Q2 Investment Surge Makes Up For GTA's Slow Start To 2016
The GTA commercial property investment market pressed pause in Q1, as property sales dropped 44% (to $2.1B) versus the previous quarter. But that’s nothing unusual for the start of the year, notes Avison Young’s Capital Markets Group principal Richard Chilcott, pictured here with national research practice leader Bill Argeropoulos. “And we’ve already seen $1.5B in trades this quarter,” Bill tells us, with half a billion dollars of that action office-related, including LaSalle Investment Management’s sale of a 50% stake in 901 King St W to Sun Life Financial for $61M.
Another major deal this quarter was Menkes Developments' $260M LCBO lands acquisition (the resulting mixed-use project will introduce 600k SF of office on the waterfront, a chunk going to the LCBO for its HQ). Richard tells us his team’s got lots on the go right now in terms of valuations and advisory work in advance of clients listing properties—so watch for the deals to keep coming. Indeed, Bill says despite the slow start to 2016, his brain trust is forecasting total trade volume to be in the $10B to $11B range by year’s end, on par with the last four years for GTA investment.
Richard and Bill are keeping a close eye on Scotia Plaza, a 50% stake in which may soon be sold as per owner Dream Office REIT’s disposition program. The iconic tower was acquired by Dream (then Dundee REIT) in 2012 for $1.3B, the largest single asset sale in Canada’s history. So it’ll be interesting to see what a 50% stake is worth four years later, especially given a major law firm, Borden Ladner Gervais, is leaving next spring, vacating 203k SF. “Every year there are a few highlight deals that capture the market's attention,” says Bill. “This will be one of them.”