Harden to manage RioCan REIT’s Quebec portfolio | RENX
Harden will take over property management and leasing of 18 commercial properties from RioCan REIT Quebec on July 1.
The 18 properties make up the REIT’s entire Quebec portfolio, outside of Gatineau, and were until now managed by RioCan (REI-UN-T). The assets are largely unenclosed service-oriented centers and grocery stores located in the Montreal area, which had an occupancy rate of 95.2% at the end of 2021.
Harden was already responsible for the management, leasing and redevelopment of the 171,022 square foot Les Galeries Lachine enclosed shopping center in Montreal. The company had acquired a 50% interest in Les Galeries Lachine and the Center Carnaval de LaSalle from RioCan in December 2019.
Harden and RioCan subsequently sold the 15-acre LaSalle property to Brivia Group last year.
“They (Harden) know the Quebec market so well and they bring a very strong team to the table and produce very high quality retail from every angle, from the rental side and their relationships, from their relationships with local contractors and architects. , and know what those communities need,” John Ballantyne, RioCan’s chief operating officer, told RENX.
“We are now focused on improving the quality of these locations, both aesthetically and with tenant diversity, making them even better at extracting even more growth. The Quebec portfolio is very similar to the rest of our portfolio in that we want to reinvest and make it more community-based and we also want to play with tenant diversity.
“While we are currently 95% occupancy, we want that to increase, but we also want to change the tenant mix to make it more synergistic and drive growth.”
Harden and RioCan consider scaling up
Harden could also play a role in adding value to properties through intensification – adding an additional residential or commercial component as it also develops commercial, industrial and multi-residential properties.
“Absolutely nothing is broken in these centers by any means. They’ve been very resilient during the pandemic, but we think there’s an opportunity to achieve more growth,” Ballantyne said. is what Harden brings to the table.
“They will be able to deal with local expertise and find out what the communities want for each of these centres. They will also know where there are opportunities to do something different with certain sites as well, on the scaling up side.
The agreement with RioCan will be Harden’s first property management agreement with a third party.
“This is a first for Harden because we’re developers and owners of real estate and we’ve always basically built ourselves,” Tyler Harden, co-CEO of Harden, told RENX. “This was an opportunity for which we felt there was a lot of opportunity in this portfolio in Quebec.
“They want to continue to invest in Quebec, so there is an alignment to do it with them.
RioCan also recently agreed to sell a 50% interest in Mega Center Notre-Dame in Laval, Quebec. to Harden for $34.5 million. The property has over 500,000 square feet of gross leasable area and the transaction is expected to close soon.
RioCan owns, manages and develops increasingly mixed-use retail-oriented properties in high-density, transit-oriented areas. Its portfolio consisted of 207 properties with a total net leasable area of approximately 36.4 million square feet – including office, rental housing and 13 properties under development – as of December 31.
Multi-faceted, vertically integrated harden
Harden was founded in 1985 and is a second-generation, family-owned real estate company primarily focused on owning and operating commercial, residential and industrial properties in communities across Quebec and Eastern Ontario.
The vertically integrated operation has over 70 employees and specializes in development, construction, leasing and property management.
Harden owns and operates over five million square feet of commercial net leasable space. Headquartered in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, the company has approximately two million square feet of industrial space and 500,000 square feet of retail space, as well as more than 2,000 residential units, at various stages of development.
Harden’s major project at the moment is Solstice, a 44-story condominium at 1275, avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal, next to the Bell Center in downtown Montreal. It will also have approximately 2,900 square feet of retail space, including an approximately 1,200 square foot outdoor patio.
The residential units are 94% sold and construction continues up to the 32nd floor. The objective is to return the building to the inhabitants in the first quarter of 2023.
“We invest a lot in communities and feel it’s important to give back to those communities,” Harden said. “It’s a big part of our family values and our company values.
“This is how we approach every project and in our day-to-day work: looking at the beneficial social and environmental impacts we can have.”