We Charity Group sells $36 million in downtown Toronto property holdings

We Charity Group announced on Thursday it had sold its downtown Toronto property holdings for $36 million, according to company officials. The Dufferin Place properties — 852, 910 and 936 Dufferin St. — were…

We Charity Group sells $36 million in downtown Toronto property holdings

We Charity Group announced on Thursday it had sold its downtown Toronto property holdings for $36 million, according to company officials.

The Dufferin Place properties — 852, 910 and 936 Dufferin St. — were on the market for 18 months. The sale price includes $3.6 million, or $11,833 per square foot, of land and $35.9 million, or $14,076 per square foot, of office space.

The average sales price per square foot for the total portfolio is $31,140, according to a release issued by the company, with a 5 percent margin of error.

Bill We Charity, president and chief executive officer of We Charity Group, noted that eight out of 10 of the six buildings sold were vacant.

“The recession put a sudden stop to [building] development, and there was pent-up demand for spaces to fill up before it happened again,” We Charity said in a release. “When new construction happened, the buildings we own were simply too expensive to rent.

“The buildings were already sitting empty for years with a fair amount of depreciation,” he added. “The depressed real estate market and resulting vacancies allowed for a price point we just couldn’t turn down.”

As We Charity Group’s plans to grow were scaled back because of the financial crisis, its portfolio shrank by 6 million square feet in 2009 and 2010, including 300,000 square feet at 905 Dundas St. W.

Backed by private equity firm GTCR LLC, We Charity Group operates in three business segments — office, retail and hospitality, said Michael Ajaiter, the company’s chief financial officer.

“The sale of these downtown properties marks the conclusion of nearly three years of concerted efforts and significant investment to update the 605-unit Dufferin Place portfolio and advance our future in the Dufferin district,” Ajaiter said in a statement.

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