BlackBerry made headlines once again yesterday, announcing their intention to sell the majority of their Canadian real estate holdings.
Up for sale is just over three million square feet of real estate and 85 acres of land located throughout Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Mississauga and Ottawa. Of the real estate holdings available for sale, 78 per cent are located in Waterloo Region. Throughout BlackBerry’s incredible years of growth in Waterloo, the company has amassed an inventory of office space that now represents a staggering 25% of the Kitchener–Waterloo office market. Naturally, locals with real estate interests in the Region are concerned about the impact the sale will have on the commercial real estate market.
Karl Innanen, Managing Director of Colliers Waterloo Region comments, “We will see vacancy rates go up, as well as a pause in lease rates. However, companies that have been elbowed out of the market in recent years will finally have a real opportunity to expand and secure talent previously absorbed by BlackBerry.”
Innanen believes there is a strong buyer market for the BlackBerry portfolio. “There is absolutely an appetite for this. Both users and investors will see value in different pieces of the portfolio”.
Innanen estimates that the portfolio is valued at between $300 and $350 million and that the type of buyers that come to the table will ultimately determine the length of the sale process.
“In the next three to four months, as the buyer pool develops, we’ll have a better idea of how long it will take for this space to be absorbed. “