The development, which was confirmed by senior vice-president, real estate, Kevin Salsberg during CT REIT’s Q4 2018 financial earnings call on Tuesday, will result in the amalgamation of Canadian Tire’s two existing Niagara Falls locations into the new facility at 7190 Morrison St.
CT REIT expects the move to be complete by mid-2020.
“We seek to leverage our relationship with Canadian Tire to create value in ways not available to others, or that others overlook. Our recent investment in Niagara Falls is a good example,” Salsberg said in announcing the redevelopment.
“With our understanding of Canadian Tire’s store network and real estate strategy, we can deliver a win for the retailer and its customers, as well as the REIT, by backfilling a vacated Target box with a larger, better located Canadian Tire store.”
CT REIT completed the purchase of the site from RioCan REIT late in 2018.
“With a long-term lease commitment and annual rent escalations in place with Canadian Tire, this is the kind of attractive, low-risk development which reflects the structural advantages of being related to one of Canada’s strongest anchor tenants.”
According to CT REIT’s financial report, about 11,000 square feet of the remaining space in the centre is currently not leased.
“Canadian Tire saw the opportunity to relocate their store to a better, bigger location and fortunately we had our role to play in the deal,” Salsberg said. “It worked out for everybody.”
Three investments for CT REIT
The project is one of three new investments and developments announced by CT REIT during the call. The others being the purchase of a redevelopment site for a similar store expansion in Yarmouth, N.S., and the purchase of a Canadian Tire store property in Canmore, Alta.
Together, CT REIT plans to invest $45 million in the sites, which total 297,000 square feet of gross leasable area.
Including the two redevelopments in Niagara Falls and Yarmouth, CT REIT had 21 properties under development representing a total GLA of 1.5 million square feet of space. Those projects are expected to cost $256 million on completion.
Included on that list are multi-tenant developments in Fort St. John, B.C., Canada Square in Toronto and the Orillia Square Mall in Orillia, Ont. The projects reflect a small, but emerging trend at CT REIT to expand beyond properties which exclusively host Canadian Tire stores.
Another example is a downtown Toronto site now anchored by a Farm Boy grocery store.
“They just opened at the end of January and from what we hear so far so good on that front,” Salsberg said, noting CT REIT has a list of retailers in mind for its multi-tenant projects. “I think the typical retailers you’ve been hearing about are still quite active, Winners, TJX Group, Dollarama and other dollar store operators, restaurants, pad tenants of that ilk.
“Fortunately for us we don’t have a ton of third-party leasing that we are undertaking, but in terms of the development opportunities we have . . . those would be the groups that would probably be most prominent.”
“Continued and steady” results
For the full year, CT REIT invested $142 million and grew its portfolio by over 680,000 square feet of GLA, including approximately 110,000 square feet in the fourth quarter.
CT REIT president and CEO Ken Silver called the REIT’s Q4 and annual performance “continued and steady.” Among the highlights is CT REIT’s fifth consecutive annual distributions increase, which will rise four per cent to $0.757 per unit.
Some other notable figures:
* Net income for 2018 was down 23% ($74.5 million) in Q4 and 5.2 per cent for the year due to smaller increases in fair value adjustment on investment properties, increased interest and other financing charges;
* Q4 NOI was up 7.4 per cent to $88 million due to acquisitions and completions;
* Same store NOI was $83.1 million and same property NOI $83.3 million, up 2.5% and 2.9%, respectively. Full year NOI was $345.5 million;
* AFFO for the year was up 3.8 per cent to $0.954 per unit.