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Colliers REMS assumes management of T.O.’s Royal Bank Plaza

Colliers played a major role in Pontegadea’s acquisition of Toronto’s Royal Bank Plaza and is now...

IMAGE: The Royal Bank Plaza tower in downtown Toronto. (Courtesy Colliers REMS)

The Royal Bank Plaza tower in downtown Toronto. (Courtesy Colliers REMS)

Colliers played a major role in Pontegadea’s acquisition of Toronto’s Royal Bank Plaza and is now handling the building’s real estate management services.

Pontegadea is the family office of Spain’s Amancio Ortega, the main shareholder of multinational fashion group Inditex and the world’s 19th-wealthiest person with a fortune worth $62.3 billion US as of Feb. 2 (according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index). It acquired the two-tower, 1.5-million-square-foot Royal Bank Plaza at 200 Bay St. for $1.2 billion ($920 million US) from Oxford Properties and CPP Investments in January.

“We provided buy-side advisory through Capital Markets and we also provided due diligence services,” Colliers Real Estate Management Services (REMS) president John Duda told RENX.

“That included valuation and taxation advice, capital management advice through Project Leaders, operational advice and an assessment of the building, and market office leasing rates through brokerage.”

Pontegadea became a Colliers REMS client when it purchased its first Canadian property, Toronto’s 270,000-square-foot 150 Bloor St. W. office and retail complex, from Kevric in 2014.

Colliers REMS also manages Pontegadea’s three-storey, 26,463-square-foot 777 Saint Catherine West retail property in Montreal, which was built in 1931 and acquired in 2016.

Transition from Oxford to Colliers REMS

Royal Bank Plaza serves as Royal Bank of Canada’s headquarters and is home to several other tenants, including banks, law firms and technology companies.

Colliers REMS is now responsible for Royal Bank Plaza’s property management and for overseeing capital expenditures and leasing management after taking over those roles from Oxford.

Duda said Oxford’s entire staff for the property, except for one person, moved over to Colliers REMS during the management transition after the purchase.

“It has gone extremely smoothly. Oxford is highly organized and very professional. My team was extremely familiar with the asset itself. It took approximately 30 days of planning,” he said.

“Normally it takes a little bit longer, but because we were doing the due diligence we had most of the information that we already needed in order to transition the asset.

“Everything was up and running on Day One. There were no hiccups and no problems.”

IMAGE: John Duda is the Real Estate Management Services (REMS) president at Colliers. (Courtesy Colliers)

John Duda is the Real Estate Management Services (REMS) president at Colliers. (Courtesy Colliers)

Oxford had reduced its staff at Royal Bank Plaza during the pandemic because the building was operating below capacity, with many people who would normally have been filling offices working from home.

“We transitioned over 17 staff,” said Duda. “As people come back to the office, that number will go up to 26, which is similar to what Oxford had before.”

Duda said landing Royal Bank Plaza was the culmination of a five-year strategy to develop an asset advisory service for first-class office space.

Colliers REMS now manages approximately 14 million square feet of office space classified as class-A and above. It also works with many class-B assets and a few class-C properties and has more than 30 million square feet of office space in total under management.

“The purpose of us focusing on the first-class is that I can easily use what’s in the platform for B-class assets and not have to charge them the same types of fees,” said Duda.

“It would be impossible for me to target a B-class platform and then try to service an A-class.”

Colliers REMS across Canada

Colliers REMS has more than 750 people specializing in retail, office and industrial asset classes, working with just over 65 million square feet at more than 1,000 properties from St. John’s to Victoria — with an emphasis on Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

“We have different platforms with different features and benefits for each of the asset classes,” said Duda.

“We do original research with tenants. We have a proptech group and an ESG group. All of these things are catering to the trends that are taking place in the marketplace that affect all of the different asset types in different ways.”

Other prominent Canadian buildings  Colliers REMS is responsible for include:

Lansdowne Centre, which encompasses more than 600,000 square feet and more than 120 stores and services in Richmond, B.C.;

– the 31-storey, 372,000-square-foot The Exchange office and retail complex in Vancouver;

Mississauga Executive Centre, which includes four 15-storey buildings with 1.04 million square feet of office and almost 42,000 square feet of retail space in Mississauga;

– and Desjardins Group’s 17-storey Toronto building at 95 St. Clair Ave. W. that received an International TOBY Award in the 250,000- to 499,999-square-foot office building category from BOMA International in 2020.

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