Adding and expanding immersive experiences to Tsawwassen Mills will be a priority for new owners.
Last week, Daily Hive Urbanized reported that the 1.2 million-square-foot indoor shopping mall with 200 businesses was sold by Montreal-based real estate firm Ivanhoe Cambridge to British Columbia-based Central Walk earlier in May.
In an email to Daily Hive Urbanized, Central Walk noted that its short-term strategies for the property include a focus on creating a “highlight entertainment presence,” along with further diversifying and enhancing its food, retail and service uses.
“We have built a good rental team and are excited about all the opportunities that lie ahead,” Central Wok Chairman Hong Liu stated in a note.
“Our marketing department will gradually innovate and try new ideas to increase traffic and stay times. They will need time to plan and implement many of their ideas, but please expect to see unique and exciting events in the future.”
In addition, under Central Walk ownership, there will be an increase in maintenance of the property.
Other than these approaches, there will be no major changes to Tsawwassen Mills’ operations, while the new owners plan for the long-term future of the 107-acre property, which is surrounded by 5,000 surface parking lots.
Retail will always remain an essential part of commercial real estate, but it requires innovation and incremental change at the end of each cycle. We plan our course now by building or working with world-class teams to evaluate, research, and implement the latest in the retail and technology mix,” continued Hong.
“Retail is facing the need to move away from shopping as a single function and instead become multifunctional community centers where people from all walks of life can find inclusion, representation and participation. We are very confident in the future of retail and we look forward to the years to come.”
Ivanhoe Cambridge completed and opened Tsawwassen Mills in 2016 at a cost of $600 million. The mall is built on land through a long-term lease with Tsawwassen First Nation.
The mall carries the same concept as two of its other suburban outlet-style properties, and indoor shops in Canada, namely CrossIron Mills outside Calgary and Vaughan Mills next to Wonderland near Toronto.
Ivanhoe Cambridge has sold the property as part of its broader strategy announced for 2019 to move away from certain retail and office properties to focus more on residential developments.
Other than retail, Tsawwassen Mills’ current immersive shopping features entail a 1,100-seat food court, an indoor skate park inside the West49 department store, and extensive features at Bass Pro Shops.
Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill, an underwater restaurant and bowling alley that is part of Bass Pro Stores, has closed during the pandemic.
A large retail space was previously used for the public Experience Da Vinci and his wonderful machines The exhibition, and last month an immersive experience in outer space, called Stargazer: Immersive Worldsponsored by HR Macmillan Space Center, opened.
In recent years Central Walk has also acquired two other major BC properties from Ivanhoe Cambridge Center – Mayfair Center in Victoria, and Woodgrove Center in Nanaimo. It is looking forward to a mixed-use redevelopment of each of Vancouver Island’s shopping malls.