Smart Centres Real Estate Investment Trust has become the largest landowner at the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) after becoming the majority owner of 53 acres, representing around half of the master-panned site.
“These 53 acres represent the most strategic property in the country for SmartCentres REIT,” Mitchell Goldhar, Executive Chairman and CEO of SmartCentres, said in a news release of the $513 million purchase. “With 45,000 people expected to ultimately call SmartVMC home, it is the jewel in the crown of SmartCentres’ portfolio.”
The VMC spans over 100 acres and has a TTC subway station that can transport riders to downtown Toronto’s Union Station in about 45 minutes. In tandem with the 53 acres’ existing permission to develop multifamily dwellings and condos, as well as seniors’ residences, offices, retail, recreational and entertainment uses on the site, it’s little reason SmartCentres considers the property its most important Canadian holding.
Moreover, SmartLiving, which is the REIT’s in-house residential development arm, is expected to grow “exponentially,” says the news release.
SmartCentres acquired a two-third interest in the aforementioned acreage, and with Penguin Group of Companies, which is also controlled by Goldhar, owning the remainder, the 105-acre SmartVMC City Centre now belongs entirely to them.
“This is truly a unique situation. It is not every day a company can be involved in building an entire downtown,” Mr. Goldhar said. “SmartVMC is at the confluence of $3.5 billion in public transportation infrastructure, including the TTC’s new Vaughan Metropolitan Centre subway station, connecting the site directly to Downtown Toronto. While it may be difficult to imagine now, in time this will reveal itself as a new benchmark for modern living in our city and beyond.”
Roughly 11 acres are already tenanted with retailers, restaurants, and even a Lowe’s Home Improvement store, upon whom SmartCentres relies for holding income. But in joining the parcels of land under common ownership, a slew of new development should continue transforming downtown Vaughan, including in ways that promoted environmental sustainability, renewable energy, and open space connectivity.
As one of Canada’s largest REITs, SmartCentres carries approximately $10.2 billion in assets spanning 33.9 million sq. ft.