December 5, 2014
By Frank O’Brien
Tsawwassen Mills: 32-acre retail complex about one-third complete.
A tour of the Tsawwassen Mills construction site in South Delta underscores one aspect of the project: it is huge.
“This is one of the largest retail projects in British Columbia history,” said Jeff Brown, director of development for Ivanhoé Cambridge as he toured Western Investor along one three roads the company built to access the 108-acre (44-hectare) site near the Tsawwassen ferry terminal.
The roof alone on the first enclosed shopping mall built in B.C. since 1988 will cover more than 32 acres. There is another 76 acres to park 6,000 vehicles. When it opens in mid-2016, an interior stroll through the mall’s five distinct shopping districts will cover nearly a mile and half.
Construction of the $600 million, 1.4 million-square-foot centre will require 4,500 workers and another 3,000 will work in the complex when it completes.
“It is big,” Brown understates.
It is also the largest retail project underway by Montreal-based Ivanhoé Cambridge, which, among its 32 Canadian shopping centres, owns Metrotown mall in Burnaby – currently B.C. biggest shopping centre –and CrossIron Mills in Calgary, which is the template for Tsawwassen Mills.
U.S.-based Bass Pro Shops has committed to 145,000 square feet at Tsawwassen Mills, but Brown said a full list of the other 16 anchor tenants has not yet been released.
Both Walmart and Rona are among tenants booked into the adjacent Tsawwassen Commons, a 550,000-square-foot mall that is being simultaneously developed by Property Development Group.
The entire retail development is being built on Tsawwassen First Nations land, under a 99-year lease agreement.
Brown said Ivanhoé Cambridge is confident that, like CrossIron Mills – which draws customers from as far away as Edmonton – Tsawwassen Mills will become a premier shopping destination. He notes that the new South Fraser Perimeter Road runs directly in front of the development and the province plans to replace the George Massey Tunnel with a new bridge over the Fraser River by 2017.