Chinese investors buy Vancouver’s Bentall Centre

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In what could be British Columbia’s biggest real estate deal, Vancouver’s Bentall Centre has been sold to Chinese investors.

Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. purchased the land lease of Toronto’s HSBC Building at 70 York St. just last year.

The price has not been disclosed to the public, but reports say the deal is worth $1 billion for a 66 per cent stake in towers one to four.

“I would suggest it is the largest commercial real estate transaction in the history of Vancouver,” said Kirk Kuester with Colliers International.

The towers contain 1.5 million square feet of office space.

“Now that [Aubang] had I think their biggest transaction in Canada… we want to encourage them to set up their management operations, [and] their head office functions for North America right here in Vancouver,” said Yuen Pay Woo, President of HQ Vancouver.
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But some experts say this deal should serve as a warning to Vancouver residents.

“Vancouver’s tax code punishes work, rewards investment in property with low property taxes, but high income taxes,” said Tom Davidoff with UBC Sauder School of Business. “As long as you combine that with this flood of demand for parking cash from other countries into Canada, we’re going to see people who live and work here get displaced by people who are primarily buying to invest.”

“We are getting close to Manhattan prices, but with Vancouver salaries. And that just isn’t workable for a lot of people.”

– With files from Alex Wilks


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