I was recently invited by First Canadian Title to be the guest speaker at their Roundtable Luncheon. The event took place at Hy’s Restaurant in downtown Winnipeg and was attended by approximately 50 senior commercial lawyers and executive-level lenders. It was a great opportunity for me to present Shindico’s Winter update, to discuss projects that are currently underway and to give a sense of what’s coming down the pipeline.
The issue on most people’s minds these days is Target’s rapid exit out of Canada and its impact on the Winnipeg market. In short, Target was a big disappointment. If they would have brought the same shopping experience that Canadians were accustomed to in their US stores, I believe they would have had no problem succeeding in Canada.
Our newest development, “The Plaza at Polo Park”, was formerly anchored by the Target store located at the old stadium site. The site has a beautiful urban design with covered parking on the main floor, escalators, elevators, and a shopping cart escalator. It’s going to be difficult and costly if that store needs to be subdivided, and it would also take time. Ideally, another department store would be the most suitable and compatible tenant with the vision for the rest of the site.
My biggest concern at the moment is for the 17,000+ jobs that will be lost due to Target’s closure in Canada.
Many of the jobs will hopefully be picked up by Walmart’s continued expansion. As reported recently in the media, Walmart plans to complete 35 Canadian Supercentre projects as part of nearly $500 million in planned investments over the next year. It will also spend $31 million on e-commerce projects and $91 million to enhance its distribution network to handle more fresh food. Walmart has always been strategic and has always stayed on their game. There is no doubt that they will acquire some of the Target leases, and will continue to be a retail force for department store type merchandise in Canada.
Last month, we opened the latest Walmart Supercentre in Winnipeg at our “Grant Park Pavilions” development on Taylor Avenue. Walmart was able to fixture and fully stock their new store in just four weeks (by comparison, it took several months for Target to fixture and only partially stock theirs). Grant Park Pavilions is a mixed-use, amenity-rich development – anchored by Walmart Supercentre – that will provide a variety of options to live, shop, work and play, all in close proximity. The Supercentre is in a great infill location at an unbeatable site in the heart of southwest Winnipeg. It features LED lighting and will be a significant catalyst for the success of the entire development.
Development in the Winnipeg market, as a whole, continues to be on fire with almost $1 billion in investment property changing hands in 2014. A lot of this interest is coming from outside the city and from new players in our market. There is a lot of capital chasing assets and the assets are being reasonably picked over in the major markets of Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Naturally, that makes Winnipeg one of the next most desirable places for people to look at, along with Ottawa, Saskatoon, and such.
Subsequently, our pipeline has never been more full and we are excited to be expanding our role in industrial development in Centreport and the Northwest. We have added some great industrial leasing and development talent to our team and I’m very hopeful that this will grow to become a major business practice for us.
At Shindico, we constantly strive to offer our clients innovative and effective business solutions with superior service that sets us apart. Because we succeed by helping you succeed.
Sandy Shindleman, CCIM, SIOR, FRICS
President and CEO
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