GWL Realty Advisors adds B.C. and Alberta retail

GWL Realty AdvisorsGreat-West Life Real Estate Fund has expanded its retail portfolio with the acquisition of Westbank Hub Centre North in British Columbia and Creekside Crossing in Alberta.

Creekside Crossing - GWL

Sobey’s anchors the Creekside Crossing retail development in Airdrie, Alta. (Google Maps image)

“Our desire to increase the fund’s exposure to new generation, grocery-anchored retail is a product of the defensive nature of these ‘needs of life’ retail centres and their attractive investment characteristics, including strong occupancy and associated cash flow, exposure to covenant tenants, high-profile locations, limited near-term capital requirements and future densification potential,” said Steven Marino, senior vice-president of portfolio management.

Westbank Hub Centre North

Westbank Hub Centre North, offering easy access to Highway 97 on a proven commercial corridor in the Okanagan Valley city of Kelowna, was built in 2008. It was acquired from Artis REIT for an undisclosed price.

The 243,000-square-foot Westbank Hub Centre North is 95 per cent leased and anchored by Walmart and London Drugs. Tenants have an overall average remaining term of approximately 10 years.

“There have been very few opportunities in Western Canada to acquire retail properties of this size and scale with such high-quality anchors and term,” said Marino.

Creekside Crossing

Creekside Crossing is a 63,971-square-foot shopping centre that was built in 2010 and 2011 in the town of Airdrie, which is 36 kilometres north of Calgary on Highway 2. It was purchased from Edmonton-based Camgill Development Corporation for an undisclosed price. Its key tenants include Sobeys, Subway, Original Joe’s and Good Earth Coffeehouse. The average remaining lease term is approximately 9.5 years.

The 23-acre site includes excess land that, subject to market conditions and client objectives, provides the opportunity to develop complementary retail density.

The Great-West Life Real Estate Fund is an open-end, segregated fund that invests in real estate across Canada on behalf of its investor base. It’s invested in 115 properties valued at $4.7 billion across the office, industrial, retail and multi-family rental asset classes. The fund’s objective is to provide investors with a strong and stable income return with potential for capital appreciation.

Grenadier Square

Marino said the fund will break ground later this month on the construction of a multi-residential, two-tower, 530-unit development called Grenadier Square in Toronto’s High Park neighbourhood. The project is slated for completion in 2019.

“The development will provide the fund with exposure to best in class, new generation rental inventory located in proximity to the park, public transit and Bloor West’s amenity offering,” said Marino.



Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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