Following the fall of “the Landmark” mall
在2006年12月，打算建于多伦多Middlefield 和Steeles之交处的宏伟的亚洲购物中心“傲天置地”建筑项目宣布动工。该项目欲建造一个可与被誉为北美最大的亚洲室内购物广场的太古广场相媲美的由各业主拥有各自单位的零售购物广场 。“傲天置地”的置地面积宽广，四周被工业区围绕，所占用的空置农田面积超过43.5万平方英尺。该购物中心面积将超过太古购物中心，并将有望被誉为投资者的聚宝盆和购物者的天堂。
In Dec. 2006, the construction of a magnificent Asian shopping mall -- “The Landmark retail condo project” at the corner of Middlefield Road and Steeles Avenue East of Toronto was announced. The project planned to build a retail condo mall similar to Pacific Mall, an indoor Asian shopping centre that acclaimed as the largest of its kind in North America. Occupying a vacant farmland on the edge of industrial zone -- an area of more than 435,000 square feet -- the Landmark aspired to become a shopper’s paradise, an investors’ precious gemstone, and a regional shopping centre that was even larger than the Pacific Mall.
The two storey mall will come with a food court and several restaurants and include a total of 1090 units for retail owners in two Phases. The retail stores in the Landmark, some as small as a closet-sized 90 square feet, were deemed as great business opportunities for immigrant retailers who believed that their Chinese themed products would attract both Asian and Canadian shoppers alike.
In 2005, Phase I units were quickly snapped up by vendors who expected to open its business doors in 2008, but construction delayed and sales slowed down. By July 2011 only 330 retail units had been pre-sold to purchasers, who paid deposits totaling $14.5 million to the Landmark’s numbered development-corporation. A Toronto couple Wang & Wong were among the unit purchasers.
The Wang couple, who had bought four pre-built units by paying $277,300 in deposits, representing 25% of the total price, filed a claim with Ontario Court in July 2010, seeking termination of their purchase agreements and the return of their deposits on the basis that the developer failed to issue T5 statements.
The developer filed a defence to the claim a month later, stating that the purchaser was not entitled to end the agreements as the developer was under no obligation to issue a T5.
The Wang couple weren’t the only purchasers who sued the Landmark’s developer. According to media reports, watching the land sit undeveloped, a group of 30 buyers has turned to a lawyer for assistance after attempts to get their deposits back failed.
The developer also stated in their defence to the Wang couple’s claim that “(We are) currently developing the property into The Landmark, as well as for other commercial use.”
According to media reports, while the developer maintained that it could pay off its mortgages and resume development, it had lost its financing, regained it and construction never started. By July 2011, a court order forced it to enter into a receivership and appointed Deloitte as receiver of the property, indicating that the company had become insolvent.
“I bought a retail unit at the Landmark in 2007, and paid 25% as deposit. According to the contract, the unit will be delivered by the end of 2009,” wrote a website blogger.”I had been waiting till Aug. 2010, when a letter arrived saying that they were experiencing a financial crisis, so the project was delayed... I asked for a return of my deposit, but so far I have not received anything.”
Property sold to Mady
According to the receiver’s report filed with court, $46million in outstanding debts were claimed by creditors of the Landmark, (e.g. outstanding mortgages, interest and fees). The deposits were also owed to unit purchasers who, under the sales agreements, were entitled to the return of the deposits upon termination of the contract.
接管公司通过传单和广告的推销，将傲天置地产业于2011年10月以$4250万元的价格卖给了Mady Development Corp. (Mady)。 据接管公司向法庭递交的报告，Mady的报价为120个潜在买家中最高及最佳者。产业的售出使得接管公司可以按债权人对该产业所提出有效索赔进行赔偿，包括某些尚未退还给单位买家的定金索赔。
The receiver’s marketing efforts, through flyers and advertising resulted in the sale of the property to Mady Development Corp. (Mady) in Oct. 2011 for $42.5million. The Mady offer was the highest and best offer received from 120 potential buyers, according to the receiver’s report, which allowed the receiver to make payments to creditors for their proven claims against the property, including some claims for deposits from the unit purchasers whose deposits had not yet been returned.
The receiver also indicated in its report that after repeated requests from the receiver, the Landmark developer finally provided the contact information of some unit purchasers. Following the sale, a letter was sent to the unit purchasers in Nov. 2011, notifying them of the eligible claims for their deposits that were secured through insurance. As a result, a total of about $2 million was paid out to those vendors who were contacted by the receiver.
Non Chinese themed mall？
事实上，“傲天置地”并不是唯一一家受到银行紧缩贷款影响的华人购物中心建筑项目。于2007年宣布的计划将位于Markham Road夹McNicoll Avenue的购物中心扩大600个单位的锦绣中华二期建筑，也因为等待融资而尚未开工。
In fact, the Landmark wasn’t the only Asian mall impacted by the banks’ tightened purse strings. Another project announced in 2007, the Splendid China II that would see a 600 unit expansion to a re-existing mall at Markham Road and McNicoll Avenue has been stalled too, pending financing.
Mady Development的运营主管Charles Mady向媒体表示，他打算将“傲天置地”产业开发成一个由附有数家超市和零售商业的购物商场，它倾向于为主流客户服务，而不仅仅为一栋亚裔风味的购物中心。
Charles Mady, chief operating officer of Mady Development, told media that he plans to turn the Landmark property into a mainstream mall anchored by supermarkets and with retail development, rather than keeping it Chinese-themed.
The customer base for Asian shopping malls that are packed with bubble tea stores and Chinese candy shops seems to be shrinking, where the mall traffic during weekdays is slow. It appears to be difficult to attract a large number of customers, not only because the population in Canada is far smaller than China, but also because Asian Canadian shoppers seem to prefer big box retailers for their cheaper prices and better shopping experience.
“I don’t enjoy the shopping experience in Asian malls… They are too crowded and no longer an attraction to me,” said an Asian shopper.
According to unconfirmed reports, the former site of the Landmark would be home to a Target store and other big box retailers.
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