Smart Real Estate Investment Trust announced on Thursday it plans to build a 700-unit high-rise condominium project in Vaughan, Ont., marking the shopping mall REIT’s entry into the residential real estate market.
The two-tower project will be developed at SmartCentres Place in Vaughan, and will be approximately 35 storeys each, the company said. It will be developed in a joint venture with CentreCourt Developments, SmartREIT (SRU_u.TO) said.
SmartREIT Chairman Mitchell Goldhar said the move is “a natural sort of next step for us to get into a variety of things, including residential,” and that it’s a “timely” response to the Great Toronto Area’s housing challenges.
“We’re adjusting to the current reality […] we think that our property and this particular development and subsequent phases could be in some ways helpful in terms of supplying affordable housing in the GTA on a subway line,” Goldhar said.
SmartCentres Place is a 100-acre, 17 million square foot development, which will be connected to downtown Toronto by subway. The station is expected to be operational in December 2017.
Goldhar also said he does not agree with the federal government’s recent changes to mortgage rules.
“[Our project] is an example of an adaptation to housing prices […] so I think it’s probably always healthier to let the market make the adaptation, instead of government reacting.”
SmartREIT is one of Canada’s largest REITs with total assets of more than $8.6 billion, and owns and manages a number of Walmart-anchored retail centres.