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Asset class takes industrial sector by storm

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Temperature-controlled industrial properties are a little-known, yet superlative, asset class that’s sure to grow in popularity among institutional investors.

The facilities are designed to maintain temperatures as low as -29 degrees Celsius, which makes construction expensive and buy-ins prohibitive for many, but at below 1% of Canada’s overall industrial sector, it teems with opportunity.

“It’s a great investment, not only for REITs, but institutional and private investors, as well,” said Victor Cotic, vice president of national investment services with Colliers International. “All the growth we’re seeing among industrial companies in real estate is all related to consumer goods. Manufacturing has really taken a downturn, so industrial real estate today is predominantly around consumer goods, retailers, and public consumption.”

Temperature-controlled industrial facilities primarily house food and pharmaceuticals, and for that reason they’re more or less recession-proof.

“Those are perfect examples of consumer goods because they’re linked to population, and unlike some other retail sectors, it’s recession-resistant,” continued Cotic. “Even in a down economy, people are going to consume food and need pharmaceuticals. They might buy a cheaper variety, but they’ll still need to put food on the table.”

Colliers oversaw a leaseback sale between Congebec Inc. and Skyline Commercial REIT, with the latter taking ownership of a nine-property national portfolio of temperature-controlled warehouses. Two-thirds of the facilities are divided between Montreal and Quebec City, and the remaining three are in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Calgary.

The $190 million transaction closed last month.

“The frozen food industry continues to enjoy double-digit annual growth in North America and Congebec’s leadership position in the logistics side of this virtually recession-proof sector bodes well for their continued growth and success” Michael Mackenzie, President of Skyline Commercial REIT, said in a statement.

While Canada’s residential sector has seen astronomical growth in the last seven years, it has been vastly outstripped by a burgeoning industrial sector. Unsurprisingly, Cotic says that interest in the nine-property portfolio was immense.

“We had a lot of interest in the portfolio, and the investment community is becoming more and more interested in this asset type,” he said. “It has scale, and this deal represents the largest industrial investment deal in Canada in the past five years. A lot of investor capital is looking to be deployed in industrial real estate.”

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Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre reopens for Mooseheads’ season opener

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The home of the Halifax Mooseheads will reopen next month to host the team’s season home opener, although the experience will be different as a result of COVID-19.

The Scotiabank Centre will reopen on Oct. 3, after its reopening framework was reviewed by Nova Scotia’s public health and occupational health and safety departments, the company operating the centre and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) team announced on Tuesday.

“We’re thrilled to be reopening and welcoming our fans back to Scotiabank Centre,” said Carrie Cussons, the president and CEO of Scotiabank Centre.

The centre will be following all standard health and safety guidelines related to the wearing of non-medical masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing and contact tracing, the company said.

But there will be additional protections put in place as well in order to limit any possible spread of the novel coronavirus.

Scotiabank Centre will be divided into separate zones of up to 200 people with set washrooms, concessions and entrance/exit points for each zone.

The organization also announced that tickets will be sold in groups of up to 10 within the same bubble, respecting the province’s guidelines on gatherings.

Fans and attendees will be required to wear a non-medical mask at all times, except when they are consuming food or beverages, the Scotiabank Centre said.

Tickets will also be mobile-only in order to minimize close contact between individuals.

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Candidate slate set for Halifax election as mayoral race grows to three candidates

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The slate of candidates for the Halifax Regional Municipality’s upcoming election has been finalized and it’s now officially a three-horse race for the municipality’s mayoral seat.

Incumbent mayor Mike Savage will face off against Coun. Matt Whitman, the current representative for the Hammonds Plains–St. Margarets, and political newcomer Max Taylor.

Whitman and Savage have previously announced their plans to run but Taylor’s inclusion in the race was a last minute surprise.

On his campaign’s Facebook page, the 22-year-old says his platform is “simple”

“Get out and vote. I don’t care who you vote for, I care that you vote,” he writes.

One of the more notable aspects of Taylor’s presence in the race is his status on social media platform Tik Tok.

He’s built a following of more than 600,000 people on the platform and his videos have generated more than 20.6 million likes.

What that will do for his candidacy is up in the air, but he’s sure to bring a youthful energy to the process.

 

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Here’s what Toronto’s new 57-storey skyscraper will look like

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The corner of Bay and Harbour may be getting a new 57-storey office tower perched atop the heritage Toronto Harbour Commission Building.

Updated plans for The Hub — a skyscraper from multinational corporation Oxford Properties — have been submitted, and if approved, will see a building designed by London-based firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to 30 Bay Street.

The project near Toronto’s waterfront which was initially proposed in 2018 will add around 1.4 million square feet of office space to the neighbourhood. The building’s west side will also be directly connected to The PATH network.

The Hub will also sit overtop (but only lightly touching) its next door neighbour: the six-storey Toronto Harbour Commission Building, which was built in 1917.

Nicknamed “The T”, the historic building was sold to Oxford in 2017 for $96 million. Fun fact: The T is also reportedly haunted by the ghost of a janitor.

It’s not entirely clear how the interior of the old Commission Building will play into The Hub’s commercial workspace, but the design of the 57-storey building shows the strategic use of four columns to allow for distance between the main building and The T.

The two buildings will be connected by a “finely detailed glazed atrium.”

Windows will stretch from floor to ceiling in the four-storey lobby, which will be home to restaurants, retail spaces, meeting and event spaces, and maybe a fitness facility.

Floors five to eight of the podium will see larger office floors.

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