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Simon Announces Canada Outlet Play

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The news is pouring in fast and furious as ICSC's RECon show begins in earnest today.

The most intriguing announcement so far: Simon Property Group has formed a joint venture with Canadian developer Calloway REIT to build Premium Outlets in Canada.

The first center will be built in the town of Halton Hills--just 15 minutes outside Toronto.

Wait a minute. That sounds familiar.

Simon's announcement comes about three and a half months after Tanger Outlet Centers formed a similar joint venture with RioCan REIT. Tanger and RioCan said they might invest about $1 billion to build a portfolio of 10 to 15 centers.

And, in fact, in mid-March, Tanger and RioCan also announced plans to build a property in ... wait for it ... Halton Hills!

So are there really going to be two outlet centers going up in the same place? Or does this raise doubts about the Tanger/RioCan project? Tanger and RioCan said they had purchased a 35-acre parcel and were aiming to open in April 2013.

Simon's release, intriguingly, includes a quote from the town's mayor. Simon and Calloway also say they, like RioCan and Tanger, have procured a site. They don't list a target opening date, but do say that they think construction will begin next spring.

So it appears there's a race on. It seems hard to believe that both projects can succeed. It will be interesting to track leasing announcements to see where tenants end up signing.

From Simon's release:

Simon Property Group, Inc. and Calloway Real Estate Investment Trust announced today that they have signed a Letter of Intent to develop the first Premium Outlet CenterĀ® in Canada. The center will be located in the Town of Halton Hills, Ontario, just 15 minutes outside of Toronto.

...

The Halton Hills site, located at Highway 401 and Trafalgar Road, with its in-place zoning approvals permitting outlet center uses, is in the process of obtaining additional municipal approvals and permits required for a construction start in spring 2012.

"We are excited to bring the Premium Outlets branded concept of upscale outlet shopping to Canada. This location will enable us to serve over 6 million area residents within a one-hour drive," remarked John R. Klein, President of Simon's Premium Outlets platform. "Coupled with Calloway's depth of management and its major shareholder SmartCentres' proven track record in development, we believe our first project in Canada will be a resounding success."

...

"Calloway is very excited to work with Simon Property Group and its Premium Outlets division, which has established a reputation of providing shoppers with the highest quality outlet centers. Outlet shopping is an underserved segment of the retail landscape and we intend to satisfy the pent up consumer demand," said Al Mawani, President and Chief Executive Officer of Calloway.

"We are thrilled that Simon Property Group has chosen to work with Calloway on this exciting project. The Town staff has been working closely with representatives of Calloway to proceed expeditiously through the planning process. The significant financial investment by Simon Property Group/Calloway in our community as well as the hundreds of jobs that will be created as a result of this development are very important to the economic vitality of our town," said Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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