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Insolvent Burlington company selling off Sault Ste. Marie properties

Holding company of distressed Northern Ontario residential properties begins sell-off with four buildings on the block

A corporation linked to the insolvent out-of-town landlords who amassed a $144-million debt load after buying up hundreds of Northern Ontario houses is now scrambling to sell off properties in Sault Ste. Marie. 

Zack Files Real Estate — named after the sci-fi television series starring SID Developments founder Robert ‘Robby’ Clark — recently placed four properties on the real estate market at a combined price tag of $5.98 million: 

  • 308 Korah Road ($950,000)
  • 859 Trunk Road ($1.3 million)
  • 40 Hynes Street ($2.63 million)
  • 134-134A Gore Street ($1.1 million)

As previously reported by SooToday, 134 Gore Street was overrun by squatters and without running water for weeks during the summer of 2022 due to people entering the building and stripping it of its copper piping. 

The mixed-use building that once housed the now-defunct Neighbourhood Resource Centre is over 8,000 square feet and consists of three retail units and eight one-bedroom apartments, according to an online real estate listing. The agent brokering the sale of all four properties declined to speak when contacted by SooToday.  

Zack Files Real Estate initially purchased a total of seven properties locally in 2021. Records indicate that all of the properties were purchased simultaneously at a combined price tag of $2.65 million. 

Aruba Butt — the chief information officer for SID Developments, and who is believed to be Clark's partner — signed for the purchase of the buildings as a director of Zack Files Real Estate. 

The real estate fire sale in Sault Ste. Marie comes just weeks after the landlords behind 11 insolvent corporations — including Butt, along with Ryan Molony and Dylan Suitor — filed for protection from creditors in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, claiming they owe more than $144 million in unpaid loans and have less than $100,000 in the bank.

Seven of those now-insolvent corporations collectively own 201 rental properties in the Sault, 79 of which sit vacant. Although Zack Files Real Estate was not included in the recent insolvency proceedings, it is closely linked, along with the others, to Burlington-based SID Developments, SID Management and SID Renos — all of which list Clark as president and CEO.

Together, the SID companies and the 11 insolvent corporations are referred to in court documents as a group of companies “specializing in the acquisition, renovation and leasing of distressed residential real estate in undervalued markets throughout Ontario.”

The SID family of companies was founded by Clark, a former child actor known for his starring role on The Zack Files, a Canadian sci-fi television series that aired on YTV from 2000 to 2002, according to the IDMB website.

Together, the group of insolvent SID-affiliated corporations own more than 600 rental properties in housing markets across the province with lower average costs of living, including Timmins, Sudbury and the Sault — making it “one of the largest holders of residential real estate in Ontario,” wrote Ontario Superior Court Justice Jessica Kimmel during insolvency proceedings. 

In a sponsored article that appeared in USA Today back in 2021, Clark claimed SID's property portfolio consists of more than $150 million in holdings across Ontario. Not even three years later, the corporations that scooped up hundreds of properties throughout the province on behalf of SID have plunged into debt nearly equal in value. 

As first reported by SooToday, the insolvent corporations recently paid out more than $600,000 in outstanding property tax arrears to the City of Sault Ste. Marie after they were granted a $12-million line of credit by the courts in order to restructure its operations. Local contractors, on the other hand, have not been as fortunate

The group of SID-affiliated corporations is operating under court-ordered creditor protection until March 28 as part of an effort to restructure.

— SooToday