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Bentall Centre sale could be largest real estate deal in Vancouver history

Last Updated Mar 27, 2019 at 7:30 pm PDT

FILE: Source: bentallcentre.com

The sale of Vancouver's Bentall Centre could be the largest real estate deal in the city's history

American giants Hudson Pacific Properties and the Blackstone Group have made a deal on the property

The centre was last purchased in 2016 by Anbang Insurance for more than a billion dollars

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It’s a deal that if completed, will likely be one of the largest real estate sales in Vancouver’s history.

An American partnership has agreed to buy the downtown Bentall Centre from a Chinese company. The financial details of the deal haven’t been shared — it’s not clear how much Blackstone Group and Hudson Pacific Properties have offered — but the last time it was bought was in 2016 for $1.06 billion.

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That purchase was made by Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese company that was seized by Chinese authorities last Feburary 2018 on accusations the founder and owner misled investors and diverted money to his own use.

Bal Atwal with commercial real estate firm Avison Young now says the pending Vancouver deal is significant.

“It is a true testament to the strength of the market here in Vancouver when you see two prominent U.S. firms make such a signficant and what appears to be a long-term investment here,” he says. “With a group like Blackstone and Hudson coming in and making a significant acquisition, it also points to the potential that this market has, and the growth potential here in contrast to other major markets in the U.S.

“That, I think, is a positive going forward. It shows that there is still a lot of growth in this market.”

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It’s likely to be the largest deal so far in 2019, and it could even break local records.

“If it sold for a higher price than what Anbang bought it back in 2016, it will also be highest price paid for a single asset in Vancouver’s history,” Atwal says.

The centre is the largest single office building in downtown Vancouver, and buying it could be a good move for a company looking to make “a big splash,” Atwal says.

The deal has not been finalized, but is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

The Bentall Centre Complex is 1.45 million square feet of office and retail space in downtown Vancouver, including four office towers and concourse-level retail space. As part of the deal, Hudson Pacific Properties and Blackstone Group plan to renovate the retail promenade and upgrade the indoor and outdoor common areas.

Hudson Pacific wrote in a press release today, that it would be opening a Vancouver office, and would be forming a joint venture with an affiliate with Blackstone Property Partners.

Hudson Pacific will own 20 per cent of the joint venture and be responsible for day-to-day operations and development. Blackstone will own the other 80 per cent and be a managing partner.

– With files from the Associated Press