Discover what’s happening at Calgary’s shopping centres—from renovations to a megaplex north of the city
By Sally MacKinnon
In the midst of economic downturn and shaky consumer confidence, Calgary is undergoing a retail renaissance. Three major malls are in the middle of costly renovations, and two new complexes are set to make their appearance: a megamall north of the city, and a fashion haven in the downtown core.
We’ve put together a rundown of all the new developments, as well as a 411 for malls that may not be in metamorphosis, but are still worth visiting.
On August 19, CrossIron Mills officially became Calgary’s newest shopping complex. What sets CrossIron apart is space. Brands such as H&M, La Senza, Tommy Hilfiger and Forever 21 have 20,000 to 30,000 square feet to play with, and even smaller players have spaces that are larger than average. Many are using the opportunity to open outlets, which comprise 55 per cent of CrossIron’s tenants. High profile American retailers—from Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World to Godiva Choclatier—are also making their first foray into Alberta. To orient visitors, each wing of the mall has a theme with meticulous décor to reinforce it: the Sport area includes flat screen TVs, the Fossil wing has a “prehistoric” businessman, and the Ranch section is decorated with saloon facades.
Stores & Services: 217
Size: 1.4 million square feet
Location: North of the city near Balzac; take Hwy 2 north to Hwy 566.
Highlights: Bed Bath & Beyond, Banana Republic Factory Store, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Calvin Klein Outlet, Pro Hockey Life, Buttercream Bake Shoppe, Danier Outlet Store, Quiksilver Outlet
Calgary’s second biggest mall isn’t taking their new competition lightly. In October of 2010, the complex is scheduled to unveil the fruits of a $280-million renovation and expansion that will be 2.5 years in the making. When it’s all said and done, Chinook will increase its square footage to more than 1.2 million, add 60 to 80 new stores, and have heated underground parking for 1,200 cars. The new space is 45 per cent leased, and confirmed retailers include Coach, Miss Sixty/Energie, Marciano, Lacoste and Parasuco. Paige O’Neill, the Retail Property Manager for Chinook Centre, can’t confirm the rumours about Abercrombie & Fitch, Apple, Tiffany & Co. and Hollister, but says to stay tuned.
Stores & Services: 200 (current)
Size: 1.1 million square feet (current)
Location: 6455 Macleod Tr SW
Highlights: Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Bath & Body Works, French Connection UK, Zara, Sephora, Chapters, MAC Cosmetics, Marble Slab Creamery, Scotiabank Theatre, the food court carousel
Calgary Eaton Centre/TD Square
Calgary’s destination for downtown shopping is currently in a state of flux. Select stores are closed for a facelift, the building is undergoing structural work, and the top-level Devonian Gardens are in the middle of renovations. Construction started in July 2008, and is projected to cost $250 million. Seventy five per cent of their retailers are signed to return, and two will have expanded premises: Holt Renfrew is taking over the 148,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Sears, and Harry Rosen will double in size. New faces include Swarovski Crystal, Aritzia and H&M, which will move into Holt Renfrew’s old space and include H&M Trend, a separate section with formal attire. The centre is also constructing an impressive new skylight to loom over the expanded food court.
Stores & Services: 69 (current)
Size: 388,000 square feet (retail space)
Location: Downtown, along 8 Ave between 2 St and 4 St SW
Highlights: Holt Renfrew, Birks, Brass Monocle, Harry Rosen, Lacoste, Tangerine Supper Club
In 2008, Coach chose Southcentre as the venue for their first store in Calgary, a move that Crate & Barrel will replicate in October. The opening will coincide with the unveiling of Southcentre’s renovation/expansion project, which began in October 2007. The food court is already complete, relocated to the other side of the mall and doubled in capacity. When the project is finished the mall will add 35,000 extra square feet, adding 10 to 15 stores. The expanded mall is roughly 95 per cent leased; signed retailers include Murale, Restoration Hardware, Bose and Fossil. There are also three kids’ play areas and a sports zone, part of Southcentre’s plan to offer “comfort shopping.”
Stores & Services: 180 (current)
Size: 962,000 square feet (current)
Location: 100 Anderson Rd SE
Highlights: Coach, Nine West, Disney Store, Lululemon Athletica, BCBG MaxAzria, Blu’s, Tristan, Milestone’s Grill & Bar
In a world of chains and big box stores, Fashion Central aims to provide a boutique experience within a mall building. Their strategy is to combine independent stores, designers’ studios and international fashion retailers such as Carmen Steffens (Brazil) and AG Plateria (Mexico). The anchor store will be Murale, a beauty store owned by Shoppers Drug Mart but showcasing luxury lines such as Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Estée Lauder, Lancôme and Nars. Murale is scheduled to open in October, the boutiques and studios in November, and international retailers in February. Look out for locally owned boutiques and designers such as Kaviar South Sea Pearls and Lara Presber, who will specialize in custom pieces.
Stores & Services: 24
Size: 28,200 square feet
Location: Downtown, Stephen Ave and 1 St SW
Highlights: Murale, Betsey Johnson, Carmen Steffens, AG Plateria, Kaviar South Sea Pearls, Nu-Form Lingerie
Eau Claire Market
When Eau Claire opened in 1993, the concept was to create a European piazza indoors, complete with a mock farmers’ market. Over the years, however, Eau Claire has evolved; the food market is gone, and the second level evolved into office space. But, the main floor still has one-of-a-kind retailers, most with an international flair.
Stores & Services: 55
Size: 166,351 square feet
Location: Downtown, corner of 2 Ave and 2 St SW
Highlights: Paper Roots Studios, Wanderlust, Amos & Andes, Son of the Pharaoh, Tibetan Trom, Eau Claire Wine Market, Emilio’s Humidor, Joey Tomato’s
In the last two years, this northeast mall has transitioned from an outlet complex to a traditional mall. It still houses outlet stores—including Mexx and Lammle’s Western Wear—but has shifted its focus and name. The management is also pursuing new marketing strategies; this summer shoppers were treated to free drive-in movies in the parking lot.
Stores & Services: 77
Size: 588,737 square feet
Location: 901 – 64 Ave NE
Highlights: Kacz’ Kids, Smart Set Outlet, Liz Claiborne Factory Outlet, Mark’s Work Wearhouse Outlet, Hockey Experts
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Stores, Studios & Services: 47
Size: 35,000 square feet
Location: Downtown, corner of Centre St and 7 Ave
Highlights: Rox Gems, Collage Gallery, Influx Jewellery Gallery, Heinricks Studio, Studio Todorovic, Shisomiso Boutique & Gallery, Swirl Fine Art & Design
Stores & Services: More than 50
Size: 224,000 square feet (retail space)
Location: Downtown, along 8 Ave between 2 St and 3 St SW
Highlights: Carati, Henry Singer, Compleat Cook, La Chic, Parfum Gallerie, Gracie & Gruff, Quorra, Sunterra Market
Stores & Services: 220
Size: 952,000 square feet
Location: 3625 Shaganappi Tr NW
Highlights: Apple, United Colors of Benetton, Bath & Body Works, Sephora, Swarovski, Coast Mountain Sports, Old Navy, H&M
Stores & Services: 160
Size: 756,640 square feet
Location: 2525 – 36 St NE
Highlights: Canada’s largest Sport Chek, Arnold Churgin Blue, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Nevada Bob’s Golf, Chuck E. Cheese’s