110 rental homes near SkyTrain's Marine Drive Station acquired for student housing

Oct 28 2020, 3:53 am

A pair of four- and six-storey rental housing buildings within the podiums of the MC1 and MC2 residential complex — located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Southwest Marine Drive and Cambie Street — have been acquired by CIBT Education Group.

The education and student housing company announced today it has purchased the rental housing component of the complex at 8018-8150 Cambie Street, which offers a total of 110 secured market rental homes. The property is immediately north of SkyTrain’s Marine Drive Station.

The cost of the acquisition is $48.5 million, with the rental properties worth a combined $60 million.

Both properties, now known as Global Education City (GEC) Marine Gateway, are largely tenanted by the previous property owner as regular secured market rental homes. Under new ownership, the existing tenants will remain, but over time as the tenants naturally change, the units will be converted into student housing.

“We are excited to add this acquisition to our real estate portfolio, which has been growing exponentially since GEC’s inception in 2015,” said Toby Chu, the chairman, president, and CEO of CIBT Education Group, in a statement.

“With a combination of historically low interest rates and a discounted acquisition cost on top of the fact the buildings are fully operational and at near-full capacity, MC1 and MC2 will provide immediate cash flow. Over time, student-centric elements will be added to the two buildings to enhance their value proposition to our existing tenants. Moving forward, we will continue to operate these buildings as rental apartments, increase the density and occupancy rate, and increase revenue, expected to result in significant returns for our shareholders.”

gec marine gateway mc2

MC1 and MC2 are now GEC Marine Gateway. (Google Maps)

The concrete buildings have a total rentable floor area of about 61,000 sq. ft., and the unit mix is 14 townhouses and 96 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The entire mixed-use complex, completed in 2016, also includes 31-storey and 24-storey towers containing over 400 condominium homes, and close to 10,000 sq. ft. of ground-level retail and restaurant space. James Cheng Architects is behind the design.

With the acquisition, this is CIBT’s 11th GEC student housing location in Metro Vancouver, and its fifth location near Canada Line stations, including four along the Cambie Street Corridor in Vancouver and two along the No. 3 Road Corridor in North Richmond.

GEC Pearson, within recently-built condominium buildings, is located three blocks north of GEC Marine Gateway at 7657 Cambie Street. There are 300 student beds at this location.

Construction recently began on GEC King Edward at 431-455 West King Edward Avenue, near SkyTrain’s King Edward Station. The company acquired the approved five-storey secured market rental housing project from a developer to provide about 200 student beds.

Last year, the company submitted a rezoning application to construction GEC Oakridge — an 18-storey tower with 475 student beds at 441-475 West 42nd Avenue, next to SkyTrain’s Oakridge-41st Avenue Station.

GEC Oakridge 441-475 West 42nd Avenue

Artistic rendering of GEC Oakridge at 441-475 West 42nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Urban Solutions Architecture / CIBT Education Group Inc.)

GEC’s portfolio, spanning 16 buildings and about 1.5 million sq. ft., is now worth nearly $1.5 billion, including the construction budget for projects under development.

Earlier this year, CIBT announced it is considering spinning off GEC as a separately listed entity on a recognized North American stock exchange as a way to seek new funding for its expansion plans.

The parent company, CIBT, is already listed on the TSX. It also owns Sprott Shaw College and Sprott Shaw Language College, which educates 11,000 students annually combined.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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