Strategic Group to reorganize its real estate portfolio in response to the Alberta economy
“We are battling the storm.” – Riaz Mamdani, CEO of Strategic Group
Update: On December 20, 2019, the court granted an order to appoint a receiver to the 56 properties that had originally sought CCAA protection (see below). This development is consistent with our end goal: to have an orderly disposition of some of our real estate assets to maximize recovery for our stakeholders and ensure our company is stronger moving forward. We will work closely and collaboratively with the receiver to ensure a smooth transition and minimize impact to our tenants and residents. If you have additional questions about this transition, please visit the receiver’s website.
The prolonged downturn of the Alberta economy has had a severely negative impact on the office real estate market. For the past five years, Calgary has endured a high office vacancy rate which, according to industry forecasting, will not normalize for many years to come. That means real estate companies with significant commercial/office holdings are facing a difficult economic reality and must adapt to ensure their economic future.
In recent years, Strategic Group has diversified its real estate to include a viable multi-family rental portfolio. This business strategy was designed to support a long-term successful future for the company.
However, Strategic Group’s sizable exposure to the office market is a significant risk for the longevity of the company. For example, since mid-2014, 78 tenants occupying 573,333 square feet did not survive as going concerns or otherwise did not remain in their leased premises, despite being under lease agreements.
Therefore, Strategic Group has announced a plan to reorganize its real estate portfolio. The plan, in part, includes a select portion of its commercial real estate portfolio today having sought and obtained protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). Under the terms of the court order, the companies that have sought protection remain in possession and control of their assets, subject to the oversight of the Court and a court-appointed monitor, Hardie & Kelly Inc. Neil Narfason has been retained as Chief Restructuring Officer. Mr. Narfason has over thirty years of experience advising similar corporate groups and has led numerous successful restructurings.
Strategic Group’s property management, service companies, and development and construction business will not be affected. Strategic Group will continue to manage all of its properties. Projects currently under construction are not impacted.
To our lenders and vendors: we appreciate your patience as we reorganize our real estate portfolio, monetize some assets through sale, others through repositioning, and others by trading assets for debt to maximize the recovery for our stakeholders.
To our customers: our property management business will remain unaffected by this restructuring.
As we battle the storm, we remain focused on creating a strong future for Strategic Group and all our partners. Thank you for your patience as we go through this process.