Behind The Deal: Oxford's Stake in Canada's Second-Largest Mall
Oxford Properties Group just acquired a 50% share in Brossard, Quebec's Quartier DIX30. (Is owning half a Dollarama the same as owning one 50-cent piecearama?) We called up Oxford EVP Michael Turner to find out how the deal fits into his firm’s national growth strategy.
Oxford lacked a “meaningful retail presence” in the Montreal area, Michael tells us. “It was a hole in our portfolio.” It's taking a freehold interest in DIX30, with 2.3M SF of space—310 stores, 53 restaurants, two live theatres, a cinema, hotel, and 330k SF of office. And with many leases maturing in the next two years at DIX30, there’s an opportunity to bring the South Shore mall, approaching its 10th anniversary, to the “next stage of evolution.” Oxford and the property's developer Carbonleo will own and manage the retail centre in a JV. It trails only West Edmonton Mall in size.
The DIX30 deal includes two adjacent future developments, totaling 295k SF, coming in 2016. Michael (here with wife Rena, son Oliver, and daughter Ava on a holiday this summer in the Bahamas) notes there are “tons of opportunities” to intensify this site, with 210 acres of contiguous land, two highway frontages, and a light rail line planned. Oxford will look at downsizing certain oversized tenants and add space to accommodate international retailers—particularly US-based ones—that demand a larger footprint.
In a bid to build on the retail centre's existing roster of “aspirational tenants” like Apple, Michael Kors, Williams-Sonoma, and Hugo Boss, Michael says Oxford will expand relationships it's cultivated with international retailers in other cities across Canada and help them crack the Quebec market. The retail transformation that’s taken place elsewhere in Canada has yet to come to Quebec, he points out.