CEO Dori Segal of First Capital Realty (FRC) has announced $1 Billion in investments over the next five years in major Canadian urban centres, that is to say Quebec City, the Greater Montreal Area, Ottawa/Gatineau, the Greater Toronto Area & Southwestern Ontario (London), Edmonton, Calgary, and the Greater Vancouver Area. The company focuses on the (re)development of shopping centres and projects with a large retail component, as 38.9% of their income coming from rents is from supermarkets, liquor and drugstores, banks and other financial institutions, spread-out across the country in 163 properties representing a surface of 24.6 million square feet.

Unsurprisingly, First Capital Realty's biggest market is located in the GTA, where the company manages 44 properties with a total of 6.6 million square feet of space. The second biggest market is the Greater Montreal Area with 36 properties representing 5 million square feet. In Toronto, First Capital is highlighting three major projects that have garnered attention these past several weeks.

Hazelton Lanes, Yorkville, First Capital Realty, Redevelopment, TorontoA modernized Hazelton Lanes Shopping Center, image courtesy of First Capital Realty

The revitalization of the under-performing Hazelton Lanes Shopping Centre at the corner of Avenue Road and Yorkville Avenue has been ongoing for a bit, now. Applying a multi-phased strategy, First Capital Realty has bought adjacent properties, which includes seven buildings with 285,000 square feet of retail, 515 underground parking stalls, and 77 hotel suites with related retail. The purchases allow the creation of a new entrance to the shopping centre on the busy Yorkville Avenue.

Hazelton Lanes, Yorkville, First Capital Realty, Redevelopment, TorontoA new entrance on Yorkville Avenue will give the mall more visibility, image courtesy of First Capital Realty

Redeveloped, expanded, repositioned and modernized—particularly with, among other things, brand new interior and exterior spaces by Kasian and Johnson Chou Inc.an Avenue Road entrance opening to both levels of the mall as well as a glass dome crowing the atrium—the shopping centre name will change to Yorkville Village. While the first phase of renovations have started on the south side of the mall and will be completed by Christmas 2015, phase 2, on the north side, is scheduled for completion in December 2016. 

The debate around the  lack of transport connections from Liberty Village to the rest of the city has been going on for a long time. In an effort to fix an issue that concerns several thousands of residents, First Capital has come up with a plan that could transform that neighbourhood.

Kingsclub condos, king liberty north, king high line, first capital realtyKingsclub Condos along the north side of King Street, image courtesy of First Capital Realty

Kingsclub Condos, a joint venture of First Capital and Urbancorp, is a new mixed-use project including 160,000 square feet of retail space and 300,000 square feet of residential space with 450 to 500 units, located on the north side of King Street and the rail corridor across from Liberty Village and Lamport Stadium. Designed by TACT Architecture, the project will add significant sophistication to the stretch of King Street while offering great views of the downtown skyline for the future residents.

The project will also possibly include a pedestrian and bike park-bridge, starting in Liberty Village by Hannah Street, running over King Street, then along the back of Kingsclub before rising over the rail corridor and finally smoothly descending to the ground at Sudbury Street, just east of Abell Street on the north side of the tracks. While the site excavation for the buildings is complete and the occupancy is scheduled for 2017, the bridge is, however, still in the project phase. We will watch closely for any updates concerning this exciting potential piece of infrastructure.

Kingsclub condos, king liberty north, king high line, first capital realtyA view of the King High Line project that could link Liberty Village to Queen Street

The last project on this list but not the least, the Humbertown Shopping Centre redevelopment is one of the suburban renewal projects that we expect to see much more often in our city over the coming years. Adding density and urbanity to the nearby intersection of Royal York Road and Dundas Street West in Etobicoke, this mixed used phased project designed by Kirkor Architects Planners and LGA Architectural Partners will include 240,000 square feet of retail space and 510,000 sq feet of residential space with 370 condo units and townhouses. It will replace a see of asphalt creating a walkable, enjoyable and lively street realm. The residential units will mostly be situated above the commercial spaces, and green roofs will improve the energy performance of the redevelopment. Pre-construction is underway and site work is expected to begin in 2015. 

Humbertown Shopping Center redevelopment, First capital realty, etobicokeA new walkable neighbourhood will rise from the current asphalt sea in Humbertown, image courtesy of First Capital Realty

Humbertown Shopping Center redevelopment, First capital realty, etobicokeA new walkable neighbourhood will rise from the current asphalt sea in Humbertown, image courtesy of First Capital Realty

With a $7.7 billion portfolio as of December 2014, FRC stated that they do not yet plan for any major land acquisitions in the years to come, as major parcel are becoming rare in Toronto. FRC's long-term strategy in buying smaller parcels of land to enable bigger developments to happen will, however, continue. As a reminder, First Capital started that their acquisition of undervalued land in Liberty Village more than 10 years ago is a strategy that has proven to be successful.

If you wish to know more about these projects, head to our dataBase files, linked below. You may also want to join in the discussion in our Projects & Construction Forum threads at the associated links, or leave a comment in the dedicated space at the bottom of this page.