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Surrey shopping plaza sells for $155M, signaling ‘development potential’ there

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The $155-million sale of a Newton shopping plaza indicates a “strong upward trend in investor interest and signs of economic resurgence in B.C.’s active suburban markets,” according to the agent who brokered the deal.

Toronto-based RioCan REIT recently sold Strawberry Hill Shopping Centre to a private holding company that now controls the 35-acre property, northeast of the Scott Road/72 Avenue intersection in Surrey.

The open-air shopping plaza, built in the 1990s, is home to 35 retail units, including The Home Depot, Winners, Sport Chek, Cineplex cinemas and other businesses, and a large amount of surface parking.

The real estate transaction, closed in December, represents one of the largest commercial property deals in Metro Vancouver over the past year, said broker Yashar Khalighi, vice-president of CBRE in Vancouver.

“My understanding is that it’s going to be business as usual there, so the new owners are basically going to hold the property for the time being,” Khalighi told the Now-Leader.

“Obviously, they understand that the property has development potential, but they are not developers, per se. At this point of time, they want to hold the property.”

The shopping centre is located near the new R6 Scott Road RapidBus service, which is seen as a harbinger of increased densification along the corridor.

The bus service, boasting fewer stops and bigger buses, follows the 319 route between Scott Road SkyTrain Station and Newton Exchange, north-south along 120 Street and east-west on 72 Avenue.

“Surrey is a populated, fast-growing municipality with rapid growth, and this property, this location, is in a transit-oriented area,” Khalighi said. “Surrey, in general, because of its population because it’s pro-development and it’s growing, I think it’s on the radar of a lot of investment.”

In a news release, Khalighi said the Strawberry Hill property has “significant holding income” from national and local tenants.

“There is large potential for long-term phased development to bolster the city’s plans for future densification in the area. These plans include the creation of much needed residential and rental housing adjacent to the city’s major transit hub.”

• RELATED: Why Jollibee’s second restaurant in Surrey is a milestone one for chicken chain.

At Strawberry Hill Shopping Centre, the second Jollibee restaurant in Surrey opened Jan. 25 in a new building off 72 Avenue. It was the 100th Jollibee to open in North America, among more than 1,500 locations in 17 countries. The Philippines-based chain serves chicken, spaghetti, pies and other food.

– with files from Tom Zytaruk

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