Manulife boosts industrial footprint in Ottawa with $11.5M Bantree Street acquisition

2105 Bantree
Manulife Investment Management has purchased 10 acres of industrial land at 2105 Bantree St. in the city's south end. Google Maps image

A global investment firm has pulled the trigger on its second recent Ottawa-area real estate acquisition as it looks to beef up its holdings in the city’s burgeoning industrial submarket.

Manulife Investment Management said Friday it’s purchased 10 acres of land at a south-end industrial park, calling the property at 2105 Bantree St. an “attractive redevelopment opportunity.”

The company did not divulge financial details of the transaction, but an industry source pegged the purchase price at $11.5 million. The property is zoned for heavy industrial use and was previously owned by Greyhound, which operates a maintenance garage in a 108,500-square-foot building on the site.

Manulife ​– which also manages the Innes Business Park just a few hundred metres north of the Bantree Street property ​– said the land and building are sought-after commodities due to their central location and easy access to Highway 417.

“Acquiring strategic infill redevelopment sites in established industrial nodes is an important part of our build-to-core program to grow our industrial portfolio,” Gregory Sweeney, Manulife Investment Management's head of Canadian real estate investments, said in a statement.

New warehouse construction

It’s the second local real-estate acquisition the firm has announced this week. 

On Wednesday, Manulife said it was making its first foray into the region’s multi-family housing market with a $63-million deal for a Gatineau luxury apartment complex. 

The company already owns 21 commercial and industrial properties in the area, including office towers at 150 Slater St., 220 Laurier Ave. W. and 55 Metcalfe St. It now appears to be stepping up efforts to expand its footprint in Ottawa’s industrial sector, which has a relatively low vacancy rate of just over three per cent and is seeing a spate of new construction after decades of stagnant growth.

Over the past two years, Broccolini and other developers have either built, started work on or announced plans for nearly five million square feet of new warehouse and distribution space in the region – including a 2.8-million-square-foot warehouse now under construction for Amazon at 222 Citigate Dr. in Barrhaven that will be the e-commerce giant’s second facility in Ottawa. 

Real estate experts say the capital is poised for more large-scale industrial projects due to its stable economy and strategic location between Toronto and Montreal – a major selling point for retailers looking to set up more distribution centres as online shopping surges.

“I think you’re going to start seeing more and more (industrial construction in Ottawa),” Broccolini chief operating officer Anthony Broccolini said during a discussion on the capital’s real estate scene in September. “The market is changing.”