Triovest and its partners have made two industrial development land acquisitions in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and anticipate closing on additional properties by early January.
“We’re still undersupplied in terms of high-quality space based on the demand that we’re seeing and the shifts in how people shop and the need for great warehouse space,” Triovest chief investment officer Prakash David told RENX.
The first deal involved 45.78 acres of industrial-zoned land in Markham (in the northern portion of the GTA). The site was acquired by Triovest and unnamed institutional partners, for $106.5 million, in an off-market deal brokered by an Avison Young team led by Ryan Hood, Eva Destunis and Brent McKean.
The second transaction involved Triovest and Northam Realty Advisors purchasing a 22-acre industrial development site in Pickering (Eastern GTA). The deal was brokered by Colliers’ Ryan Thomson and Gord Cook.
Markham industrial land deal
The Markham property in the Cathedraltown area at Woodbine Avenue and Elgin Mills Road, with frontage on Highway 404, was acquired from Lesso Mall Canada.
The Vaughan-based company is a subsidiary of China Lesso Group Holdings Limited, a large publicly traded Chinese industrial group which manufactures more than 10,000 types of building supplies and materials.
Lesso had acquired the Markham site for $41 million in June 2016 and had plans for a retail development there. Hood doesn’t know why the company sold the property, but he contacted Lesso when he learned it was interested in divesting the site.
The sale to Triovest and its partners came together so quickly it wasn’t marketed despite its appeal.
“There’s not a lot of gold out there, but there still is gold,” Hood told RENX, “and when you find it, you have to act fast.”
The GTA industrial vacancy rate is hovering around one per cent and developers have been aggressively pursuing land to meet demand for warehousing and logistics space as the land supply continues to shrink and the price per acre surges.
“We feel really good about the price we bought it for given the scale and the characteristics of the site,” said David.
Lesso also owns 40 acres at 5789-5951 Steeles Ave. E. in Scarborough where it’s contemplating a 700,000-square-foot commercial complex.
In addition, Lesso owns Milliken Crossing at 5631-5671 Steeles Ave. E.
The site is comprised of five single-storey retail buildings with 139,294 square feet of gross floor area and tenants including Shoppers Drug Mart, Field Fresh Supermarket, Tim Hortons, Popeyes, Subway and ICICI Bank Canada.
Triovest’s plans for Markham site
“We’ve been looking in various nodes and we think Markham is a best-in-class location, right on the 404 with two interchanges right there,” said David. “We thought this was a very strong piece of land and one owned by a client that we currently manage for.”
The fully integrated commercial real estate advisory and capital firm plans to build about one million square feet of industrial space in three zero-carbon buildings once it goes through the entitlement process and site plan approval is received.
“We’re hoping to accommodate large users and tenants that need anywhere from 100,000 square feet right up to 500,000 square feet in a single facility with great clear heights and plenty of doors,” said David.
“This expands our development program to in the range of $3 billion and will be our 33rd project on the go. We’ve got very strong conviction that there’s room to run in industrial real estate.”
Pickering site and future acquisitions
The Pickering industrial site, located south of Highway 401, was purchased from a private family for an undisclosed price.
“It’s a greenfield site with great highway access and great access to a labour pool, and can accommodate a range of tenant sizes up to 260,000 square feet,” said David. “We love the GTA East. It’s now an established node.”
While David said he can’t reveal any details at this point, Triovest expects to close on further acquisitions of industrial properties in Montreal and Vancouver in the next few weeks.