University of Waterloo acquires five buildings from BlackBerry for $41 million

By Alicia Erlich on 20 Dec 2013 11:12 pm EST

With all of the news that followed this morning's earnings call, it was announced today that BlackBerry sold five of their buildings to the University of Waterloo for a reported sum of $41 million. The deal is expected to close on February 14, 2014 and will give the University three of the office buildings on the northeast corner of the main campus, leaving BlackBerry as a tenant for the remaining two for up to five years. 

You can read the press release below. Be sure to let us know your thoughts on this in the comments below. 

WATERLOO, Ont. — The University of Waterloo has purchased five buildings and land from BlackBerry (TSX:BB) for $41 million.

The deal, which is expected to close Feb. 14, will add an additional 300,000 square feet and more than 1,000 parking spaces to the school’s property holdings.

The university said Friday that it plans on using three of the buildings as soon as the deal closes, while the remaining two will be leased to the smartphone maker for up to five years.

“The University of Waterloo has set a course to become one of the world’s top innovation universities and we must ensure that we have the space to meet that challenge,” Feridun Hamdullahpur, the university’s president and vice-chancellor, said in a statement.

“We are growing, and the opportunity to purchase buildings so close to campus allows us to meet current space challenges that will help us better meet the needs of the campus community.”

Topics: BBRY Apps

Reader comments

University of Waterloo acquires five buildings from BlackBerry for $41 million


Ok, now lets take a few million out of this and put on BlackBerry Live 2014! I'm gonna miss it soo much.

Seriously been researching all afternoon what it would take for me to host some sort of a mobile tech conference. Feel like we need something to head to May. Been going to BBLive/BBWorld/WES since 2007. It's part of my routine.

Don't worry Kevin - Instead of one big event, we are going to deploy you to 12 focused events. It's all good since you will now get to do the after party at 12 different hotel lobby bars :)

Posted via CB10

I like the cut of your jib. Does BlackBerry have any planes left or did they sell them all?? Maybe we could do a 10 Nights of CrackBerry Live. City to City to City around the globe. 

Which cities??

You will have to have your people contact my people LOL. But, I do have a certified meeting planner that coordinates akl my travel and meetings.

Posted via CB10

Toronto - home of the Crack.-berry you can even get into a drunken stupor ;)

BlackBerry Z30 | | BBM Channel C0006E212

Mumbai & Delhi in India, Jakarta in Indonesia, Singapore, KL, Moscow, Shanghai - Beijing, DUBAI, doha, CapeTown - Johannesburg

Posted from my SuperHuman Q10


There's never any CrackBerry or BlackBerry events here for regular fans to go to.

You could stop by and check in on Mr. Chen while you're here.

Posted via CB10

I fear that I'll never get to go now. I've never been and it might be forever, (or never) for me now. :(
(insert sad face here)

Posted Via CB10 using the power of "Q"

Lol, you want to go see BlackBerry headquarters? I pass it everyday on my way to work. I could send some pics to you!



Line up some sponsors and find a convenient location for all to get to. I've organized local seminars and events, granted on a much smaller scale though, but some venues / hotels can setup a package deal with rooms, meetings rooms, and AV equipment.

Very true. I don't know the occupational needs of BlackBerry, but I could only guess they were holding copious amounts of empty space. Smart move in my estimation.

Posted via CB10

It is. My former employer did the exact same thing when their stock was low. They sold off the building and leased it back to put more money back into the company. 

Yup, my Job just did it. We have 6 distribution centers and they sold them and now we lease. It's easier because now we don't have to spend money on road maintenance and building problems. Companies seem to do better after an event like this

Posted via CB10

Any chance you can use some of that money to get the Q10 back in stores, I want to upgrade to one but its not available and that's in Canada!

Posted via CB10

So if Thorsten Heins is now a Physicist and sits on the board at the University of Waterloo, did he get a cut somewhere off the selling of these buildings to the University, lol ? I don't understand what he and Lazaradis' wife and another, are doing all coincidentally being part of the board, at the University of Waterloo...

Can you say it's all who you know these days, not what you


Posted via BlackBerry Q10

A good move considering that the layoffs at BlackBerry would have rendered the use of the building to bare minimum...
Hence selling those assets is a good choice... and 41mln is a good amount...

Posted via CB10

Chump change when you lose 4.4 billion a quarter. It's not a great business decision. It's a forced reality.

Posted via CB10

They should reinvest some of it into a BlackBerry store in Toronto, sales teams or some smart marketing.

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What the hell are you talking about? The University wants the extra space for their programs and it doesn't make sense for BlackBerry to hold property assets they don't need to use may as well liquidate, get some cash for operations and cut some operations expenses in the process. Win-win-win.

BlackBerry Z30 | | BBM Channel C0006E212

Is it or is not true that this purchase will be made by the Provincial or National taxpayer. Can't remember which jurisdiction universities fall under.

Posted via CB10

Don't consider the Canadian government any worse then the American when it comes to corporate bail outs.

Posted via CB10

Cause it's not like BlackBerry (actually RIM) hasn't invested in the university or the community of waterloo. I would have been shocked if there wasn't support going the other way with BlackBerry being down no one wants the home town hero going down.

Posted via CB10

Blackberry has donated hundreds of millions of $$ to U of W over the years. The university wouldn't exist without BB's contributions, at least not their Engineering and Math faculties. Actually, $41 Mil is a paltry sum for those buildings; probably below market value if some developer wanted to turn them into condos.

The irony here is that BB's presense had been elevating the real estate values in Waterloo. In BB's heyday, those buildings would have been worth a lot more.

Well either they buy the buildings from BlackBerry or the university build new ones. Which one is better?

Posted via CB10

I'm trying to figure out why they are going to lease two from the UofW. Between the ones they still own and already lease in that area it doesn't make sense. With all the job cuts I thought they may just move all operations in KW over to the buildings they put up a couple years ago near RIM park.

Posted via CB10

Seems expensive for a few buildings....Watsa, Lazeridis, Balsile and Heins are on the University Board, Mmmm.

The land on which these buildings sit is prime real estate. Plus the actual buildings are likely state of the art and the university wants to expand its facilities.

Posted via the BlackBerry Q5 using CB10.

Whether this is good tidings or bad news only time will tell. But sale of unwanted assets is one way to strengthen the base and ensure there is little leak and added value. But then USD41M isn't going to make any meaningful shift in the overall picture. The fact that this can be so quickly sold might mean that there was already over-space in the BlackBerry towers afterall!

Posted using my Q10

Not surprised as those are probably the oldest buildings they have in Waterloo. Definitely not state of the art.

Posted via CB10

A positive move.

Now I see a root cause of RIM's fall being treated.

Don't get me wrong. U Waterloo is absolutely a top U of the world and BlackBerry should continue to leverage from its root. But one U cannot compete against many top universities and research institutions around would. BlackBerry should recruit top talents from all around the world.

I hope the new management can build BlackBerry into the first truely global tech company.

It is not an easy task at all to manage talent teams around the world. I believe Mr. Chen will construct the environment and build the corporate culture for BlackBerry's teams around the would to seamlessly corporate as if they are working under the same roof.

At the end of the day it is a competition of people. As BlackBerry going global and Apple building the Closed Circle I see the beginning of BlackBerry overpowering Apple.

All the best to Mr. Chen and the folks of BlackBerry.

Good thing because UW really needs the space and those buildings were practically empty anyways

Posted via CB10

Great strategy, even the big Canadian banks are tenants in the skyscrapers they built and sold off to property management companies years ago. BlackBerry does not need to own every piece of brick and mortar to be a successful business.

Sent from my BlackBerry Z30

$41m ..... Any part of this money to setup BlackBerry Store?
Depend on telco provider to sell BlackBerry is huge mistake.
See Indonesia, you can buy BlackBerry in any store.
You only need to pickup one with good warranty.