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Starlight completes purchase of Aqua tower at Plaza 88

Starlight Investments has completed the two-year-old forward purchase of a newly constructed New...

IMAGE: Starlight Investments has completed the forward purchase of Aqua at Plaza 88 (the tower at right). It is the final high-rise to be build at New Westminster's Plaza 88 development. (Courtesy

Starlight Investments has completed the forward purchase of Aqua at Plaza 88 (the tallest tower at centre right). It is the final high-rise to be built at New Westminster’s Plaza 88 development. (Courtesy

Starlight Investments has completed the two-year-old forward purchase of a newly constructed New Westminster, B.C., high-rise containing 398 residential rental units and 4,600 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

The building at 900 Carnarvon St. is 40 storeys, making it the tallest residential rental development in Western Canada. Known as Aqua at Plaza 88, it is the final tower in the multi-phased, mixed-use Plaza 88 development which fronts onto Carnarvon Street.

“The acquisition of this signature property builds on Starlight’s presence in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and demonstrates our strategy of acquiring top-quality, well-positioned and highly sought-after, high-rise, concrete buildings in desirable urban communities across Canada,” said Daniel Drimmer, Starlight’s president and CEO, in the acquisition announcement.

The sale closed on Oct. 29. Financial details were not released.

“Properties of this quality are rare in the market, and we are delighted to be a part of not only this building, but the broader development of this Vancouver submarket,” said Raj Mehta, Starlight’s global head of private capital and partnerships, in an email to RENX.

About Aqua at Plaza 88

The building contains a mix of bachelor, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites.

The property is centrally located and connects to numerous stores and services in the adjoining retail component of Plaza 88. It is a three-minute walk to the New Westminster SkyTrain station, which is also contained within the development.

Residents also have immediate access to the Shops at New West, which includes 37 stores and services as well as 16 restaurants. Douglas College and the Fraser River are just a just a six or seven minute walk away, respectively.

Aqua’s amenities include a two-storey lobby and several distinct spaces that flow naturally into one another. There is a terrace garden on the sixth floor and a terrace on the 37th floor with ocean views.

The 8,000-square=foot amenity floor includes a fitness centre, change rooms with steam showers and a multi-purpose lounge with access to the patio and garden, as well as a games and entertaining room with a full chef’s kitchen and dining area.

There is also a furnished student study lounge and two fully equipped guest suites.

Starlight involved in development

Mehta said Starlight has been involved in the project since initiating the forward-purchase agreement.

“With Starlight’s forward-purchase program, we bring our asset management capabilities to the forefront by working with the developer to customize suites and optimize amenities during construction,” he wrote.

“In addition, we work with the developer on leasing, which also positively contributes to our investment thesis as we move to stabilization.

“With the Aqua acquisition, we performed all of the above asset management value-enhancing tasks.”

The property will be managed by Gateway Property Management Corporation.

Starlight already owns several properties in New Westminster, including the 113-unit low-rise at 720 Queens Ave., which it purchased late in 2019.

The firm has identified Metro Vancouver, which includes New Westminster, as one of its key target markets and has purchased well over 1,000 units across the region during the past two-and-a-half years.

That doesn’t include any additions from the Northview Apartment REIT portfolio which it has just closed on, in partnership with KingSett.

The acquisition of Northview was a $4.9 billion transaction which added almost 11,000 units and 1.1 million square feet of retail and commercial space to Starlight’s holdings, under the new entity Northview Canadian High Yield Residential Fund.

About Starlight Investments

Starlight Investments is a privately held Toronto-based, full service, multifamily and commercial real estate investment and asset management company. The company currently manages over $14 billion of direct real estate as well as real estate investment securities.

Investment vehicles include institutional joint ventures, True North Commercial REIT, Starlight U.S. Multi-Family Funds and Starlight Capital Funds.

It has approximately 225 employees.

Starlight’s portfolio consists of approximately 43,000 multiresidential units across Canada and the U.S. and over seven million square feet of commercial properties.

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