One of the largest commercial real estate projects right now in Canada is being spearheaded by League Assets, a real estate investment company based in Victoria, BC.
Eventually featuring up to 3.8 million square feet of commercial and residential buildable space, including 2,200 condominium units, League's Colwood City Centre development will be one of the three largest single-site development projects in the country. Units in the first condominium building planned for the project were listed for private pre-sale in April, 2011.
“We're creating a new urban centre for Colwood, part of the rapidly growing Westshore bedroom community neighbouring Victoria,” says Adam Gant, a League Assets founding partner. “The Colwood City Centre project is a $1 billion investment with building occurring in phases over 15 to 20 years; transformation won't occur overnight, but we believe a long-term approach is more sustainable.”
Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Victoria, BC, League Assets manages one of Canada's only private REITs.
Through this private REIT and a series of limited partnerships, League Assets now includes 2,500 “member-partner” investors, and reports overseeing a portfolio of income producing properties nearly a billion dollars in assets and a total build-out value of nearly $2 billion. League's current investment offerings include a solar power LP, IGW Mortgage Investment Corporation, and IGW REIT, which is composed of revenue-generating properties in southern Ontario, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria.
As League's largest project, the Colwood City Centre development will transform an aging strip mall in the heart of Colwood into an urban mixed-use community of 12 residential towers, multi-storey wood-frame residential buildings and townhomes, retail stores, and office buildings.
“Colwood City Centre is intended to be a true community, which is part of our philosophy at League Assets,” says Gant. “Our aim is to acquire and develop investment properties that are good for the communities where our projects are located, and good for our Member-Partners.”
By member-partners, Gant is referring to REIT and Limited Partnership unitholders who are League Assets investors.
“To us, our investors are more than just unitholders,” says Gant. “They're our partners, and League Assets is dedicated to helping them achieve their long-term financial goals. And we think investing in professionally-managed private Canadian Real Estate is the best way to do this.”
“Private REITs and Limited Partnerships have the benefit of being shielded from market swings” says Gant. “And with League, a greater proportion of each dollar invested goes towards the purchase of income-producing real estate, rather than being diluted by the costs and fees associated with the stock market listing and trading.”
“Vancouver-based Property Development Group, led by chairman Larry Rank, is partnering with League Assets as development manager for the Colwood City Centre development.”
The Property Development Group has experience developing more than 70 projects, including MetroTown Mall in Vancouver and LIPPO Super Mall in West Jakarta. The development managers have also helped secure major tenants for Colwood City Centre such as major western Canadian retailer London Drugs.
Gant expects it will take two years to complete the first phase.