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Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust Reports Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2020 – Canada NewsWire

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TORONTO, Feb. 10, 2021 /CNW/ – Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (“Choice Properties” or the “Trust”) (TSX: CHP.UN) today announced its consolidated financial results for the year ended December 31, 2020. The 2020 Annual Report to Unitholders is available in the Investors section of the Trust’s website at www.choicereit.ca, and has been filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

“We are pleased with our financial and operational results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2020, as our portfolio of high-quality real estate assets continued to produce strong earnings and stable rent collections. In addition to posting strong results, we completed over $1 billion of real estate transactions this year through our capital recycling program, demonstrating our commitment and ability to improve the overall quality of our portfolio,” said Rael Diamond, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Trust.  “However, the strength of our results notwithstanding, we remain cautious due to the ongoing risks and uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact they may have on the economy and our business.”

Summary of GAAP Basis Financial Results



Three Months


Year Ended

($ thousands except where otherwise indicated)
(unaudited)


December 31,
2020


December 31,
2019


Change


December 31,
2020


December 31,
2019


Change

Net income (loss)


$

116,570


$

293,261


$

(176,691)


$

450,685


$

(581,357)


$

1,032,042

Net income (loss) per unit diluted


0.162


0.419


(0.257)


0.637


(0.843)


1.480














Rental revenue


321,862


317,986


3,876


1,270,614


1,288,554


(17,940)

Fair value gain (loss) on













Exchangeable Units(1)


(86,370)


206,680


(293,050)


354,286


(932,009)


1,286,295

Fair value gains (losses) excluding













Exchangeable Units(2)


104,948


9,352


95,596


(217,808)


(11,543)


(206,265)














Cash flows from operating activities


255,960


207,460


48,500


621,184


580,556


40,628














Weighted average Units outstanding –













diluted


718,026,576


700,544,380


17,482,196


707,764,714


689,285,790


18,478,924



1.

Exchangeable Units are recorded at their fair value based on the market trading price of the Trust Units, which results in a negative impact to the financial results when the Trust Unit price rises and a positive impact when the Trust Unit price declines.

2.

Fair value gains (losses) excluding Exchangeable Units includes adjustments to fair value of investment properties and unit-based compensation.

Quarterly Results
Net income for the fourth quarter of 2020 was $116.6 million compared to $293.3 million in 2019. The decrease was mainly due to an unfavourable change of $293.1 million in the adjustment to the fair value on the Exchangeable Units, partially offset by a $109.8 million favourable change in the fair value of investment properties, including properties held within equity accounted joint ventures. For the quarter, bad debt expense was $2.7 million on a GAAP basis ($3.5 million on a proportionate share basis).

Annual Results
Net income for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $450.7 million, compared to a loss of $581.4 million in the prior year. The increase was mainly due to a favourable change of $1.3 billion in the adjustment to fair value on Exchangeable Units, reduced interest and financing charges, and a favourable change in other fair value adjustments, partially offset by an unfavourable change in the fair value of investment properties, including properties held within equity accounted joint ventures, increased bad debt expense, and non-recurring items recorded in the second quarter which included early redemption premiums paid on two senior unsecured debentures maturing in 2021 and an allowance for expected losses related to a specific mortgage receivable.

The Trust has continued to support its tenants that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic by providing rent relief through rent deferrals and other arrangements, including participating in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (“CECRA”) program for eligible tenants, which ended on September 30, 2020. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Trust recorded a bad debt expense of $23.7 million on a proportionate share basis that reflects the support provided to tenants as well as the increased collectability risk for certain tenants with amounts past due.

Summary of Proportionate Share(1) Financial Results

As at or for the period ended


Three Months


Year Ended

($ thousands except where otherwise indicated)
(unaudited)


December 31,
2020


December 31,
2019


Change


December 31,
2020


December 31,
2019


Change

Rental revenue(1) 


$

337,907


$

333,744


$

4,163


$

1,332,657


$

1,354,383


$

(21,726)

Net Operating Income (“NOI”), cash basis(1)(3) 


230,353


234,949


(4,596)


908,081


941,320


(33,239)

Same-Asset NOI, cash basis(1)(3)


201,167


205,876


(4,709)


795,532


808,597


(13,065)

Adjustment to fair value of investment properties(1)


103,931


(5,891)


109,822


(256,837)


(15,250)


(241,587)

Occupancy (% of GLA)


97.1%


97.7%


(0.6)%


97.1%


97.7%


(0.6)%

Funds from operations (“FFO”)(2)


171,519


165,795


5,724


652,007


680,278


(28,271)

FFO(2) per unit diluted


0.239


0.237


0.002


0.921


0.987


(0.066)

Adjusted funds from operations (“AFFO”)(2)


136,054


129,187


6,867


566,469


587,695


(21,226)

AFFO(2) per unit diluted


0.189


0.184


0.005


0.800


0.853


(0.053)

AFFO(2) payout ratio – diluted


97.7%


100.3%


(2.6)%


92.6%


86.8%


5.8%

Cash distributions declared


162,411


151,267


11,144


554,157


532,054


22,103

Weighted average number of Units outstanding – diluted


718,026,576


700,544,380


17,482,196


707,764,714


689,285,790


18,478,924



1.

A non-GAAP measurement which includes amounts from directly held properties and equity accounted joint ventures.

2.

A non-GAAP measurement.

3.

Includes a provision for bad debts and rent abatements.

Quarterly Results
For the three months ended December 31, 2020, Funds from Operations (“FFO”, a non-GAAP measure) was $171.5 million or $0.239 per unit diluted compared to $165.8 million or $0.237 per unit diluted for the three months ended December 31, 2019. FFO increased in the current quarter primarily due to the reduction in net interest expense and other financing charges resulting from deleveraging activities, partially offset by higher bad debt expense. In addition, 2019 results included non-recurring charges relating to the reimbursement of revenue to Loblaw for incorrectly allocated solar rooftop leases and an allowance for expected credit losses on a mortgage receivable.

The increase on a per unit basis is due to the increase in FFO as described above, partially offset by the impact of the higher weighted average number of units outstanding as a result of the May 2019 equity offering where proceeds were used to lower debt levels, as well as the units issued as consideration of the acquisition of two assets from Wittington Properties Limited in July 2020, and the issuance of Exchangeable Units to Weston Foods (Canada) Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of George Weston Limited (“GWL”), as consideration for the acquisition of six assets in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Annual Results
For the year ended December 31, 2020, FFO was $652.0 million or $0.921 per unit diluted compared to $680.3 million or $0.987 per unit diluted for the year ended December 31, 2019.

FFO decreased on an annual basis primarily due to an increase in bad debt expense, partially offset by lower borrowing costs from deleveraging activities and capital recycling.

The decline in FFO on a per unit basis also reflects the higher weighted average number of units outstanding as discussed above.

Transaction Activity
Since the end of the prior quarter, the Trust completed or entered into agreements to complete $332.4 million of dispositions and $219.3 million of acquisitions on a proportionate share basis(1). Notable transactions include:

  • the previously announced disposition to an institutional partner of a 50% non-managing interest in a retail property portfolio for an aggregate sale price of $169.0 million, excluding transaction costs, comprised of eleven assets and 656,000 square feet;
  • the previously announced disposition of two retail property portfolios comprised of eight assets and 496,000 square feet for an aggregate sale price of $107.4 million;
  • the disposition of a retail property comprising 259,000 square feet for an aggregate sale price of $51.0 million;
  • the previously announced acquisition of an industrial portfolio for an aggregate purchase price of $85.9 million comprised of four assets. The portfolio is 100% leased to a national logistics company with long-term leases in place;
  • the acquisition of five retail assets from Loblaw Companies Limited for an aggregate purchase price of $45.7 million; and
  • the acquisition of six industrial properties from Weston Foods (Canada) Inc., a subsidiary of GWL, for an aggregate purchase price of $79.1 million.

The Trust has also made ongoing investments in its development program with $45.1 million of spending during the quarter on intensification, greenfield, mixed use and residential development projects on a proportionate share basis(1). During the quarter, the Trust also transferred $82.8 million of properties under development to income producing status, delivering 180,000 square feet of new GLA on a proportionate share basis(1).

OUTLOOK AND IMPACT OF COVID-19

While the duration and longer-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be predicted at this time, Choice Properties remains confident that its business model and disciplined approach to financial management will enable it to weather the impact of the pandemic.

Our diversified portfolio of office, retail and industrial properties is 97.1% occupied and leased to high-quality tenants across Canada. Our retail portfolio is primarily leased to grocery stores, pharmacies or other necessity-based tenants, who continue to perform well in this environment and the diversification of income provided by our industrial and office assets provides stability to our overall portfolio This stability is evident by our rent collections, which were 98% for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Choice Properties continues to advance our development initiatives, which will provide us with the best opportunity to add high-quality real estate to our portfolio at a reasonable cost. We have a mix of development projects ranging in size, scale and complexity, including retail intensification projects which provide incremental growth to our existing sites, to larger, more complex major mixed-use developments which will drive net asset value growth in the future.

We expect to complete construction on two of our rental residential projects underway in Toronto in 2021 and have commenced construction on two additional high-rise residential projects. We have invested approximately $182.7 million into residential developments to date, and will continue to invest in our development pipeline, with an additional $326.8 million of spending planned on six residential projects.

In addition to our ongoing residential development, we are evaluating opportunities within our portfolio to redevelop and transform some of our grocery anchored retail projects into large scale major mixed-use projects. We are in the early planning stages on four major mixed-use sites and we expect that these initiatives will be a significant part of our growth going forward.

Choice Properties has taken proactive steps to ensure its financial strength and stability during and after the pandemic. Choice Properties’ strong balance sheet provides the flexibility necessary to help insulate the Trust in the face of broader market volatility. During 2020, the Trust made significant progress in further strengthening its balance sheet, including refinancing unsecured debt maturities, increasing the weighted average term of debt and increasing available liquidity by issuing $1 billion of unsecured debentures, the proceeds of which were primarily used to fund all unsecured debt maturities until the third quarter of 2021 and repay amounts drawn on the Trust’s revolving credit facility. From a liquidity perspective, the Trust has approximately $1.7 billion available comprised of $1.5 billion as the unused portion of the Trust’s revolving credit facility and $223.7 million in cash and cash equivalents, in addition to approximately $12.2 billion in unencumbered assets.

While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic persists, we are pleased with our financial results this past quarter, demonstrating that our business model, stable tenant base and disciplined approach to financial management continue to position us well.

Update on Rent Collection

As one of Canada’s largest landlords, the Trust continued to support its tenants who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic by providing rent relief through rent deferrals and other arrangements, including participating in the CECRA program. Rent collection for the fourth quarter was at the higher end of collections within the industry and was primarily due to the stability of the Trust’s necessity-based portfolio.

For the three months ended December 31, 2020, the Trust collected or expects to collect approximately 98% of contractual rents:


% Collected

Fourth Quarter 2020


Retail

98%


Industrial

100%


Office(1)

97%


Total

98%


(1) Uncollected portion primarily relates to retail tenants in office buildings

In determining the expected credit losses on rent receivables, the Trust takes into account the payment history and future expectations of likely default events (i.e. asking for rental concessions, applications for rental relief through government programs such as the CECRA program, or stating they will not be making rental payments on the due date) based on actual or expected insolvency filings or company voluntary arrangements and likely deferrals of payments due, and potential abatements to be granted by the landlord under CECRA. These assessments are made on a tenant-by-tenant basis.

The Trust’s assessment of expected credit losses is inherently subjective due to the forward-looking nature of the assessments. As a result, the value of the expected credit loss is subject to a degree of uncertainty and is made on the basis of assumptions which may not prove to be accurate given the uncertainty caused by COVID-19.  Based on its review, the Trust recorded bad debt expense of $3.5 million in property operating costs, on a proportionate share basis(1), during the three months ended December 31, 2020, with a corresponding amount recorded as an expected credit loss against its rent receivables. Of the $3.5 million bad debt expense recorded in the fourth quarter, approximately $1.6 million related to uncollected amounts from recurring billings in the period, while the balance pertains to past due amounts for a national retailer and smaller tenants that have declared bankruptcy.

($ thousands)

Nine months ended
December 31, 2020

As a %

Total recurring tenant billings

$

1,100,269

100.0

%

Less: CECRA collections

(10,467)

1.0

%

Less: Amounts received and deferrals repaid to date

(1,059,726)

96.3

%

Balance outstanding

30,076

2.7

%

Total rents expected to be collected pursuant to deferral arrangements

(5,194)

(0.4)

%

Total rents to be collected excluding collectible deferrals

24,882

2.3

%

Less: Provision recorded related to recurring tenant billings

(20,883)

(1.9)

%

Balance expected to be recovered in time

$

3,999

0.4

%

The Trust’s provision for recurring tenant billings for the nine months ended December 31, 2020, is comprised of the following:

($ thousands)

Nine months ended
December 31, 2020

Provisions for CECRA-eligible tenants (reflects 25% landlord share)

$

(5,371)

Provisions for tenants with negotiated rent abatements

(10,510)

Provisions for additional expected credit losses

(5,002)

Total provision recorded related to recurring tenant billings

$

(20,883)

Due to continued uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, it is not possible to reliably estimate the length and severity of COVID-19 related impacts on the financial results and operations of the Trust and its tenants, as well as on consumer behaviours and the economy in general. For more information on the risks presented to the Trust by the COVID-19 pandemic, please see Section 12, “Enterprise Risks and Risk Management” of the Trust’s MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2020 and its Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2020.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Additional Financial Information
In addition to using performance measures determined in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS” or “GAAP”), Choice Properties also measures its performance using certain non-GAAP measures, and provides these measures in this news release so that investors may do the same. Such measures and related per-unit amounts are not defined by IFRS and therefore should not be construed as alternatives to net income or cash flow from operating activities determined in accordance with IFRS. Furthermore, the supplemental measures used by management may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other real estate investment trusts or enterprises. These terms, which include the proportionate share basis of accounting as it relates to “equity accounted joint ventures”, net operating income (“NOI”), funds from operations (“FFO”) and adjusted funds from operations (“AFFO”), are defined in Section 14, “Non-GAAP Financial Measures”, of the Choice Properties MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2020, and are reconciled to the most comparable GAAP measure.

Choice Properties’ consolidated financial statements and MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2020 are available on Choice Properties’ website at www.choicereit.ca and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Readers are directed to these documents for financial details and a fulsome discussion on Choice Properties’ results.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis and Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes
Information appearing in this news release is a select summary of results. This news release should be read in conjunction with the Choice Properties 2020 Annual Report to Unitholders, which includes the consolidated financial statements and MD&A for the Trust, and is available at www.choicereit.ca and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Conference Call and Webcast
Management will host a conference call on Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 10:30AM (ET) with a simultaneous audio webcast. To access via teleconference, please dial (647) 427-7450 or (888) 231-8191. A playback will be made available two hours after the event at (416) 849-0833 or (855) 859-2056, access code: 9790288. The link to the audio webcast will be available on www.choicereit.ca in the “Investors” section under “Events & Webcasts”.

About Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust
Choice Properties is a leading Real Estate Investment Trust that creates enduring value through the ownership, operation and development of high-quality commercial and residential properties.

We believe that value comes from creating spaces that improve how our tenants and communities come together to live, work, and connect. We strive to understand the needs of our tenants and manage our properties to the highest standard. We aspire to develop healthy, resilient communities through our dedication to social, economic, and environmental sustainability. In everything we do, we are guided by a shared set of values grounded in Care, Ownership, Respect and Excellence. For more information, visit Choice Properties’ website at www.choicereit.ca and Choice Properties’ issuer profile at www.sedar.com.

Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements relating to Choice Properties’ operations and the environment in which the Trust operates, which are based on management’s expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties that are difficult to control or predict. Therefore, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. Readers, therefore, should not place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. Further, a forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made. Management undertakes no obligation to publicly update any such statement, to reflect new information or the occurrence of future events or circumstances, except as required by law.

Numerous risks and uncertainties could cause the Trust’s actual results to differ materially from those expressed, implied or projected in the forward-looking statements, including those described in Section 12, “Enterprise Risks and Risk Management” of the Trust’s MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2020, which includes detailed risks and disclosure regarding COVID-19 and its impact on the Trust, and those described in the Trust’s Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2020.

For further information, please contact [email protected]

SOURCE Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust

For further information: Mario Barrafato, Chief Financial Officer, t: (416) 628-7872 e: [email protected]

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Greek-Canadian businessman saw opportunity in undervalued Detroit real estate – The Globe and Mail

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Andreas Apostolopoulos.

Courtesy of the Family

Andreas Apostolopoulos arrived in Canada as a 17-year-old on a Friday in 1969 and started work at a Kentucky Fried Chicken factory the following Monday. All his life he remembered the nine parts of a chicken that had to be rendered before they could be shipped off to a KFC outlet to be fried and dumped into a bucket.

A man who only went as far as Grade 5 or 6 in Greece, he was worth billions when he died on Feb. 15 at home in Richmond Hill, Ont., at the age of 69.

One of his biggest coups was in 2009 when he bought the 80,311-seat Pontiac Silverdome for US$583,000, about 1 per cent of the US$55.7-million cost of building the domed stadium in 1975.

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Pontiac, Mich., is a separate city northwest of Detroit, but part of the Metro Detroit area. General Motors once built its Pontiac cars there, but like much of the Detroit area, it fell on hard times. The city of Pontiac built the stadium, home to the Detroit Lions of the National Football League, who played there until 2002, when they moved to the Ford Field in downtown Detroit.

That left Pontiac on the ropes. There was an offer on the stadium but the buyer reneged on the $250,000 deposit. There was an auction. The city was expecting US$17-million for its giant stadium sitting on 127 acres of land. Mr. Apostolopoulos was on vacation in Greece when one of his sons called him about the stadium sale. He made a stink bid of US$500,000. To his surprise he discovered he was one of the top three bidders. There was another auction and the auctioneer opened the bidding, over the phone, at US$20-million dollars. No one said a peep. Mr. Apostolopoulos won it for US$583,000.

For several years he and his three sons ran the Silverdome for everything from monster truck rallies to boxing matches. But a stadium that is one third larger than the Rogers Centre in Toronto can look a little empty with just 12,000 people in it. Then parts of the roof fell off, a problem with domed stadiums of the era.

One of Mr. Apostolopoulos’s biggest coups was in 2009 when he bought the 80,311-seat Pontiac Silverdome for US$583,000, about 1 per cent of the US$55.7-million cost of building the domed stadium in 1975.

JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Finally, the stadium was demolished in December, 2017, and in 2019 the Apostolopoulos family came to an agreement with Amazon over the property – a confidentiality agreement prevents them from saying whether it was an outright sale or a lease. The end result is that the 127-acre property, at the junction of major highways, including the Interstate I-75, is home to an Amazon distribution and fulfilment centre. Amazon spent upwards of US$250-million to build the facility.

“My father turned down a lot of offers for the Silverdome, including a waste transfer station, until he found one that was good for the community. The Amazon site will provide 2,500 jobs better than minimum wage,” Peter Apostolopoulos said.

In 2017, Canadian Business magazine listed the Apostolopoulos family as the 22nd-richest in Canada, with assets of $3.9-billion.

Andreas Apostolopoulos, was born on Sept. 25, 1952, in Messini, Greece, where his father, Dimitri, ran a small café. His sister, Anna, moved to Toronto and then he followed. A couple of years after he arrived, the siblings sent for their father and mother, Dimitra.

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Mr. Apostolopoulos, known as Andy in Canada, worked pulling chickens apart for a couple of years, so long that he met KFC’s Colonel Sanders on two occasions when the face of the company visited Toronto. In later life it was a bit of party trick that he could recite all the parts of the dismembered chicken.

He married Joanna Argiropoulos when he was 22. Her father, Peter, was a Toronto taxi driver and for a while Mr. Apostolopoulos drove cabs to the airport. He took on as many jobs as he could.

“He worked in his uncle’s fish and chips shop, he was an electrical apprentice and spent nights and weekends as an usher at the Titania theatre on the Danforth – which showed Greek movies – along with sweeping and mopping floors. He did it all,” his son Peter said.

Cleaning offices morphed into his first company when he landed his own contracts. His wife, Joanna, whose English was better than his, worked the phones lining up cleaning work.

“But he was the closer,” Jim said. “Our father was a very outgoing, friendly person.”

The links from one business to another seem obvious when looking back on his progress, but his first move up came when he thought he was paying too much for garbage bags. He decided to make them himself. Soon he was selling garbage bags to hospitals and other customers. He sold his cleaning contracts and started producing garbage bags full time.

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Next he aimed to reduce the amount of rent he was paying for warehouse and manufacturing space for his garbage bags. He bought his first warehouse in East York, an old industrial area other companies had abandoned for Mexico, Vietnam or China. Right away he realized he had too much space for the garbage-bag business so he sub-divided the warehouse into units and rented them out.

The industrial rental business was much more lucrative than the garbage bag business, so he sold out and started Triple Properties, managing and developing industrial, commercial and retail space. He bought and sold one building after another. Because he used to rent warehouse space, he had a good idea what tenants wanted.

Like many immigrants, Mr. Apostolopoulos valued land and buildings more than other investments. Part of the reason was that in Greece, land was owned by the type of rich person he never thought he could aspire to be. “Buy bricks, not paper,” he told his three sons, who worked with him.

Though he had little formal education, he could work out a deal in his head in a hurry. “My father was very good with numbers. He was like a human calculator,” his son Peter said

The numbers on Detroit real estate looked good. In the early 2000s Mr. Apostolopoulos started looking at investing there. The city had been in a slump since the race riots of the summer of 1967 and again in April 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

While buying a warehouse in Toronto gave him a 5-per-cent return on his money, buying an industrial property in the Detroit area produced a 20-per-cent return, since many developers avoided the area.

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In 2012 Mr. Apostolopoulos bought the Penobscot office tower, a massive Empire State building lookalike in downtown Detroit for just US$5-million. Right away the annual rent brought in more than the purchase price. The 47-storey Art Deco Penobscot building has 1.25 million square feet of office space. By comparison, Scotia Plaza in downtown Toronto, at two million square feet, was valued at $1.5-billion in a sale in 2017.

In 2012 Mr. Apostolopoulos bought the Penobscot office tower, a massive Empire State building lookalike in downtown Detroit for just US$5-million.

Mandi Wright/USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

“A lot of people were afraid to invest. My father wasn’t afraid. Also part of the time he was buying when the Canadian dollar was at par with the U.S. dollar. At one point the Canadian was worth a bit more than the U.S. and that made buying in the United States even better,” Peter said. He added that there was negative press in the United States, critical of Canadians snapping up undervalued properties in the Detroit area.

One condescending article noted that Andreas Apostolopoulos spoke English with a Greek accent.

Mr. Apostolopoulos’s Triple Properties has faced criticism over the Penobscot’s state of disrepair. An article in the Detroit Free Press as recently as Feb. 8 noted the tenants in the building complained about a lack of water and elevator stoppages.

The City of Detroit issued 177 blight violation tickets and fines to Triple Properties for the Penobscot last year, according to the Free Press. Curbed Detroit magazine in a recent article, called Mr. Apostolopoulos “a controversial figure in Detroit real estate.”

The three brothers answered that the recent incident was caused by a power outage and failed water pump, which the brothers said was repaired within a day.

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“The building is almost 100 years old and the previous owner neglected it,” Peter Apostolopoulos said. “We have spent millions updating the building.”

His father was always looking for new business opportunities. When he bought the Pontiac Silverdome, he noticed a small cheque came in that he and his sons couldn’t place. He learned it was a payment for a billboard on the site. From then on he was always on the lookout for properties with billboards.

One of his latest deals was building a huge casino, called Durham Live, in Pickering, a Toronto suburb. Its opening has been stalled by the pandemic lockdown.

“Our father was smart, sharp, quick-witted and a caring man, even more so as he got older,” his son Steve said. From the start Andreas Apostolopoulos was a frugal man, always a saver. “He was not flashy, did not care for name brands or look at what people had or what they were wearing as a marker for their character or worth as a human being, He had no biases, and couldn’t care less about your skin colour, social status, net worth or religion.”

He had no outside interests, apart from work and family, and no bad habits – didn’t smoke and was a light drinker – though he occasionally liked to play cards with Greek friends on the Danforth in Toronto. He was proud of his success and had one piece of advice: “You can’t get to the top without starting from the bottom.”

Mr. Apostolopoulos leaves his wife, Joanna; three sons, Jim, Peter and Steve; and five grandchildren.

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Quebec's Caisse posts 7.7 per cent return in 2020 as real estate underperforms – constructconnect.com – Daily Commercial News

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MONTREAL — The Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec posted a return of 7.7 per cent in 2020, missing its benchmark index of 9.2 per cent.

The investment fund’s performance was dragged down by real estate investments, which suffered during the pandemic, the Caisse says.

The Caisse’s real estate portfolio, which includes shopping centres and office buildings, declined 15.6 per cent in 2020, the Caisse says.

Caisse president and chief executive officer Charles Emond says the return meets the needs of its depositors, which require around a six per cent average return over the long term.

The annualized return over five and 10 years was 7.8 per cent and 8.6 per cent, respectively, the Caisse says.

As of Dec. 31, the Caisse’s net assets stood at $365 billion, it says.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Neutral walls can help seal a real estate deal – Calgary Herald

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Article content

Before listing your home, bear in mind that neutral wall colours will help it sell faster.

It doesn’t matter if you only have one crimson red accent wall or only one bedroom painted an icy blue. Your personal decorating choices can colour the way buyers experience your home.

“Buyers often can’t see past paint,” says Francesca Serafini of Real Estate Professionals Inc. in Calgary.

“Colour is psychological and can affect people differently. If they’ve had a negative experience with a purple or a red (colours that you might have sparingly in the home) they’re not going to like the whole house.”

Even if changing the paint colour is an easy, inexpensive fix, a buyer’s first thought automatically turns to the work they must do to get rid of the colour they find so abhorrent.

“People don’t have time. When they have to go to the paint store, buy a paint brush and a can of paint then wonder what colour to pick, it can be a job in itself. And not everyone has that eye,” she says.

When a buyer walks into a home that’s completely neutral, it’s easier for them to visual their own space with their own possessions. It’s a blank canvas that looks cleaner, brighter and larger.

A turn-key home might also fetch a higher dollar.

If a home has brightly painted walls but is in original or vintage condition, where nothing or very little has been done to update it, don’t bother painting, says Serafini, a realtor for 23 years.

“More than likely someone will do a renovation anyway, or perhaps an investor. If nothing has been touched, it’s not worth it.”

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