Ecommerce growth means a rethink on malls for La Caisse

by Steve Randall21 Feb 2020

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) is considering its options for its shopping centre assets as the rise of ecommerce makes the sector less stable.

The pension fund manager may sell up to a third of its Canadian mall holdings according to a report by Bloomberg, following a 2.7% decrease in the overall value of its real estate holdings in 2019.

Selling is not the only option being considered though and across its Ivanhoe Cambridge unit’s 25 Canadian shopping centres there may be a mix of solutions including repurposing space for housing or logistics.

“Canada had been relatively protected but global trends are accelerating and are hitting us too,” Ivanhoe’s President Nathalie Palladitcheff told reporters Thursday. “When you have 25 shopping centers, it’s a big amount, even if it changes just a little bit, it has a great impact immediately in terms of figures.”

The firm’s mall assets include the Eaton Center in Montreal and Metropolis at Metrotown I and II in Burnaby and Palladitcheff says that it’s different now to when securing key retail tenants was the key.

“As you well imagine, things have changed,” she said. “Today when we discuss a residential development for Metrotown, we see that is the best possible transaction.”

A recent outlook from PwC ranked regional malls among the lowest development prospects.

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