SportChek to Anchor SmartCentres Etobicoke Index in Toronto, Boosting Tenant Mix and Market Interest [Interviews]


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The SmartCentres Etobicoke Index site has secured SportChek to join its tenant mix.

Luke Moore, Leasing Manager for the property, confirmed that the retailer, along with Mark’s, which are part of the Canadian Tire Corporation umbrella, will retrofit the former 70,000-square-foot SAIL space at Index.

Luke Moore

He said this will bring a new energy to the centre. 

“There’s a sense of anticipation for their arrival in the market and we’ve seen renewed leasing interest in the centres from fashion, athletic apparel, home décor, and restaurant users since announcing our plans,” said Moore.

“We are excited to add SportChek and an updated and expanded Mark’s to the sites. They are both top-performing retailers, with national brand recognition and innovative operating platforms. The brands are going to attract a new consumer demographic and will reinforce the performance of our existing and future tenants in Etobicoke.”

SmartCentres Etobicoke Index (Image: SmartCentres)

SmartCentres Etobicoke and SmartCentres Etobicoke Index shopping centres consist of 624,000 square feet of open-air retail space across 54-acres. The centres straddle North Queen Street at Hwy 427 and The Queensway beside Sherway Gardens within Toronto West’s southern Etobicoke retail node.

“Our Walmart-anchored, SmartCentres Etobicoke site originally launched in 2002 and saw its most recent buildings constructed in 2017/2018. We have 22 tenants currently on-site including national retailers Winners, Old Navy, Best Buy, Tip Top, Carter’s Osh Kosh and Reitmans, as well as food and beverage providers Pur & Simple, BarBurrito, and Firehouse Subs,” said Moore.

“SmartCentres Etobicoke Index is the newer centre of the two which opened its first phase in 2011 with Marshalls and PetSmart. We’ve continued to construct neighbouring buildings since then with Tim Horton’s, Snuggle Bugz, Party City, and Structube joining the site in 2012 and 2014.”

Moore said Canadian Appliance Source opened at the Index site during the pandemic period.

“And we are excited to share that North America’s largest specialty cake company, Nothing Bundt Cakes will be opening within the next couple of months,” he said.

“The neighbourhood retail requirements have been quite diverse, which have resulted in the assembly of the strongest retailers in the country and we continue to improve this mix in the remaining vacancies with tenants that complement our centre.

“We’re working through new leasing requirements with tenants who have an interest in our centre. In addition, we see the potential of residential use over time.”

SmartCentres Etobicoke Index (Image: SmartCentres)

Moore said what makes SmartCentres’ open-format retail attractive is its high-quality retail products, in great locations, with great tenants and easy access.

“In Etobicoke’s case, we have buildings that are less than 10 years old, anchored by some of the strongest national retailers in Canada located at the Hwy 427 & The Queensway,” he added.

In releasing its second quarter financial results last month, SmartCentres said shopping centre leasing activity strengthened from Q1 2023, with an industry-leading in-place and committed occupancy rate of 98.2 per cent as at June 30, 2023 (December 31, 2022 – 98.0 per cent). It executed new leases of 273,150 square feet during the quarter and renewed 75.5 per cent of the 5,157,636 square feet of space expiring in 2023.

“Construction activity is currently underway, with respect to high rise residential on existing shopping centre sites in Vaughan, Laval, and Ottawa,” it said. 

Mitchell Goldhar

Mitchell Goldhar, CEO of SmartCentres Real Estate Investment Trust said: “Our defensive portfolio has become more offensive, with even stronger numbers in our Walmart anchored centres, which drove a $7.0 million increase in net rental income compared to the same quarter of last year. In-place and committed occupancy increased 20 basis points to 98.2 per cent in the quarter, demonstrating our industry leadership. We expect to continue delivering strong occupancy levels and solid rental income for the balance of the year.”

SmartCentres has 155 retail properties. 

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.



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