Grosvenor, an international property owner and developer with a 70+ year track record in North America, had an active year that included progressing projects in its USD $4.7bn development pipeline, property improvements and advancing net zero ambitions.
“2023 was a challenging year for commercial real estate as property values adjusted to the new interest rate environment. However, we are optimistic that this new valuation baseline will play a role in helping transaction levels pick up again in 2024. Despite the challenging environment, in the US and Canada, our teams advanced and delivered on significant development projects and finalized important transactions,” said Steve O’Connell, CEO of Grosvenor’s North American property business. “Our strong portfolio performance – 100% leased in Canada – and GRESB ESG benchmarking improvements are reflective of the quality of our people and our properties. We are well positioned to build on this momentum in 2024.”
Company highlights for 2023 in North America include:
Development and Investment Activity
- Ace: Grosvenor topped off its fully furnished rental apartment building located at 1951 Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley, CA, just one block from the UC Berkeley campus. Designed to meet Green Point Rated Gold certification, Ace features 163 Class-A residences powered by electric energy.
- Margarite: Grosvenor completed construction and began leasing at Margarite, a 13-storey mixed-use rental community newly developed in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market neighborhood. The property has surpassed leasing expectations and prioritizes physical and mental health through its diverse elements such as a new 6,000-square-foot community park.
- North 40 Phase II: As part of its development application, Grosvenor donated nearly two acres of land to affordable housing developer Eden Housing to build 68 low-income apartments in Los Gatos, CA, as part of Phase 2 of its North 40
- 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue: Grosvenor’s investment team secured an entire floor lease – 18,510 sq. ft. – with the Centre for a New American Security at its 1701 Pennsylvania office and retail property located in the heart of Washington, D.C.
- 3300 Whitehaven Street: Grosvenor continued to make headway on its 3300 Whitehaven Street multifamily redevelopment in the Georgetown section of Washington D.C., which included the completion of a new athletic facility at the British International School of Washington, located adjacent to the project. Grosvenor’s redevelopment plan proposes 280 new Class-A rental apartments, potentially utilizing a mass timber design.
- Mayfair West: Grosvenor submitted a Development Permit to the City of Vancouver for Phase 1 of Mayfair West, a project that will transform a vacant 14-acre site in the heart of the city. The first phase will feature a mix of homes for sale and for rent that will cater to various income levels.
- 100% leased: Grosvenor’s Canadian portfolio was 100% leased in all four quarters of 2023. The portfolio return outpaced MSCI benchmark, led by the Company’s industrial properties on Annacis Island.
- Asset improvements: In San Jose, CA, Grosvenor completed a drought-resistant landscaping project at Toshiba’s three-building office and R&D campus and advanced a substantial solar panel array installation estimated to result in a 91 percent usage offset at two buildings and a 55 percent usage offset at the third.
- Certifications: The Pacific residential tower in downtown Vancouver and Central Apartments in Silver Spring, Maryland, achieved LEED Gold certification, an international symbol of sustainability excellence and green building leadership. Central also scored 100 in its 2023 ENERGY STAR certification, meaning that the community is more energy efficient than 100% of similar properties nationwide.
- 2023 GRESB Scores: Grosvenor posted increased 2023 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) scores, an annual report that tracks ESG progress across more than 2,000 companies. The North American property business maintained a strong 4 Green Star rating for its Development team with a score of 91 placing it 12 points above its benchmark average. The Investment team scored 77, a 12-point increase since the firm’s initial submission in 2021.
- Retail space donations: Grosvenor donated a 1,251-square-feet retail unit at 5211 Wisconsin Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. that was used as a pop-up bookstore for regional non-profit organization, Turning the Page. A ground floor retail unit at 251 Post Street in the Union Square neighbourhood of San Francisco was also donated for local artists to host an art exhibition benefitting local non-profit organizations.
Company News and Promotions
- CIO Retirement: Michael Beattie, Grosvenor’s long-time Chief Investment Officer, announced his retirement to commence at the end of 2023. Beattie joined Grosvenor in 2000; under his leadership, the investment team’s assets under management represent CAD$3.7bn, generating $930m in cash since 2010.
- Angela Biggs who was promoted to Managing Director, Investment, to lead the Company’s acquisition and disposition
- Mark Purdy who was promoted to Managing Director, Asset Management, to oversee all asset management activities across the company’s North American portfolio.
- Jon Carr who was promoted to Managing Director, Development, to oversee the execution of Grosvenor’s development programme in Washington D.C. and San Francisco.
- Future of Gateway Cities Event: Grosvenor held a debate in San Francisco to discuss the challenges and opportunities coastal innovation cities face; panellists included Ken Rosen from the Haas School of Business UC Berkeley, Alicia Jean-Baptiste of SPUR and Grosvenor’s Steve O’Connell.
- CREW Vancouver Leadership Awards: Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Vancouver recognized Cindy MacMillan, Vice President of Investment and CREW Network President-elect, as its 2023 Woman of Influence.
- Business in Vancouver Forty Under 40: Marc Josephson, Senior Vice President of Development in Vancouver, was named on the Forty Under 40 list.
- SFBT Influential Women in Bay Area Business: Angela Biggs was named to the San Francisco Business Times’ 2023 Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business list.
- GlobeSt Diversity Champion Award: Tanja Milosevic, Associate Vice President of ESG in North America, was selected as a 2023 Woman of Influence within the Diversity Champion category. Tanja was also named 2023 Urban Property Development Sustainability Champion (USA) by BUILD Magazine.
- YMCA Outstanding Workplace Award: Grosvenor’s Vancouver office won the 2023 Outstanding Workplace award at the 40th Annual YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.
Grosvenor has operated a diversified real estate business in North America since 1952. As of December 31, 2022, the Company had assets under management of USD$4.1bn, including 74 high-quality properties, and is executing on a USD$4.7bn development pipeline across its active markets. Consistent with the firm’s farsighted approach to ownership and development, Grosvenor values long-term partnerships; across their nine active capital partners, the average relationship is 17 years.
Grosvenor signed the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment in 2019 and has publicly reported its annual consumption and reduction values for 15 years.
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