On the retail front, work is going ahead on Tsawwassen Mills, the huge mall being built on First Nations lands near the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. And we are talking big-111,500 square meters or 1.2 million square feet of space with 16 anchor tenants and a food court seating 1,100 people.
The opening for this mall is planned for late 2016, with acres of parking, and easy access from Highway 17 and 17a for those customers.
I was at a seminar with a retired Chief Purser for BC Ferries and asked her the question-would people driving to the ferry terminal stop first at the mall to shop? She was emphatic at saying no, people going to the ferry are pretty focused on getting on the boat, not loading up on merchandise to take on the boat.
The developer of the mall, Ivanhoe Cambridge which is based in Quebec (part of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec), also has announced a new Edmonton mall to be built at the Edmonton Airport. In January Ivanhoe Cambridge announced that their 350,000 square foot mall would be revised to 428,000 square feet, with an increase of stores from 85 to 100. No recessionary impact showing in that decision.
The philosophy of Ivanhoe Cambridge in the location of these malls is expressed in this Globe and Mail article from 2014. The article states that the key to success of these malls is cheap land and distance from other retail locations, so that locations on major highway interchanges are easily accessible by car. There is psychology involved too-if you have driven a distance, you are going to make it worth your while by making a significant purchase.
The Tsawwassen Mills website is here, but there are no updates since December 2015 on the site. Time will tell if this shopping mall will succeed, or if it will eventually become the new campus for Delta University.