Another Big Furniture Retailer Wading into Real Estate Market

Quebec’s largest and only publicly held full-line furniture retailer intends to get into the real estate business in a big way.

This is according to statements made by BMTC Group senior management to shareholders.

The company created a new subsidiary, Le Corbusier-Concorde S.E.C., at the end of its 2022 fiscal year and subsequently entered a partnership with Habitations Urbania, a Quebec-based developer who will oversee the construction of several residential rental towers on its property at 500 boulevard Le Corbusier in Laval.

BMTC said it intends to finance this project with a long-term mortgage. The estimated value is $600 million. Building work is expected to begin in summer 2025, once all necessary permits have been approved by the City of Laval.

Once begun, the project’s five towers, which will house approximately 1,200 units combined, is expected to take between eight to 10 years to complete.

In another real estate transaction closed at the beginning of its recently ended 2024 fiscal year, BMTC sold its Montreal distribution centre for $66.5 million, resulting in an after-tax gain of $51 million or $1.54 per share.

The company remains a tenant of the facility to support operations in the greater Montreal area and, in fact, renewed its lease this past February.

On April 15, BMTC finalized the purchase of the Rona distribution centre at 2055 boulevard des Entreprises in the Montreal suburb of Terrebonne, for $96 million before taxes. The deal includes a lease-back agreement with the national hardware retailer. The transaction was paid in full in cash from investments held by the company.

BMTC said it intends to create new leasing revenues with this property and is currently evaluating what renovations are needed to make it more efficient.

The company has also announced it has identified a potential partner to lead the development of several rental towers on property it owns at 125 boul. Desjardins Est in Sainte-Thérèse. More details about the project are expected to be provided in the coming months.

BMTC isn’t the only publicly held Canadian furniture retailer looking to maximize the value of its real estate holdings. Earlier this year, LFL Group, the parent company of Leon’s, The Brick and Appliance Canada, announced it plans to develop a master-planned community on 40 acres of owned land near the conjunction of Highways 401 and 400 in Toronto.

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