Historica Picks Up 20 New Buildings

SAINT JOHN. A $6.5-million deal involving the purchase of 20 apartment buildings has been inked between Historica Developments and Hazen Investments.

Historica CEO Keith Brideau said 19 of those apartment buildings are in the uptown area and one is on the west side. The buildings will add 150 former Hazen apartment units to Historica’s portfolio.

Brideau said his company is looking to expand into the middle-income housing market as the local luxury housing sector becomes more competitive.

“The market for higher-end product eventually is going to be saturated,” Brideau said, noting that Saint John has been experiencing a wave of construction and development recently. He said that expanding into other areas of the rental market, away from the more luxury style buildings, is important for the company.

“We really don’t want to continue building just high-end product. We actually think the middle part of the market is important.” Brideau said.

Brideau added that affordability is a concern for the company, and that he knows the last few months have been hard on many people.

“We think it’s important to take care of the people and tenants that can’t afford the higher end rents,” Brideau said.

The deal brings the total number of Historica buildings to close to 40, Brideau said. He said expanding in the uptown area made sense.

“We know the area,” he said, adding that having so many buildings close together helps create synergies for maintenance and management.

John Hazen, of Hazen Investments, said the deal made good business sense. He said one of the properties had been in the family since 1937, so it was a personal decision as well.

“It’s been a pleasure for us to run these buildings, and to be the management company for them, and it’s been a pleasure for us to work with great people, which includes both our tenants and our employees over the years,” he said.

The deal still leaves Hazen with several buildings and 260 apartments under its management.

“It was a good deal for Hazen Investments,” Hazen said.

This is not the first of Historica’s expansions in recent years. Brideau purchased the Saint John City Hall tower in a $3-million deal along with other investors, and has bought and renovated several historic buildings uptown into luxury apartments.

Brideau said the recent uptick in uptown development aided in the decision to purchase some Hazen Properties.

“We also like the momentum that we see,” Brideau said. “We’ve never seen so much construction activity that we see today.”.

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