toronto malls

Dying malls trend continues in the GTA as new shopping centre goes into receivership

The shopping centre, as it was known during its '80s and '90s heyday, is officially dying — at least in the Toronto area, where a growing number of malls are up for redevelopment that will see them partially or fully demolished for shiny new towers.

The latest indication of the institution's downward spiral in the region is King Square Shopping Centre at 16th Avenue and Woodbine, a key stakeholder of which is encountering financial issues just five years after the site opened.

Per Storeys, the developer behind Markham centre has now been placed under receivership due to a whopping $52 million owed to creditors, which means the portions of the property still owned by of King Square Ltd. will be sold off to recoup the money.

This includes the sale of a 5.9-acre parking lot that was set to eventually be turned into housing and a hotel, though the plans never progressed in time.

A total of 150 individual retail spaces within the mall may be among the assets sold off, as King Square owners already did with the other 410 units in its latest attempts to pay down the debt and stay afloat. Of these 150 retail units still under the original owners, 46 are still being leased to third parties.

It is unclear what will happen if the receiver is unable to sell the units, though the parking spaces should be no issue given their development potential.

Public reviews of the centre reflect its dismal, though essentially brand-new state, with visitors writing things like "it's too bad this place is so desolate. This mall is only four years old, but something is amiss with all the idle space and vacancies" and sharing photos of its stores and corridors sitting eerily empty.

It is worth noting the condo corporation behind the property is unrelated to developer King Square Ltd., and thus will be unaffected by the receivership.

An earlier version of this article did not clarify that York Region Standard Condominium Corporation No. 1415, located at King Square at 9390 Woodbine Avenue, is a separate entity from King Square Ltd., the party going into receivership. A representative tells blogTO that "although the developer may still own some units in the corporation that it has not sold, the receivership of the developer does not impact the viability of the corporation as a commercial condominium. The Mall is a condominium corporation, separate from King Square Ltd."

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