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Northwest adds Cambrian Centre to Calgary MOB cluster

NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust continues to expand its cluster of o...

IMAGE: The Cambrian Centre in Calgary has been purchased by Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT. (Courtesy Northwest)

The Cambrian Centre in Calgary has been purchased by Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT. (Courtesy Northwest)

NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust continues to expand its cluster of office properties in Calgary with the acquisition of three buildings in a popular health node in the northwest part of the city.

The transaction, valued at $51 million, included the Cambrian Centre, two newer medical office buildings attached by a shared atrium. The buildings were constructed in 2010 and have about 120,000 square feet of leasable space.

They are located just off Memorial Drive and Shaganappi Trail N.W.

The transaction also includes a 30,000-square-foot former Canada Post building leased to general office use, along with 3.5 acres of development land.

The vendor of the class-A, state-of-the-art office campus was a syndicate of three private investors.

Greg Handley, director of investments for NorthWest (NWH-UN-T), said the property has been on the company’s radar for a number of years. 

Cambrian Centre well-located

“We kept our eye on it. The previous vendors tried to stabilize it and got it up to 85 per cent leased. Most of that is health-care related. So EFW is in there, Regional Fertility, a couple of clinics and the CBC,” Handley told RENX in an interview.

“They moved their office over there a couple of years ago when they sold their property, which for non-health care use is a nice complement.

“We liked the node. It is arguably the best health-care node in Calgary. You’ve got three major health-care centres there; the Foothills (hospital), (Alberta) Children’s (hospital) and the new (Tom Baker) Cancer Centre.

“We’ve got existing assets in close proximity as well. Our Foothills Professional Building is pretty much right around the corner. And our Riley Park complex (the former Grace hospital) a little farther east . . . again in close proximity in that northwest node.

“They’re all close and they’re all well-leased. This just gives us a little more flexibility to respond in that node.”

The REIT has nine buildings in the Calgary Metropolitan Area, including one in Airdrie. It had about 600,000 square feet in the market prior to this acquisition.

“It’s a core market for us. We like Calgary. We like Alberta. We’ve kept our eye on the market for the last couple of years while looking for new opportunities. We’re committed to this market,” said Handley.

Northwest Healthcare holdings

In its second-quarter investors update, NorthWest said its Canadian portfolio consisted of 55 properties with 1,050 tenants in 3.4 million square feet of space. Occupancy sat at 92.7 per cent.

The REIT’s total portfolio was 169 properties, 13.8 million square feet, $6.2 billion in assets and 97.2 per cent occupancy.

“We’re an all-encompassing global health-care REIT focusing on health-care assets. We’re in Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. A combination of traditional medical office buildings and hospitals,” said Handley.

“The REIT strategy is currently on focusing on core markets. Your Calgarys, your Edmontons, your Torontos, your Montreals. Newer assets, assets that are in developed health-care nodes or adjacent to strategic health-care infrastructure.

“Looking for longer-term in-place leasing. So this asset (Cambrian) has almost eight years of weighted average lease term existing . . . and then looking for value add opportunities through lease up and then developments.

“We’ve got a couple of developments, one that is well on its way in St. Albert and then we’re going to be kicking off one soon here in Greater Toronto.”

Trends good for health-care properties

The REIT says two favourable demographics and industry trends bode well for health-care real estate assets – aging populations and rising health-care expenditures.

The REIT is Canada’s largest non-government owner/manager of medical office buildings and health-care related facilities. It says its Canadian portfolio provides stability and diversification to a broader international health-care real estate portfolio.

Canada offers the REIT high-quality real estate with stable cash flow underpinned by tenancies supported by the Canadian publicly funded health-care system.

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