A redevelopment deluge is hitting shopping mall properties across Toronto not only because of rising land values but also the threat online retailers are posing to bottom lines, an industry expert suggests.
“I think that one of the big redevelopment waves right now are shopping centres,” Craig Patterson, founder and editor-in-chief of Retail Insider, an online trade publication, tells BuzzBuzzNews.
“As real estate prices have gone up and developable land has become less available, I’m seeing shopping centre landlords looking at their shopping centre real estate as being prime land for intensification,” he adds.
BuzzBuzzNews has identified eight Toronto shopping mall sites currently slated for such intensification, and that total doesn’t include properties in the nearby surrounding GTA, such as the Promenade Mall.
Patterson says malls are a “gold mine” for redevelopment because of the GTA’s level of population growth as well as the fact that they are so often sitting on large, well-located sites to begin with.
“Cadillac Fairview, Oxford, Ivanhoe Cambridge: these landlords are already getting in on the residential game — or they’re partnering with residential developers,” says Patterson.
“A natural progression in the realm of shopping centres is for these large landlords that are out to make money to look at intensifying their shopping centre sites by adding housing and other uses to it,” he continues.
And although retail remains an “overwhelmingly physical experience” in Canada and the US, e-commerce continues to grow, and so mixing retail with condos makes a lot of sense, Patterson explains.
“When you’re building 2,000 homes with potentially 3,000 extra people or more living directly on your shopping centre site, talk about a way to fight e-commerce.”
Here are eight Toronto shopping malls that could see at least part of their properties converted into housing.
Bayview Village Shopping Centre