We are pleased to provide this update for REALnorth Opportunities Fund (the "Trust").
We have seen some recent strength in Fort St. John’s (“FSJ”) residential property market even with COVID-19 dominating the news everywhere. For example, the local market saw more sales in July than any other month since September 2015, with first time buyers and investors being more prominent that in recent years. Looking forward into the Fall and beyond, BC’s northeast once again has the lowest unemployment rate in the Province. Oil and gas companies are gearing up for a busier winter than they have had for several years.
On January 8, 2020, FSJ Residential Development LP (“FSJ Residential”), which is related to the Trust by virtue of having a general partner director/officer in common, purchased 13 of the Garrison Landing lots for $1,236,958, in order to provide the Trust with sufficient funds to repay its mortgage debt obligation. These lots had a carrying value of $1,171,573 as of December 31, 2019.
FSJ Residential intends to build homes on these lots to press forward with the Garrison Landing subdivision and thus hopefully create positive momentum that will kickstart the sale of the remaining lots held by the Trust.
On March 26, 2020, the Trust, through its subsidiary, FSJ Industrial, sold one of the four lots that comprise the BCR Lands for $650,000 less standard closing costs and adjustments. This sale provided the trust with funds to carry its operation for the remainder of the year and funds for property tax payment, operating expenses and general administrative expenses.
Carter Industrial Property, Prince George: We sold this asset on August 30, 2018 for $6.75 million. This profitable sale provided the Trust with capital that was used to refinance debt obligations on Trust assets and for other working capital needs.
FSJ Industrial Property, Fort St. John: This asset is comprised of approximately 17 acres of industrial property and includes four level lots with rail access available. Each industrial lot may be sold in its current condition or further developed with either build-to-suit options or lay-down yards for industrial users depending upon market demands. On March 26, 2020, the Trust, through its subsidiary, FSJ Industrial, sold one of the four lots that comprise the BCR Lands for $650,000 less standard closing costs and adjustments. The Trust continues to market the property and assess opportunities to divest this asset.
Aurora Acreage Property, Fort St. John: The property is currently zoned as part of the Agricultural Land Reserve; however, the City of Fort St. John has expanded its northeast boundary to include the Aurora Acreage Property. The Trust continues to lobby for zoning changes that will permit residential and commercial development on the acreage, which management believes has the potential to significantly enhance the property’s value.
Garrison Landing Residential Property, Fort St. John: Garrison Landing is a residential development which is planned to be developed in five phases and generate, in aggregate, approximately 153 single family lots. Two phases comprising 55 subdivision lots are substantially complete and 39 of those lots have now been sold.
DISTRIBUTIONS AND THE MINIMUM RETURN
As a reminder to unitholders, the Trust intends to declare distributions on a periodic basis. Trust unitholders are entitled to a minimum non-compounded annual return of 7% on the net equity then outstanding and a return of capital before any return is paid to the Master GP.
REALNORTH TRUST UNIT PRICING
As at the most recent valuation date of December 31, 2019, each of the Trust’s units have been priced at $649 per Unit. This pricing is based upon a third-party report in accordance with the Client Relationship Model – Phase 2 (“CRM2”) requirements.
The decrease in the value from $933 at the end of 2018 to $649 was due primarily to the economic downturn in FSJ in 2019 and the scale down in operations of both the LNG project and BC Hydro’s Site C Dam.
If your REALnorth units are presently listed as a zero amount in your investment dealer’s client account statement, please direct your investment firm to the valuation page on our website for the most up-to-date valuation report.
More information about REALnorth Opportunities Fund can be found on our website at www.realnorthfund.ca. Our public documents are also filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office or your financial advisor.