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Real Estate Bisnow
January 10, 2012  
Timbercreek LTile3
The Importance
Of Landing Ernst

Word is circulating that 100 Adelaide will become the Ernst & Young building. Oxford won’t comment and its website still invites potential lead tenants to “consolidate your footprint and name the tower.” (It's the CRE equivalent of not defining your relationship on Facebook.)
Of course, Oxford’s site also says the building will be 28 storeys and 900k SF, while it’s common knowledge 40-plus floors and well over 1M SF is in the works. Cushman & Wakefield, which is said to have brokered the deal, responded to a confirm-or-deny request saying only: “We are working on a couple of potential solutions with our client, one of which would involve a new build.” If E&Y is moving, naming rights and lots of space open up at the current Ernst & Young Tower in Cadillac Fairview’s TD Centre. (There may also be some leftover calculators in drawers.) Meanwhile, the city says 100 Adelaide still needs the committee of adjustment’s OK, but there’s a new sense of urgency.
Bisnow (Writer2) Jumbo
Height and tenants aside, 100 Adelaide will be distinctive. Site prep includes a tedious brick-by-brick dismantling of the 16-storey Concourse Building, a favourite of heritage advocates. (Who says Jenga doesn't have real-world applications?) The façade of the old building will then be incorporated into the new LEED Platinum, PATH-connected tower designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. The old Baldwin and Greene art deco design, completed in 1928, has a colourful, ornate entrance decorated by Group of Seven artist JEH MacDonald. “There are considerable costs involved, but we think the extra care and the importance of the art and the links to Toronto’s past will add significant value,” Oxford VP John Peets told us in October. Concourse tenants have been leaving since last summer.

Chill Out and Cash In, Canada
Barring an unforeseen apocalypse, CBRE chairman John O’Bryan will deliver an upbeat message at next Thursday’s NAIOP breakfast. “I’m the light relief,” he jokes about being the warm-up act for keynote Derek Burleton, TD’s deputy chief economist. John has a message for worry-wart Canadians: “We have good reason to shed the fears; 2012 was the validation of real estate. You no longer hear echoes of the mid-'90s.” A former NAIOP president, John sees likely capital infusions for the Northern Gateway pipeline, the Hebron oilfields and Chinese interest in our resources as potentially huge job creators. “Real estate is a function of jobs. All the stars are aligned for us to have a good long run.”

True North Buys Into The GTA
True North Apartment REIT finally owns properties in the GTA thanks to this week’s acquisition of 1,570 units in 17 buildings (including 739 Birchmount, photo). The  $152.8M deal, which increases the size of True North’s portfolio by 40%, includes 510 Toronto-area units and 772 in Ontario. Most of the other properties are in Quebec, with one each in BC and Alberta. The vendor is listed as DD Acquisitions, headed by Daniel Drimmer, a major True North stakeholder. Apparently, the REIT is “particularly pleased” to be a player in the GTA but said they couldn't comment because the acquisition was announced in conjunction with an equity offering. That’s a reference to a bought-deal arrangement underwritten by CIBC and Raymond James to raise $55M.

Dundee Revs Up Multi-Res Coverage
Almost simultaneously with the True North announcement, Dundee Capital Markets announced it was launching coverage of three newer Canadian apartment REITs and restarting coverage of six others. Dundee’s senior real estate analyst Frédéric Blondeau has been telling us the multi-res sector will likely outperform its REIT counterparts in '13, something it has done the past five years. Dundee issued “buy” ratings for CAPREIT, InterRent, Mainstreet, Morguard NA Residential, Northern Property and Pure Multi-Family. The three others on the new Dundee list, Boardwalk, Killam and True North, received “neutral” ratings.

Work-Play January Opportunities
Rain and record warmth are expected this weekend (and winter didn’t arrive at all last year), but CRE folks are still looking to network while embracing winter later this month:

- SIOR’s Collingwood ski trip starts with an afternoon seminar on Thursday, Jan. 24 at the Westin Trillium House Blue Mountain and an evening party in the village. Skiing will be on the Friday Craigleith.

- Skiers and dedicated deal-makers of the retail persuasion are booking flights to the West Coast for ICSC’s annual conference at Whistler, Jan. 28-29.

- NAIOP’s annual three-on-three outdoor hockey tournament goes Jan. 31 at Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham.
Asteroid 99942 Apophis missed us by 15M km yesterday, but it will pass much closer in 2029, and closer still in 2036. Time to bone up on “gravitational keyholes.” stephen.wickens@bisnow.com
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