Prominent commercial landlords are offering free space to accommodate COVID-19 vaccination clinics and related support services in malls, conference centres, office buildings and other well-located sites throughout Canada. The newly announced initiative, coordinated through the industry association, REALPAC, is an effort to replicate the United Kingdom’s uptake of commercial venues into its national network of vaccine dispensaries.
“REALPAC members are keen to work with the government to repurpose their unused spaces to function as vaccination sites or storage spaces for vaccines, essential equipment and medical supplies, which could greatly assist the vaccination rollout effort,” reports Michael Brooks, the association’s chief executive officer.
Logistically, a network of participating commercial sites could provide a range of public transit connections, parking facilities, large assembly areas and well-known locations to effectively support the pending mass vaccination campaign. That would also divert expected steady human and vehicular traffic away from sensitive facilities that are already under pressure.
“We see every day how hospitals are facing increasingly fragile scenarios with provision of vital services being put on hold to divert resources to the COVID-19 response effort,” Brooks notes. “We also understand from governments that for Canada to successfully vaccinate its population by the intended September 2021 target, a very regimented approach will need to be taken.”
Thus far, 18 major landlords, including commercial real estate companies, pension funds, REITs and investment managers, have pledged to support the effort:
- Brookfield Properties
- Cadillac Fairview
- Colliers International
- Cominar REIT
- Fengate Asset Management
- Fiera Real Estate
- First Capital
- Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP)
- Ivanhoé Cambridge
- Kingsett Capital
- Manulife Investment Management
- RioCan REIT
- SmartCentres REIT