RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust

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RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust
Traded asTSXREI.UN
S&P/TSX Composite Component
IndustryREIT - Retail
Toronto, Ontario
Number of locations
Area served
Key people
Edward Sonshine, CEO and founder
Number of employees
669 (2016)[1]
RioCan Yonge Eglinton Centre in Toronto during November 2010.

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust is the second-largest real estate investment trust (REIT) in Canada.[2] It has an enterprise value of approximately $14 billion, and owns 289 primarily retail properties, with a net leasable area of 44 million square feet.[3] The company properties are located across Canada. The current chief executive officer is Edward Sonshine.[2]


Early history[edit]

RioCan was founded in 1993, by its current CEO Edward Sonshine, as Counsel REIT.[4] It was one of the first real estate investment trusts in Canada.[4] The company held an IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1994.[5] In 1995, it re-structured to internalize its asset management responsibilities, in return for a $5 million payment.[4][6] As part of the re-structuring, the company was renamed RioCan REIT, a short form for "Retail Industrial Office Canadian".[4]

Riocan achieved significant growth in its early history, with an annualized 16% return from its IPO to 2013.[4] This growth was achieved in part through acquisitions. In 1995, it acquired five shopping centres in Ottawa from Ivanhoe Inc. for $42.5 million, almost doubling the size of the company (at the time, it had 29 properties).[7] In 1998, it acquired nine shopping centres from Burnac Inc, its largest acquisition up to that time.[5] Also in 1998, the company launched an ultimately successful hostile takeover bid for Realfund REIT. The new company had a market value of more than $1 billion, and was Canada's largest REIT.[4]

US expansion[edit]

In 2006, RioCan announced a planned expansion into the United States, through a $1 billion joint-venture with Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust.[8] However, this deal fell apart before closing.[9] In 2010, the firm launched a successful expansion into the United States, taking advantage of low real estate prices there.[9] By 2012, 15% of RioCan's revenue was from the United States, and it planned to expand the percentage to 20%.[10] In December 2015, RioCan sold its U.S. portfolio to Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII, for C$2.7 billion.[9] The deal was triggered by the low value of the Canadian dollar. RioCan used some of the proceeds of the deal to fund its previously announced buyout of Kimco Realty's joint venture stake for $715 million.[11]

Recent history[edit]

In 2011, RioCan announced a $1 billion joint venture with Tanger Factory Outlet Centers to develop 10-15 centres in Canada.[12] RioCan was significantly affected by the sale of Zellers to Target, and the resulting closure of Zellers stores in Canada,[13] as well as the closure of Target Canada. Target eventually paid RioCan $132 million to get out of its leases.[14]

Change of strategy[edit]

Starting around 2015, RioCan entered the residential real estate market, due to the threat from e-commerce to traditional retail. The company plans to re-develop many of its malls with high-rise apartments, including Westgate Mall in Ottawa.[15] By March 2018, when the company announced the RioCan Living Brand, it had 2,800 units being planned in eight of its shopping centres.[16]

In October 2017, the firm announced it would sell about $2 billion worth of properties by 2019. The sales would mainly be in smaller urban centres; the company plans to focus on the six largest Canadian cities of Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.[17] At the time of the announcement, RioCan had 299 properties, and it plans to sell about 100.[17] RioCan's six largest markets already accounted for 75% of revenue, and it plans to increase that percentage to 90%.[18][2]


RioCan invests primarily in supermarket and junior department store-anchored, neighbourhood, convenience-oriented shopping centres. It owns both enclosed malls and power centres, in a large range of sizes RioCan tries to ensure that no one tenant makes up more than 10% of its rental revenue, in contrast to some other retail REITS (such as Choice Properties REIT) whose revenues are dominated by a single tenant.[19] As of 2017, its largest tenant was Loblaw, with about 5% of rental revenue.[20] As of 2017, 66% of revenue was from Ontario, 15% was from Alberta, 9% was from Quebec, 8% was from British Columbia, and the rest was from the rest of Canada.[20]

Properties owned by RioCan include Lawrence Square Shopping Centre in Toronto, Chapman Mills Marketplace in Ottawa, RioCan Centre Kingston in Kingston, and Burlington Mall in Burlington.


  1. ^ "RioCan 2016 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  2. ^ a b c "Dethroned as Canada's biggest REIT, RioCan races to get smaller in shift from retail to apartments". Financial Post. 2018-02-26. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  3. ^ "Highlights | Investor Relations | RioCan REIT - RioCan REIT". Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "How Ed Sonshine turned RioCan REIT into one of Canada's biggest property owners". Financial Post. 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  5. ^ a b "RioCan History | A success Story in Real Estate Investment". RioCan REIT. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  7. ^ "Riocan Reit completes acquisition of Ottawa Real Estate Portfolio. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  8. ^ "RioCan REIT expanding to U.S. in joint venture". The Globe and Mail. 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  9. ^ a b c "RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust is selling 49 American shopping malls to Blackstone Group". Financial Post. 2015-12-18. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  10. ^ "RioCan REIT eyes U.S. expansion with opening of new regional office". Financial Post. 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  11. ^ "RioCan to buy out partner Kimco and 22 properties | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  12. ^ "RioCan, Tanger Factory Outlets spending $1B on Canadian outlet shopping centres". 2011-01-24. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  13. ^ "RioCan says earnings hurt by Zellers vacancies, but space will be filled". The Globe and Mail. 2013-07-31. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  14. ^ "Target reaches deal with landlord RioCan to get out of Canadian leases | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  15. ^ "Reinventions on tap for Westgate, Elmvale Acres, Gloucester shopping centres | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  16. ^ "RioCan makes move to convert malls into mixed-use communities | The Star". Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  17. ^ a b "RioCan to sell 100 properties in smaller centres by 2019 | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  18. ^ "RioCan to sell $2B worth of properties in secondary markets across Canada | The Star". The Toronto Star. 2017-10-02. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  19. ^ "The rise of the one-tenant REIT". Financial Post. 2013-08-12. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  20. ^ a b "RioCan 2017 Annual Report" (PDF).