RioCan Freezes New Projects During Virus; Rents Slump

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust is freezing new and early stage projects to cut costs during the coronavirus pandemic as rent collection slid, Bloomberg News reported. The move will save one of Canada’s largest retail landlords C$100 million to C$150 million ($71 million to $107 million) in development spending in 2020, RioCan said in its first quarter report Tuesday. The Toronto-based REIT said in a separate investor presentation that it collected 55% of its rent in the first quarter. The company expects 28% to still be received and has agreed to deferrals for 17% of its tenants. It has C$30 million in security deposits and C$5 million of letters of credit available to help offset rents in the event of unresolved defaults. “We are confident that virtually all of the tenants we are busy serving default notices upon will indeed pay what they own under the contract,” Chief Executive Officer Ed Sonshine said on the investor call. “Let’s remember a lease is a contract.” Read more