Firm headed by Island resident buys Mayfair shopping centre

Mayfair shopping centre in Victoria has been purchased by Central Walk, the buyer of Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre in September 2020.

In each case, Central Walk, headed by Vancouver Island resident Weihong Liu, bought the malls from Montreal’s Ivanhoe Cambridge, the real estate arm of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

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Mayfair’s sale closed on June 1.

The purchase price was not disclosed. Mayfair, 3147 Douglas St., is assessed at $242.57 million and sits on 20.7 acres, government records state.

It is home to 114 retailers and restaurants. A $72-million upgrading and expansion completed in 2019 saw the shopping centre expanded by 100,000 square feet to a total of 522,391 square feet of retail space and 2,042 parking spaces.

Ivanhoe Cambridge said that in a typical year the mall attracts 4.6 million visitors and has a sales volume of $192 million.

Liu, chair and founder of Central Walk, said in a statement: “I’m so happy to have completed this investment on beautiful Vancouver Island. Everyone treats everyone else in a friendly and respectful way here.

“Because this community has accepted me with open arms, I am committed to continuing to work with local leaders to build the communities that we have invested in so that, together, we can make them the very best places that they can be.”

In the short term, increasing the frequency and variety of educational, entertainment, and community engagement events at the property is a priority, once it is safe to do so, the company said in a statement.

Liu plans redevelopment in the longer term, but did not ­provide specific details.

The aim is to foster the shopping centre’s role as a commercial and social hub, the statement said.

“In Central Walk’s path ­forward, our intention is to ­continue working respectfully and ­collaboratively with our peers in the industry and in government — no matter the size — to forge strong professional bonds, to empower and grow our society, and to enrich the livelihoods of the communities who our assets serve, including those who are served by Mayfair,” Liu said.

Health and safety are key considerations for the ­management team, the ­statement said.

Ivanhoe Cambridge had tried to sell the mall or shares in it during the past few years prior to the sale to Central Walk.

Officials with Ivanhoe ­Cambridge have said that the company had too many shopping centres, an asset class which had been a driving force from its start. It is focusing on investing in the residential and logistics sectors.

Central Walk owns some of the largest and most successful regional real estate projects in Asia, under a different name, and it is a multibillion-dollar commercial real estate company, the statement said.

It has 30 years of experience, concentrating on owning and managing properties with retail cores, it said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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