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AIMCo looks to sell stake in Place Ville Marie

Place Ville Marie is one of Montreal's tallest buildings at 43 storeys.

RYAN REMIORZ/CP

Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo) is looking to sell its stake in Place Ville Marie, a central complex in Montreal's business centre.

The structure, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, is jointly owned by AIMCo and Ivanhoe Cambridge, which is the real estate arm of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. While it's best known for the office tower at the intersection of University and René Levesque, the large site also consists of the smaller surrounding buildings and underground retail space.

Leo de Bever, the CEO of AIMCo, said the move stems from regular reviews the pension plan does of its assets, as it seeks to determine which ones are relatively highly-valued or unlikely to gain more value. And he dismissed industry chatter that the pension plan might be looking to exit Quebec.

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"We do find Canadian real estate right now is expensive, and that's not particular to Quebec," he said in an interview Monday. "There's no plan to leave Quebec."

AIMCo manages about $70-billion of assets, roughly $7-billion of which are real estate.

As a result of the joint ownership agreement that AIMCo has with Ivanhoe Cambridge, AIMCo will have to give Ivanhoe the chance to match any offer that it is considering for its stake, a source familiar with the situation said.

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