One of Royal Bank of Canada’s top real estate brokers, Gary Morassutti, is retiring after nearly four decades working on commercial property deals, including the nearly $1-billion sale of a downtown Toronto office complex.
Mr. Morassutti has served as a managing director in the bank’s capital markets, real estate division for 12 years, with the last five as head of national property brokerage. He will be replaced by David Tweedie, a managing director who has worked in the same division for about 15 years. Mr. Tweedie, 41, will take over Mr. Morassutti’s responsibilities of co-ordinating RBC’s real estate brokerage arm, while continuing working on office and industrial property transactions.
The change in leadership is occurring as commercial real estate investment has slowed considerably during the pandemic. Before the health crisis, demand was robust for office, industrial and residential in the major urban centres, especially Toronto and Vancouver. At the time, CBRE real estate company had forecast that investment in Canadian commercial property would hit a record $50-billion this year.
But the pandemic restrictions and economic uncertainty has slowed investment. In the third quarter, there were 1,641 transactions totaling $6.4-billion, according to CBRE. That’s 35 per cent lower than the five-year quarterly average. There are signs, however, that investor interest is growing, as the third quarter was higher than the second.
Apartments, multiresidential properties, warehouses, data centres and other industrial properties were the most popular types of investments during the pandemic. Industrial is one of Mr. Tweedie’s areas of expertise. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for RBC said the bank has the “largest dedicated real estate investment banking group in Canada.”
During the 64-year old Mr. Morassutti’s tenure at RBC, he brokered the $850-million partial sale of Brookfield Property Partners LP’s Bay Adelaide office complex in Toronto’s financial district. His other top deals include the $918-million sale of the Edmonton Tower and Stantec Tower, one of the tallest office buildings in Western Canada; the $1.9-billion sale of Cadillac Fairview’s downtown Vancouver portfolio; and the $851-million sale of GE Capital’s office and industrial portfolio.
Before joining RBC, Mr. Morassutti worked at Toronto-Dominion Bank, as well as at Cornerstone Realty, a boutique real estate investment advisory firm, which was bought by TD Securities.
Large developers and real estate companies continue to say they are bullish on Canadian commercial property. In December, Dream REIT, Oxford Properties and Canadian Tire’s real estate arm (CT REIT), have announced large office and residential developments in Toronto.
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Published at Thu, 24 Dec 2020 17:30:46 +0000