After a quiet year for acquisitions, Bayfield Realty Advisors Inc. has already made two major purchases in 2016.
“We are always in the market looking for opportunities and sometimes they do not materialize for months at a time and sometimes more than one comes at the same time,” said president and chief executive officer Harold Spring.
“We try to be in a position to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.”
The Shops of Pickering Ridge
Bayfield, which had already owned half, acquired the remaining 50 per cent interest in The Shops of Pickering Ridge and adjacent development lands in Pickering, Ont. owned by a public fund administered by Vancouver-based Sunstone Realty Advisors earlier this month for $30.75 million. The properties are comprised of a modernized, open format 280,000-square-foot shopping centre and approximately nine acres of adjacent vacant land.
The Shops of Pickering Ridge has been the subject of a $7.7-million redevelopment and re-tenanting program since mid-2013. Its tenants include Staples, Blue Sky Supermarket, Dollar Tree, GoodLife Fitness, Kitchen Stuff Plus, Corningware, Corelle & More, Living Lighting, Jones New York, Stitches and a Cora restaurant.
Bayfield has owned a stake in the shopping centre, which sits at the northeast corner of Brock Road and Highway 401, for 10 years. The Shops of Pickering Ridge has 1,155 parking stalls and approximately 850 metres of frontage on the busy highway northeast of Toronto.
There’s 100,000 square feet of additional retail development potential on the adjacent nine-acre site, with the remainder to be used for low-rise condominium-style townhomes, stacked townhomes and possibly some mid-rise residential condos.
“We expect to finalize our plans for that in the next month or so,” said Spring. “We’ll then move ahead and finalize a joint venture agreement with a large builder/developer for 500 to 600 units.”
Ontario and Quebec portfolio acquisition
Bayfield opened February with the announcement it had acquired a 100 per cent interest in a 51,386-square-foot, eight-property portfolio comprised of 10 freestanding retail pads in Ontario and Quebec for $15.23 million. The portfolio is completely leased by national tenants including Shoppers Drug Mart, Tim Hortons, Harvey’s, Pizza Hut, Scores, Madisons and Carquest.
Spring said he was unable to provide any more details about the locations at this time.
Bayfield was launched by Spring in 2005 with an aim to maximize the return on clients’ capital by emphasizing consistent and growing cash flow able to withstand turbulent market conditions through acting quickly when opportunities arise and selling portfolios when they’ve substantially reached their upside potential.
The Toronto-based real estate advisory and services organization has an investment portfolio valued at more than $715 million and a total net leasable area of more than 4.1 million square feet spread across every province from Quebec westward. It specializes in acquisition, asset management, leasing and development services to private and institutional investors.
Growth strategy under review
Bayfield’s portfolio has traditionally been retail-based and Spring said leasing activity has increased this year. However, he added the company’s long-term growth strategy is under review and it could include a broader product mix while maintaining a similar geographical approach.
“We are focusing on primary and larger secondary markets in all provinces across Canada, but we’re not as interested in the Maritimes,” said Spring.
Bayfield’s institutional investors and partners include RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust (REI.UN-T), Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust (REF.UN-T) and the Sunstone group of funds. There was a time earlier this decade when Bayfield considered turning itself into a real estate investment trust (REIT) before deciding against it. Spring declined comment when asked if there might be any lingering thoughts of making Bayfield a REIT.
“The Bayfield funds established over the past five years have performed extremely well for our high-net-worth and institutional investors,” Spring concluded.
“Annual fund distributions over the five-year period have averaged 6.8 per cent and the average increase in equity of these funds from inception to December 2015 is approximately 52 per cent. These funds have been in existence between one-and-a-half and five years.”