Two Major Pension Plans Bet Big on Return-to-Work With Co-Investment Deal

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Singapore’s GIC have inked a $1 billion deal with Boston Properties.

Scott Eisen/Bloomberg

Scott Eisen/Bloomberg

Two large pension plans are wagering that U.S.-based workers will be returning to the office following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Singapore’s GIC announced Wednesday that they have partnered with Boston Properties, a publicly-traded office space developer, owner, and manager, on a $1 billion co-investment deal.

Through the co-investment program, the three firms will acquire office properties in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Seattle.

The deal comes as office spaces begin to reopen following the pandemic. Employers remain mixed on whether office workers will ditch working from home, although major financial institutions like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have reportedly already encouraged employees to return.

“Employers in top global cities continue to seek best-in-class office environments that will attract and retain talent,” said Peter Ballon, CPP Investments’ global head of real estate, in a statement. “By expanding our relationships with both Boston Properties and GIC in this new program, we will be strongly positioned to serve this ongoing market need, and in turn generate returns for our Fund contributors and beneficiaries.”

It is under these conditions that Boston Properties and CPP Investments each allocated $250 million to the program, and GIC invested $500 million. According to the announcement, the partnership plans to use leverage to increase investing capacity to $2 billion in total.

Over the next two years, CPP Investments and GIC will have first dibs on forming joint ventures with Boston Properties for certain acquisitions. Meanwhile, Boston Properties will provide property management, leasing, and other services to the two funds.

This is not the first time that CPP Investments has worked with Boston Properties. In 2018 the two inked a joint venture deal to acquire the Santa Monica Business Park for $627.5 million, an announcement from the time shows. A year later, the two acquired Platform 16, a development project in San Jose, California, for $134.8 million. CPP Investments has a 45 percent stake in the investment, while Boston Properties holds the remainder, according to the statement from 2019.

A spokesperson for CPP Investments said via email that these two projects totaled $484 million in committed equity from the pension plan.