Behind the Deal: Sun Life's Waterloo HQ
Napoleon tanked at Waterloo, but not Concert Real Estate—it came out first in last week's purchase of Sun Life Financial's Canadian HQ. Concert COO Brian McCauley tells us how the acquisition of the office complex fits into the Vancouver firm’s Ontario expansion plan.
Concert sees Kitchener-Waterloo as a growth market, Brian says, with a strong tenant base of tech firms and insurance companies. When the Sun Life property—a 745k SF, 18-storey, single-tenant complex commemorated in 2012 by the Ontario Heritage Trust—was put out to market months ago via an open tendering process, Concert seized the opportunity to grow its reasonably sized office building portfolio in Ontario. Brian calls the Sun Life property "a great long-term position to have there.”
The Sun Life HQ has multiple connected buildings, including a five-storey parking garage and a heritage section, designed by Frank Darling, that dates back more than a century. The complex will be leased back to Sun Life for a 20-year term, and the financial services company will manage the property. The deal includes extension rights as well, Brian notes: “If they wish to stay longer, we’d love to have them.”
These aren't the first dealings Concert has had with Sun Life. (Makes sense—nobody likes to go to a concert alone.) The two companies co-own three office buildings in Vancouver and are partners on several residential properties in Ontario, including Village Gate West, a rental apartment project in Etobicoke (above).