As Vancouver Fundamentals Remain Solid, German Firm Makes $263M Office Play

It’s certainly no secret that the global investment market has been severely hampered by the economic downturn. In markets across the world, both sales velocity and pricing are way down from the halcyon days of just a couple of years ago. All of this makes the $263 million sale of a Vancouver office tower all the more noteworthy. The transaction had a truly international flavor. German investment firm Deka Immobilien Investment GmbH made an unsolicited offer to SITQ, a real estate subsidiary of global institutional fund manager Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, to acquire Bentall V, a 33-story, 583,000-square-foot office complex in Downtown Vancouver. SITQ accepted, and made a tidy C$300 million (US$263 million) for its trouble. For the buyer, the property was a good fit for its acquisition strategy. Deka managing director Thomas Schmengler noted that the Bentall V buy “stabilizes the fund’s high occupancy rate, which currently stands at 98 percent, and increases the proportion of [Deka’s] global portfolio allocations to North America from 12.6 percent to around 20 percent.” And Deka seems to have picked a good market in which to ramp up its North American holdings. Vancouver is expected to benefit from a dearth of new office space scheduled to deliver in the near future. Unlike many markets that over-developed during the recent real estate boom, new construction remained limited in Vancouver. Indeed, first quarter-vacancy in the city’s Downtown area was just 1.7 percent, according to Colliers International. Class A and AAA properties, meanwhile, fared even better, with 1.0 and 0.2 percent vacancy, respectively, during the quarter. The upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics is also expected to buoy the Vancouver market through the continuing worldwide economic downturn. he Bentall V complex was developed by SITQ in two phases, with the first delivering in 2002, and the second in 2007. The property is among the most energy efficient in the area market, having been awarded “BOMA Best Certified” for environmental performance and management. Property manager Bentall L.P. will be retained under the new ownership. Deka was represented by CB Richard Ellis Inc. executive vice presidents Tony Quattrin and Jim Szabo in the deal.