The freshly rebranded Greyspring Apartments has closed on its first acquisition under its new name and structure, a 13-storey, 105-unit concrete building in its target market of Greater Montreal.
The property at 1951 Maisonneuve Blvd. E. had been under contract since the summer, but it took a while to get through the due diligence process in the pandemic environment. It was purchased from a privately held family firm for $21.5 million.
Greyspring president Karl Brady told RENX Montreal is the key investment market for the company, as it likes the city’s growth indicators.
“Like most major cities, it’s feeling a little bit of an impact from COVID, but we believe in the long-term fundamentals. Once we see some of the restrictions from COVID go away, we think Montreal will continue to be a massive market for us.
“We’re very active in Montreal and are continually looking at opportunities to acquire and expand our presence there.”
1951 Maisonneuve Blvd. E. acquisition
Brady said the Maisonneuve property has appeal because of its location in Ville-Marie, just east of downtown and in relative proximity to other Greyspring-owned apartments.
He also likes that it’s ”still relatively untouched,” which allows Greyspring to make improvements to common areas and suite upgrades, creating a rooftop amenity space and enhancing the building’s efficiency to increase its value.
The building has a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units along with two ground-floor commercial units and four levels of underground parking.
The Maisonneuve property is located across from the Papineau Metro station and adjacent to the Jacques-Cartier Bridge.
The highly walkable area is also a short distance from the St. Lawrence River, Parc des Faubourgs, Parc des Royaux and La Fontaine Park, and is poised for significant growth as a number of mixed-use developments are planned nearby.
Key Greyspring markets and strategies
“We’re very active in the market and we’ve been looking at a lot of stuff and bidding on a lot of stuff, but the market in Montreal is very competitive,” said Brady. “So (in 2020), this is the only acquisition that we’ve been successful in closing on.”
Brady anticipates several additional acquisition opportunities in the first half of 2021.
Greyspring acquires, strategically repositions and manages multifamily assets. It has a portfolio of more than 2,000 units valued at more than $395 million.
The portfolio is heavily weighted in Montreal, but Greyspring also owns three properties in Quebec City, one in Gatineau and one in Ottawa. Greyspring also acquired two townhome apartment complexes with a combined 566 units in Houston in November 2018.
Brady said Ottawa is the second growth market Greyspring wants to focus on, while it’s also interested in investing in Southern Ontario, extending from Niagara Region to Oshawa.
“Our growth strategy and the mandate of Greyspring is a pure value-add play,” said Brady. “Our strategy is to buy and sell below replacement cost.”
The goal is to turn properties around and stabilize them in three to five years, Brady added.
While Greyspring isn’t pursuing or even considering development at this point, Brady said that could be a potential option in the future.
The Greyspring rebranding
Greybrook Realty Partners and Marlin Spring have partnered on acquiring purpose-built rental apartments since 2018. They decided during 2020 to rebrand the jointly owned investment and asset management firm as Greyspring and reinforce its position as an independent operating business.
“Once the business got to a scale and size this year, we decided that it made more sense for the business to spin out and operate on its own and continue with the growth trajectory we’ve been on,” Brady said.
Greyspring has 11 full-time employees and uses third-party property management, according to Brady, who’s originally from Ireland. He was finance director for Centurion Asset Management before joining Greybrook Realty Partners in April 2017.
He became chief financial officer of the real estate investment and asset management division of Greybrook Capital in January 2018 and still has that role in addition to heading Greyspring.
Greyspring has its own board of directors comprised of: Brady; Marlin Spring chief executive officer Benjamin Bakst, president Ashi Mathur and CFO Elliot Kazarnovksy; Greybrook Securities Inc. CEO Sasha Cucuz; and Greybrook Realty Partners CEO Peter Politis and president and chief operating officer Chris Salapoutis.
Greybrook Realty Partners and Marlin Spring
Greybrook Realty Partners invests equity in value-add and development-based assets. Along with its affiliates it has invested in more than 80 real estate projects in Canada and the United States.
Its portfolio is expected to result in the development of more than 39 million square feet of residential and commercial density with an estimated completion value of $17 billion.
Marlin Spring acquires, develops, constructs and strategically repositions and manages residential assets. It has acquired more than 30 residential projects and more than 9,000 residential units in various stages of development, construction and repositioning across Canada and the U.S.
Its portfolio totals more than eight million square feet and has an estimated completion value of more than $4.3 billion.