University Heights mall in Saanich sold for $52 million

University Heights Shopping Centre has been sold for about $52 million to a Vancouver-based firm associated with the Khosrowshahi family’s Persis Holdings Ltd., the founders and former owners of the Future Shop electronics chain.

The sale closed Oct. 15. The mall was previously jointly owned by Ephrem Sz Kwing Lai, Lai Sze Nuen, and Wilson Lai.

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A Persis spokesperson could not be reached Wednesday to speak to any changes that may occur at the site.

Located at the corner of Shelbourne Street and McKenzie Avenue in Saanich, University Heights has 199,138 square feet of leaseable area and the site covers 10.7 acres. It was built in 1988 and has expanded since.

Save-On-Foods and Home Depot are the main anchors. Other tenants include Royal Bank, a movie theatre, V.I. Fitness, Jan’s Fine Shoes, Lee’s Restaurant and University Heights Pharmacy.

B.C. Assessment has pegged the shopping centre’s value at $44 million.

The property’s new owner is University Heights Shopping Centre Ltd., which paid $52.26 million, according to government records. Directors of that company are Hassan and Nezhat Khosrowshahi and Kevin Layden. Its address is 2650-666 Burrard St., Vancouver, the same address as Persis Holdings Ltd.

Persis, previously known as Inwest Investments, was founded in 1981 by Hassan Khosrowshahi, who founded Future Shop the following year. Future Shop was sold to U.S.-based Best Buy in 2001.

Businessman and philanthropist Khosrowshahi received the Order of B.C. in 2012.

Persis holdings include its real estate arm, Wesbild Holdings, which has developed and managed more than 3.1 million square feet of shopping centres in B.C., Alberta, and in the U.S. along with planned communities in B.C., according to its website. Layden is president and chief executive of Wesbild.

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