Dream Acquires 100% of the Huge Zibi Development in Ottawa | RENX

Zibi is a large mixed-use development in Ottawa that is now wholly owned by two Dream entities. (Courtesy Dream Unlimited)

The ‘dream team’ behind what is arguably the largest and most complex waterfront redevelopment in Canada has taken full ownership as the multibillion dollar project continues to unfold in the region. national capital.

In its Q2 report, Dream Impact Trust indicated that he, with Dream Asset Management Corp.. (DAM), had acquired the remaining third party interest in the 34 acres Zibi redevelopment that spans properties along the Ottawa River in the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau.

Ownership of the share will be split 50/50. The purchase was settled with a cash payment of $ 9.1 million and a promissory note with a face value of $ 5.5 million.

The seller is Théia partners, which counts among its directors Jeff Westeinde of Ottawa. For years he has been the public face of Zibi, well known as an active investor and entrepreneur with a strong focus on sustainability and clean technology in real estate. He continues to be president of Zibi Canada.

Transition to productive assets

“My role is largely unchanged,” Westeinde told RENX. “Theia continues to work with its Zibi partners on a high level onsite strategy, leading the sustainability case and community engagement. “

For Zibi’s investor syndicate, the long-term plan has always been for it to become an income-generating development. Serving as an asset management company is much more in Dream’s wheelhouse than it is for Theia, Westeinde said.

“Now is the right time,” he said of the sale. “My confidence in the Dream team to continue leading Zibi in the right direction is enormous.”

Zibi remains on track for a 2032 completion date.

“I think we have the best project and development team in the region,” said Gordon Wadley, COO of Dream Office REIT. “They’ve worked really hard through COVID to mitigate the risks or the delays. But if 2032 remains the target date, “we are not sticking to it,” he added. “We want to do it right. “

Zibi a complex development

Simply starting the redevelopment took years, thanks to a complex web of political, environmental and historical considerations.

Zibi includes shores and islands in two provinces (Ontario and Quebec) and two towns, on lands sacred to the Algonquin First Nations (Zibi is the Algonquin Anishinabe word for river).

A crown corporation, the National Capital Commission, is also an important stakeholder.

“Zibi goes way beyond the development of bricks and mortar,” Wadley said. “Sustainability, climate resilience and social equality have never been so central to society. These have always been our main pillars.

Affordable zero-carbon housing

With this in mind, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced in July an investment of $ 70 million for Zibi. Of this amount, $ 60 million will be used for the construction of the Zibi 10 building. This 15-storey building will provide Gatineau with 162 new rental housing units in high demand.

The balance will be used to connect 200 affordable housing units to the region’s first zero-carbon neighborhood energy system (ZCU).

The ZCU depends on post-industrial waste energy for heating and the Ottawa River for cooling. Thus, Zibi will include not only affordable housing, but also affordable housing that sets a new standard in sustainability and reducing carbon emissions.

Zibi ticks all the boxes

All of this ties in with Zibi’s goal of adhering to the 10 principles of A living planet framework developed by Bioregional and the World Wide Fund for Nature. These principles include the elimination of energy sources that emit greenhouse gases and the promotion of social equity.

Wadley and Westeinde said it was important for Zibi to embody these principles and also serve as a living example to educate. Block 10 will also include, on the ground floor, an ideal educational center for everyone, from engineering and urban planning students to the general public.

“I imagine crowds of students coming and spending the afternoon to learn a bit more about the site,” Wadley said. “This is something we couldn’t be prouder.”

What’s next at Zibi?

Six of Zibi’s planned 44 buildings, which include commercial and residential space, are expected to be occupied by the end of 2021. One of them is the eight-story, 158,000-class A office building. square feet on Chaudière Island East which has the federal government as its primary tenant.

Other buildings currently under development and pre-development include:

– Block 10: 162 residential units in Gatineau. This is the 15-story building that includes funding for CMHC’s July announcement, at the corner of rue Eddy and rue Jos Montferrand.

– Block 11: 149 residential units, 11 floors, in Gatineau on Jos Montferrand Street, where development began earlier this month.

– Block 206: 207 residential units, 25 floors, started last spring on West Chaudière Island, with delivery in Q2 2023.

– Block 207: 80,000 square feet of commercial class A, seven floors, started in conjunction with block 206 (West of Chaudière Island), for delivery in Q2 2023.

– Block 210: a brick and beam renovation of a 30,000 square foot heritage structure that Wadley says is unmatched in the region. It is located on Albert Island, next to the Canadian War Museum.

– Block 7: “Shovel loan” on sufficient pre-rental (160,000 square feet of commercial space), this mixed use of six floors also includes retail businesses on the ground floor. Located in Gatineau at the corner of Laurier and Jos Montferrand streets. This has the short term of 24 months on rental commitments. Wadley said approvals are in place and work on the site has started to reduce turnaround time.

The development schedules for the Block 207, Block 7 and Block 210 commercial buildings require pre-lease commitments. For these properties, Wadley said the dates are estimates and active discussions are underway with potential tenants.


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