By Steve McLean
Nicola Wealth revels in the “steady and consistent” returns its strategy produces and believes that, given the current financial environment, it’s moving into its element.
Nicola Wealth Real Estate has rather quietly acquired five properties in Canada and the United States this year on behalf of high-net-worth families, professionals and business owners from across Canada.
While the company might not have made a big splash with its purchases, it has added more than a half-billion dollars in properties to its portfolio.
“Nicola Wealth Real Estate is aggressively pursuing acquisition opportunities in all asset types in major markets across North America,” director of real estate acquisitions Alex Messina told RENX. “Our primary asset types include office, retail, industrial, multi-family residential, self-storage and seniors housing.
“Our growth strategy also involves developing strategic alliances with best-in-class partners. Our preference is for off-market or unlisted opportunities and we pride ourselves on being able to respond quickly and decisively.
“Our current real estate portfolio is approximately $3.5 billion and we aim to exceed $10 billion over the next seven years.”
Nicola seeks varied investment opportunities
The in-house real estate division of Nicola Wealth was launched in Vancouver in 2005. Its employees and shareholders have invested approximately $80 million in its portfolios in partnership with its investor clients, illustrating their commitment to the success of their projects.
Nicola is focused on real estate investment opportunities with below-market rental rates, quality construction, credit tenancies and pricing below replacement cost.
“With off-market and unlisted opportunities, we have the ability to find more creative deal structures,” said Messina. “These structures lend themselves well to delivering the best possible returns for our investors.”
Nicola’s portfolio includes 180 properties encompassing more than 10 million square feet. More than $500 million in assets have been acquired during the past year.
“We are fortunate to have access to capital, which allows us to be nimble and act efficiently on acquisition timelines,” said Messina. “For us, the challenge isn’t attracting the capital, it’s identifying the right deals that satisfy our investment requirements.”
Nicola’s investment funds
Nicola’s Canadian Income Portfolio makes deals ranging from a minimum of $20 million up to $150 million in major Canadian markets.
It also considers strong secondary markets with a minimum population of 100,000. The United States Income Portfolio makes similar acquisitions in major American cities.
We are particularly interested in the opportunities we are seeing in industrial and multi-family rentals right now,” said real estate asset management director Mary Aubrey. “We are seeing notable demand for industrial properties which are experiencing significant rent growth.
Nicola also seeks out value-add and development opportunities ranging from $10 million to $100 million in major North American markets.
“Our acquisition of the former Harbour Towers Hotel in Victoria and transforming and repurposing it into an upscale multi-family rental building called The James fulfills our mandate to acquire and develop cash-flow-producing properties in markets with substantial demand,” Aubrey said.
Nicola’s 2019 acquisitions
Nicola’s most recent purchase happened just a few weeks ago, when it acquired a 71,818-square-foot industrial/flex office property at 9511-9521 Willows Rd. in Redmond, Wash. The building is totally leased to Puget Sound Energy and Facebook.
Nicola’s most recent Canadian purchase occurred in June, when it acquired an office and retail property at 226 and 228 Wyecroft Rd. in Oakville. It’s comprised of a 95,750-square-foot single-tenant office building and a 14,397-square-foot commercial building on 11.5 acres of land.
Nicola’s other 2019 acquisitions are:
- a 74,717-square-foot industrial/flex office building on a 4.13-acre site at 25 Dyas Rd. in Toronto’s Don Mills area that’s fully leased by Imagine Communications;
- a 45,831-square-foot industrial building on a 4.6-acre site at 27450 55th Ave. in the Gloucester Industrial Park in Langley, B.C. that’s fully leased by Royal Building Products;
- and, in partnership with PCI Developments, Nicola acquired Cottonwood Mall, a 259,560-square-foot shopping centre on a 21.9-acre site in Chilliwack, B.C. Major tenants include London Drugs, Dollarama and TD Canada Trust.