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BTB buys Technoparc Montreal office bldgs., tops $1B in AUM

BTB Real Estate Investment Trust will surpass $1 billion in assets with the acquisition of two of...

IMGE: BTB REIT has acquired two office buildings, including 2344 Alfred-Nobel Boulevard, in the Montréal Technoparc. (Courtesy BTB REIT)

BTB REIT has acquired two office buildings, including 2344 Alfred-Nobel Blvd., in the Montréal Technoparc. (Courtesy BTB REIT)

BTB Real Estate Investment Trust will surpass $1 billion in assets with the acquisition of two office buildings in Technoparc Montreal from Broccolini for $74 million.

“For us to surpass $1 billion in assets was an important milestone,” BTB president and chief executive officer Michel Léonard told RENX. “Our target is to reach $2 billion in assets in five years.

“It took us 15 years to get to $1 billion, so hopefully it will only take us five years to get to $2 billion.”

Montreal-based BTB (BTB-UN-T) waived conditions to acquire the two class-A buildings built by Broccolini at 2600 and 2344 Alfred-Nobel Blvd. in the Montreal borough of Saint-Laurent. The deal is expected to close by the end of October.

“Whenever we invest in office, we look for suburban office,” said Léonard. “I strongly believe in the future of suburban office and this fits our investment criteria on that front.”

The fully leased buildings were constructed in 2009 and 2015, respectively, and total 237,000 square feet, according to Léonard.

They house state-of-the-art office space occupied by life sciences and technology tenants with long-term leases, including Bristol Myers Squibb, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, ICU Medical, Haivision, Innomar Strategies, Lundbeck Canada and Beiersdorf.

Léonard said both buildings are in great shape and don’t require any capital expenditures for upgrades.

Technoparc Montreal

BTB already owns two other class-A properties, at 2250 Alfred-Nobel Blvd. and 7150 Alexander-Fleming St., in Technoparc Montreal.

“I believe that we were the logical buyer in order to create a great presence within the Technoparc,” said Léonard. “The Technoparc is definitely the most important technoparc in the Province of Quebec.

“When we saw the calibre of the tenancy we wanted to jump in and purchase these properties.”

Technoparc Montreal totals more than 21 million square feet, including more than three million square feet of protected areas and parks.

More than 110 companies employ more than 6,000 in the life sciences, aerospace and technology fields on the site, which became Canada’s first science park when it was created in 1987.

Montreal’s 67-kilometre Réseau express métropolitain (REM) light rail transit system, currently under construction, will have one of its 26 stations across the street from BTB’s new acquisitions.

“It’s difficult to assimilate today what (the REM) is going to bring tomorrow, but I think it’s going to bring a lot of traffic to the Technoparc,” said Léonard.

“The City of Montreal recognized that the Technoparc is important for the development of the city and decided to implement a light rail station right there.”

BTB’s strategy

BTB also owns technology-oriented office space in Ottawa and it’s an asset class on which it wants to concentrate.

BTB owned 65 retail, office and industrial properties with a total leasable area of approximately 5.4 million square feet as of Oct. 14.

“In the past few years, we’ve sold properties in order to concentrate on the major markets in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario,” said Léonard.

“We’re in Quebec City, we’re in Montreal, we’re in Ottawa and looking to venture into suburban Toronto. We want to have some geographical diversification.”

BTB is looking to reduce its retail allocation to redeploy capital into industrial, Léonard added.

“We have very small dispositions on the horizon, but nothing to move the needle, and we’re in negotiations for more acquisitions. You can’t get to $2 billion without acquiring.”

BTB has access to more capital for acquisitions as it recently closed a new acquisition line of credit with National Bank of Canada that consists of a $35-million revolving credit facility, with an option to increase the total to $60 million.

It will expire in September 2024.

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