First anniversary for Tsawwassen Mills

GM says shopping centre on TFN land has met expectations

Tsawwassen Mills, a shopping mall that changed the landscape of South Delta overnight as well as the Lower Mainland retail scene, marked its first anniversary yesterday.

General manager Mark Fenwick said the Ivanhoe Cambridge-owned centre, located at the corner of Highway 17 and 52nd Street on Tsawwassen First Nation land, is performing on par with expectations.

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“We are very pleased with how our other two Mills centres in Calgary and Toronto have grown and developed over a number of years,” Fenwick told the Optimist.

He said when it comes to traffic numbers, they want to review a full calendar year before sharing specifics due to competitive reasons.

A fashion-oriented centre with a mix of outlet and other retailers, Tsawwassen Mills is modeled after CrossIron Mills in Calgary and Vaughan Mills in Greater Toronto where the target customer travels greater distances to get there and spends more time and money per visit.

Featuring 1.2 million square feet of retail, the mall can accommodate 200 stores, including 16 anchor tenants, although it started with about 180 retailers. The mall also features a 1,100-seat food hall and several restaurants.

Several stores made their B.C. debut at Tsawwassen Mills and Fenwick said they’re pleased with the strong reception they’ve enjoyed.

“We have 173 retailers which is similar to our opening in October 2016,” he said. “Several new stores have opened over the last year and we look forward to Caposhie and MAC Cosmetics opening this fall.”

Tsawwassen Mills, which aims to attract shoppers from throughout the region and beyond, offers shuttle service from Downtown Vancouver and the ferry terminal.

The Optimist talked to a few shoppers at the mall last Friday evening including Floor Pel, who was accompanied by her husband and son. Having moved to Tsawwassen a few months ago, she said she appreciates having such a good selection of products close to home.

“We needed new bedding, cutlery, clothes and all that. This is extremely convenient for us. The prices are pretty good here, so I would come again,” she said.

Lea, a Ladner resident who didn’t want her last name published, was enjoying a meal at the food court with her daughter. She said she’s been coming “a lot more than I had expected.” She’s been at the Mills several times because the clothing selection, she believes, is better than what’s available at other malls, including Richmond Centre. She also noted she hasn’t been shopping at the Mills on the weekends, preferring weekday evenings when it isn’t as busy.

It wasn’t hard finding others from the South Delta area, most also saying they’ve been going to the mall from once a month to once every two or three months to do some shopping, eat at one of the restaurants or just walk around.

Accompanied by his girlfriend, Brian Neilson of Surrey said it was his second trip to the mall. He noted it’s different enough from other malls to make it worth his while to visit, although he didn’t think he spent any more than he normally would, but said it all depends on what’s on sale.

Also from Surrey, Annalisa Hinayon, who had a husband and several children in tow, also said it was her second time visiting, saying she liked the stores, the prices and agreed it was different. She said she probably spent more on her Friday visit than she would at another mall or a store like Walmart.

Directly across the street on Salish Sea Drive, meanwhile, construction continues on Tsawwassen Commons. Opening in phases, it’s a 550,000-square-foot outdoor shopping centre that will be able to accommodate about 100 tenants at capacity.

Several have already opened, including anchors such as Walmart, Canadian Tire and Rona.

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