All four Bentall Centre office towers in downtown Vancouver sold to American firms

Mar 28 2019, 4:09 am

All four office towers that are a part of the Bentall Centre complex in downtown Vancouver’s Central Business District have been sold to a new joint venture between two American investment companies.

Los Angeles-based Hudson Pacific Properties (HPP) and New York City-based Blackstone Property Partners (BPP) announced today they have acquired Bentall Centre from Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd., which was taken over by the Chinese government last year amidst a corruption scandal.

BPP will own a majority 80% stake, while HPP will have a minority stake of 20%.

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The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Anbang reportedly purchased the complex for over $1 billion in 2016. The deal will close sometime in the second quarter of this year.

“We are excited about the opportunity to enter the Vancouver office market with the acquisition of one of the city’s premier office complexes,” said Nadeem Meghji, head of Real Estate Americas at BPP, in a statement.

“This represents a continuation of our global strategy of acquiring high-quality, well-located office buildings in high-growth, innovation cities around the world.”

The Class A office space complex, built from 1969 to 1981, entails 1.45 million-sq-ft of total floor area on a five-acre property.

The deal includes One Bentall Centre (86 metres, 22 storeys), Two Bentall Centre (70 metres, 18 storeys), Three Bentall Centre (122 metres, 32 storeys) and Four Bentall Centre (138 metres, 35 storeys). The 2001-built Five Bentall Centre is not included in the deal.

Co-working space company WeWork is one of the complex’s largest new office tenants in recent years, which has, in turn, leased much of its co-working space to Amazon.

Moreover, 97% of the office space is leased, with other major tenants consisting of the Bank Montreal, CIBC World Markets, and Absolute Software.

“We have always viewed Vancouver, with its proximity to Seattle, growing tech and media industries, high quality of life and favourable immigration policies as a natural expansion market for our office and studio portfolios. Bentall Centre is one of the city’s preeminent office and retail properties and a landmark of Downtown Vancouver,” said Victor Coleman, chairman and CEO of Hudson Pacific.

“The acquisition will provide us with immediate scale in the city’s Financial Core, as well as the opportunity to create substantial value through Hudson Pacific’s tailored repositioning strategy, and the eventual development of additional premier office space. We are thrilled to once again partner with Blackstone as we launch this exciting next phase of our company’s growth in a fantastic new market.”

The joint venture indicates their acquisition represents their long-term commitment to the property. It will also include significant capital investments, including a major renovation of the complex’s 140,000-sq-ft of ground-level and underground retail space.

Additionally, indoor and outdoor common areas in all four towers will be substantially improved, such as new signage and wayfinding, furniture, finishes and fixtures, and landscaping.

These improvements will make the older office towers more competitive against downtown Vancouver’s rising number of new office spaces when seeking tenants. Longtime tenant Deloitte, for instance, is moving its Vancouver office to a new office tower developed by Westbank at 400 West Georgia Street.

All four existing Bentall Centre towers are BOMA Canada Level 2 certified and boast varying degrees of LEED green building certifications.

The property’s owners will also pursue the construction of an additional office tower on the footprint, but the specific site of this possible tower is unclear at this time.

Canadian commercial real estate firm Bentall Kennedy built the towers, but it is no longer associated with the property. However, it still owns several surrounding properties, such as 1090 West Pender Street, which is slated to become a 403-ft-tall, 33-storey tower with 562,000-sq-ft of office space.

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