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R2 Capital Purchases Thompson City Center Mall

With new ownership, big priorities are in the making

Thompson is an extraordinary little city that has a great deal of essential facilities and businesses that cover the majority of our needs, but while we can appreciate what is available locally we may also find ourselves eating at Boston Pizza repetitively or browsing through the same cloths in the same isle as last week realizing the variety is also seemingly slim.


Brock Rogerson; CEO of R2 Capital Real-estate noticed this problem as his company recently purchased the City Center Mall only this past December.  Rogerson’s focus is fixed specifically on the people’s request to give variety of shopping, dining and even activities.


The acquisition includes a 195,000 square foot asset on 14 acres, and was purchased well below replacement cost for a sale price of $60 per square foot, continuing the firm’s expansion in the necessity-based retail property sector.


City Center is anchored by an 80,000 square foot Walmart and 40,000 square foot Safeway which are the dominant grocers by market in Northern Manitoba, and since 1971 have remained as the only two large scale grocers within a 761 kilometer range span.  23 other stores are available along side those two as well, including Tim Hortons, TD Bank and Canada Post.


In a recent interview, Rogerson broke down the top priorities he’s eager to begin with tenants he wishes to attract.  “A gym would be fantastic! We would like to get restaurants and shopping that are more experienced based rather then traditional retail shopping.  And any potential tenant that would have something like golf simulators or arcades.  Something where your experiencing something.  We want there to be things to do and give people a reason to come to the mall aside from just shopping”


As the recent purchase has now been closed and new ideas begin to formulate, the mall will seamlessly transition, closing off as little areas as possible as new shops and attractions are brought to life.  Rogerson says that though these goals are not currently set in stone, their first main objective is to fill all the vacancies.


“In the immediate term we want to get the mall full so that it gives reason for people to come to the mall.  In the long term we want to get the best tenants that we feel the community is missing, like restaurants, gyms and clothing.  Stores that most people travel to Winnipeg for” Says Rogerson, “In general, we’d like to fill the vacancies and potentially add additional square footage if we can attract larger tenants”


After a long 11 month journey in working through the purchase logistics, raised interest rates caused several banks to turn down loans to R2 Capital.  Rogerson states that they knocked down the door of one bank after the other until interest was finally peaked of the local Assiniboine Credit Union who made way for the down payment on the property.


Much of the fear most the banks had, came from the high operating costs the City Center Mall had above others, Rogerson’s direct to reply to this was “The only way you can address it is to keep the mall full” in which full capacity has not been reached by this mall in years.


Rogerson comes from Calgary Alberta, but grew up with extensive ties in Manitoba.  With his family all born in The Pas and company partner; Spencer, living in Brandon, Rogerson said it felt good to come back to his original roots.  2009-2010 Rogerson began his venture in real estate, purchasing multiple residents on the North end of Winnepeg.  These proved as a financial success making way for expanding to other locations around Canada featuring Red Deer, Alberta various places in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Ontario.  It wasn’t until 4 years ago that larger investments in commercial properties proved attainable in Regina, SK, and St. John New Brunswick.   


“We have 5-6 staff run by Spencer and I, so we’re not a big company, but a mall like this is extremely significant.  This is our largest investment to date” Says Rogerson.


With massive goals at hand, Rogerson expressed just how much the small family businesses mean to him, with priorities set high he says he wants to ensure a great deal of focus is put on helping new businesses get off the ground.


“One of the advantages of being a smaller business owner is we do want to look at sponsoring local businesses in the mall through lower rent.  I want to look at inspiring local entrepreneurs to start a business and we would love to hear of those who want to make a start”.  Rogerson talked more on the way the mall will charge tenants on a gross income percentage so individuals don’t have an overwhelming bill on day one, but rather work along side R2 Capital like a partnership having the price increase to the success of the business.


R2 Capital provides accredited investors with access to institutional-grade real estate assets, specializing in necessity based retail, multi-family, office and U.S. residential real estate; sourcing opportunities both on and off market across North America.


From acquisition to disposition, R2 Capital oversees the entire investment lifecycle in-house, leveraging top talent in legal, acquisitions, property management, leasing and other vital areas.


When asked of an estimated arrive date for these new developments, Rogerson’s reply was “As fast as we can”.  With the heart of Thompson in the right hands, we can anticipate a new light and exciting fresh direction for Thompson.


~Matthias J. Johnson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Thompson Citizen.  The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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