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U-Haul buys vacant Calgary Sun building, property

Canadian media giant Postmedia has sold its Calgary Sun building to U-Haul, RENX has learned. The...

IMAGE: The Calgary Sun building has been sold to U-Haul. (Image courtesy Cresa)

The former Calgary Sun building has been sold to U-Haul by Postmedia. (Image courtesy Cresa)

Canadian media giant Postmedia has sold its Calgary Sun building to U-Haul, RENX has learned.

The almost 90,000-square-foot-building on 2.66 acres of land was listed for sale by commercial real estate firm Cresa at “market price” and available “immediately” when it went on the market close to two years ago.

Robert MacDougall, senior vice-president/associate broker of Cresa in Calgary, confirmed the sale but could not reveal the purchase price.

A previous Cresa brochure on the property listed an asking price of $6.2 million.

The building’s address is 2615 12th Street N.E.

“I believe (U-Haul’s) intention is to invest into the building and have it become a pretty serious storage facility and also a facility for which they will lend out vehicles,” said MacDougall.

He said U-Haul has taken possession of the building.

Property rezoned for U-Haul

Recently there was a land use application to the City of Calgary to re-designate the property to a Direct Control District to add the additional use of Vehicle Rental – Major. The existing Industrial – Business District is to be maintained.

There is no redevelopment of the site planned as a result of this application, according to the city. Calgary Council approved the land use re-designation on Sept. 14.

“We were waiting for that in order to close the transaction,” said MacDougall. “It was kind of the last piece in the puzzle to fall into place in their due diligence. Once that land use re-designation was approved, then that enabled the transaction to close.”

The building comprises four floors and has 37,722 square feet of office space, 26,694 square feet of warehouse space, 13,987 square feet of assembly space, and 10,924 square feet of basement/storage space.

The warehouse has 35-foot ceilings and four dock doors. There are also 115 parking stalls on the site.

Postmedia had also been attempting to divest the Calgary Herald building since 2014, but it is not currently listed publicly after it failed to sell.

In October 2018, a listing for the Calgary Herald building was relaunched by commercial real estate firm Avison Young. It was also the first time a price was publicly attached to the listing —  $20 million for the 344,843-square-foot building located at 215 16th Street S.E.

A previous brochure by Avison Young said the 2018 assessment of the building was $38.96 million.

The Herald building, constructed in 1980, sits on 12.87 acres of land between Deerfoot Trail and Memorial Drive and includes 166,900 square feet of office space and 177,943 square feet of industrial space.

Location key to Calgary Sun building sale

MacDougall said the Calgary Sun building was attractive because of its location.

“Its proximity to downtown. Proximity to the airport. And the biggest (attribute) would have been visibility to Deerfoot Trail,” he said.

“I think from a staffing perspective it was vacant in August of 2018 and it was probably a year later roughly when all the printing presses were decommissioned and removed. A completely empty building.”

In its listing, Cresa said the property is conveniently located to major arteries such as Deerfoot Trail, 32nd Avenue N.E. and 16th Avenue N.E. and is easily accessible via 12th Street N.E.

It is also a 12-minute drive to the Calgary International Airport and to downtown Calgary.

Cresa said the building has unobstructed views of the Rocky Mountains to the west and overlooks the Fox Hollow Golf Course in the Winston Heights-Mountview neighbourhood.

The sale of the Calgary Sun building is the latest property divestment by Postmedia.

In December 2018, Ottawa-based real estate owner, developer and operator Regional Group announced it had acquired the Postmedia building at 1101 Baxter Rd. which is home to the Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Sun.

The 186,000-square-foot building on 7.83 acres is located along the busy Highway 417 corridor through central Ottawa.

In releasing its fiscal first-quarter results for the period ending Nov. 30, 2018, Postmedia said it had sold the property for gross proceeds of $21 million. Cresa also acted on behalf of Postmedia in the sale of that building.

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