There is no denying Anbang Insurance Group loves hotels, the mainland insurer has made a number of headline-stealing acquisitions including the $1.95 billion purchase of the Waldorf Astoria last year, but it appears as if the firm may also have a thing for Canadian office buildings.
Anbang is nearing an agreement to purchase a 30-storey office and retail tower in downtown Toronto for C$530 million ($395 million), sources told Bloomberg. Should a deal be finalized, it would be the state-owned insurer’s third major Canadian purchase in a little over a year.
The 84,960 square meter building is owned by development and investment firm Canderel and pension-fund manager OPTrust. Major office tenants include the Government of Ontario and the Bank of Montreal, with the commercial tower’s office space currently said to be 96 percent leased out.
People familiar with the negotiations told Bloomberg that Canderel and OPTrust had only intended to sell half of their stakes in the 33-year old complex, but Anbang went ahead and bid for the entire property.
Anbang’s Canadian Investments Near $1B Mark
Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui made history in October of last year when he completed what was believed to be the first major investment in a stabilized real estate asset in Canada by a Chinese investor, acquiring a 17-storey tower in Toronto’s financial district.
The insurance giant paid Canadian alternative investment firm Brookfield Asset Management C$110 million ($84.2 million) for the office building outbidding at least ten domestic competitors in the process.
In February, the firm acquired a 66 percent stake in a vehicle that owns all four office towers at Bentall Centre, one of Vancouver’s most famous landmarks. The deal for the complex, which contains nearly 1.5 million square feet (139,354 square metres) of office space along with retail space, valued the property at more than C$1 billion ($729 million).
Greenland Group Also Active In Toronto
And Anbang isn’t alone among Chinese investors willing to brave the great white north, top three mainland developer Greenland Group is also active in the Canadian city. In 2014, the firm revealed it had acquired a 67,000 square metre Toronto condominium project valued at $360 million.
Last year, the state-owned outfit broke ground on King Blue development in Toronto’s entertainment district which will include a 44 and 48-storey tower holding 910 condominiums, a 122 room boutique hotel and Canada’s first theatre museum.
Greenland also purchased a condo development site in the city’s waterfront area from Greybrook Realty Partners for C$166 million ($124.5 million) last month. Greybrook hailed the deal as a record for the Toronto market and said Greenland will use the site to build a landmark project.