CIBT’s GEC Education Mega Center® Receives City Council Approval at First and Second Public Hearings

Vancouver, B.C., February 10, 2021 – CIBT Education Group Inc. (TSX: MBA, OTCQX International: MBAIF) (“CIBT” or the “Company”) is pleased to report that its flagship project, GEC Education Mega Center® (the “Project”), received approval from Surrey City Council at the first and second Public Hearings held on February 8, 2021. The Project is scheduled to proceed to the third Public Hearing on February 22, 2021, followed by the Enactment of Bylaw. The Company will start the Development Permit application process after the Enactment of Bylaw, followed by the Building Permit application. Construction of the Project may begin upon receipt of the Building Permit; management expects construction to commence after the summer of 2021. The Project is expected to be completed by 2024.

The Company currently has sixteen buildings, either operational or at the development phase, or under construction. The Project marks the second planned flagship academic real estate project for CIBT and its subsidiary, Global Education City Holdings Inc., the first being Global Education City® in Richmond, B.C. The Project is expected to generate significant rental income once fully occupied. Upon completion, the Project will accommodate over nine hundred and eighty-two occupants.

“We are pleased to progress to the next phase of our biggest flagship academic real estate project, GEC Education Mega Center®,” commented Toby Chu, Chairman, President and CEO of CIBT. “The anticipated completion of this building is timely given an anticipated full economic recovery in 2024, robust education sector and the low vacancy rate in rental apartments on which we can capitalize. As the real estate market in Metro Vancouver continues to recover from the global pandemic, we are expecting competitive construction costs, lower interest rates, and the steady flow of domestic and international students returning to the classrooms in the coming year.”

About GEC Education Mega Center®:

GEC Education Mega Center Limited Partnership acquired the Project site in downtown Surrey on August 30, 2019. The total purchase price was $22.6 million, excluding closing costs. The Project’s rezoning process with the City of Surrey has been ongoing throughout the past few years and during the pandemic. The Company expended substantial efforts through several value-engineering exercises to reduce costs and increase efficiencies under the academic and multi-family rental environments while satisfying the City of Surrey’s development guidelines. The Project received approval from Surrey’s Urban Design Panel in December 2020, and Public Hearing 1 and 2 approval on February 8, 2021. 

The Project will be a 49 storey concrete mixed-used commercial and residential building with 41 residential floors, 6 commercial and retail floors, 2 amenity floors, and 7 underground parking levels. The building design stands 542 feet tall, making it the fourth tallest building in Metro Vancouver. According to a Wikipedia entry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_in_Vancouver), the tallest buildings in Metro Vancouver are currently: 1) Living Shangrila at 659 feet in height, 2) Trump Tower at 616 feet, and 3) One Burrard Place (under-construction) at 550 feet.

The Project will be comprised of 404,249 square feet with 787 bedrooms, including 112 studio units, and will be able to accommodate up to 982 occupants. The upper floors will be allocated for residential rental housing, and the middle floors for student-centric rental apartments and corporate housing. The lower six floors will accommodate at least five colleges and universities looking to expand their Surrey City Centre presence, and a cafeteria-style restaurant with a premium food market on the ground floor.

According to a news article published on November 19, 2020, the Surrey City Development Corporation (“SCDC”) announced plans to develop the two parcels of public-owned lands across the street from the GEC® Project  into 1.446 million square feet of office and retail space. This represents a major step forward towards establishing a strong core for Surrey City Centre and its Central Business District (“CBD”). The total commercial space is equivalent to the combined 1.5 million square foot floor area of the original four office towers of Bentall Centre, which anchored the CBD of downtown Vancouver for decades. It will also be larger than the 1.3 million square feet of the total floor area in The Post redevelopment that Amazon will anchor. The SCDC redevelopment could generate office and retail employment for nearly 10,000 people, creating a high-density workforce cluster that could catalyze further economic growth and investment. No residential space is planned. See the news article here: https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/surrey-central-station-centre-block-redevelopment. The site of this significant proposed development is approximately 15 meters from the GEC Education Mega Center®, which could provide much needed rental housing to the students studying at the Simon Fraser University Surrey Campus (“SFU”), the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Surrey Central Campus (“KPU”), and other nearby schools.  Furthermore, the Project could also provide rental housing to the estimated 10,000 workers at the expanded Central Business District.

In addition to the significant developments across from the GEC Education Mega Center®, the Project is located across the street from the Surrey SkyTrain station (about 20 meters), approximately 150 meters from SFU, 80 meters from KPU, and 100 meters from the Central City Shopping Centre. 

The Surrey campus of the Company’s education subsidiary, Sprott Shaw College, currently occupies over 10,000 square feet in central Surrey. The plan is to relocate the Sprott Shaw College (Surrey) campus to the Education Mega Center® as an anchor tenant. The Company has been in discussions with numerous universities and colleges from across Canada and abroad and has received tremendous interest in the Project. The Project’s total development budget is approximately $270 million. 

About CIBT Education Group:

CIBT is one of the largest education and student housing investment companies in Canada focused on the domestic and the global education market since 1994. CIBT owns business and language colleges, student-centric rental apartments, recruitment centres and corporate offices at 46 locations in Canada and abroad. Its education subsidiaries include Sprott Shaw College (established in 1903), Sprott Shaw Language College, Vancouver International College Career Campus and CIBT School of Business. CIBT offers over 150 educational programs in healthcare, business management, e-commerce, hotel management, and language training through these schools. In 2020, CIBT serviced over 11,000 students through its various subsidiaries.

CIBT owns Global Education City Holdings Inc. (“Global Holdings”), an investment holding and development company focused on education-related real-estate such as student-centric rental apartments, hotel and education super-centres. Under the GEC® brand, Global Holdings provides accommodation service to 72 schools in Metro Vancouver, serving 1,500 students from 77 countries. The total portfolio and development budget under the GEC® brand exceed $1.5 billion.

CIBT also owns Global Education Alliance (“GEA”) and Irix Design Group (“Irix Design”). GEA recruits international students for many elite kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities in North America. Irix Design is a leading design and advertising company based in Vancouver, Canada. Visit us online and watch our corporate video at www.cibt.net.

Toby Chu
Chairman, President & CEO
CIBT Education Group Inc.

Investor Relations Contact: 1-604-871-9909 extension 318 or | Email: info@cibt.net

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Some statements in this news release contain forward-looking information (the “forward-looking statements”). Forward looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and in this news release include, without limitation, statements about plans for the proposed GEC Education Mega Center®, its expected completion date and the expectation that it will generate significant rental income. The forward-looking statements are subject to various risks, uncertainties and other factors (collectively, “Risks”) that could cause CIBT’s actual results or achievements to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by forward-looking statements. The Risks include, without limitation, the ability to negotiate and enter into a binding agreement for the construction of the Project, the ability of GEC Education Mega Center Limited Partnership to raise equity investment and secure other required funding to build the Project, usual construction risks, the ability to obtain all required municipal approvals and within the time expected by management, and the ability to fully rent the building upon its completion. Forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs, opinions and expectations of CIBT’s management at the time they are made, and CIBT does not assume any obligation to update its forward-looking statements if those beliefs, opinions or expectations, or other circumstances should change, except as may be required by law.

Original Release