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TORONTO-Paul Reichmann has stepped down from the board of Toronto-based IPC US Real Estate Investment Trust, a move that prompted speculation the 76-year-old developer may be interested in making an offer for the REIT.

A statement from Reichmann, whose family has a 13.5% economic interest in the REIT, says he had resigned on Sunday but he would make no further comments about his resignation.

IPC, the only Canadian REIT to invest exclusively in US office properties, also announced that is it not renewing a management contract it had signed with a company controlled by the Reichmann family. The family was paid close to $1 million under the agreement for the six months of 2006.

The REIT has been the subject of take-over rumors and Reichmann’s moves has prompted a fresh wave of speculation about his intentions in holding a stake in IPC, especially given that IPC is currently conducting a strategic review of its assets.

“At the time of our IPO, our portfolio totaled 3.4 million sf, our total assets were $370 million and our market cap was less than $100 million,” IPC CEO Vinay Kapoor says in a statement. “Since that time, our portfolio has grown to over 11 million sf, our total assets to over $1.4 billion and our market cap to over $500 million. The REIT is now of a size to stand on its own and continue its business plan.

“The ending of these agreements will result in increased general and administrative expenses of approximately $2 million per annum and savings in transaction costs that over the past three years have averaged between $1.2 million and $2.1 million.,” he adds. “The management and staff will be able to devote full time to the REIT’s affairs and will no longer provide services to Reichmann related entities.”

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