TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (“Choice Properties” or the “Trust”) (TSX: CHP.UN) and Loblaw Companies Limited (“Loblaw”) (TSX: L) announced today that the Trust exercised its previously announced equity conversion right from Rice Group to acquire a 75% ownership interest in 154 developable acres of industrial land in East Gwillimbury in the Greater Toronto Area (the “Property”), and that Loblaw intends to build a 1.2 million square foot, automated, multi-temperature industrial facility on part of the Property to add capacity and create new capabilities for the retailer (the “Distribution Facility”). The Property is strategically located at the corner of Highway 404 and Green Lane East, with excellent access to major highways.
The development plan for the Property is for the Trust to build a multi-phase industrial park with the potential for approximately 1.8 million square feet of new generation logistics space (the “Development”). For the first phase of the Development, the Trust and Loblaw entered into an approximately 100-acre land lease. Choice Properties and Rice Group’s total initial cost of the project is approximately $170 million, including land and site preparation. Preparation of the site for the first and following phases is anticipated to take place over a period of 15 months. The cost of the Distribution Facility is already contemplated in Loblaw’s capital planning and projections and Loblaw expects to bring the Distribution Facility into its operations in the first quarter of 2024.
“This development is a unique opportunity for Choice Properties to scale its existing industrial portfolio, and further demonstrates the benefits of our strong and strategic relationship with Loblaw,” said Rael Diamond, President and Chief Executive Officer of Choice Properties. “The development is a significant opportunity in a key market to develop industrial land alongside the Rice Group, who is a long-standing development partner of ours.”
“This new facility reflects our continued drive to advance our supply chain to better serve our customers and meet their evolving needs,” said Robert Sawyer, Chief Operating Officer, Loblaw. “This is also a strong demonstration of the benefits of our strategic relationship with Choice Properties.”
About Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust
Choice Properties is a leading Real Estate Investment Trust that creates enduring value through the ownership, operation and development of high-quality commercial and residential properties. Choice Properties currently holds 114 industrial properties totaling 17.2 million square feet. With the Development, Choice Properties now has approximately 6.5 million square feet under development or in various stages of the rezoning and planning process, further expanding its pipeline of opportunity to grow its industrial portfolio.
Choice Properties believes that value comes from creating spaces that improve how its tenants and communities come together to live, work, and connect. The Trust strives to understand the needs of its tenants and manage its properties to the highest standard. Choice Properties aspires to develop healthy, resilient communities through its dedication to social, economic, and environmental sustainability. In everything it does, the Trust is guided by a shared set of values grounded in Care, Ownership, Respect and Excellence.
About Loblaw Companies Limited
Loblaw is Canada’s food and pharmacy leader, and the nation’s largest retailer. Loblaw provides Canadians with grocery, pharmacy, health and beauty, apparel, general merchandise, financial services and wireless mobile products and services. With more than 2,400 corporate, franchised and Associate-owned locations, Loblaw, its franchisees and Associate-owners employ more than 190,000 full- and part-time employees, making it one of Canada’s largest private sector employers.
Loblaw’s purpose – Live Life Well® – puts first the needs and well-being of Canadians who make one billion transactions annually in the company’s stores. Loblaw is positioned to meet and exceed those needs in many ways: convenient locations; more than 1,050 grocery stores that span the value spectrum from discount to specialty; full-service pharmacies at nearly 1,400 Shoppers Drug Mart® and Pharmaprix® locations and close to 500 Loblaw locations; PC Financial® services; affordable Joe Fresh® fashion and family apparel; and four of Canada’s top-consumer brands in Life Brand®, Farmer’s MarketTM, no name® and President’s Choice®.
About Rice Group
Rice Group is a vertically integrated retail, industrial and infrastructure developer. Rice Group’s vertical integration supports and provides site works, servicing, construction management and design and approval for internal projects and Rice partnerships. Rice Group manages the development of a portfolio in excess of 1200 acres primarily in the GTA. The portfolio consists of approximately 5 million square feet on industrial and commercial space with more than 10 million square feet in the pipeline.
Choice Properties Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities legislation, which reflects Choice Properties’ current expectations regarding future events. Forward-looking information is based on a number of assumptions and is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Choice Properties’ control that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those that are disclosed in or implied by such forward-looking information. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, Choice’s ability to successfully complete the Development and the financial costs and returns associated with it, and the factors discussed in Choice Properties’ current Annual Information Form and First Quarter 2022 Report to Unitholders. Choice Properties does not undertake any obligation to update such forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable law. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date hereof and are qualified by these cautionary statements.
Loblaw Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities legislation, which reflects Loblaw’s current expectation regarding future events. There can be no assurance regarding the ability of Loblaw to successfully complete the Distribution Facility or realize on the benefits associated with it. Forward-looking information is based on a number of assumptions and is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Loblaw’s control that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those that are disclosed in or implied by such forward-looking information. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the factors discussed in Loblaw’s current Annual Information Form and First Quarter 2022 MD&A. Loblaw does not undertake any obligation to update such forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable law. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date hereof and are qualified by these cautionary statements.