BentallGreenOak’s acquisition of the eight-storey property at 395 Terminal Ave. from 2237800 Ontario Ltd. was brokered by Cushman & Wakefield.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) occupies the entire MCROBIE Architects + Interior Designers-designed office building, which was the first to be built within the Ottawa Train Yards office campus. CRA has eight years remaining on its lease, with an additional five-year option.
“395 Terminal Avenue represented an opportunity to acquire a new transit-oriented office building constructed in 2013 for the federal government with a long-term lease commitment,” BentallGreenOak managing director of investments Michael Fraidakis told RENX. “In any economic environment, this type of asset and tenant covenant provides a strong and stable income return.
Train Yards “emerging mixed-use node”
“Long-term, we believe in the location as an emerging mixed-use node with its proximity to the VIA Rail station and the new Tremblay LRT station. It is located only a few LRT stops from the downtown core and Parliamentary Precinct, which has been appealing for the federal government.
“It also has strong sustainability fundamentals and is well-positioned in the Ottawa market, with great access to a highly educated workforce and nearby academia and educational institutions.”
The class-A facility took 22 months to build. The building envelope was finished in a high-quality curtain wall system to reduce thermal loss and provide generous quantities of natural light.
“With the quality of construction, including building systems and finishes, there are no immediate plans to make significant changes to the building or its physical attributes,” said Fraidakis.
BentallGreenOak will manage the property.
Cushman & Wakefield’s involvement
Cushman & Wakefield has been involved with the property since before it was built, including the site approval process. Executive vice-president Nathan Smith said several offers had been made on it over the years before it was finally put on the block last fall.
“He’s a very sizable private investor in this market,” Smith said of the vendor. “When he decided to sell, he wanted to give it the best opportunity in an environment that would get the highest price for him, so he had us put it on the market.”
Cushman & Wakefield marketed the property and Smith said there was plenty of interest from a range of investors, including private equity, institutional equity and a real estate investment trust.
Smith said it took approximately 120 days from the time the property was put up for sale until closing. It went through the due diligence process during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s exactly the type of property that sells coming out of a market that’s gone through a shock,” said Smith. “In markets that are in upheaval and all kinds of economic issues, you find buyers looking to place their capital where it’s the safest.
“They’re not so concerned with growth at this period in time.”
Major growth in Train Yards area
Cushman & Wakefield associate VP Scott Brooker said the property sold at “a record cap rate for suburban Ottawa,” though he didn’t disclose the actual figure.
The area around 395 Terminal, located just outside of the downtown core and along the Highway 417 corridor, is growing in popularity.
It has retail amenities at the Ottawa Train Yards shopping complex, several tracts of nearby undeveloped land, and plans for extensive residential and office developments.
Fraidakis said the federal government has signaled its commitment to the area with further lease commitments, as well as a request for proposal for 1.6 million square feet of additional space at another nearby property.
That site, at the intersection of St. Laurent Boulevard and Tremblay Road, would include a residential component and additional retail.
That site is already zoned for up to 2.3 million square feet of density, and the firms are creating plans for a major residential-based, mixed-use project.
BentallGreenOak has 24 offices in 12 countries and had $49 billion US in assets under management at the end of 2019.
Its Prime Canadian Property Fund includes a portfolio of office, industrial, retail and multifamily properties in major Canadian markets. The open-ended fund was created in 1983 and has grown to a value of $5.8 billion.
The fund also acquired a 50 per cent share in the Sun Life Financial Centre in downtown Ottawa last year.