For three decades, downtown Toronto was a work-for-hire location for foreign-owned companies. For instance, in the early 1980s, RBC Insurance moved to the historic Stock Exchange Building. But after the first international trade treaty, NAFTA, investors from all over the world started to set up shop in Canada.
Canada is home to numerous foreign-owned real estate investment funds, often raising cash from its institutional investors and using its inexpensive living and working environment as an investment base.
In Toronto alone, more than $75 billion in capital was raised for real estate investments. And after 12 years, there are still more than $450 billion in real estate investments currently in the offing in the Greater Toronto Area.
But on October 4, the Greater Toronto Association of Realtors (GTRAR) reported $36 million in gains after offloading former properties for just over $8 million. According to GTRAR, the operation (called WE Charity) sold three properties—all on Bay Street, a 2-acre office complex at 500 Bay Street, Toronto’s main business street, a $3.2 million condo on Bay Street and a $4.6 million office building on the East River.
GTRAR said the organizations selling the property are KPMG and Grotech, part of Thomson Reuters. Local sources say the real estate development company Apprise is now in charge of the holdings, as is Wellesley Developments, a real estate holding company controlled by John Brierley.
In an email to Fox Business, Donald Boscov, president of WE Charity, said, “We are highly pleased with our results. Our clients were aware that sales would be announced shortly. The City of Toronto and the City of Toronto Economic Development Corporation, with the help of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and other agencies, helped us facilitate the transaction and the assistance was tremendous.”
BUYER: WE Charity
SELLER: KPMG, Grotech, Wellesley Developments
WHO BENEFITS: funds of KPMG and Grotech; local property development companies
MARKET PRICE: $2,965,000 (750 square feet, 2-story building, 2% occupancy rate), $3,120,000 (975 square feet, 2% occupancy rate), $4,555,000 (1,600 square feet, 2% occupancy rate)
Jamie Colby is an author and speaker on real estate matters, an investor, and contributor to the Fox Business Network. She was previously the director of global real estate with BMO Harris Bank in Toronto. Follow her at @realestateinsider and on Twitter: @JamieColbyInvestor.