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Edited Transcript of REI.UN.TO earnings conference call or presentation 7-May-19 2:00pm GMT

Q1 2019 RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust Earnings Call

Toronto May 17, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 2:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Edward Sonshine

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee

* Jennifer Suess

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - Senior VP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary

* Jonathan Gitlin

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO

* Qi Tang

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - Senior VP & CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Jenny Ma

BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst

* Matt Logan

RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Senior Associate

* Pammi Bir

Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst

* Sam Damiani

TD Securities Equity Research - Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good morning. My name is Lindsay, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust First Quarter 2019 Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Thank you.

Jennifer Suess, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, you may begin your conference.

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Jennifer Suess, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - Senior VP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary [2]

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Thank you, Lindsay, and good morning, everyone. I am Jennifer Suess, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for RioCan. Before we begin, I would like to draw your attention to the presentation materials that we will refer to in today's call, which were posted together with the MD&A and financials on RioCan's website earlier this morning.

Before turning the call over to Qi, I am required to read the following cautionary statement. In talking about our financial and operating performance, and in responding to your questions, we may make forward-looking statements, including statements concerning RioCan's objectives, its strategies to achieve those objectives as well as statements with respect to management's beliefs, plans, estimates and intentions and similar statements concerning anticipated future events, results, circumstances, performance or expectations that are not historical facts. These statements are based on our current estimates and assumptions and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the conclusions in these forward-looking statements.

In discussing our financial and operating performance, and in responding to your questions, we will also be referencing certain financial measures that are not generally accepted accounting principle measures, GAAP, under IFRS. These measures do not have any standardized definition prescribed by IFRS and are therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other reporting issuers. Non-GAAP measures should not be considered as alternatives to net earnings or comparable metrics determined in accordance with IFRS as indicators of RioCan's performance, liquidity, cash flows and profitability.

RioCan's management uses these measures to aid in assessing the trust's underlying core performance and provides these additional measures so that investors may do the same.

Additional information on the material risks that could impact our actual results and the estimates and assumptions we applied in making these forward-looking statements, together with details on our use of non-GAAP financial measures, can be found in the financial statements for the period ended March 31, 2019, and management's discussion and analysis related thereto as applicable, together with RioCan's most recent annual information form that are all available on our website and at www.sedar.com.

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Qi Tang, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - Senior VP & CFO [3]

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Thank you, Jen, and good morning, everyone. Our first quarter results issued earlier this morning once again demonstrate the quality and strength of our portfolio.

Our FFO per unit grew to $0.47 compared to $0.46 for the same period in 2018, despite a few onetime special items, including $1 million increase in G&A expenses as a result of mark-to-market adjustment on unit-based trustee compensation; a $900,000 IFRS debt modification cost as a result of a debt maturity extension; and $0.5 million lease up loss in connection with our first residential rental building, eCentral, in Toronto in its first quarter of lease up; as well as $4.4 million lower realized gains due to lower volume of marketable securities sold. Excluding these items, FFO per unit increased by approximately 5.4% over the same period in 2018, despite completing nearly $1 billion of secondary market asset dispositions since the end of Q1 2018.

As of March 31, 2019, our committed occupancy for our overall commercial portfolio improved by 30 basis points when compared to March 31, 2018, ending the quarter at 96.9%. Committed occupancy for our retail space was up 20 basis points over the same period to 96.9% as of March 31, 2019. Committed occupancy for our office space increased by 150 basis points from a year ago to 95.6% as of this quarter end.

As Jonathan will discuss later on this call, we expect continuous growth in our office occupancy and office rents given the strong demand for our well-located office space, particularly here in Toronto. And we expect that rent growth to be substantial when our existing below market rent office lease -- leases come up for renewals.

We continue to make great progress in driving overall rent growth. Our average net rent per occupied square foot grew by 6.9% to $19.16 as of the quarter end, driven by both new and renewed leases. Our double-digit new leasing spread, combined with a strong 8.2% renewed leasing spread, pushed our overall leasing spread to 10.7% for the quarter. Jonathan will provide more color on the strong rent growth later on.

In addition, we continue to strengthen our tenant mix. As of this quarter end, 73.6% of our annualized net rent comes from necessity-based and service-oriented tenants, such as grocers, pharmaceutical -- pharmacies and personal services, an increase of 80 basis points from the end of 2018. The strong growth in average net rent and leasing spreads and higher percentage of revenues from necessity-based and service-oriented retailers speak to the continuous improvement in the overall quality and income of our commercial portfolio.

In the quarter, our same property NOI grew by 1.7% and 1.4% for our major market assets and for our overall portfolio, respectively, when compared to the same period last year. Our same property NOI this quarter was impacted in the short term by some disclaimed leases. We introduced a new same property NOI concept this quarter, which includes completed developments similar to how some of our peers disclose their results.

Completed developments include properties like King and Portland and Bathurst College Centre, which are generating cash rents and have been owned by the trust in both the current and comparable period. Jonathan will speak to the effect of both the disclaimed leases and completed developments on same property NOI later on this call.

Turning our attention to RioCan Living, our residential business, the start of 2019 marked the new milestone for RioCan as we have begun to lease up our first 2 purpose-built residential rental buildings, eCentral at Yonge Eglinton in Toronto, and Frontier at Gloucester in Ottawa. As of yesterday, 203 of the 466 unit eCentral have been leased, of which 78 units were occupied as of the quarter end. As expected with such lease-up, we incurred $0.5 million lease-up NOI loss in the first quarter of 2019. In the meantime, as condo owners continue to take possession of their units at eCondos adjacent to eCentral, we recognized $5.2 million condo gains in the quarter. Majority of the remaining condo gains at eCondos are expected to be recognized into income in Q2, while condo gains at Kingly, the condo component of our King Portland project with Allied in Toronto are expected to be recognized into income in Q3 this year. Similarly, gains on our Windfield Farms townhouse project will also be recognized into income over the remainder of the year.

As Jonathan will highlight in his update, leasing is also progressing ahead of our expectations, both in terms of units preleased and rent achieved at our Frontier Phase I building in Ottawa before construction is even completed. Given the strong leasing performance to date, the construction for Phase 2 on our 209 unit residential rental building has been moved to Q2 this year.

It is worth noting that during the quarter in Q1, we incurred $0.5 million marketing costs, mostly related to condo sales for the first phase of the 2 high-rise condo project at our Windfield Farms development in Oshawa, Ontario from which the sales proceeds and gains will not be recognized into income until the expected project completion in 2022. As of yesterday, 235 of the 479 condo units at the project have been presold.

With our development completions and progress on our disposition program, we're getting closer to achieving our 2 key strategic metrics, which are to have over 90% and 50% of our annualized rental revenue coming from Canada's 6 major markets and Greater Toronto area, respectively, to drive higher growth in same property NOI, FFO per unit and NAV per unit. As of yesterday we have completed or entered into firm, conditional or letter of intent agreements to sell $1.5 billion or 75 secondary market assets at a weighted average capitalization rate of 6.69%, materially in line with our IFRS values. The percentage of annualized rental revenue was 87.5% from the 6 major markets and 47.6% from GTA as of the quarter end, which represents an increase of 210 basis points and 80 basis points, respectively, from the 2018 year-end.

Maintenance capital expenditures of $4.2 million for the first quarter were $5.8 million lower than the normalized capital expenditures for the quarter primarily due to timing of projects. Our expectation for the full year normalized maintenance capital expenditures remains at $40 million.

We continue to make significant progress in our development program with 92,000 square feet of development project completions in the quarter. We also submitted 2.1 million square feet of new zoning applications, including an application for our iconic property, RioCan Hall in Toronto's entertainment district. As of yesterday, 42.6% of our current 26.3 million square feet development pipeline has zoning approvals and additional almost 29% had zoning application submitted. The extent of our zoning density and our progress on the de-leasing process for our development pipeline provides us with a significant advantage in today's development environment. The average net rent for our active urban intensification projects is $32.26, reflecting the quality of our major market, trendy oriented developments, which will further drive the portfolio's average rent per occupied square foot over time.

For the 5 projects that are complete or near completion, which are ePlace, Bathurst College Centre, King and Portland in Toronto, Frontier at Ottawa and Sage Hill in Calgary, we have updated the estimated average yield to 5.8%, a 10 basis point increase from our 2018 year-end estimate based on latest leasing updates and adjustments to cap rates for certain projects. These 5 projects are estimated to increase, create a total incremental value creation of $243 million, including condo gains, of which approximately [$176.3] million (corrected by company after the call) of value creation has been recognized through property fair value, applicable interim and fee income and applicable condo gains.

Over the next 2 years, we expect annual development costs to continue to be in the $400 million to $500 million range. Despite the maximum 15% limit permitted, we expect to keep our total properties under development and residential inventory as a percentage of total consolidated gross book value of assets at no more than 10%. As of this quarter end, this number was 8.4%.

We remain committed to a strong balance sheet and to self-fund our development program through continuous asset recycling, condo or townhouse sales, air right sales, the sale of remaining marketable securities, strategic development partnerships and excess operating cash flows.

Turning our attention to our balance sheet, it's my pleasure to report that we continue to meet or exceed all our internal debt matrix targets. As of the quarter end, our debt to adjusted EBITDA metric was at 7.94x on proportionate share basis, remaining below our target of 8x. This was accomplished despite a substantial asset sales and the development cost balance of $1.2 billion. Excluding the $1.2 billion development cost balance, our debt to adjusted EBITDA would have been closer to 6x.

Our leverage as of the quarter end was largely unchanged from the year-end 2018 at 42.2%, in line with our target range. As of the quarter end, RioCan's debt compensation was roughly 58% unsecured and 42% secured. Our pool of unencumbered assets held steady at approximately $8 billion and generates close to 60% of our annualized NOI, well above our target of 50%. As a result of our strong balance sheet and quality and strength of our portfolio, we enjoy one of the lowest costs of debt in the industry.

During Q1, we entered into several financing arrangements to reduce our refinancing and interest rate risks, as I have updated you in the last call, lowering our overall floating interest rate debt exposure to under 10%. Subsequent to the quarter end, we extended the maturity date of our $1 billion unsecured revolver for another year to May 2024 with all the other terms remaining the same.

Overall we are pleased with our operational and financial results for the quarter, and we look forward to building on this momentum to deliver strong results for the year.

With that, I'd like to turn the call over to Jonathan for updates on RioCan's operations.

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [4]

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Thanks, Qi, and thank you to all of you for joining us today to talk about what we view as another remarkable quarter for RioCan and our evolving portfolio of increasingly mixed use in necessity-based major market assets.

And from an operations perspective, we are diligent in our efforts to continue to improve the quality of RioCan's income through many evolutionary measures. These include both the evolution of our portfolio and the evolution of our culture. As has always been the case with RioCan, these steps are taken with the view to enhance unitholder return.

First, let me address the evolving retail landscape and the resultant opportunities that it presents for RioCan to further improve its tenant mix. As Qi mentioned earlier, same property NOI growth for -- from our major market portfolio was 1.7% in the first quarter. This is not a result we deemed illustrative of our high-quality portfolio. Rather, it is a transitionary moment that will allow us to achieve future growth. Specifically, Bombay and Bowring wound up operations in late 2018 through a bankruptcy proceeding. At one point in RioCan's history, these were logical banners that are added value to our site, but they have long since lost their way, and RioCan was actively pursuing alternate uses for this valuable real estate. Their bankruptcy gives us this opportunity and, from a qualitative perspective, will enhance our shopping centers -- From a quantitative and short-term perspective, it left us with 128,000 square feet and a significant impact to our same property NOI numbers for this quarter. We are confident that, as we've done with Sears and Target before this, we will replace these banners with uses of greater relevance that will be viewed as exceptional co-tenants to retailers and destination for our shoppers.

The removal of this type of tenant provides the opportunity to continue the transition toward an exceptionally resilient and relevant tenant mix, which includes best-in-class restaurant, fitness and service commercial uses. Now absent the Bombay and Bowring factor, our major market same property NOI would be 2.4%. And when we layer onto that NOI from completed properties under development, such as King and Portland Centre and Bathurst College Centre, that number increases to 2.9%.

Next, I'd like to focus on the evolution of our portfolio. A principal objective for RioCan is the continuous improvement of the quality of our portfolio. We are focused on major market concentration, operational excellence and diversification of our income streams with the intent of driving organic growth. As a result of these efforts, our renewal growth in the quarter was exceptionally strong, the best it has been in 8 quarters, with nearly 150 leases renewed in our major markets and with significant rent upside of 8.9%.

I would also point out the tremendous upside embedded in our constantly improving commercial portfolio. Our major market portfolio rent average is $19.87 per square foot. Average market rent on a trailing 12-month basis for the same space is just over $27 per square foot, representing a 37% gap. Notable examples of this opportunity lies in some of RioCan's Midtown Toronto office buildings, including Yonge Sheppard Centre, where the fair market rent gap is 38%. As space becomes available or up for renewal in our desirable major market assets, RioCan is realizing the potential inherent in these assets through significant rent per square foot increases.

Our thriving mixed use transit-oriented locations are driving interest from coveted operators who bring cachet, customer traffic and strong covenants. We signed 440,000 square feet in new leasing deals in the first quarter, including U.S.-based retailer, L.L. Bean, who's opening their first Canadian brick and mortar location in Oakville Place in the fall of 2019, and also Cactus Club, who's bought into the vision for Yonge Sheppard Centre and plans to open there in 2020. Cactus Club will join LA Fitness and Longo's in the fully renovated shopping center that has been rebranded and re-tenanted with retailers and service providers thoughtfully curated to super long-term needs of the community.

Continuing with the theme of our evolving portfolio, I'll take a moment to focus on RioCan Living. The successful launch of our residential brand and product continues to demonstrate RioCan's ability to diversify its income stream and execute successfully. As Qi discussed earlier, rental residential leasing of eCentral in Toronto and Frontier in Ottawa is progressing extremely well with the velocity of lease-up and average rents exceeding even our lofty expectations. eCentral at the busy intersection of Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto is a 36-storey rental tower with 466 units. We started leasing eCentral in earnest in late January and have already leased 203 units. We have only released lower floors for leasing, and the average rent per market unit is just under $4 per square foot. We expect the average rent to increase as we release the higher floors, which typically command higher rents. And we anticipate reaching stabilization by the second quarter of 2020.

Frontier Phase 1 in Gloucester, a suburb of Ottawa, is a 23-storey rental tower with 228 units on the new Blair LRT line. We started leasing in late 2018 and have pre-leased 126 units with first occupancy expected by the summer at an average rent of just below $2.50 per square foot. Now when one considers that we have been leasing from an external sales office as occupancy has not yet been granted, these results are remarkable and a testament to the demand for the offering we have presented.

As we progress with leasing and occupancy on our rental residential projects, we are getting realtime feedback that provides even better visibility into what will make these and future residential projects thrive. This feedback will influence and inform our future projects in critical areas, including amenitization, suite mix, tenant mix and design. These are lessons that will influence the development of the 2,300 residential units currently under construction in our portfolio and the additional 2,000 that will be under construction by 2021.

We are pleased with the construction progress at our sites in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary and are confident in their ability to drive FFO growth in the near and long term. These projects include Pivot at Yonge and Sheppard, The Well in Toronto's downtown West and Brio in Calgary, all of which are out of the ground. And construction commenced in 2018 at Litho at DuPont and Christie in Toronto, and Strada at College and Manning also in Toronto. Construction also commenced in the second quarter of this year at Frontier Phase 2 in Gloucester.

In addition to the operational success I've already highlighted, RioCan was proud to release our inaugural sustainability report earlier this week. We consider the delivery of this report to be an important milestone in our journey to embed sustainability across all aspects of our business. As a large Canadian REIT, we know that financial performance and sustainability are intrinsically linked, and we believe we have a responsibility to lead the industry in these conversations. We will issue the report annually to enable our unitholders, partners and other stakeholders to monitor our progress on issues, including water use, energy conservation and community partnerships. RioCan is actively leveraging its competitive advantages, namely its major market assets and an experienced leadership team to evolve the portfolio in a way that consistently drive the quality of our income. And we will continue to focus on operational excellence to deliver unitholder value long into the future.

It's now my pleasure to turn it over to our Chief Executive Officer, Ed Sonshine. Ed?

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [5]

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Thank you, Jonathan, Qi and Jennifer for all those great contributions. For the last couple of years, I've been telling you how RioCan has been extremely busy transforming itself into a big city REIT, focused on creating and owning mixed use developments that are transit related and, as part of that process, also creating Canada's best rental apartment portfolio, all while constantly enhancing the quality of our revenue.

Jonathan and Qi have taken you through the financial and operating results that give you a pretty good idea of the significant progress we have made in achieving the goals we set for ourselves. But while everything eventually gets down to numbers, I would like to take you on a verbal tour of some of the properties we buy and/or build that generate the numbers.

Canada's largest and fastest growing population center is the Greater Toronto area with the city at its center. The Six, as Drake has labeled it, continues to be a strong magnet for both people and businesses. Toronto itself is built around its North-South spine, Yonge Street, where its first and busiest transit line was opened, believe it or not, in 1954. It's almost as old as I am and continuously, over the years, extended North to keep pace with the growth of the city.

Currently, there are 3 East-West transit lines, either built or close to completion, and not surprisingly, the 3 intersections where they connect are arguably the 3 fastest growing locations in Toronto. Starting at the most northerly such intersection, RioCan owns, together with its partner KingSett, the Yonge Sheppard Centre, a mixed use development that we have been renovating and expanding for the last 4 years. The bulk of the 300,000 square foot retail component is already open, anchored by a soon-to-open Longo's supermarket, this completely redone retail facility will be enhanced by a 361-unit apartment tower, which should be completed next year as well as a 400,000 square foot complex of renovated and reclad office space.

Moving down the Yonge Street subway to the next transit intersection. RioCan owns both sides of the North side of Yonge and Eglinton. On the Northwest corner, we own Yonge Eglinton Centre, which currently consists of about 325,000 square feet of retail space and 750,000 square feet of office space. While first built in the 1970s, we have invested in the neighborhood of $100 million over the last 10 years to turn it into a modern facility to suit its prime location.

On the Northeast corner, the first phases of ePlace have been substantially completed, while the Southerly tower of 625 units is a 58-storey condominium building, where the units are in the process of being closed, giving rise to some of the gains Qi referenced. RioCan will end up as the 100% owner of 40,000 square feet of commercial space on the corner, anchored by the largest TD Bank facility outside of its head office. We will also, of course, own 466 apartment units known as eCentral, which Jonathan has updated you on.

I had the occasion to take a tour of eCentral last week now that it's mostly completed, except for the upper floors, and I have to tell you, since I had nothing to do with it, the design, the amenitization, which is a new word I think Jonathan may have invented, and the co-working space that we've located in it are really quite -- I was super impressed by it. And it's really aimed at the demographics. And in each case, I think the excellent team that has been put together to run this process is directly targeting those amenities, design and unit count at the demographics that are in the market area of the new buildings that we're creating.

A third phase of ePlace, in which RioCan is a small partner, has just commenced construction and has substantially sold out for delivery in late 2021 or early 2022. And by then, the Eglinton Crosstown subway and LRT might actually be open and operating, and people can once again drive and walk around Yonge and Eglinton.

Continuing our tour South, we come to Yonge and Bloor. While we currently don't own anything at that intersection, if one goes North a couple of blocks, you come to Yorkville, arguably one of the highest-profile neighborhoods in Toronto. RioCan owns 50% of a new development at 11 Yorkville with Metropia and Capital Developers as partners. Cru, as it's being called, is scheduled to commence construction within the next 12 months. The 62-storey tower to be erected there will contain 593 condominium units, 81 rental apartments and 35,000 square feet of rental space, the latter of which RioCan will end up owning totally.

On the way to Yonge and Bloor, we passed by the Summerhill subway station. Just to the South of it, RioCan and its partner Tricon own the historic Five Thieves retail strip also known as The Shops of Summerhill. Together with Diamond Corp, a new building will commence construction towards the end of this year or beginning of next year. This 21-storey building will consist of 141 residential units and 34,000 square feet of new commercial space and will create one of Toronto's most prestigious enclaves, while still connected underground to the subway system.

Continuing South again and veering West towards the fastest growing part of the city, King West, with our partner Allied REIT, we have just completed a quite beautiful mixed use development, where old and new have been artfully integrated at the corner of King and Portland. It consists of 285,000 square feet of first class, fully leased office space, 41,000 square feet of fully leased street-front retail and a new residential tower containing 133 units. These condominium units are also with closings to commence within the next few months.

Let's end our tour at The Well. Located a block South of Spadina and King, this development by RioCan and Allied will, I believe, become a landmark in Toronto. Hailed by many as an outstanding example of the new urbanism, its 3.1 million square feet of residential, retail and office space will be part of the neighborhood, rather than apart from it. Its entrances will be akin to a continuation of streets and parks, rather than doors. And it is no longer just Canada's biggest hole. The main office tower at the corner of Spadina and Front is above grade, and we expect it to rise to podium level within the next year. Whatever further I would say about The Well would not do it justice, so I will simply say that RioCan will be the very proud owner of 50% of the 1.25 million square feet of office space, about 400,000 square feet of retail space and almost 600 rental residential units, the latter with our partner Woodbourne, and all at yields that will pleasantly surprise most of you listening to this call.

Again, words alone cannot possibly describe any of the iconic buildings and developments I have mentioned, so I encourage you to go look for yourselves and maybe even shop there.

The properties, as I have talked about in the last few minutes, consist only of the Central Toronto highlights of what we have put together over the years. New mixed use developments of equal quality are now or will soon be under way in other parts of Toronto, in Ottawa, in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver as well as Montreal, with completions happening continuously over the next many years. In fact, our portfolio of opportunities is so full that we can continue creating new product for many, many years, all while continuing to grow and improve the quality of our cash flow for you, our unitholders.

That's the end of my short presentation, and I'd like to now open it up for questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of Pammi Bir with Scotia Capital.

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Pammi Bir, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst [2]

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Just with respect to the Ontario government's proposed changes to the housing development approval process, can you maybe just provide some color on the potential implications for your rental pipeline?

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [3]

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I think it -- to the extent it all gets passed, as it's now proposed and presumably at will, it should make a little more efficient in getting the various approvals. Basically, the current system has really slowed down the system. When I say the current, the system that was put in place by the previous government just within the last 2 years has really slowed down the pace of getting approvals, made it more expensive, more cumbersome. And the new systems, the new proposals should make it more efficient. And that should be a benefit to what we're doing. Obviously, the rent proposals that were put through the rent loss -- rent control loss put through last fall are obviously a big assistance other than the odd replacement housing. All of the portfolio that we've already built and now creating in Ontario will be free of any rent control.

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Pammi Bir, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst [4]

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Yes. That's helpful. Just I guess, is it possible to maybe -- if you have to quantify the potential reduction in the time line for development for rental property, any sense of what that could be?

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [5]

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Pammi, it's one of the problems in this world as you can't quantify everything, especially things in the future. And I understand that, that's a difficulty. But if I had to guess, it could be anywhere from 6 months and up because, right now, the process is one of extensive negotiation. And I should add, by the way, in any of our projects, other than we have never had an OMB hearing. And on the projects we have obtained approval for, we typically go through a process of working first with the community and the local representatives of that community to get a pretty good idea of what they would like to see in a new development and what would enhance the overall community, rather than walking in with a plan that we slam down on the counter and say, "Please, approve it." So it's not going to change how we approach it, but I think it will change the dynamic of how quickly the municipalities have to deal with things and should streamline the cost of it. It's not just the time issue. Right now, until you're at the end of that process and pretty close to getting your building permit, you really don't know what the costs are going to be for park land dedication, for Section 37 community benefits requirements. And it becomes a long -- or even for development fee costs, which many of the municipalities are increasing as we speak. I think part of the legislation, besides timing, is to bring the certainty to all those additional costs, which will certainly enhance not just our projects, but everybody's projects because it's pretty hard to go forward quickly when you don't know what it's going to cost. So I think the legislation has addressed both those things, efficiency and certainty of cost. And it will help.

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Pammi Bir, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst [6]

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Okay. No, that's really helpful. Just in terms of the remaining disposition program, where are you on that in terms of the process? And how much more could we see sold over the balance of the year?

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [7]

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I would say over the balance of this year, you're probably not looking more than a couple hundred million dollars. As I mentioned in the previous conference call, we've chosen to slow it down and really in response to just the surfeit of product that came on the market and, of course, the increase in interest rates that happened late last year. That increase in interest rates has reversed itself. We're starting to see a little more liveliness, and that's why we're proceeding. And we're still quite optimistic and we do intend to get that roughly $ 2 billion number. And nobody should take that as a magic number over the course of this year and next. But dispositions, particularly in the secondary markets, will be something that we will just continuously move forward on as we're looking as -- we've always talked about to continuously improve the quality of our revenue by continuously improving the quality of our properties.

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Pammi Bir, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst [8]

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That's helpful. Just maybe last one for me. Good -- some good overall color from -- I guess, from a fundamental standpoint. And you did maintain your guidance for the year for 2% to 3% same property NOI. Can you provide maybe just a bit of an update on the tenant, the mood among tenants? Which are expanding versus those where you might be a bit more cautious?

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [9]

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Pammi, it's Jonathan. I think it's -- there are certain segments that are certainly challenged and there are certain segments that are in growth mode. But it's not -- there's no constant theme. I think the fashion sector is definitely under pressure just from changing consumer habits as well as the pressure from online shopping. And so those -- they're definitely not in growth mode, but then we do see a lot of other segments that are significantly expanding, particularly in the major markets. And so those are food and beverage uses, some service commercial uses and, certainly, the gym fitness areas. And so we're seeing a bit of growth from a number of segments and then a bit of pullback from a couple of others. Thankfully, we're seeing more growth than retraction in this environment, particularly those, again, in the major markets and in urban context, I think the secondary markets, as you can see from our results, are suffering a little more where tenants are not, no matter which segment, they're not really looking to expand in some of those markets.

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Operator [10]

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Our next question comes from Matt Logan with RBC Capital Markets.

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Matt Logan, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Senior Associate [11]

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In your press release, you talked about 4,300 rental residential suites that are under development and set to begin over the next 2 or 3 years. Can you talk about how the portfolio will look in -- when those are complete and what percentage RioCan Living might represent?

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [12]

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You know what? That's a tough number because, of course, some parts of the portfolio are diminishing, i.e. the retail obviously in the secondary markets and selected other ones, while the office component is expanding with what we're building. But my rough guess, and it's just the guess, Matt, would be that if you fast forward about 2 years from now, retail will still constitute about 85% to 87%, 88% of our revenue with the remainder probably split between office and residential.

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Matt Logan, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Senior Associate [13]

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That's great color. And in terms of the management for RioCan Living, do you still plan to use partners? Or are you considering doing any of those projects on your own?

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [14]

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Well, where we have partners that are already in the business, like Killam or Boardwalk, clearly, our deals with them as -- are, I think, quite easiest for us if they are managing the properties. We're developing them as developer and building them. And they are going to manage them. Right now, we use -- where we don't have a managing partner of that sort or we own it 100% ourselves, we use a company called Rhapsody, which is itself a subsidiary of an American -- a very large American property management company called Pinnacle. They're -- we just didn't find anybody local that was good at marketing new developments, and they've been so far so good. I don't think we have any intention, right now, of trying to duplicate that internally. As we roll through the end of maybe 2021, we'll probably have more to say about that. And as the portfolio grows, we'll have to address it a little more carefully.

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Matt Logan, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Senior Associate [15]

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Of course. And maybe just changing gears in terms of the condo sales, how should we be thinking about the cadence of profits in the next few quarters?

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [16]

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Well, you know what? Privately, Qi will probably give you some better guidance on that. And the next few quarters are pretty predictable. But basically, what we have tried to set up is a pipeline of condo profits. And obviously, timing is the one thing we can't 100% control because it's subject not only to the permitting process, which we're happily helped by the new legislation, but also construction progress and strikes and weather and all those things. But we're trying to create a pretty predictable pipeline that take -- goes out quite a few years, quite frankly, because some of the high-rise projects are -- do involve a 3-, 4-year lead time. So while Qi privately, I'm sure, can give you some guidance as to the remainder of this year, you can be sure that they will continue over the next few years.

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Qi Tang, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - Senior VP & CFO [17]

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Yes.

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Matt Logan, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Senior Associate [18]

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I appreciate the color. That's all, Sorry, Qi?

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Qi Tang, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - Senior VP & CFO [19]

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Yes. We can follow up, but I did mention it earlier in my remarks. So we can further follow up. It's in the MD&A.

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Operator [20]

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(Operator Instructions) Our next question comes from Sam Damiani with TD Securities.

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Sam Damiani, TD Securities Equity Research - Analyst [21]

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Just on the disposition side and the balance sheet funding of the remaining development program over the next few years, it's leveraged at around 42%. What is the source of funds that you'll be relying on mostly to complete the development through '20 and 2021?

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [22]

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Well, there are several sources of funds. And I know you look at that 42%, but we'd much rather look, and the one we're laser focused on, is the net debt to EBITDA. And in no particular order of importance, the sources of those funds will be continued dispositions of secondary market properties, completions and sales of condos. I mean we talked about the profits from Yonge and Eglinton and Kingly and the townhomes in Windfield that will come in this year, but there's also a significant return of capital as these projects are completed. And then -- so that's, call it, source #2. It's basically recycling development capital. Source #3, quite frankly, will be taking in partners, which you will continue to see us do selectively. We're very happy to own 100% of projects, and that is something we're going to probably focus on a little more because we're, quite frankly, I've gotten very comfortable with the expertise that Jonathan and his team have showed. On what we've built today, we've learned a lot from our partners. And I'm sure we will continue to learn a lot. But they're no longer necessary for us to have as -- for us to have an operating partner in order to build what we believe will be very, very successful RioCan Living buildings. So -- but as capital requirements are, we'll take in partners as required. So those are essentially the 3 sources that we look at without any increase of our leverage numbers.

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Sam Damiani, TD Securities Equity Research - Analyst [23]

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Okay. And you're targeting a 42% leverage or an 8x debt to EBITDA. Which one is kind of the priority?

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [24]

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Well, the priority is the net debt to EBITDA numbers, and we intend to keep it at sub-8. We're -- we'll be close to 8 for the next few quarters, probably get a little better once The Well is completed because we got a lot of money tied up in that, of course and -- as well as some of the others. But we report the other leverage number just because everybody else does. And we do intend to keep it in that 42% or lower range as well.

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Sam Damiani, TD Securities Equity Research - Analyst [25]

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And you mentioned The Well. Just an update on the plans for commencing leasing on the retail side.

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [26]

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Well, as we said, we're starting to get serious about that leasing, although our partner Allied says, "You're doing it too soon." Because if you listen to the description I gave it, which was very inadequate, but will give you some idea, essentially, a lot of it is what we would refer to as street-front retail. And as opposed to your typical shopping center, it's atypical. It's more like street-front retail. Allied has a -- their program and has been quite successful, including at King and Portland where we're partners with them. It's basically waiting until a building is finished. We don't have the patience to do that, and we're going to probably start making some comments by the end of this year as to where we are going with it. But quite honestly, we're in no rush. This building has to be seen to be believed and even understood, quite frankly. And a lot of it, particularly in the food hall, will be done at the last minute. You're not talking about big national chains that require 2 years to get ready. These are guys who are going to move in, in 90 to 180 days after you say, "Okay, here's the deal." So it's a very atypical development that shouldn't be measured or judged by the standards of preleasing at any other shopping center because it's not any other shopping center.

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Operator [27]

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Our next question comes from the line of Jenny Ma with BMO Capital Markets.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [28]

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Going back to RioCan Living for a minute, wondering if you can give an update first on eCentral and how many units are occupied now.

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [29]

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Sure. The actual occupancy is about half of what we have leased.

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [30]

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So it's about 100 units.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [31]

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100 units, okay.

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [32]

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Yes. And we're -- obviously, we're loading people in as quickly as we can, but there's always practical measures or limitations into how many people you can actually get into a building at any given time. But it's moving pretty rapidly.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [33]

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It's the elevators, isn't it?

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [34]

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It is. It is, indeed.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [35]

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I'm just curious. It's 44% leased. We're sort of in the peak moving quarters, if you will. Why mid-2020 for stabilization just given how strong fundamentals are in Toronto?

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [36]

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Well, stabilization means that you've actually got it occupied to sort of above 90%. And so we feel we'll have at least that before then. But just again, the practical measures of moving people in, we thought we'd be conservative and say second quarter of next year. We would like to beat that. We're confident that we might beat that, but we just thought it was prudent to stick with the Q2 prognostication because, again, of the practical implications of moving people in.

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [37]

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And keep in mind, Jenny, although, I do think we've been conservative with the second quarter, I'm quite confident that stabilization will be approached as we -- certainly, from the point of view of lease up, by the end of this year. But keep in mind, we're hitting new levels for rents at Yonge and Eglinton. And while we're not as focused on getting the highest rent possible as we might have been before they change the rent control legislation because that's not something we have to worry about going forward, we are just as happy to show pretty good growth as the one year anniversary of these tenants comes up. We are very picky as to who moves in. They're doing 2 or 3 leases every couple of days, and that's a pace that's fine with us because we go through a pretty intensive process of screening these tenants, unlike, I'll call it, the old buildings. In new buildings like this that aren't subject to rent control, you really don't want turnover. Turnover is just an expense. So we are focused on getting people who we think are, obviously, going to have no problem with these rent levels and also that -- to the extent you can predict anything are more likely to stay for longer than jump around. So we're being a little bit patient.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [38]

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Okay. Remind me, is there a time limit to the no rent control?

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [39]

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Nope.

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [40]

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Not going forward. They're -- November of last year was sort of if you were outside of that November date, then you're free of the legislation. But if you're signing leases before then, you are subject to it. So we are...

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [41]

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Luckily, RioCan did not sign. RioCan Living or its partners did not sign any leases prior to the effective date. And going forward, under the current legislation, it is totally without any rent control for the foreseeable future until some government in the future changes its mind again.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [42]

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Right. So it be -- it would require a legislative change, too, to put in a time.

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [43]

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That's correct.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [44]

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Okay. That's fair. With regards to the same property NOI, I know you introduced some new measures with the reiteration of that 2% to 3% same store growth for 2019. Is that including the development now? And is that kind of a little bit of a change? The numbers didn't change, but the methodology, is there a little bit of a change in sort of how you got there?

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [45]

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No. There is no change. We're not sufficiently sneaky to do that. And it's really just a little bit better disclosure to show the impact of the new developments coming onstream. The 2% to 3% refers to existing previous comparables.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [46]

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So 2% to 3% excluding development.

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [47]

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Correct.

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [48]

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Correct.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [49]

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Okay. But the 2% to 3% would include the impact of the Bombay-Bowring bankruptcy.

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [50]

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That's right. That's right.

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [51]

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Yes.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [52]

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Okay. So it is to say that you're expecting a better pace of growth, I guess, for the next 3 quarters.

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [53]

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Yes, sure. We got the Bombay-Bowring stores to re-lease at higher rents.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [54]

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What do you expect the time frame for that will be in terms of downtime?

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [55]

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It's property by property, Jenny. But we are confident -- I mean, I would say that the fair majority of those locations are coveted locations that we feel we'll get. I mean deals will be done in the next couple of quarters. There will, of course, be -- and there's some that are already in place actually.

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [56]

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Yes. We started late last year before the actual event.

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Qi Tang, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - Senior VP & CFO [57]

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Yes. And Jenny, if I may add, because same property NOI is calculated on cash NOI basis, so even though some tenants will take possession throughout the year, it will impact in the next few quarters, a couple of quarters same property NOI just because it's on cash basis.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [58]

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Right, right. Okay. And then as -- so going back to the Bombay-Bowring space. I guess on average, how much below market do you think that rent is on that space because I presume they've been in those locations for a while?

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [59]

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So I'd say $5 a foot is a good estimate.

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Jenny Ma, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [60]

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$5 a foot below market.

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [61]

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Yes, which is probably about 20% to 25%.

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [62]

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Yes.

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Operator [63]

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There are no further questions in queue at this time. I'll turn the call back over to our presenters.

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Edward Sonshine, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - CEO & Trustee [64]

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Okay. Well, thank you very much, and it was always a pleasure. I do encourage you again to take the physical tour. I try to somewhat take you through verbally. And we'll talk to you again in a few months. Buh-bye. Thank you.

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Jonathan Gitlin, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust - President & COO [65]

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Bye.

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Operator [66]

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This concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.