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.


  1. There is just so much irony with the Tsawwassen Mills development.
    While some First Nations in BC are fighting various energy developments on environmental, climate change and land stewardship issues, their urban cousins are busy building an enterprise that seems totally at odds with those concerns.
    Similarly, those citizens of Quebec pushing back against the Energy East pipeline might be surprised to learn pension plan (Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec) is busy investing in projects that depend on the energy products transported by pipelines

    1. Mall developers do not really care about the environment, greenhouse gases or climate issues when it comes to investments. They may use these phrases of course in their marketing brochures if appropriate (say close to a train station) but they build where retailers pay top rent. Retailers pay good rent where people show up and shop. This mall is at a major highway, easily accessible from Hwy 99, SFPR and the US. Like Calgary’s Deerfoot Meadows (http://www.deerfootmeadows.com) or the new mall here at the Vancouver airport access is critical.
      People who shop drive or take the train. As such re-developments such as Brentwood Mall, Loughheed town center or Oakridge are also major destination of $s. But for a brand new site access by car or train is critical.
      I’d say expect more malls like this along SFPR, on along new TBD train stations. If we extended Canadaline to S-Richmond or Delta we’d see some malls there too. In the absence of that the land owners made the right choice.

  2. Yes, there was a consolidation –
    before the deal between Simon Property Group and Ivanhoe Cambridge, each company had planned to build their own, separate, outlet mall in Edmonton.
    They came to the conclusion that the market would not support 2 such malls.
    The increased size of the joint project reflects the optimization, but would be lower in overall square footage than the sum of the 2 mall proposals.
    2nd Edmonton Outlet Mall Cancelled as Competing Landlords Strike Partnership

  3. I’m watching this development with great interest. I’m having a really hard time seeing why very many people would want to travel fairly long distances to the least populated corner of the Lower Mainland in order to patronize this mall. I’m sure there will be an initial surge of curiosity seekers, but when it sinks in that almost all the stores are the same as those in much more accessible malls it really seems to me that business is going to drop off precipitously. If I’m wrong then it’s going to be very educational for me.
    And no, when I’m heading for the ferry the last thing I want to do is to stop off at a mall and loose my potential place in line.

  4. I hope it’s designed in a way that if the mall idea doesn’t work out, the buildings can be repurposed for some other use for the people that live there.

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