Company Spotlight

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Company Spotlight: Brookfield Office Properties

Brookfield Office Properties is a high-profile commercial real estate company operating on a global basis. With 125 properties and 88 million square feet across three continents, Brookfield owns a diverse portfolio. It provides office space to businesses in a variety of sectors, including energy, finance, government, and professional services.

The company is focused on maintaining long-term leases and attracting tenants with high credit ratings. This strategy has clearly paid off, as it has now been in business for nearly 100 years and consistently delivers strong financial results, achieving steady growth over the years.

Brookfield Office Properties now has one of the biggest footprints in Manhattan, operating more than 23 million square feet of space, and another two million square feet under construction. The company is also the owner of the publicly accessible Zuccotti Park near Wall Street.

Brookfield Office Properties recently made headlines with its reported plans to roll out self-driving vehicles at one of its large-scale properties in Northern Virginia this summer. It intends to deploy three Optimus Ride autonomous vehicles at its 36-acre mixed-use development in Reston.

Speaking in a statement, Dr. Ryan Chin, CEO and co-founder of Optimus Ride, said: “We are pleased to announce our partnership with Brookfield, the world’s leading real estate developer. We will deploy our self-driving system at Brookfield’s Halley Rise location this summer to provide users with autonomous mobility access between office buildings as we continue to scale our business. In the future, we will advance our partnership by deploying our self-driving systems at additional Brookfield sites around the world.”

Brookfield Office Properties was also listed as one of Canada’s “Green 30” organizations in 2010, based on its staff’s positive attitude towards the company’s eco-friendly practices and policies. More recently, it also paid $91 million for a 152,000-square-foot waterfront office building in Boston’s Seaport District.

Brookfield Office Properties was acquired by Brookfield Property Partners in 2014. The company is now listed both on the Nasdaq Stock Market (as BPY) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (as BPY.UN).

Brookfield and its affiliate companies have been very active in the last 12 months. In April 2018, Brookfield Property Partners acquired retail owner GGP for more than $15 billion. Towards the end of 2018, Brookfield Asset Management also purchased Forest City Realty for $11.4 billion.

BPO: A Short History

Brookfield Office Properties is based in Montreal, Quebec, where it was originally set up in the early 1900s. It continued to play a dominant part in the city’s property industry for the years that followed.

The company has gone through a series of acquisitions over its 100+ years in business. In the 1900s, the company was originally known as the Canadian Arena Company, as it operated the Montreal Arena, before building the Montreal Forum in the 1920s. The company also owned the Montreal Canadiens National Hockey League club between 1935 and 1957.

In 1970, Edper Investments acquired the business and it was renamed Carena Properties. At this stage, it expanded into commercial real estate. When the Montreal Forum closed, it was sold to competitor Canderel Properties.

Brookfield Office Properties acquired a 50% interest in a portfolio of office properties in Denver, Minneapolis, and Toronto in 1990. Four years later, this holding from the BCE Development Corp. was increased to 100% and included BCE Place, which became the company’s flagship office complex in Toronto.

The pace of acquisition quickened during the 2000s. In 2005, Brookfield Office Properties acquired the portfolio of Canadian commercial real estate company O&Y Properties. In 2006, BPO and Blackstone acquired real estate investment trust Trizec Properties, consisting of 48 office properties. Trizec Properties was one of the largest owners and operators of commercial office properties in the United States at the time.

In 2010, Brookfield Office Properties entered the U.K. and Australian markets. It acquired 16 properties in three major cities in Australia and the “100 Bishopsgate” development site in the City of London.

In 2013, Brookfield Office Properties also acquired MPG Office Trust, giving the company a footprint in the Los Angeles Financial District. “This proposed transaction provides the opportunity to combine and operate a sizable portfolio of the highest quality assets in a major U.S. gateway city,” according to Dennis Friedrich, chief executive officer of Brookfield Office Properties, speaking in a statement. “Downtown Los Angeles has all the attributes of a dynamic urban market, including modern transportation infrastructure, a growing residential population, and access to a diverse labor pool.”

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