GWL Realty Advisors Acquires Series of Industrial Buildings

Toronto July 19, 2022. GWL Realty Advisors (GWLRA) announced today that it has acquired six Class A industrial buildings, with a seventh scheduled to close later in 2022, in a key growth node in the Greater Montreal Area (GMA). This acquisition was made on behalf of The Great-West Life Canadian Real Estate Investment Fund No. 1 (CREIF).

Built between 2012-2021, the properties are strategically located on the South Shore of Montréal, in the heart of the Varennes and Chambly industrial parks—two emerging industrial nodes that have experienced tremendous growth and development in recent years.

“The industrial asset class continues to be a top performer for us, and this acquisition represents a significant foothold into an important and growing market,” said Steven Marino, EVP, Portfolio Management, GWLRA.

The new South Shore portfolio represents more than 416,000 square feet of high-quality industrial assets featuring exceptional physical attributes, direct proximity to major highways and excellent accessibility to the Montréal, Ontario, and US markets. The assets also benefit from a deep labor pool in the surrounding area.

According to Wendy Waters, head of research for GWLRA, the industrial asset class has emerged as one of the key winners coming out of the pandemic. “Much of this unprecedented demand growth from industrial tenants as well as investors can be attributed to shifting consumer behaviours as industries such as e-commerce seek out warehouse space to keep pace with demand,” explains Waters. “We see this trend continuing, particularly in regions where strong population growth supports expanding needs for this asset class.”

In addition to the South Shore portfolio, GWLRA has been actively pursuing income producing acquisitions and land development opportunities across Canada. Recent activity includes three significant land development deals and one joint venture involving two small/mid-bay industrial buildings within the Great Plains Business Park in Southeastern Calgary.

“As demand for warehouse space and last-mile distribution facilities grow and the underlying market fundamentals remain attractive, we have seen a sharp increase in investor interest in the industrial sector,” added Marino. “For those clients eager to participate, they know they can rely on our deep resources and robust insight to identify and execute on both current and future income producing assets.”

Done Deals:

  • GTA North: a 44.7-acre industrial land purchase in Richmond Hill, ON, which will be developed into a multi-building industrial site.
  • Stony North Logistics Centre: 128-acre industrial land parcel in the Calgary, AB Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), that is in pre-development. Upon full buildout, the site will accommodate approximately 2.2 million square feet of new generation premises.
  • 261 Abbotside Way: a 138,000 square foot state-of-the art Class A warehouse development that is currently under construction in Caledon, ON. Target completion date is 2023.
  • Plains68: a joint-venture development involving two small/mid-bay industrial buildings totalling 205,075 square feet on a 10.1-acre site within the Great Plains Business Park in Southeastern Calgary, AB, which is now 100% leased.

As a result of recent transactions, GWLRA’s industrial portfolio has increased in value to $5B representing close to 18 million square feet of single and multi-tenant assets. These assets are primarily composed of light industrial properties that can be easily and rapidly configured for warehousing, light manufacturing, distribution centres and other needs.

Cautionary note regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this news release constitute forward-looking statements. These statements include, without limitation, statements about the completion of future developments. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts but instead represent only GWL Realty Advisors’ belief regarding future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside GWL Realty Advisors’ control. It is possible that actual results will differ, possibly materially, from the anticipated results indicated in these statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ, possibly materially, from those in the forward-looking statements are discussed in periodic filings by GWL Realty Advisors’ parent company, Great-West Lifeco Inc., with Canadian securities regulators. These filings include Great-West Lifeco's management’s discussion and analysis for the year ended December 31, 2021 (see "Risk Management and Control Practices“) and annual information form dated February 10, 2022 (see "Risk Factors"), which, along with other Great-West Lifeco filings, are available for review at www.sedar.com. The reader is also cautioned to consider these and other factors, uncertainties and potential events carefully and not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Other than as specifically required by applicable law, GWL Realty Advisors does not intend to update any forward-looking information whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

GWL Realty Advisors

GWL Realty Advisors Inc. is a leading North American real estate investment advisor providing comprehensive asset management, property management, development and specialized real estate advisory services to pension funds and institutional clients. GWL Realty Advisors Inc. manages a diverse portfolio of office, industrial, retail and multi-residential assets as well as an active pipeline of new development projects.