Retail Coming Out of COVID with Colin Johnston of Altus Group


On the podcast today is Colin Johnston, President – Research, Valuation & Advisory, Canada at Altus Group. With such a large volume of data going through Altus Group, Colin discusses how his company uses data to increase performance and yield of real estate.

Several important real estate metrics are compiled and released annually in Canada, but Colin explains why the instantaneous data collected at Altus Group is so much more valuable. Colin also analyzes the current market for retail properties, including the rebound in foot traffic around and the world and how tenants are minimizing risk.

Topics covered include:

  • Closure of retail stores in 2020 versus 2019.
  • Why most recent retails deals have been led by the private investors.
  • Tenants attempting to shift risk to the landlord.
  • What type of retail fared better than others.
  • Shifting ownership types for retail.
  • The struggle of malls during the pandemic.
  • Why online-only retailers are now looking to start brick-and-mortar locations.
  • Foot traffic seen at retailers today compared to pre-pandemic.
  • Malls in the US being underwritten at land value.
  • Repurposing malls in the US and Canada.
  • The end vision for the data strategy at Altus.
  • Competing for land on the periphery of major urban centres.
  • Ghost kitchens as a potential use for former retail spaces.

More about our guest:

Colin Johnston is the President of Altus Group’s Research, Valuation and Advisory division in Canada, a group comprised of over 400 appraisers, economists, planners, advisors and data scientists. Altus is a leading provider of independent software, data solutions and consulting services to the commercial real estate industry. During his 25 plus years in the industry, Colin has become one of the country’s pre-eminent valuation and advisory professionals, with a particular emphasis on investment institutional assets.

Colin has spoken on numerous panels, written several papers on valuation, PropTech and served as an expert witness in dispute cases. He is an active member of several industry associations, a designated member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

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