Farhi buys $6 million in London property, including former CIBC building
London developer Shmuel Farhi has gone on a $6 million shopping spree, snapping up property, including more downtown.
The recent buys include the former CIBC tower at Dundas and Richmond streets and the old Fatty Patty's restaurant on King Street which has about eight apartment units above it, he said Thursday.
"This building is unique, it is on a main corner and one of the busiest in the city. A company can have it as a signature building, it is close to all amenities," said Farhi of the former bank building.
It has sat vacant for about three years and was initially listed at nearly $2 million. Farhi bought it for $600,000.
He envisions one or two major business clients in the space.
"It's not about what it is today, it is what it will be tomorrow," he said.
He paid $315,000 for the Fatty Patty building at 145 King St., but declined comment on what he paid for other properties, except to say it all totals more than $6 million.
"The bank had it and did nothing with it, we are lucky Shmuel bought it," George Kerhoulas, sales representative with Cushman Wakefield Ltd., commercial realtors, said of the property at Dundas and Wellington.
"It has great potential, an enormous profile. It could be offices or even apartments on the upper level."
The other assets he recently bought are:
— Parking lots at 126 and 132 York St.
— Apartment building at 531 Dufferin Ave.
— Apartments at 105,107 and 109 Grand Ave.
Janette MacDonald, manager of Downtown London, hopes to see more retail space on the main floor of the old bank building, as that is what the core needs, she added.
"It is our most important, busiest corner. We need something there that will keep people coming downtown," she added.
She could also envision residential on the upper floor, as well as office space.
"It has a ton of potential and Shmuel has the means to do it, he is capable of doing this," said MacDonald.
In March Farhi bought Market Tower, the building kitty corner to the former CIBC property, also at Dundas and Richmond.
As for his other buys, Farhi is pleased about the parking lot purchases as he now owns 16 lots in the core, meaning he can offer parking to tenants in his building — critical in leasing, he added.
"I am one of the largest parking operators in the city. For future clients, I have the parking they want," he added.
Farhi now owns a total of 87 downtown sites.
"We believe in this city and its future," he added. "This is about future value. I am a very patient investor. I buy and hold, that is what I have done for 20 years."
Farhi is equally busy out of town, building a federal government building in Cornwall and Sarnia, as well as a major downtown development in Windsor, he added.
CIBC moved in 2007 to a new, $4 million branch office in Citi Plaza, the former Galleria London