Amancio Ortega buys Toronto’s Royal Bank Plaza

Zara founder adds to $17 billion real estate portfolio

Amancio Ortega and the Royal Bank Plaza (Getty, Wikimedia)
Amancio Ortega and the Royal Bank Plaza (Getty, Wikimedia)

Billionaire Amancio Ortega, the Zara clothing founder, is making a splash in Toronto.

Ortega paid the equivalent of $961 million to buy the city’s gold-clad Royal Bank Plaza skyscraper, one of the biggest sales for an office building globally since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reported. The seller was Oxford Properties, the real estate arm of Ontario’s pension fund for municipal workers, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The funds put the building up for sale last year, asking more than $796 million, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The deal may help set the market for commercial office sales after the pandemic ushered in the work-from-home era, calling into question the value of office space. It came as the office leasing market in Toronto shows signs of recovering. The vacancy rate fell for the second quarter at the end of last year.

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Royal Bank Plaza is among Canada’s most recognizable buildings. It features two triangular towers adorned with layers of 24-carat gold around 14,000 windows. It’s also the headquarters of Royal Bank of Canada, the nation’s largest bank by market value, which moved in after the first tower was finished in 1976.

Ortega has made a name for himself in commercial real estate, making high-profile acquisitions in Miami and Chicago prior to the pandemic. He owns an estimated $17 billion of real estate worldwide, not including the Royal Bank Plaza. Ortega is the world’s 17th richest person, with a fortune of $66.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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[Bloomberg] – Harrison Connery