If you ask Blake Hutcheson if real estate played a big role in his life growing up, he'd tell you he practically grew up hanging off front-end loaders, backhoes and bulldozers at construction sites, tagging along with his dad who built a career on fixing roads, homes, cottages and buildings in Huntsville, Ontario.
It's no wonder Hutcheson, chief executive of Oxford Properties Group, quickly discovered he, too, loved to build things.
These days he's especially focused on assembling the right mix when it comes to shopping malls and office towers, which make up a big chunk of Oxford's $27 billion -- and growing -- global real estate assets. In Canada, retail real estate has garnered a lot of attention lately with news that Saks, bought by Hudson's Bay Co for $2.9 billion last year, and Nordstrom will soon be housed under one roof at Toronto's Eaton Centre, owned by rival Cadillac Fairview Corp.
But Oxford, the real estate arm of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), has its