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RENX’s Top-35 Canadian CRE stories of 2021

As we enter the holiday season and the clock ticks down on another year, we once again offer our...

IMAGE: The Bow Tower in downtown Calgary. (Google Maps)

The sale of the Bow Tower in downtown Calgary was the first move in a major reorganization for H&R REIT during 2021. (Google Maps)

As we enter the holiday season and the clock ticks down on another year, we once again offer our annual RENX Top-35 Canadian CRE Stories of 2021.

Top-35 you say? Well, yes. We started out trying to pare the list to 30 top stories, but after what is expected to be a record-breaking year of acquisitions, takeovers and other activity, we finally gave up. So, we’ve included 35 articles.

The list includes many of the largest and most significant transactions across the industry during the past 12 months.

And as 2021 was defined by many major multiresidential and industrial transactions, that is reflected in the selections. But the list also includes significant headlines from other sectors.

The ongoing pandemic is also a factor, but we haven’t focused on that because even as the COVID waves rise and fall, the commercial real estate industry continues to soldier on, doing what it always does.

The focus is on Canada

As always, we are focused on Canadian activities, and while some of the selections represent international transactions, or groups of transactions, a Canadian-based entity is at the core. While many of the articles appeared on RENX itself, some are curated from other sources, with links to the original articles s0 you can take a look back at the 2021 that was.

We’ve included our Top-10 list here in order of prominence. The remaining 25 stories are loosely grouped by sector and geography, where possible. The full list of articles appears in our RENX Top-35 Newsletter.

As always, we believe the fun of these lists is to consider the choices and compare them with your own personal priorities. We do hope you enjoy reading what we’ve compiled.

Finally, a heart-felt thanks to all our readers, advertisers, contributors and countless others who help us publish RENX every day. We appreciate your support and confidence.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us.

The RENX Top-10:

10) Brookfield Asset Mgmt. ups offer for BPY to US$6.5B

Brookfield Asset Management (BAM-A-T) increased its original offer and reached agreement to take its Brookfield Property Partners (BPY-UN-T) subsidiary private. The new offer meant a $6.5-billion payout for shares it didn’t already control.

9) Oxford sells huge U.S. assets, acquires industrial

Oxford Properties transacted billions in U.S. properties: selling St. John’s Terminal (with CPP Investments) to Google for $2.6B; and One Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Mass. On the industrial side, it was a major international buyer; a $2.8B portfolio from KKR, and a $1.3B venture with EverWest.

8) Milton land, bought for $15.8M, sells for $165M

A tract of future industrial development land across from the planned new CN intermodal terminal in Milton sold for $165 million – more than 10 times what it was acquired for six years ago.

7) SmartCentres acquires 53 acres at VMC for $513M

SmartCentres REIT (SRU-UN-T) paid $513 million to acquire a two-thirds interest in 53 acres of property at the massive Vaughan Metropolitan Centre development just north of the City of Toronto. The acquisition means it is now the largest landowner at the VMC.

6) Panattoni builds 2.9M-sq.-ft. Amazon Edmonton facility

Panattoni Development Co. is building a massive robotic fulfillment centre for Amazon in Parkland County, just outside Edmonton, which will be one of the largest such distribution facilities in Canada when it opens in 2022.

5) CF acquires GTA’s Buttonville Airport property for $193M

Cadillac Fairview paid nearly $193 million to become the sole owner of the Toronto Buttonville Municipal Airport, a 169-acre property in Markham which for years has been considered a prime site for a major redevelopment.

4) Blackstone acquires WPT Industrial in US$3.2B deal

Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust acquired Toronto-based WPT Industrial REIT (WIR-U-T) in an all-cash transaction for $3.2 billion US. WPT earlier sold a minority interest in a $370 million U.S. industrial portfolio in a JV with Investment Management Corporation of Ontario.

3) Tricon partners on billions in U.S., Canadian rental housing

Tricon Residential (TCN-T) created partnerships to acquire/develop billions in rental housing, committing capital to partnerships which will: acquire up to 18,000 U.S. resale homes worth $6.4 billion; acquire $1.8 billion in new Sun Belt homes; and construct $500 million of GTA multresidential.

2) H&R REIT sells Calgary’s Bow tower, reorganizes

H&R REIT (HR-UN-T) sold Calgary’s Bow office tower and Mississauga’s Bell office campus to Chicago-based Oak Street Real Estate Capital for $1.67 billion, two months before announcing a major repositioning of its portfolio.

1) Canderel-led group acquires Cominar in $5.7B transaction

In a landmark deal, Cominar REIT (CUF-UN-T) agreed to be acquired by a Canderel-led consortium in a transaction which values the trust at $5.7 billion. The arrangement, involving the sale of various parts of Cominar’s portfolio to different purchasers, was approved by unitholders on Dec. 21.

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