Property Biz Canada

EY monitoring Walton’s Ottawa and Edmonton lands


Proposals are being sought for the sale of, or investment in, industrial lands in Edmonton and pre-development lands in Ottawa held by affiliates of Walton International Group Inc.

Walton's Ottawa property  designated as an agricultural resource. Image courtesy of EY.

Walton’s Ottawa property designated as an agricultural resource. Image courtesy of EY.

Debt restructuring proceedings for Calgary-based Walton International Group Inc., the Walton Group of Companies’ main Canadian operating entity, and some of its affiliates started on April 28, 2017 through court-ordered protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

Edmonton and Ottawa lands

Ernst & Young (EY) is the court-appointed monitor responsible for soliciting interest in the Edmonton and Ottawa properties.

The Edmonton industrial lands comprise the Pilot Sound industrial land development project (LDP), a 142-acre industrial park development located north of Anthony Henday Drive in northeast Edmonton’s Energy and Technology Park.

A large majority of the property is zoned for industrial uses, while portions of the site have also been designated for public utility and metropolitan recreation.

“The Pilot Sound LDP is conveniently located along major transportation routes, is close in proximity to existing communities and a large workforce, and is only 13 kilometres from downtown Edmonton,” said EY manager of transaction advisory services Dylan Holwell.

“A significant amount of work has already been completed, including pre-grading of the site and installation of the offsite water main with a readily available sanitary sewer connection.”

The Ottawa pre-development lands are comprised of a 295-acre property in Kanata. While it’s designated as an agricultural resource area, it’s directly adjacent to existing residential developments and subdivisions along the Kanata South Link project being undertaken by the City of Ottawa.

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As the court-appointed monitor, Holwell said EY was unable to comment on the expected interest in the properties “in order to maintain the integrity of the sales process.”

Walton lands that have already been sold

EY is involved with assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services around the globe. In conjunction with Walton Group, it was involved in the previous sale of lands within several residential land development projects owned by the developer. They include:

* Edmonton’s Edgemont, which was purchased by Rohit Communities Inc. for $14.5 million;
* Edmonton’s McConachie, which was purchased by Anthem Properties Group Ltd. for $15 million;
* Edmonton’s Henley Heights, which was purchased by Henley Heights JV Ltd. for $8.8 million;
* and Edmonton’s VITA at Crystallina Nera, which was purchased by Strata Crystallina General Partner Inc. for $7.1 million.

Holwell said there were multiple competitive formal binding offers for the properties.

Point Trotter, a serviced industrial land development project in southeast Calgary, was purchased by the real estate development services department of the City of Calgary for $34.08 million. It was sold through a court-supervised stalking horse sales process.

Walton Group’s other restructuring moves

Twenty of the original 33 CCAA applicants have implemented plans of compromise and arrangement to emerge from the CCAA proceedings.

Outside of the CCAA proceedings, Walton Group completed a further restructuring process by amalgamating Canadian entities that hold or held pre-development land investments in Canada and the United States into a single Canadian corporation referred to as Roll-Up Corporation.

This structure is intended to provide benefits to Roll-Up Corporation shareholders, including diversification of land assets, increased operational and administrative efficiencies, greater flexibility, and a broader ability to monetize the corporation’s assets by way of sale or partnerships with builders and developers.

That transaction closed on April 27 and Roll-Up Corporation collectively owns an interest in approximately 22,091 acres of pre-development land, with assets under management totalling more than $600 million.

More about Walton Group

Walton Group is a multi-national, privately owned real estate investment and development group focused on the research, acquisition, administration, planning and development of strategically located land in major North American growth corridors.

“Only 33 of more than 600 Walton Group entities filed for CCAA, and Walton’s global business outside of Canada, including the United States, Asia and Europe, continued to successfully operate during the Canadian restructuring process,” said Holwell.

Walton Group manages 416 projects in Canada and the U.S. and has more than 107,000 acres under management. This includes Alberta properties in Calgary and Edmonton and Ontario properties in Ottawa, Simcoe County, Brant County and Niagara. 

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Steve McLean

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot Canadian Bands and has taught reporting to college students. He is based in Toronto.

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