Grosvenor has had development, investment and fund management operations
in North America since the early 1950s. Throughout that period we have
been actively involved in all forms of retail property, downtown offices,
business parks and industrial parks. Of the US$1.5 billion portfolio
under management, 25% is in Canada and 75% is in the USA. The strength
of the real estate market throughout North America in 1999 enabled us
to expand our development and investment programme during the year.
Much of our development programme is focused on office parks, especially
in those areas where there has been strong demand from the high technology,
research and development, computing and e-commerce industries.
Our San Francisco office has been an active developer and investor in
Silicon Valley for 20 years and is currently working on a twelve building
complex, scheduled for refurbishment and re-leasing over the next few
years. We also have office or business park developments under way in
Baltimore, Tampa, Florida and Washington DC.
The North American retail market remained robust, although rents began
to stabilise following the rapid increases of the past couple of years.
In October 1999, we sold the Sevenoaks Shopping Centre in Abbotsford,
British Columbia. Grosvenor developed Sevenoaks in 1975 and expanded
it over the years. The final phase was developed in 1999. The sale has
enabled us to be more ambitious in our development programme, starting
with the acquisition of 21 acres in South Surrey, south of Vancouver
for a 21,000m2 (226,000 sq ft) shopping centre.
Annacis Island, Vancouver, was Grosvenor's first investment in Canada
in the1950s. Since then, it has been developed into a 485 hectare (1,200
acre) business park of which we still own about a third. Part of that
holding is now suitable for redevelopment and in 1999, 16 hectares (40
acres), previously leased to a user, were subdivided into seven separate
parcels for redevelopment. Construction began during the year on a new
distribution building of 13,935m2 (150,000 sq ft).
Grosvenor's early Fund Management partnerships were established to invest
in North America with UK pension funds and institutional investors.
Some of these relationships have continued over a quarter of a century.
One of our longest and largest partnerships is with the BBC pension
fund. More recently, we have established relationships with American
Freeholds, a group of UK insurance companies and the Getty Family Trusts.
In 1999, our satellite offices in Calgary and Tampa continued to prove
useful. In Calgary, we completed a renovation of the Bow Parkade, a
1,000 space car park in downtown Calgary and we are currently evaluating
development projects in both Calgary and Edmonton.
In Tampa, we plan to expand both the WestShore Plaza Shopping Centre
and a 21,370m2 (230,000 sq ft) office property, which we acquired at
In 1999, Grosvenor also obtained its first indirect foothold in South
America when Sonae Imobiliaria bought 50% of a Brazilian shopping centre
owner, developer and manager to form a joint venture, Sonae Entlanta.
The Company has a shopping centre, Dom Pedro Shopping, at the conception
stage. It will be located on the Campinas ring road and phase 1 is planned
to have 90,000 m2 (970,000 sq ft) of retail space, due for completion
by the end of 2000.
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