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BentallGreenOak acquires 50% of Waterfront Innovation Centre

BentallGreenOak is expanding its relationship with Menkes Developments at major downtown Toronto...

IMAGE: The Waterfront Innovation Centre, currently under construction in downtown Toronto. (Courtesy Menkes Developments)

The Waterfront Innovation Centre, currently under construction in downtown Toronto. (Courtesy Menkes Developments)

BentallGreenOak is expanding its relationship with Menkes Developments at major downtown Toronto properties, acquiring a 50 per cent interest in the Waterfront Innovation Centre. The 475,000-square-foot office and retail development on Toronto’s east waterfront is currently under construction and scheduled for occupancy in 2021.

BentallGreenOak made the transaction on behalf of the Sun Life Assurance Company. Financial details were not disclosed.

Menkes and BentallGreenOak are longstanding partners and also joined forces on another major ongoing development at the One York Street office tower (the Sun Life Financial Tower) in the South Core neighbourhood.

The Waterfront Innovation Centre, which broke ground in September 2018, is currently 71 per cent pre-leased. In 2018, global communications services firm WPP plc became the anchor tenant, leasing 260,000 square feet.

Menkes also announced in September 2018 that MaRS, Toronto’s fast-growing innovation community, will lease about 55,000 square feet at the centre. The building will also include approximately 25,000 square feet of beachfront retail space currently available for lease.

It is adjacent to the popular Sugar Beach area.

The Waterfront Innovation Centre

“This partnership will further expand our relationship with Sun Life, a valued partner since 2014,” said Peter Menkes, the president of commercial/industrial with Menkes, in a release.

“With One York Street, we reconnected Toronto’s downtown to the waterfront with improved pedestrian infrastructure and a dynamic amenity offering.

“The Waterfront Innovation Centre represents another city building opportunity for Menkes and Sun Life to revitalize Toronto’s waterfront for the benefit of tenants, residents and visitors to the city.”

Designed by architects Sweeny & Co, the state-of-the-art complex will be comprised of two buildings, with three interconnected components: The Exchange, The Hive and The Nexus, a collaboration space that will serve as a public square and directly connect the two buildings.

Amenities will include high-speed broadband networking (fueled in part by self-generating solar power), floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive collaboration spaces.

It is designed to accommodate some 3,000 workers.

“We are pleased to expand on our successful partnership with Menkes through the acquisition of the Waterfront Innovation Centre,” said Christina Iacoucci, managing partner, portfolio management at BentallGreenOak, in the release.

“This opportunity allows us to continue to support the growth of Toronto’s emerging downtown south node and build on the vibrant live, work, play community that has emerged on Toronto’s waterfront.

“It also further demonstrates Sun Life’s commitment to being a long-term investor in Canada’s top cities.”

Construction of the complex commenced in August 2018.

About Menkes, BentallGreenOak, SLC

Menkes Developments Ltd. is a fully integrated real estate company involved in the construction, ownership and management of office, industrial, retail and residential properties.

Founded in 1954, it is one of the largest private developers in Canada, with a primary focus in the GTA.

Past projects include the Empress Walk entertainment, shopping and residential complex in North York City Centre and two landmark projects in Toronto’s South Core district, 25 York (TELUS Harbour) office tower and the two-million-square-foot One York commercial retail complex.

The company’s latest project Sugar Wharf is a waterfront community on an 11.5-acre site in downtown Toronto, which will be anchored by a new two-acre park.

BentallGreenOak is a global real estate investment management advisor and provider of real estate services. It serves more than 750 institutional clients with $49 billion US of assets under management (as of Dec. 31, 2019) and expertise in the asset management of office, retail, industrial and multiresidential property.

It has offices in 24 cities across 12 countries.

BentallGreenOak is a part of SLC Management, the institutional alternatives and traditional asset management business of Sun Life.

SLC Management is a global institutional asset manager that offers institutional investors traditional, alternative and yield-orientated investment solutions across public and private fixed income markets, as well as global real estate equity and debt.

As of Dec. 31, 2019, it had assets under management of $227 billion Cdn.

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