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Shopping malls top city’s tax rolls in 2013

Nanaimo North Town Centre has shot up the ranks of the city’s top taxpayers, securing the No. 2 spot in 2013.

The Nanaimo shopping centre became the second-highest paying property owner in the Harbour City last year, with $1.8 million in total taxes, according to the 2013 draft Annual Municipal Report. It’s a big change from the last half-decade, which saw the mall maintain a sixth-place spot.

Most of the other top 10 properties saw little or no movement.

Woodgrove Centre, for example, has been No. 1 since 2008, with $4.4 million in taxes paid last year while Nanaimo Forest Products was bumped one spot down to No. 3 in 2013 with total taxes of $1.44 million.

News Bulletin graphicAccording to Brenda Truong, spokeswoman for Shape Properties, an owner in Nanaimo North Town Centre, the increase in taxes is mainly because of the new 125,000-square foot Canadian Tire store, as well as new buildings like Tim Hortons and Umai Sushi.

“In this particular case, we’re paying more taxes because we’ve done more leasing,” Truong wrote in an e-mail. “It’s an example of a win-win; good for the shopping centre and good for the City of Nanaimo.”

Nanaimo’s major shopping centres are all among the highest paying property owners in the city. Seven of the top 10 are retailers.

The numbers are no surprise to Jason Winton, vice-president and managing broker of Colliers International Nanaimo.

Property taxes are based on assessed values, which take into account previous transactions and over the past five years a great majority of the shopping centres in Nanaimo have sold for benchmark high prices, he said. “What that does of course is continually raise the bar as far as values go.”

There’s also a lot of interested buyers when it comes to retail, according to Winton, who says malls are the most valuable real estate.

“People look at a huge piece of oceanfront and they see that as having a lot of value. The problem with that is it’s not an investment,” he said. “When it comes to income-producing properties, retail is at the top of the chain and the largest malls are at the top of that.”

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