GWL Realty Advisors has added to its portfolio of grocery-anchored community shopping centres, acquiring the Halton Hills Village in Georgetown, Ont., on behalf of the Canadian Real Estate Investment Fund No. 1 (CREIF).
“There has been a scarcity of newer generation, grocery-anchored centres available in the GTA,” said Steven Marino, GWLRA’s senior vice-president of portfolio management, in announcing the acquisition.
“We are delighted to have been able to work with the vendor to complete this transaction on an off-market basis, providing exposure to a strong roster of national and regional tenants in a market that is experiencing strong population growth, attractive household income and favourable investor demographics.”
The 112,000-square-foot shopping centre is anchored by a Metro food store. It includes five single-tenant retail pads and two multi-tenant free-standing buildings. The property is 98 per cent leased to 21 tenants.
Constructed in 2006 and expanded in 2009, the centre features significant frontage along Mountainview Road and has multiple entrance and exit points.
Marino told RENX Halton Hills Village services a very attractive residential area in the Greater Toronto Area. Georgetown is about 30 Kims west of downtown Toronto.
Halton Hills Village shopping centre
“The centre benefits from its exposure to attractive trade area demographics, including an average household income 50 per cent above the GTA average and a per-person household size 20 per cent larger than the GTA average, both of which are supportive of retail,” Marino said in an exchange of emails.
The centre is focused on “needs-of-life” tenancies including grocery, banking, restaurants, medical providers and other services.
In a 2019 study, GWLRA identified that these types of food-anchored shopping centres are outperforming other commercial retail property investments and said at the time it would be seeking more such properties for its funds and clients.
“Halton Hills Village complements CREIF’s stable and predictable income profile, which when coupled with other investment activities in the portfolio, like ongoing development and asset repositioning, provides for a potentially attractive combination of income and capital return,” Marino said.
GWLRA did not release financial details of the transaction.
The firm has invested $260 million during the past three years in five newer generation, grocery-anchored centres totaling 600,000 square feet. This includes investments in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa.
“Retail remains a measured component of our multi-asset class strategy, generally in the 10 to 15 per cent range across portfolios,” Marino explained.
“The grocery-anchored strategy provides our clients exposure to high-quality real estate and covenants at attractive relative yields.
“GWLRA’s grocery-anchored strategy targets primary and select secondary markets, on an opportunistic basis. The strategy focuses on identifying best-in-class assets, both by their physical profile and tenancy, together with favourable demographic trends.”
In total during that three-year period, GWLRA invested more than $2.1 billion in capital on behalf of its clients.
About GWL Realty Advisors
GWL Realty Advisors Inc. is a real estate investment advisor providing comprehensive asset management, property management, development and specialized real estate advisory services to pension funds and institutional clients.
GWL Realty Advisors Inc. manages a diverse portfolio of office, industrial, retail and multi-residential assets as well as an active pipeline of new development projects.
In the United States, the company provides real estate advisory services through its wholly owned subsidiary, EverWest Real Estate Investors in Denver.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated to correct the name of the fund involved in the acquisition, due to erroneous information provided to RENX.