Q2 2022
Commercial Real Estate and Community News from Waterloo Region
john-whitney

Welcome to our Q2 2022 Insite, where we try to keep you updated on what’s happening in the Region. We also love talking about Real Estate, so there may be a little of that!

 

We are seeing Real Estate transactions, both leasing and selling, continuing to ramp up. Hopefully this is a signal that the pandemic is now in the rear view mirror. Offices are beginning to be populated after a long 2 year absence and public transit and roadways are much busier. It’s so great to see that life is back in our community!

 

As you will read, all parts of the Real Estate business are booming in the Region. There is no question that the development community has embraced the concept of building residential towers. What’s great, is this is no longer just happening in the downtown urban areas. 

 

Our technology companies are also pivotal to growth in the Region. Expansions and acquisitions help bolster development and provide much needed absorption of SF in the office sector.

 

If you see something going on in the Region, let us know so we can inform our Insite readers. Enjoy this Q2 edition and the Summer of 2022!

John Whitney, SIOR

Broker of record, ceo

451 Phillip 2

Montez buys Factory Square complex in Waterloo for $122.8M

Source – Real Estate News Exchange (RENX)

Montez Corporation has acquired the 526,235-square-foot Factory Square office complex for $122.8 million as part of its strategy to focus on technology hubs.

 

CanFirst Capital Management, on behalf of CanFirst Industrial Realty Fund V and CanFirst Industrial Realty Fund VI, sold the buildings at 440, 451 and 455 Phillip St.

 

The total site size is 34 acres and forms part of Waterloo’s Idea Quarter, a still-evolving district which is planned to offer 3.2 million square feet of space employing 16,500 tech workers and 20,000 co-op students.

 

Factory Square is 92 per cent occupied and Montez president and chief executive officer Manfred Lau told RENX his company has already signed a lease deal with a new tenant since acquiring the complex in mid-May.

Lau said current Factory Square tenants are involved with server warehousing, advanced lab and manufacturing processes, research and development, artificial intelligence, and managed detection and response, among other tech-related sectors.

 

There’s a light rail transit line stop adjacent to Factory Square, which is also close to the University of Waterloo, David Johnston Research + Technology Park, Wilfrid Laurier University and Highway 85.

 

“We really like this asset and it highlights our various investment themes,” said Lau. “The proximity to the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University provides the opportunity for activation of the common space, talent recruitment and the continuation in support of various co-op programs.

 

Spillover effect from Toronto heats up industrial land demand in Waterloo Region

Source – The Globe and Mail

Rising demand and shrinking supply of industrial land in Waterloo Region has companies competing for property.

 

This fall, Angstrom Engineering Inc., of Kitchener, Ont., will move into a 53,000-square-foot building in a new tech-oriented business park 10 kilometres away, ending a prolonged effort by the fast-growing company to buy industrial property.

 

Rising demand and shrinking supply of serviced industrial land in the Waterloo Region (which includes Cambridge, Ont.) have tested companies such as Angstrom and others competing for property in one of the country’s hottest industrial markets. The COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions and dwindling inventory of municipal industrial parks contribute to the current squeeze.

 

Three years ago, Angstrom officials looked for 20,000- to 30,000-square-foot buildings but, with company growth, broadened their search to facilities of 50,000 square feet. What they found, says Angstrom president David Pitts, was “almost nothing in that 30,000- to 50,000-square-foot size … It was challenging.”

 

In the fourth quarter of 2021, industrial vacancy in the Waterloo Region fell to 0.7 per cent, according to a report by Colliers, given demand from local and out-of-town land buyers. Average asking net rents increased to a record $8.51 per square foot in the final quarter of last year (up 23.5 per cent over the same period in 2020).

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57 Erb Street W, Waterloo

39,173 SF of Landmark Office Space Leased in Uptown Waterloo

57 Erb St W, Waterloo, the former Seagram Distillery, has been entirely leased.

 

WHITNEY & Company is pleased to announce the lease of 57 Erb St W in Uptown Waterloo. Originally the former flagship operation for the Seagram Distillery, this exceptional and commanding location in the heart of Uptown Waterloo offers access to fabulous amenities, LRT, Waterloo Park, trails and quick access to the expressway. 

 

The space was one of 2 buildings occupied by Shopify in Uptown Waterloo. 57 Erb was recently leased in May 2022. The Tenant is a local tech company in the area who needed more space in order to bring 2 companies together under one roof.

 

$93M aquatics centre and fieldhouse approved for southwest Kitchener

Source – The Record

The new facilities for RBJ Schlegel Park on Huron Road received formal approval.

 

A new aquatics centre and indoor field house is officially a go for fast-growing southwest Kitchener. The new facilities for RBJ Schlegel Park on Huron Road received formal approval by council, but not without some additional discussion around the project’s $93-million price tag.

 

A 2019 estimate of about $39 million has more than doubled due to several factors — inflation, an increase in the facilities’ size, and energy-efficient features that carry a larger upfront cost.

 

“Nobody likes it that the cost has gone up as much as it has. It is the reality of the situation with inflation at the moment,” said Coun. Margaret Johnston.

 

But such amenities can serve the entire city, and can attract new residents and potential economic opportunities, such as sporting events, to the area. “What is the cost of not doing this?” Johnston asked.

 

The plan calls for a 45,000-square foot aquatics centre with an eight-lane pool and a warm-water leisure pool, and a 65,000-square-foot field house with artificial turf. Construction could be completed in 2025.

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Water and shade on its way to Waterloo Public Square

Source – The Record

Waterloo Public Square has gone 13 years without the fountain it was designed to have. That fountain may finally be on its way.

 

City council has voted to install the long-delayed water feature next year, drawing on $500,000 donated by developer Jamie Crich who is building the Barrel Yards towers nearby.

 

Much-needed shade is also on its way. Some shade will be cast by five giant leaf sculptures made of reclaimed wood and steel. When built next year, these structures will be permanent.

 

More shade will be found beneath oversized, fabric umbrellas that city workers can move around on steel posts and concrete bases. They should be in place this year.

 

Next year city hall plans to add wood-topped seating, raised planters along King Street, and up to three leafy trees. It’s all meant to soften the concrete oasis, provide summer shade, and allow winter sunlight, at a total cost estimated at $1.7 million.

 

“It’s been a long road to get here,” Coun. Tenille Bonoguore said. She’s spoken to seniors and to parents of young children, and figures adding moisture and shade will bring relief to people who bake in the square on the hottest days.

 

“This is the start of a fantastic move toward helping make a great space that could be used by more people on more days through more seasons,” she said.

 

Things to Do in Waterloo Region - Summer Edition

Revised plan lowers one building, adds green space to Ottawa St development

Source – The Record

Three-building complex would have 476 residential units.

 

Green space — or a lack thereof — was on some Kitchener councillors’ minds as a developer brought a revised three-building plan to a planning committee meeting.

 

Zehr Group plans to build the residential complex on Ottawa Street North near King Street East, on a 1.23-hectare (three-acre) property that had been home to Wright Auto Sales.

 

Representatives said they’d listened to comments from city staff and area residents in making some changes to the original concept. A six-storey building closest to an existing low-rise residential area has shrunk to four storeys, while 15 three-bedroom live-work units have been added to the overall plan.

 

In addition to the lower four-storey building, the plans call for one six-storey building and a 26-storey tower with an adjoining five-storey podium, with 476 residential units across the development.

 

The revised plan also adds a raised 28,362-square-foot landscaped courtyard that would be built atop a covered parking area.

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New Spectrum exhibit at THEMUSEUM

Source – THEMUSEUM

SPECTRUM | The Five Senses brings together the work of international, Canadian, and local artists, as well as some favourite THEMUSEUM interactive exhibits for a fun-filled, multisensory experience. Immerse yourself in art that ignites your five senses, and helps you to make sense of your world!

 

Exhibition Highlights

 

– #Bitesizedclay is a playful exploration of the art of food through plasticine sculpture, styling, and photography.

 

– In LINES, Swedish sound artist and artistic researcher Anders Lind explores lines as musical instruments. Lines attached to the wall, on the floor, and hanging from the ceiling in combination with sensors and electronics are forming three novel musical instruments.

 

– Boko’s scent generators respond to visitors’ proximity, dosing the air with a fine mist and fragrance when approached. With smells selected to trigger fond memories, the scent exhibit aims to help guests explore with their noses.

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Three Waterloo towers proposed for Bridgeport Rd

Source – The Record

Towers pitched as entryway into the housing market.

 

Today the site is a used car lot and a closed mattress store fronting on busy Bridgeport Road.

 

Soon, it could have three residential towers reaching up to 22 storeys if city council says yes to the extra height. So it goes in Waterloo, which leads the region in growing bigger and growing taller.

 

Council has already approved a plan to replace four detached houses on Erb Street West with a six-storey building containing 93 units. This type of densification is not unusual. Waterloo is growing faster than Kitchener and Cambridge and is home to two-thirds of new highrise residences approved in the region in the past five years, according to the 2021 census.

 

More unusual is a new highrise proposal that council will decide on a later date.

 

It calls for three towers ranging from 16 to 22 storeys on land currently restricted to 12 storeys, on a site at 81-85 Bridgeport Rd. E., across the street from the Bridgeport Plaza, near the downtown.

 

Realtors pitched the site for redevelopment and what emerged is a plan for 492 residential units with a mix of one, two, and three bedrooms, plus 508 parking spaces and commercial space at ground level. Seeing it for the first time, councillors questioned the extra height, mix of units and streetscape appeal. Some asked if parking should be further reduced.

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Waterloo Region Tech Update

Source – Waterloo EDC & Waterloo Tech Highlights

Whitney & Company commercial real estate

Magnet announced that it acquired strategic intellectual property (IP) assets from cybersecurity software firm Comae Technologies, which is based in the United Arab Emirates and specializes in incident response and memory analysis. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Deep Trekker logo

Halma, the global group of life-saving technology companies, has acquired Deep Trekker Inc. for $60M CAD. Deep Trekker is highly aligned to Halma’s purpose of growing a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone. Its submersible robots protect and maintain critical infrastructure, including offshore wind farms and aquaculture. This advanced underwater monitoring technology helps to ensure a cleaner environment while improving the safety of underwater inspections.

Auvik logo

Auvik acquired MetaGeek, a provider of WiFi network management and optimization software tools for enterprises, small businesses and home networks. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. They have also hired Bob Gault as their new Chief Revenue Officer.

 

vuereal-logo

Tech firm VueReal plans to hire dozens of employees by the end of 2023 in an expansion fuelled by US$14.4 million raised in its latest funding round. The new funding will allow VueReal to expand its production capacity and capabilities as it creates custom displays for a growing customer base and continues to commercialize its unique microprinting platform.

Whitney & Company commercial real estate

Intellijoint received a second PO from a Canadian hospital in as many months, landing a $1M order from Grand River hospital. Grand River Hospital will be adopting the use of Intellijoint’s intraoperative navigation solution for hip replacement, Intellijoint HIP, as part of a research study to understand the benefit of this new technology for patients, and identify any economic efficiencies that can be realized across the provincial health system as a result of its use.  

chalk-logo

Chalk, the curriculum mapping and lesson planning software company in Kitchener has been acquired by PowerSchool for $10M CAD. PowerSchool is the leading provider of cloud-based software for K-12 education in North America, providing best-in-class solutions to over 13,000 K-12 organizations.

Cavelo-logo

Data protection solutions provider Cavelo Inc. has launched its new channel partner program and announced the appointment of Kris Shoemaker as head of channel sales. All partners benefit from the program’s aggressive sales margins, additional IT consulting opportunities, extensive marketing support, education and seller incentives.  

Whitney & Company commercial real estate

Nicoya Lifesciences, which provides advanced analytical instruments to researchers in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, has acquired fellow Kitchener-Waterloo startup LSK Technologies.

The deal represents Nicoya’s first acquisition to date. LSK, which was spun out of the University of Toronto, claims to offer “lab-quality testing without the lab.” The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Councillors back 7-storey mixed-use development across from Kitchener Market

Source – The Record

Building will have ground-floor commercial space, 29 residential units.

 

Councillors have endorsed plans for a seven-storey commercial and residential building across from the Kitchener Market. The project, at the corner of King and Eby streets, calls for about 2,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, with 29 residential units in the floors above.

 

Close to the Ion rapid transit line, the building won’t require vehicle parking spaces but must have bicycle parking for both residents and visitors; plans include 33 secure indoor spaces for residents.

 

The property currently consists of a vacant lot closest to King Street, and a single detached home further down Eby, beside The Yeti Café.

 

“This particular property and these applications present an excellent opportunity to benefit and improve downtown and the city,” Andrew Pinnell, a senior planner with the city, told councillors at a committee meeting.

 

There will be an outdoor rooftop amenity space, and the building will likely include one-bedroom and one-bedroom-plus-den units.

King and Eby Kitchener

Try Something New

Camellia Bakeshop is located at 305 Northfield Dr E, and serves up European inspired baked goods, coffee and lunches

The Bakery (Ce Food Experience) has moved to 100 Regina St S in Uptown Waterloo and offers a wide range of sweet and savoury selections made from scratch.

Imperial Market & Eatery at 60 Huron St in New Hamburg offers rotisserie & smoked meats, unique side dishes, fresh sandwiches, craft cocktails, coffee, plus local market fare. 

Jacob’s Grill is a neighbourhood grill in downtown St. Jacob’s with a commitment to locally produced and sourced food products.

Foundry Tavern at 74 Grand Avenue S in Cambridge is set in the heart of the historic Gaslight District, offering an irreplaceable aura and authentic vibe. 

Puddicombe House in New Hamburg provides casual fine dining in an elegant atmosphere.