P.E.I. developer Tim Banks buys interest in Charlottetown Mall
'We're going to bring a new vision'
Pan American properties is partnering with Killam Apartment REIT to buy the Charlottetown Mall.
P.E.I. developer Tim Banks is the president of Pan American properties, and best known locally as the CEO of APM. He said he's had his eye on the mall for years.
"I'm actually pretty excited about it, to be able to put some local content into the redevelopment of the mall," said Banks in an interview with CBC News.
Killam had already taken a 50 per cent stake in the mall with owner RioCan a few years ago, Banks said. Now, Banks and Killam have split the purchase of RioCan's shares, so Banks owns a 25 per cent stake alongside Killam's 75 per cent.
The deal closed last week.
"We're going to expand the centre and develop it in conjunction with the Sherwood Crossing development that we're doing to the back of the property," Banks said. "It's going to be a very hands-on approach to revitalizing the centre."
We anticipate over the next five years to put $40 or $50 million into the development of the Sherwood Crossing and the changes we're making in the centre.— Tim Banks
The name will likely change too, he said.
"We're going to bring a new vision, and that vision will be bringing a personal approach to it to work with a lot of locals," he said. "It was hard for RioCan to manage it out of Toronto, not knowing our landscape."
'Blow it up a little bit'
Banks would not say exactly what the deal is worth, but called it a "sizeable investment."
Back in 2019 when Killam bought into the mall, they paid $23.7 million for 50 per cent. Banks said this deal is "close to that."
"We're going to blow it up a little bit, and we're going to do some rebranding," Banks said. "We're pretty excited."
They've also purchased a neighbouring property from the federal government (next to Boston Pizza) as well as about 5.5 hectares on the "Sherwood side" of the mall. Banks said they are giving some land to the city to connect Towerwood Drive to Spencer Drive, and believes work will begin on that soon. That will relieve traffic driving through the mall's parking lots, making it safer and more convenient.
Banks said the branded stores that have long-term leases will remain in the mall. The developers plan to reposition the food court. And they plan to welcome new nationally-branded stores with local investment rather than run by head offices elsewhere.
They plan for 100 per cent occupancy soon, he said, and will do that by reducing operating costs for tenants through reducing energy costs and more.
"We anticipate over the next five years to put $40 or $50 million into the development of the Sherwood Crossing and the changes we're making in the centre."
Banks said the move is strategic, to better connect the mall and the exploding residential community around it as well as better connect with UPEI.
"I just think you'll just see the whole area get strengthened," he said.
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With files from Laura Meader