No one is calling it a sell-off yet, but plans by the country’s public broadcaster to divest itself of much of its real estate holdings may be an opportunity for investors.
CBC’s real estate boss told The Canadian Press that every building is a candidate to be sold as the public broadcaster grapples with massive budget cuts.
But Marc Lapierre, executive director of real estate services at CBC/Radio-Canada, insists there is no formal plan to sell all of the CBC’s buildings, as suggested by the Canadian Media Guild.
“As a general principle it is true that we’re looking into divesting our buildings, trying not to be owners of our buildings and moving into lease properties,” said Lapierre.
“That being said, we only do that if it makes business sense in any market.”
Last year CBC announced a plan to reduce its real estate footprint by 50 per cent, or two million square feet, by 2020.
Lapierre said they are “10 per cent completed” in that mission, noting about 400,000 square feet have been shed since 2011, most of it in the past year and a half.
Alexandra Fortier, CBC manager of media relations pointed to nine properties sold in the past five years in locations including Sudbury, Ont., Halifax, Moncton, N.B., and Windsor, Ont.
Canadian Media Guild national president Carmel Smyth questioned the strategy when the federal Liberal, New Democrat and Green parties have promised to restore or increase CBC funding if elected.
“Why rush into such an irreversible decision now?” she said in a press release.