As Blackstone continues to increase its investments in Canada, the world’s largest real estate owner and operator has announced it will open an office in Toronto and appointed Janice Lin to head its real estate operations in the country.
The New York-based global investor says its current portfolio in Canada comprises about $14 billion in assets (all figures Cdn), or 429 properties, with about 75 per cent of that value in the logistics sector.
Blackstone has been diversifying its Canadian holdings during the past couple of years, acquiring several major office properties in the country’s three largest urban centres, and entering partnerships in both the multifamily and seniors living sectors.
“We are excited to officially open a real estate office in Canada and welcome Janice to lead our real estate business in the country,” said Nadeem Meghji, Blackstone’s head of real estate, Americas, in the announcement Monday morning.
“We are long-term believers in the strength of the Canadian economy, and we look forward to leveraging her expertise and on-the-ground views to help us expand our presence in the Canadian real estate market.”
Janice Lin’s background
In Lin, the company brings onboard an executive with experience in several Canadian commercial real estate sectors. Most recently, she was chief investment officer at Revera, an international retirement living operator with residences throughout Canada, the U.S. and U.K.
“Blackstone’s long-term investment approach has enabled it to build a growing logistics, office and residential footprint across Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Canada’s population growth is the highest among G7 nations and is nearly double that of the U.S.,” Lin said in the announcement. “I believe that will continue to create exciting opportunities in the market.
“I look forward to strengthening Blackstone’s strong presence in Canada and supporting businesses across a number of different sectors.”
Previously, she held senior investment roles at CPP Investments, another of the country’s largest real estate investors. CPP Investments, an arms-length entity which is charged with stewarding the real estate holdings of Canada’s government-operated pension plan, is a global investor across multiple CRE sectors.
Lin holds a bachelor of science in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
A spokesperson for Blackstone told RENX in an email exchange the company has not announced any other details of the office, or how many people it will be hiring, at this point. The firm’s operations across Canada currently employ about 3,550.
Blackstone’s Canadian investments
One of Blackstone’s largest investment in the country came when it partnered with Ivanhoé Cambridge (Blackstone owns a 62 per cent interest) to acquire the then-Pure Industrial REIT for $3.8 billion in 2018.
Pure has been steadily growing its portfolio ever since, participating in the huge takeover of Cominar REIT last year which netted it an additional 190 industrial properties comprising 15.3 million square feet. At the time, it raised Pure’s portfolio to a total of over 41 million square feet.
Toronto-based Pure also created offices in Montreal and Quebec City as part of that transaction.
On the office front, Blackstone and Hudson Pacific Properties acquired the billion-dollar Bentall Centre complex in Vancouver in 2019, and are now developing an additional 450,000-square-foot mass timber tower at the property.
Blackstone partnered with Kevric to acquire the three-building, 260,000-square-foot Atlantic Complex in Toronto’s Liberty Village for $240-million in late 2021, and it has agreed to acquire the Air Canada Tower and 1100 Atwater class-A office buildings in Montreal for $231 million. Together, they comprise 413,000 square feet of space.
In a joint venture with Quebec-based seniors housing provider Group Selection, Blackstone acquire 13 seniors living properties across the province.
It has also invested in Toronto-based Tricon Residential Inc., which owns and manages over 30,000 single-family rental homes and multifamily units in the U.S. and Canada. They have 11 multifamily rental projects under development in Canada.
Blackstone’s real estate business was founded in 1991. Globally, it has $385 billion of investor capital under management.
Its opportunistic funds seek to acquire under-managed, well-located assets across the world. Blackstone’s Core+ business invests in substantially stabilized real estate assets globally, through both institutional strategies and strategies tailored for income-focused individual investors including Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, Inc., a U.S. non-listed REIT, and Blackstone’s European yield-oriented strategy.
Blackstone Real Estate also operates a global real estate debt business, providing comprehensive financing solutions across the capital structure and risk spectrum, including management of Blackstone Mortgage Trust.