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United Property Resource Corporation unlocks value of real estate assets held by Canada's largest land owners – Canada NewsWire



The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is providing UPRC with a $20 million line of credit through the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund to be accessed for pre-development and pre-construction costs as it builds affordable housing across Canada. UPRC is committed to building a minimum of 5,000 new affordable housing units across the country over the next 15 years. This creates significant opportunity to repurpose assets and build sustainable communities.

UPRC has committed to ‘be building’ 1500 affordable units by 2025 and 5000 affordable units by 2035. That translates into approximately 20,000 new rental units within the same time period as many of these developments will be mixed income and mixed use ensuring much need community space will be incorporated.

“This is one of the largest opportunities to reimagine what our neighbourhoods could look like over the next 15 years and the common good that repurposing real estate can have on communities,” said Tim Blair, CEO, United Property Resource Corporation. “UPRC represents an exciting opportunity to fill a gap in the housing market across the country and advocate for progressive real estate models that are inclusive, environmentally and financially sustainable. None of this would be possible without the support from our partners; we are grateful to the Federal Government, and The United Church of Canada for their vision and commitment.”

UPRC will focus on providing affordable housing for Canadians in a range of housing types including housing for families. Many of UPRC’s projects will broaden housing choices, creating a unique opportunity to fill the “missing middle”, a range of housing types between single-detached houses and high-rise buildings that have gone missingfrom many of our cities in the last 60 to 70 years. As cities struggle to find ways to broaden housing choices, create walkable communities, and remain economically competitive, the missing middleis increasingly part of the discussion about intensification, complete communities, housing choices, and housing affordability.

The UCC undertook a national property inventory, in partnership with the CMHC, to assess the total real estate portfolio and create a strategy. The creation of a development corporation – UPRC – was a key tenet of the strategy.

“It’s incredible to see this vision come to fruition in the UPRC and to see the tremendous value it will bring to communities of faith across Canada,” said Nora Sanders, General Secretary of The United Church of Canada. “In the language that communities of faith would use, ‘this is the abundance that is available to create the world that we want to see'”.

The team of experts that make up UPRC today bring expertise in planning, development, investment banking, and business development. It has established partnerships with CMHC and The United Church of Canada.

Founded in 2019, UPRC brings professional real estate development and management expertise to communities of faith and non-profits to assist them in making astute decisions about their real estate while making lasting contributions to their communities. The development corporation collaborates with both public and private partners. To find out more, visit

SOURCE United Church of Canada

For further information: For more information, Backgrounder, Facts & Figures and Bios, please contact: Laura Currie Ryder, 416-317-9447, [email protected]

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New Brunswick Real Estate: Hot Markets, Province-wide – RE/MAX News



The COVID-19 public health crisis has altered consumer trends and home-buying patterns. From social distancing to Zoom teleconferencing, more people are working from home and performing their daily duties from the comfort of their kitchen or dining room. This has allowed a lot of homebuyers to vacate the big cities and re-plant their roots within rural and suburban communities. Based on the numbers, it looks like many of these home seekers are looking to the Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick real estate markets.

Despite the economic challenges in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many major urban centres are witnessing record-breaking growth, whether it is in sales activity or prices. If too many Canadians were priced out of these cities before the outbreak, their dreams of living in the downtown core of Toronto and Vancouver are becoming even harder to realize. These trends have facilitated tremendous growth in Atlantic Canada real estate.

Atlantic Canada housing markets have witnesses record-breaking activity since the height of the pandemic. Below, we take a closer look at just how well New Brunswick’s hottest housing markets have fared over the course of this unprecedented public health crisis.

New Brunswick Real Estate: Hot Markets, Province-wide


Fredericton was one of the many Atlantic Canada markets to endure the “pandemic pause,” but the city has since recuperated and now it is on track to close out 2020 with strong numbers that are projected to boost the local market into next year.

According to the Real Estate Board of the Fredericton Area, residential sales surged a record high 34.4 per cent in September 2020 compared to the same time last year. The average price of homes sold in September climbed an impressive 22.6 per cent year-over-year, to $210,015.

Although 312 new residential listings were added to the housing market in September, overall inventory continues to decline to its lowest level in 17 years. Active residential listings were down more than 40 per cent compared to the end of September 2019.

The RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report forecasts that Fredericton home prices will maintain their current values, rising 2.5 per cent to finish 2020. However, as a direct result of dwindling supply and pent-up demand, Fredericton is witnessing a new trend that has largely been confined to Canada’s largest real estate markets, such as Toronto and Vancouver: bidding wars.

Saint John

Like Fredericton, Saint John is another city in the New Brunswick real estate market to enjoy record-setting activity, particularly in the second half of 2020.

According to the Saint John Real Estate Board, residential sales advanced by 27.1 per cent year-over-year, setting a new sales record for the month of September. The average price of homes sold in September increased by 14 per cent from a year ago to a record-breaking $205,247.

Despite 320 new residential listings, active listings fell 38.1 per cent at the end of September 2020. Overall supply levels are trending downward, standing at 12-year lows.

“Our local real estate market has continued to outperform expectations in September,” said Corey Breau, President of the Saint John Real Estate Board and broker at RE/MAX Professionals Saint John. “New listings also posted strong gains this past month but are struggling to stay ahead of the brisk pace of sales. Much like other parts of New Brunswick, Saint John’s usually busy fall market is experiencing significantly increased demand. When you combine that with the lowest inventory numbers that we have seen in over a decade, it creates sustained upward pressure on prices.”

While Saint John was not immune to the coronavirus-induced drop in housing activity earlier this year, the market has recovered. The RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report suggests that sales and prices will continue to be strong in the final quarter of 2020. Due to a lack of inventory, the high cost of building materials, and pent-up demand, Saint John prices are expected to surge seven per cent through the remainder of 2020.

The Broader New Brunswick Real Estate Market

CBC News recently reported that many New Brunswick households are better off financially than before the pandemic. Why? Federal COVID-19 relief spending in New Brunswick increased household incomes in the province to all-time highs, despite the economy slumping and thousands of people losing their jobs. When more consumers have money, a renewed confidence trickles down through the entire market, including real estate.

With demand outpacing supply in markets across the province, the competition for New Brunswick homes is ballooning, particularly with more real estate agents enabling the facilitation of online transactions. Remote markets are more accessible than ever before, and accordingly, people are snatching up New Brunswick real estate from across the country. In many cases, purchases are being made without the buyers even seeing the house in person.

The New Brunswick economy is on the rebound, thanks to successful containment of the coronavirus and interest rates at historical lows. For now, the province is enjoying stable growth, and the strong activity within its largest real estate markets will not only contribute to New Brunswick’s economic rebound, but also a possible population spike!

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Hudson's Bay Company Launches Division to Redevelop Real Estate Assets – Toronto Storeys



Following months of uncertainty in the retail sector brought on by COVID-19, Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) is looking to capitalize on its assets with the launch of a real estate and investment arm.

The 350-year-old retailer announced the new venture on Monday, called HBC Properties and Investments (HBCPI), which will look to convert some of Hudson’s Bay’s real estate into mixed-use developments.

The company currently owns or controls — either entirely or with joint venture partners — about 40 million square feet of gross leasable area across North America.

Among its portfolio of companies are three distinguished retailers: Saks Fifth Avenue, a premier luxury retailer, Hudson’s Bay, Canada’s preeminent multi-category retailer, and Saks OFF 5TH, a leading off-price retailer.

As part of the HBCPI initiative, the company is utilizing the 40-year-old large-scale US-based property development company Streetworks Development, which HBC acquired last year, to create “transformative multi-use environments” that marks the latest milestone in the Hudson’s Bay Company’s shift to a holding company structure with distinct portfolio businesses that operate “at the intersection of retail and real estate.”

READ: Amazon Opening Two New Fulfillment Centres, Creating 2,500 Jobs in GTHA

“This is an exciting phase of our company’s transformation and provides us with a significant opportunity to unleash the full potential of our real estate and investments business,” Richard Baker, HBC’s Executive Chairman and CEO said in a statement.

“Under this new organization, we will build upon our strong foundation of valuable real estate assets in key demographic areas. We will also continue our strong track record of maximizing our portfolio and generating value from these assets, as we did through the sales of the Lord + Taylor flagship building and our interest in European real estate assets. With the team’s deep expertise and forward-thinking approach to capitalizing on the intersection of retail and real estate, HBCPI is well-equipped to further elevate and increase the value of our portfolio.”

Ian Putnam has been appointed as President and CEO of HBC Properties and Investments — he previously served as President, Real Estate and Chief Corporate Development Officer of HBC. Putnam will lead the real estate portfolio and investments including Streetworks Developments.

Real estate veteran, Kenneth Narva, Chairman and Chief Development Officer at HBC, will direct the Streetworks Development team in the planning and execution of projects that modernize properties to “unlock value-enhancing opportunities across the company’s real estate assets”.

The new real estate division will focus on creating multi-use spaces that feature a range of services and experiences across the workplace, retail, residential and entertainment categories.

Putnam said, “With HBC’s valuable portfolio of real estate and investments, including marquee flagship properties in prime metropolitan markets, coupled with Streetworks Development expertise, HBC Properties and Investments is well-positioned to succeed in today’s landscape.”

“As consumers continue to change the way they live, shop, and work, we are committed to capitalizing on these shifts while maximizing the productivity of our properties, including the physical locations of HBC’s retail operating companies,” added Putnam.

This comes at a time when the retail sector has been facing unprecedented losses due to COVID-19, with Hudson’s Bay as no exception. The coronavirus pandemic contributed to HBC’s decisions earlier this year to close their stores in downtown Edmonton and in downtown Winnipeg.

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E-commerce drives demand for warehouse real estate in Edmonton –



The rise in online shopping during the pandemic, coupled with consumers who want to get purchases in their hands quickly, is giving a bump to warehousing real estate in Edmonton.

Commercial Realtors are seeing an increased demand for the buildings required to store and distribute online purchases, and that demand is only predicted to increase, Zeshan Qureshi, associate partner at Cushman and Wakefield, told CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.

“Consumer trends have been shifting for the last number of years to more online, and we’re seeing that COVID may have sped up some of those processes,” Qureshi said.

A Statistics Canada report found that overall retail sales declined by 17.9 per cent between February and May, while online shopping doubled during that same time period.

The pandemic created a new demand for products people would not normally have purchased online, said Qureshi.

Examples include tools to tackle home renovation projects, gym equipment when fitness facilities closed, and boxed meal delivery when restaurant dining is off the table.

Edmonton AM5:35Edmonton’s booming demand for warehouse space

The rise of Amazon hasn’t helped most businesses, except for one industry. We’ll talk about Edmonton’s growing demand for warehouse space. 5:35

There’s also been a boost in more direct pandemic supplies, which require warehousing, he said.

“There was a huge rush for producers to make cleaning supplies and PPE, COVID testing, future vaccines, all those things need to get housed somewhere and, eventually, make their way to consumers,” said Qureshi.

Part of the increased demand for warehouse space in Edmonton is fuelled by the promise of quick delivery. You need a warehouse nearby to do that, Qureshi said.

“The consumer expectation is not only is it going to get delivered to me, but we know how it is, a week or two weeks seems like a long time. I’d prefer to have it in two days,” Qureshi said.

Filling the energy gap

Amazon’s fulfillment centre in Leduc County. (Nate Gross/CBC)

The demand for warehousing in Edmonton and area comes as demand from other commercial tenants, such as restaurants, offices and retail, drops off.

Office vacancy remains high in Edmonton, hovering around 19 per cent, according to a recent report from commercial real estate company CBRE Canada.

Kris Augustson, vice-president of leasing and land sales for Remington Development Corporation, said the increased demand for warehouse space related to e-commerce could help to fill some of the light industrial real estate vacancies left by shuttered energy companies.  

“Our traditional energy sector users are starting to scale back. We’re seeing a decline in demand in that market,” Augustson said. “However, we’ve been able to fill that with users who might not have been in the market over the last three years, by going to the e-commerce side of things.”

Remington Development Corporation’s biggest project is Discovery Business Park, on Highway 2 just north of the Edmonton International Airport. It offers a mix of light industrial, commercial and business park space.

Amazon is one of the biggest tenants in Discovery Business Park, with a 115,000 square-foot building on 21 acres, said Augustson. While the Amazon deal was finalized before the pandemic, in February 2020, Amazon started operations there in August.

Amazon also opened its fulfilment centre in Nisku in August, a massive one-million-square-foot facility, where staff pick and ship orders.

Lots of companies are circling the market, looking at available real estate, but lacking confidence to do deals, Augustson said.

However, he thinks industrial real estate, buoyed in part by the growing e-commerce sector, might be in a better position than other sectors in the years to come.

“It will be an interesting couple years,” he said. “No one has a crystal ball, for sure, but I do think industrial, long term, will weather the storm fairly well.” 

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