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North America

Developing a Better World

Led by the US, the economic recovery of North America has led to demand for space in shopping centres along with more stabilised retail real estate markets. Over the next few pages, RLI takes a closer look at the region, highlighting a selection of the best retail real estate projects that have either recently opened their doors or are on their way to completion for an expectant public.

According to Cushman & Wakefield’s ‘Marketbeat Report – U.S. National – Shopping Center Q3 2023’, the US retail real estate market remained strong in the third quarter of 2023, thanks to healthy tenant demand and resilient consumer spending. The vacancy rate came in at a historic low of 5.4 per cent in the third quarter, down five basis points (bps) from the Q2 level; it’s down 40 bps compared to the third quarter of 2022 and 80 bps versus the pre-pandemic rate, pushing average asking rents higher in a competitive market.

The report concludes by saying that momentum carried the retail CRE market to another solid quarter in Q3 2023. Due to a backlog of planned store openings, there continues to be a limited availability of properties for lease. The recent strength is a vote of confidence for the sector’s demand fundamentals over the next decade.

Taking a closer look at Canada, the CBRE report entitled ‘Canada Real Estate Market Outlook 2023’, highlights that 2023 has seen higher costs of capital impact asset values, however there is likely more good than bad to come. A soft landing is expected where the economy should see a technical recession while still being positive on the balance of the year. Capital market volumes are expected to rebound in the spring, interest rates will be closer to going down than up and the continued growth of the digital economy will only benefit Canada.

The report continues to say that the latest wave of development will see mall assets be repositioned into centres that cater to all facets of live-work-play. Major projects have been announced that will add density to existing properties through residential towers to unlock value in underutilised parking or surrounding surface lots.

According to Mordor Intelligence, the Mexico commercial real estate market size in terms of transaction value is expected to grow from USD$49.99bn in 2023 to USD$70.87bn by 2028, at a CAGR of 7.23 per cent during the forecast period (2023-2028).

Meanwhile according to Statista, commercial real estate in Mexico is poised to grow in the coming years due to the increasing importance of nearshoring and in 2022, the country saw a dramatic increase in construction. Similarly, the country’s 402 billion U.S. dollar commercial real estate market also grew in 2022. Investments in infrastructure, such as buildings, transport, urbanisation, electricity and telecommunications will play a vital role in this development.

North America 1

Retail Real Estate Projects Across North America
The Buckingham is the first condominium to be constructed as part of the Grand Central Mimic District – a transformational project in South Etobicoke’s Mimico Triangle in Toronto, Canada. This master-planned, transit-oriented community by developer Vandyk Properties comprises over two million square feet of mixed-use development spanning four city blocks and anchored by over 1.85 million square feet of residential living. Made up of 751 condominium units, approximately 20,000sq ft of retail space, 30,000 square feet of office space, an urban grocery store and restaurants, The Buckingham features three towers, each with a private entrance and a secure lobby for residents and their guests. Grand Central Mimico is planned to become a vibrant, all-inclusive and future-proof neighbourhood located in the Mimico Triangle in South Etobicoke. The area, which is recognised as a priority “Regeneration Area” by the City of Toronto, is strategically positioned close to many of Toronto’s major arterials including the Gardiner Expressway, The Queensway, and Lakeshore Boulevard.

Originally called the Main Office Post, The Post has been sitting on 349 W Georgia Street in Downtown Vancouver since it opened in 1958, replacing the building that sat on the corner of Granville Street and Hastings Street. After more than four years of construction by developer QuadReal, The Post’s latest revitalisation is expected to fully complete and open by the end of the year. Within the first three floors, the building has 185,000sq ft of retail, restaurant and service spaces – the single largest net gain of retail space in downtown Vancouver in two decades. This includes a 50,000sq ft flagship Loblaws City Market grocery store, a 26,000sq ft food hall by The Joseph Richard Group, a 35,000sq ft Evolve Strength fitness gym and various smaller and/or unannounced tenants.

North America 2

A joint venture between RioCan REIT and Allied Properties REIT, The Well is a bold reflection of Toronto’s energy and diversity and an extension of the urban vibrancy of King West. Bordering Front, Spadina and Wellington, it is a mixture of retail, commercial and residential space in downtown Toronto that will draw approximately 22,000 daily visitors, including the approximately 11,000 residents and employees that will live and work at The Well. The design includes 1.2 million square feet of office space and 320,000sq ft of retail and food service. It has 1,700 residential units spread throughout six residential rentals and condominiums, plus one office building connected to a three-level retail base. At The Well, the idea of liveability is real, with easy access to everything that Toronto demands, expects and deserves: transit, culture, wellness, sustainability, diverse food options, inspiring workplaces and curated entertainment. Scheduled to open in stages through this year, The Well is a choreographed mix of urban experiences, dynamic architecture and interconnected public spaces. The middle of November marked a landmark occasion for The Well, as RioCan REIT celebrated the initial opening of its key phases with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event showcased the near completion state of The Well’s commercial, residential and retail spaces.

North America 3

Enhancing Montreal’s iconic and ever-evolving composition with a groundbreaking approach to how people work, learn, play and live. The largest private development in Quebec, Royalmount is a densified, mixed-used project, with massive greening, public transit access and a focus on active mobility. The project, a major new retail and lifestyle destination coming to Montreal next year, has announced Saint Laurent, Versace, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, David Yurman and TAG Heuer as the latest luxury brands set to open, with the first launches taking place in summer 2024. Royalmount is a $7bn, mixed-use development in the heart of Montreal, featuring retail, offices, restaurants and entertainment, all surrounding an engaging central park. The first phase will consist of 824,000sq ft, two-level retail and lifestyle complex. It will be the first 100 per cent carbon-neutral mixed-use development in the Americas and the largest LEED Gold retail project in Canada. Being delivered by real estate development and management company Carbonleo, it aims to bring best-in-class brands and experiences to the Quebec market. Upon opening, Royalmount will become the preeminent destination for shopping, dining and entertainment in Eastern Canada. Offering more than simply a place for transactions, the scheme aims to bring people together in an environment that prioritises emotional wellness and happiness.

North America 4

A project due to open this year by Thor Urbana is The Landmark Tijuana, which is a project that is located in the Golden Zone, the area with the highest real estate growth in the city of Tijuana in Mexico. The scheme will bring together the best shopping, dining and entertainment offerings unlike anywhere else in the area. It will be complemented by an exclusive residential tower, luxury hotel and class A+ office spaces to become the new place to live, work and play. The lifestyle centre will feature 308,000sq ft of leasable area, whilst the surround facilities within the scheme will include 154,000sq ft of A+ office space, 190 residences, a brand new hotel with over 200 rooms, more than 2,000 car parking spaces and all this will open to the public in spring of next year. The upcoming project will offer a unique mixture of cultural diversity from the region, integrating itself into an existing, bicultural, vibrant community in search of exceptional experiences. The Landmark Tijuana will transform the lifestyle of every person who has the chance to experience this most innovative development in northern Mexico.

North America 5

In a landmark year for one of America’s largest dining, entertainment and retail destinations, American Dream (developed and owned by Triple Five Group) has successfully opened more than 170,000sq ft of new tenants and is now 89 per cent leased. According to statistics from leading intelligence provider, Placer.ai, American Dream has also seen the largest year-on-year increase in footfall of all retail destinations in the USA. Some of the most prominent international fashion brands to join the American Dream during 2023 include: the largest Balenciaga mall store in North America, Canada Goose, Ferrari, Hugo Boss, JD Sports, Lovisa, Watches of Switzerland with Rolex and Cartier Storefronts and Zadig&Voltaire. Additionally, the property is the home for North American flagship stores for brands, including Aland, Elegant Prosper, Saks Fifth Avenue, Hermes, Saint Laurent, Alexander Wang and Carpaccio, a fine-dining Italian restaurant – are all seeing strong sales volumes. Having established itself as a leading leisure destination with attractions including the DreamWorks Water Park and the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, American Dream continues to grow as an unparalleled experiential leisure and F&B destination. American Dream’s leisure offering is also stronger than ever with first-in-New Jersey locations of Activate, Nickelodeon Theme Park, Acuitis, as well as the only Paradox Museum location in New Jersey.

North America 6

What was to be Rock Run Crossings has now become the RockRun Collection. Developer Cullinan Properties’ rebranding of its 310-acre mixed-use centre now under construction in Joliet, Illinois, comes after the Illinois-based developer announced the signing of a significant anchor. Penn Entertainment, owner of 43 racetracks and casinos in North America, has committed to a $185M budget to construct a Hollywood Casino on-site. In addition, RockRun Collection will include 500,000sq ft of retail and restaurants and 160,000sq ft of entertainment. Anchored by Hollywood Casino Joliet and Regal Cinemas, the mixed-use development will include additional hotels, office/healthcare and multifamily uses. At the gateway to Chicagoland, RockRun Collection will be a highly curated experience where life and living meet. It will service a total trade area where numbers are expected to rise tremendously. The population of Will County, of which Joliet is the county seat, is expected to grow more than 75 per cent by 2040. Cullinan has collaborated with the city of Joliet for eight years on the project, a relationship that resulted in the recent installation of an interchange that provides direct entry into RockRun from I-55. A full completion date for this ongoing scheme has not been given.

Currently under development by Plentitude Holdings in California, The Creek at Dominguez Hills project will be spread across approximately 87 acres when completed, although no opening date is currently listed. The centrepiece of the scheme is a 199,000sq ft multi-use indoor sports complex designed for maximum interior adjustability to accommodate basketball, volleyball practice and team competitions, as well as indoor soccer, softball and baseball training areas. It will also feature more than eight acres of park open space and a three-kilometre jogging path will crisscross the landscaped areas within The Creek at Dominguez Hills. A zipline and ropes course will provide an outdoor adventure experience within the park destination. A clubhouse suitable for community and special events will feature a rooftop lounge. Finally, Main Street will be home to a diverse array of park amenities – from recreation to sports wellness to dining. Inspired by the brilliance of a traditional lantern festival and the artistry of colour and light – the bold, contemporary architecture and beautiful landscaping will create a marketplace experience unlike any other in Southern California.

North America 7

Fuelled by an outpouring of support for downtown development from throughout their community, Iguana Investments and the Jacksonville Jaguars are gearing up for a revitalised downtown. With the opening of Miller Electric Center and both the Jacksonville Shipyards and Stadium of the Future in the works, the game plan is just getting started. The Jacksonville Shipyards, including a restored Met Park, will deliver a downtown experience that blends urban design with waterfront entertainment. A modernised public marina, landmark five-star hotel and residences, plus six-storey office building will create hundreds of new jobs, generate vital tourism revenue and spark additional opportunities for emerging local businesses. With an influx of restaurants, hotels, entertainment and parks to complement existing establishments, a buzzing downtown could become the true heart and soul of Jacksonville. The redevelopment of the Jacksonville Shipyards and construction of the Miller Electric Center, with an eye toward the Stadium of the Future, will transform downtown into a thriving riverfront. A revitalised downtown will bring new jobs into the area, attract tourism revenue and drive momentum on additional development throughout the urban core. No specific opening dates have been given as development continues on the different elements of the project.

The man who directed the development of one of the most highly regarded retail centres in the country – Avalon in Alpharetta – has unveiled the plans for his new company’s first ground-up mixed-use centre. Mark Toro and his Toro Development Company has announced its plans for Medley, a 43-acre mixed-use project that will be the centre of a 192-acre town centre development to be built in Johns Creek, Georgia, a growing northern suburb of Atlanta. Medley will contain 200,000sq ft of space for retail, restaurants, and entertainment concepts; 900 townhomes and multifamily units, and 110,000sq ft of office space. Renderings of the project promise walkable streets, retail shops with activated rooftops, outdoor patios, and greenspace and an opening date is eagerly awaited.

North America 8

Perfectly situated between the Atlanta metro area and North Georgia’s scenic mountains, Forsyth County has undergone rapid change – seeing a population spike of 132 per cent from 2000 to 2019. Once a sleepy rural county, the area is exploding with development, most recently with the announcement of The Gathering at South Forsyth, a $2bn entertainment district, designed and master planned by NELSON Worldwide, that will bring world-class events, shopping and dining to the area in a 100-acre mixed use development. With a completion date set in 2033, the development will include 2,400 residential units, 500 hotel rooms, and 1.6 million square feet of office and retail space. An 18,500-seat arena that could be used to entice a major league hockey team to the metro Atlanta area is also planned. In addition to the hotel, office, and retail space, The Gathering will feature curated open community greenspaces, water features, walking trails and a state-of-the-art arena and community centre in the heart of the district. The development team includes Vernon Krause, President & CEO of Krause Auto Group and development owner and Frank Ferrara, Senior Project Executive, who is overseeing the development of The Gathering at South Forsyth.

North America 9

Hines and Columbia Development Group, in partnership with Affinius Capital, developed Fenton – a 92-acre mixed-use district in the Cary submarket of Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina. Fenton is Cary’s first vertically integrated, mixed-use destination. Upon full buildout, the development will offer over 2.5 million square feet of retail, office, restaurant, hotel and multifamily. The initial phase, which opened in June 2022, consists of 250,000sq ft of specialty and experiential retail, including a high-end movie theatre; 195,000sq ft of Class-A office and 357 apartment units. Fenton is located along Cary Towne Boulevard at I-40, adjacent to the WakeMed Soccer Park. The highly-amenitised development is proximate to Research Triangle Park-the regional job engine, as well as many of the area’s best residential neighbourhoods and schools.

North America 10

Opened back in March and located in the upscale community of Hoakalei, Wai Kai is a new lifestyle destination that will be unlike any other waterfront development on the island of O’ahu. With more than 100 shops, restaurants, and entertainment, Wai Kai will be a new gathering place where visitors can connect to both land and ocean. Designed by CallisonRTKL and developed by Wai Kai Commercial Development, Wai Kai’s retail environment was designed to cater to everyone from local residents to international and domestic visitors. The wide range of offerings spread throughout Wai Kai showcase signature restaurants and shops that feature Hawaii’s local flavours. In connection to the island’s beautiful landscape, Wai Kai incorporates a variety of lush greenery, Hawaiian plants, and koi ponds to create an oasis-like environment. Wai Kai at Hoakalei is destined to become an active year-round destination where residents and visitors can experience these first-of-their-kind attractions, signature events and be at one with the natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean.

North America 11

Launched back in August by developer Stanford University, Middle Plaza provides new housing opportunities, along with retail, dining and office space, revitalising a section of El Camino Real close to the Stanford campus. The launch marks the culmination of an 11-year process to design and build Middle Plaza on an underutilised 8.4acre parcel of land along El Camino Real in Menlo Park between the Stanford Park Hotel and Big 5 Sporting Goods. The result is a mixed-use development that includes 215 one- and two-bedroom apartment homes and approximately 155,000sq ft of retail, dining and office space. The property also features its namesake half-acre publicly accessible plaza that is designed as a place for the community to gather and interact. Stephen and Jared Silver, proprietors of Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, teamed with Silicon Valley real estate mogul John Arrillaga prior to his death in January to build the 35,000sq ft luxury retail element and it is home to brands including Hermés, Laurent Ferrier, Bovet and Swiss watchmakers H.M Moser and Roger Dubuis. Gourmet dining is also in place at Middle Plaza. Ayesha Thapar – proprietor of the Michelin Star, Cal-Indian fusion restaurant Eylan in Palo Alto – has launched a new concept there called Ettan.

North America 12

Developer Tanger Outlets, a leading operator of upscale, open-air shopping centres has launched its 37th shopping centre, Tanger Outlets Nashville on 27 October. The 290,000sq ft open-air shopping centre, located in southeast Nashville, Tennessee, is the first outlet centre and one of the few major shopping centres in the US to break ground and deliver to the market since 2019. The centre features a transformational design intended to foster onsite experience and consumer engagement, as well as to facilitate product interaction and pickup. This consumer-informed design and an in-demand location – in one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country – have helped Tanger Nashville secure leases for 96.5 per cent of its retail and restaurant space. These leases include a distinctive assortment of brands that reflect Tanger’s commitment to diversify and enhance the shopping experience. Tanger Nashville will serve locals and visitors to the greater Nashville community with 60 retail stores across seven buildings and The Green, a central outdoor community space for programming and activations. The centre’s dynamic and diverse retail mix includes sought-after lifestyle brands and global designers across a range of categories, including fashion apparel and footwear, accessories and jewellery, athletic and athleisure wear, home furnishings, cosmetics and gifts. Guests will also be able to enjoy locally and nationally acclaimed food and beverage options, including sit down restaurants and quick-service offerings. Nearly one quarter of the assortment at Tanger Nashville are brands that are either new to Tanger’s portfolio or first to the outlet channel, including several digitally native brands and iconic Nashville eateries.

North America 13

Launched back in 2020 by developer Fisher Brothers, AREA15 has confirmed plans to expand its district in Las Vegas by 20 acres, providing a destination where people can “come, enjoy, consume, eat, party, dance and stay”. The anchor tenant will be a year-round eerie experience from Universal Parks & Resorts inspired by Halloween Horror Nights. Universal’s horror experience will occupy more than 110,000sq ft in a standalone building. In addition, more than 85,000sq ft will be dedicated to pop-ups and outdoor experiences. This will be joined by additional attractions, entertainment, retail and F&B. The new development extends beyond AREA15’s main complex, home to attractions including Meow Wolf‘s Omega Mart, Illuminarium and Lost Spirits Distillery. As part of the expansion AREA15 is looking for tenants offering immersive experiences, attractions, curated retail, unique entertainment and exciting F&B outlets. The expansion will include more than 450,000sq ft of space, with tenant leasing opportunities ranging from 1,000sq ft to 60,000sq ft. AREA15 is breaking ground on the expansion in the coming months and it will be turned over to the tenants in mid-2024.

North America 14

JLL have announced that it has secured Avenue One in Omaha, Nebraska, as part of the mixed-use development and management strategic partnership with Poag Development Group. Avenue One, owned by Jasper Stone Partners, is 200 acres of mixed-use development and will be the first ground-up development under JLL and Poag Development Group since announcing their strategic partnership in August of 2022. For Avenue One, JLL’s Retail Property Management specialised leasing team will be the leasing agent and Poag will provide the development services. Avenue One is more than 20 years in the making and is the vision of Jasper Stone Partners. Jasper Stone Partners, a boutique private real estate investment firm, envisions Avenue One to be a special place to draw people from all over Omaha to 192nd Street and West Dodge Road and serve as Omaha’s “Western Gateway.” The development will feature a business park, shops, restaurants, hotels, apartments and six miles of walking trails. JLL and Poag’s strategic partnership will bring the vision of this mixed-use property to life. Avenue One’s curated collection of restaurants, local and national stores, and hotel will make the area a prime hot spot for everyday enjoyment and special occasion treats when it opens in early 2025.

North America 15

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) has announced Mill Creek Residential (MCR) as co-developer for the first phase of the landmark transformation of Westfield Garden State Plaza in Bergen County, New Jersey. Anticipated to break ground in 2024 and slated to open to residents in 2027, the first phase will include the construction of 550 luxury apartment homes that will be integrated with the shopping centre via a one-acre ‘green town’ for residents, visitors and shoppers to enjoy, as well as introduce a ‘main street’ outdoor district featuring restaurants and everyday conveniences and services. The planned overhaul for Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus will bring green plazas and luxury apartments to the mall and may eventually include a hotel, medical offices and senior housing. The development will also include significant community and sustainability features such as new parks and greenspaces, green building construction, upgraded connectivity to public transportation networks, electric vehicle charging stations and the restoration of a section of the beloved local Sprout Brook. The developers said the new residences and green space will complement the mall’s existing retail, dining, and entertainment options.

Fresh off appointing its new president, Trademark Property Company is preparing to make its mark on a master-planned community in Cypress, California. The Fort Worth-based firm is nearing a 37-acre land acquisition within Dunham Pointe, a 1,327-acre master-planned community under development in the northwest Houston suburb. Trademark aims to build between 225,000 and 250,000sq ft of retail and restaurant space, a 350-unit apartment complex and 36 townhomes at the southwest corner of Highway 290 and Mason Road. Offices and a hotel could be added in a later phase. Assuming the land sale is finalized, Trademark hopes to begin construction in the second quarter of 2025 and complete the project by early 2027.

North America 16

The ongoing Hudson Yards development is a 28-acre real estate development in the Chelsea and Hudson Yards neighbourhoods of Manhattan, New York City. The first stages of Hudson Yards were completed in 2019 and today the site is home to more than 100 diverse shops and culinary experiences, offices for leaders in industry, significant public art and dynamic cultural institutions including The Shed, modern residences, 14 acres of public plazas, gardens and groves and the world’s first Equinox Hotel. Upon full completion by developers Related Companies and Oxford Properties in 2027, 13 of the 16 planned structures on the West Side of Midtown South would sit on a platform built over the West Side Yard, a storage yard for Long Island Rail Road trains. The second phase, on which construction had not started as of 2023, will include residential space, an office building, and a school.

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