The Greater Golden Horseshoe – Canada’s Economic Engine
The Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) is the cradle of Canada’s civilization and industrial activity. Located along the coast of Lake Ontario to Lake Erie in the south and Georgian Bay up north, the region is home to 26% of the population of Canada and accounts for one-quarter of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. With the GGH expected to house 11.5 million by 2031 – up from 9 million currently, it is no wonder why REITs and real estate funds are clamoring for investments in the area.
Using Pelion’s market mapping feature, we screened for industrial properties including flex, general industrial, distribution center, light industrial, and warehouses to identify the top real estate players in the region. Below is a map displaying the properties in our screen and used in our analysis.
1) Pure Industrial
Pure Industrial has the largest presence in the Greater Golden Horseshoe with 101 properties spanning 11.3 million square feet. Originally a publicly-traded REIT, Pure was acquired and taken private by the Blackstone Group, one of the largest industrial players in the United States. Most recently, Pure acquired a 28-property industrial portfolio from Artis REIT for $750 million. Our analysis suggests that the properties acquired are primarily located in Mississauga, Brampton, and Markham, further boosting Pure’s presence in the region.
QuadReal is the real estate investment arm of British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI). According to Pelion, QuadReal has 67 industrial properties in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. It is our observation that the firm tends to buy properties in clusters, as the portfolio is mainly composed of industrial and business parks including the Dixie Business Parks and Kennedy Kenway Industrial Park.
3) Summit Industrial REIT (SMU.UN)
Summit Industrial REIT is a pure-play light industrial REIT focused on Toronto, Montreal, and Alberta. Its assets are primarily one- or two-stories properties designed to support activities such as warehousing, light assembly, and call centers. In the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Summit owns 56 properties spanning 6.7 million square feet, making it one of the most active publicly-traded industrial REITs in the region.
4) H&R REIT (HR.UN)
H&R REIT is one of the biggest REITs in Canada with a diversified portfolio of office, retail, industrial, and residential properties. In the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the REIT owns 28 properties spanning 6.3 million square feet with general industrial and warehouse/distribution centers making up most of the portfolio. The REIT announced in October that it will spin off its retail and office assets to focus on industrial and residential portfolios in the U.S. and Canada.
5) Choice Properties (CHP.UN)
Choice Properties is among the biggest REITs in Canada with a heavy concentration on retail assets, given its strategic partnership with Loblaws. The REIT has 42 properties in Ontario, 37 of which are in the Greater Horseshoe Region that spans over 5 million square feet. The majority of the properties are warehouse/distribution centers that surround the Toronto Pearson International Airport.
6) Dream Industrial REIT (DIR.UN)
Dream Industrial REIT owns 326 industrial properties spanning 39.8 million square feet across Canada (45.2% of GLA), Europe (35.5% of GLA), and the U.S. (19.3% of GLA). In the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the REIT owns 58 properties spanning 4.9 million square feet. Most recently Dream closed on an $18 million distribution facility near Amazon’s Ajax facility. Dream’s management reiterated the desirability of the GTA, GMA, and Golden Horseshoe region during Q3 2021 earnings call, adding that the REIT has acquired over $550 million of assets in these markets over the past 2 years.
7) Granite REIT (GRT.UN)
Granite REIT is an industrial REIT with properties in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. Granite’s Canadian portfolio is focused exclusively on the Golden Horseshoe region with 14 properties spanning 4 million square feet. Granite recently acquired a 92.2-acre parcel of land in Brantford, Ontario for $62.2 million. Located right off Highway 401 and in between Highway 401 and QEW, the land is expected to be developed into a business park with 1.7 million square feet of Class A distribution and logistics space.
8) Concert Properties
Concert Properties is a Vancouver-based owner-developer with a diversified portfolio of senior living, residential, and industrial properties. In the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the company owns 14 properties encompassing 1.5 million square feet of flex and general industrial assets. Concert’s properties are located primarily in the Brampton and Vaughan area.
9) Fengate Asset Management
Fengate Asset Management is a private equity fund focused on real estate and infrastructure. Fengate’s industrial portfolio in the Greater Golden Horseshoe comprises 17 properties encompassing 1.2 million square feet of flex and general industrial assets. The industrial portfolio is primarily located along the QEW in Oakville, ON.
10) Skyline Commercial REIT
Skyline Commercial REIT is a private REIT focused on light-industrial assets. The company has a portfolio of 86 properties, 19 of which are in the Greater Golden Horseshoe spanning 1.1 million square feet of flex and general industrial assets. Skyline has been focusing on markets further out of Toronto’s core such as Brampton, Kitchener, and Brantford.