D eloitte Real Estate's recent Crane Survey highlights a trend in retail mall ownership: there are few opportunities to buy malls, leading prospective mall owners to either build new developments or to reinvest in existing assets.
The report notes that a handful of groups own the majority of large retail assets in Metro Vancouver.
"Most of the larger shopping centres in Canada are owned by a select few groups, and they haven't been sellers in recent years," said Andrew Evans, who coauthored the report.
"It's not that there was a lull this year. That's just the way the market is. The guys want to hold onto these trophy assets because they per-form well."
Only two retail assets have sold with a price tag of $50 million or more in the past year. The Village at Thunderbird Centre was acquired by Sun Life for a reported $148 million, and the plaza at New Westminster Station was acquired by First Capital Realty for $100 million plus an earn-out of up to $20 million.
Having few opportunities to buy malls means there are two options for developers: build new malls or expand existing properties.
New malls in various stages of planning and development include Ivanhoe Cambridge and the Tsawwassen First Nation's Tsawwassen Mills project, Property Development Group's Tsaw-wassen Commons project, and YVR and McArthurGlen Group's planned outlet mall on Sea Island.