BlackBerry to sell most Canadian real estate holdings

BlackBerry says it intends to sell the majority of its commercial real estate holdings in Canada, but is committed to keeping its headquarters in Waterloo, Ont.

BlackBerry says it intends to sell the majority of its commercial real estate holdings in Canada, but will keep its headquarters in Waterloo, Ont.

Of the real estate holdings for sale, 78.3 per cent are located in Waterloo Region, according to a promotional pamphlet released by BlackBerry. 

The smartphone maker plans to use a combination of vacant sales and sale-leaseback arrangements in divesting the properties.

"BlackBerry remains committed to being headquartered in Waterloo and having a strong presence in Canada along with other global hubs," said BlackBerry CEO and executive chair John Chen in a release Tuesday afternoon.

However, the pamphlet promoting the company's real estate holdings noted that more than 2.2 million square feet of real estate in Waterloo would be sold, including buildings and property, which it says is "historically renowned as BlackBerry’s home base and the epicentre of much of the technological innovation developed by BlackBerry over the past 30 years."

Specific real estate holdings for sale include:

  • Northfield Campus in Waterloo spanning nearly 19 acres of land and 677,436 square feet of office space.
  • University Campus in Waterloo, which includes nine buildings boasting almost one million square feet of space.
  • Cambridge Campus, which is over 700,000 square feet of mostly warehouse space.
  • Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre Campus, which is a newly completed office facility with an additional five acres of development land.
  • Ottawa Campus, which includes two office buildings and over 10 acres of development land.

BlackBerry did not put a value on the real estate holdings but said those being offered for sale comprise more than three million square feet of space.

"This initiative will further enhance BlackBerry's financial flexibility, and will provide additional resources to support our operations as our business continues to evolve," said Chen. 

The company said the transactions are being handled by CBRE Ltd., a commercial real estate company.

With files from The Canadian Press