Ivanhoe Cambridge Joins Blackstone for Sydney Plaza Stake

Canada’s Ivanhoe Cambridge has made its first direct investment in Australia, joining with Blackstone Group LP to buy a stake in a Sydney office complex for A$240 million ($182 million).

The investors purchased 25 percent of Liberty Place from LaSalle Investment Management, Ivanhoe said in a statement. The 42-story complex, with about 650,000 square feet (60,400 square meters) of office space and 48,000 square feet of retail, is 97 percent leased, said Montreal-based Ivanhoe, the real estate arm of Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec.

“Ivanhoe Cambridge continues to explore the possibilities of increasing our investments in Australia and in other parts of the Asia-Pacific region in 2015,” Rita-Rose Gagne, Ivanhoe’s executive vice president of growth markets, said in the statement.

Ivanhoe, one of Canada’s largest real estate investors, now has more than half of its C$42 billion ($33 billion) assets outside of the country and has been investing in growth areas such as Brazil and China.

Blackstone has been actively investing in the Australian real estate market since the 2008 financial crisis, including buying Valad Property Group in 2011. The world’s largest private-equity investor agreed last week to buy most of General Electric Co.’s real estate assets for $23 billion with Wells Fargo & Co. As part of the deal, New York-based Blackstone added commercial mortgages in Mexico and Australia for $4.2 billion.

Liberty Place, located in midtown Sydney, was a horse-and-carriage bazaar in the 1800s and is now a public square with retail stores, bars, and the glass ANZ office tower. The other owners in the complex are Australian investors ISPT and GPT Group, according to the plaza’s website.

Ivanhoe manages real estate for the Caisse de Depot, which oversees about C$225.9 billion for Quebec retirees.

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