors for occupancy. A modern 77-unit building with a unique design and constructed of concrete in Halifax’s South End, The Waterford establishes the Lawen Group not just as reputable property managers but as rising stars in the development world.
Property management restructured
On April 26th, 2002 the property management side of the business is renamed Paramount Management.
Moving on up
The head office relocates to Barrington Street in the group’s latest building, the W Suites.
Following the success of The Waterford, The Lawen Group dives headfirst into property development (while still managing their existing portfolio). Many of Halifax’s most iconic apartment buildings are completed, including W Suites, the Lofts at Greenvale, VIC Suites, Vertu Suites, Avonhurst Gardens, St. Joseph’s Square, and many others.
A bold vision for the future
The Lawen Group continues to build and manage apartment buildings expertly designed for urban living. Yet despite their success, the business is still a family business at heart. The way they see it, the family has simply grown to include a staff of over fifty and the thousands of residents and many businesses who now call their buildings home.
Since our inception, we have expanded our portfolio to include more than 1200 residential units and 300,000 square feet of office and retail space.Lawen Group has forged a reputation for quality construction and property management of a growing number of residential projects in the Halifax area.
Dexel and Paramount, work in unison throughout the development to the occupancy phase. All developments remain under the ownership of the Lawen family. Creating properties that have long term durability, thoughtful community design and landmark creative elements.
Grounded in strong community values, Dexel brings integrity, creativity and vision to our neighborhoods. Dexel believes that good planning and design are the pillars of a healthy and vibrant society. As a developer, Dexel is highly acclaimed for exceptional urban development.
Paramount Management is a full-service real estate property management firm and one of the leading residential management companies in Halifax. Leasing from Paramount means comfort, a choice of ideal living or business accommodations and continued landlord support. Residents enjoy a strong sense of community and belonging.