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Local owners buy 200K-sq.-ft. Barrie office/retail building

Downtown Lakeview Corporate Centre has troubled past; to be renamed Barrie City Centre

The former Lakeview Corporate Centre in Barrie, Ont., is under new local ownership and to be renamed the Barrie City Centre. (Courtesy Avison Young)

A 200,000-square-foot downtown Barrie mixed-use office and retail building with a prime location but a troubled past has new ownership and a sense of optimism about its future prospects.

Lakeview Corporate Centre, located at the corner of Collier and Mulcaster streets, was acquired by prominent local business owners Jamie Massie, Dino Melchior and Mike Stollery for $16.25 million.

“They’ll be great owners,” Avison Young broker and principal Kelly Avison told RENX. “They’re well-respected businesspeople in Barrie.”

Avison Young brokered the sale and had been marketing the property since early 2023.

Lakeview Corporate Centre was completed in 2016 and features six storeys of office space rising from a three-storey commercial and parkade podium.

The building was purchased from HPI Advisory Inc., the court-appointed marketing and mortgage agent for owner Lakeview Corporate Centre Inc., which was affiliated with Toronto-based private finance firm Morrison Financial.

“This is the best building in the whole city,” Avison said. He also noted its proximity just a couple of blocks from the municipal and inter-city Barrie Bus Terminal at 24 Maple Ave. makes it easily accessible.

New ownership group is the fourth in 10 years

The building was originally called the Collier Centre and was developed by Mady Development Corporation. Construction halted in late 2014 and the company filed for bankruptcy in early 2016. Avison said he was told the building originally experienced good pre-leasing, but those deals collapsed after it went into receivership.

Fortress Real Developments took ownership of the building, which offers retail space in the podium, in 2015. The Richmond Hill, Ont.-based company was subsequently the subject of numerous lawsuits and investigations arising from syndicated mortgage fraud claims and defaulted on its mortgage. 

Morrison Financial then acquired and finished the building, which is located across the street from Barrie City Hall and provides views of Kempenfelt Bay (part of Lake Simcoe) and renamed it Lakeview Corporate Centre.

Bank of Montreal and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind were the only two tenants in the building before the Massie-headed Georgian International — which is involved with the automotive retail, hospitality and real estate industries — leased the entire top floor in May 2022.

Bill Gosling Outsourcing — which operates in seven countries and provides live agent support, technology and professional services to corporate clients — moved its head office from Newmarket, Ont., and occupied two floors last summer.

Vacancy rate above 70 per cent

The building, which Massie told BarrieToday would be renamed Barrie City Centre, is still just over 70 per cent vacant.

Melchior is the founder and president of Barrie-based Melchior Management 777 Corporation and president and chief executive officer of M Residential REIT. His companies will also lease a floor and take over the building’s property management from Crown Property Management.

Stollery, who purchased Barrie Ford and has been involved with Barrie’s Georgian College in a variety of ways, is the founder and chairman of AutoIQ and a founding partner of TruckIQ. Those companies are involved with a network of vehicle dealership groups and are headquartered in Oakville, Ont.

The rapid turnover of building ownership, combined with the post-COVID-19 slump in the Canadian office market, has hindered leasing at Lakeview Corporate Centre to this point. With “stable and well-respected” local ownership now in place, Avison expects things to pick up and for occupancy to increase.

Since much of the building has never been occupied, new tenants should have some freedom in how they intend to use and build-out the space.

“There’s been some leasing momentum and activity in the building while we were marketing it, so we’re letting the new buyer take on those new negotiations,” Avison said.

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