Is this quarter-billion-dollar transaction the most expensive residential real estate transaction in Ottawa history?
A three-building rental apartment complex in Westboro sold for $ 267 million in what is arguably the largest residential real estate transaction in Ottawa history.
Homestead Land Holdings purchased Island Park Towers at 185, 195 and 200 Clearview Ave., just west of Island Park Drive, in a deal reached last week. CBRE, who helped negotiate the sale, said the previous owner was a private developer from Montreal who had owned the buildings for more than a decade.
According to LinkedIn, the former property manager was Montreal-based Acmon Inc.
Nico Zentil, senior vice president of capital markets in CBRE’s Ottawa office, said a residential transaction of this size in the city was unprecedented.
“It’s extremely rare that you see something of this scale and quality surfacing in a market like Ottawa, which is quite tightly controlled,” he told OBJ.
The buildings contain 642 suites and two commercial units. According to the Homestead website, the apartments are being modernized with new stone cabinets and counters as well as new appliances, lighting and flooring.
The Kingston-based company already owns and manages two dozen properties in the National Capital Region and recently applied for the construction of a 25-story apartment tower with 235 units near Baseline and Greenbank Roads.
Homestead did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
Zentil said CBRE’s Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal offices began marketing Island Park towers in May. He said the properties were “hotly sought after” and had attracted several bidders, calling the award “a testament to the strength of the Ottawa residential market right now.”
As Ottawa’s rental vacancy rate more than doubled to 3.9% last year, as a flood of new homes came online along with the student population and the city’s new immigrants – groups that rent rather than buy – has plummeted in the wake of the pandemic, Zentil predicts the market will rebound quickly.
“Ottawa’s appetite for large multi-network transactions appears to be fairly constant,” he said, adding that institutional investors tend to view the city as a “safe haven” for capital due to its stable economy and relatively large student population.
Zentil said the volume of trade deals in the capital was also starting to increase as confidence in the economy slowly recovered.
“We’ve had a bit of a dormant year,” Zentil said. “I think that by the end of 2021 we are all going to be pleasantly surprised at the level of investment volume that we will see in this city. “