$40-million Kamloops mall sale a ‘good sign’
It was a big purchase that seemed to catch some in the business community off-guard.
But, the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association (KCBIA) is cautiously optimistic the sale of the downtown Lansdowne Village shopping centre to an Ontario company will be good for the area.
KCBIA general manager Gay Pooler said there is always some trepidation when a business changes hands, but she sees the blockbuster sale as a sign of confidence in the downtown.
“It shows outside investors are looking at Kamloops as a positive place to invest their money,” she said.
“That’s a good sign.”
Last week, it was announced Lansdowne Village had been sold by Progressive Properties for $40.7 million.
Toronto-based Whiterock Real Estate Investment Trust, a real-estate investment trust that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WRK.UN, has partnered with Return on Innovation Capital Ltd. to make the purchase, with the sale expected to be complete late this spring.
Whiterock will hold a 40 per cent interest and be property manager for Lansdowne.
A call to the company for comment was not returned by KTW press deadline.
Pooler noted the mall is the single-largest commercial property downtown and she hopes the new owners will continue the working relationship the former owners enjoyed with the KCBIA.
Lansdowne Village underwent a major renovation in 2005 when the Property Development Group transformed what was the enclosed Thompson Park Mall into what is now a 191,000-square-foot shopping centre, anchored by Cooper’s Foods and housing London Drugs, Tim Hortons and Fields, along with other tenants.
Lansdowne is 96 per cent leased, with an average lease term of seven years.
Meanwhile, other malls in Kamloops are holding their own.
Donna Markin, general manager of Aberdeen Mall, told KTW there has been plenty of activity in the mall in the first quarter of 2011.
Though a couple of stores in the mall closed, a handful of new ones are set to open, including a Blenz Coffee, Baskin Robbins and a 2,000 square-foot ultrasound clinic.
Markin noted the mall only has two vacancies.
“I think there is interest in the marketplace,” she said, also noting an increase in the reinvestment by tenants already in the market.
Sahali Centre Mall is also finding success with events it holds.
Mall manager Marg Archibald said events in the mall have brought new people into the shopping centre, with some becoming regular customers.
In January, it was announced American retailer Target had purchased up to 220 Zellers leases across the country.
Zellers is one of the main anchors at Sahali Centre mall, along with Safeway.
Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), the parent company of Zellers, sold its leases to the Target Corporation for $1.8 billion.
However, under the agreement, Target doesn’t actually have to take control of all 220 leases and can take as many as it wants.
It is expected between 120 and 150 Target stores will open across the country by 2013 or 2014.
Archibald said mall officials are in talks with Target, which does indicate some interest by the U.S retailer, but nothing has been confirmed as to its plans for the local Zellers store.
Freda Colbourne, a spokesperson with the HBC, told KTW in January the remaining stores will continue to be operated as Zellers, while others could be sold to competing retailers interested in purchasing the leases.
“It just depends on the community. It just depends on the area,” she said.
Meanwhile, whether Target can use the Target name in Canada will be the decision of a court.
Target will be in Federal Court on May 2, seeking an injunction to block the Canadian company that owns the Fairweather chain from using the name Target Apparel.
INC Group of Toronto has owned the Canadian rights to the Target name for 10 years and operates a number of Target Apparel stores in Canada, including one in Nanaimo.
INC is also the U.S. Target corporation for $250 million, alleging copyright infringement in Canada.