On July 1, 2018, Timbercreek Assets Management took over ownership of Northumberland Mall – they then appointed Sandalwood to take over management. New money, new senior management. This promises to completely change the future of the mall. Timbercreek is “well financed” and they want to put a significant investment into the mall. They are looking at all options which range from (as a minimum) a facelift with many overdue repairs being done, to possibly a complete revamp. They are currently reviewing the options and hope to start work on the chosen changes in January although the work would likely proceed in phases. Mall Manager Paul Kiidumae, who now works for Sandalwood, told me about some of the options which would possibly mean starting from afresh. The news of new management was made public with a banner on the outside of the mall – see photo below.
Ideas being considered
- A location inside the mall has the disadvantages of higher cost and lower visibility so existing stores could be relocated to outside locations. Paul said that the recently opened “outside” stores were doing well; it’s also evident that “outside” compares well with big box store configurations. So either indoor locations would be eliminated or much reduced.
- Metro is looking at a major renovation
- There might be some Residential units – no suggestions on format.
- The long promised Cinema expansion has been delayed pending finding a suitable contractor but just as one was found, the change in ownership occurred so the project is once again on hold. Rainbow would still like to proceed but the configuration would likely be different pending the mall revamp.
The new owner is Timbercreek which is a Canadian asset management company specializing in Real Estate both through financing and active ownership. They own or invest in properties globally – see link below. They had been financing the mall but it had a negative cash flow so ended up taking ownership. They are based in Toronto but have offices worldwide.
The new management company for the Mall is Sandalwood Management Company based in Texas but with an office in Montreal. They manage Retail, Office and Residential properties.
Both owner and management company appear to be the proverbial “breath of fresh air” that the Mall needs. It is also encouraging that significant investment is planned and not just more of the same which has obviously not been good enough.
Update May 5, 2019
As of May 1st, the management of the Mall has transferred from Sandalwood to Trinity Equity Group – a Toronto based company that specializes in redevelopment of Retail properties – often to mixed use. No further details are available – all existing staff at the Mall Management office remain. Mall tenants have been advised.