Developers behind the under-construction Oakridge Park shopping centre have revealed some of the more than 100 tenants leasing space and set to open in spring 2025.
Louis Vuitton, Prada, Brunello Cucinelli, Moncler, Versace and Max Mara are some of the luxury brands set to open in the rebuilt mall, Chrystal Burns, executive vice-president of Canadian retail at QuadReal Property Group, told BIV.
The destination, previously known as Oakridge Centre, had been an upscale mall. Its future incarnation is expected to also be upscale, with a 20-per-cent luxury component, said Burns, whose company redeveloped the real estate with partner Westbank.
Some upscale fashion brands are opening their first stand-alone stores in Metro Vancouver at Oakridge Park: Maison Margiela, Miu Miu, Christian Louboutin and Alexander Wang, she said, adding that those brands would also be considered as having "luxury" products.
The enclosed mall is set to have a range of other stores, which carry clothing, beauty products, jewelry, watches, home décor and lifestyle items.
There was a long silence after BIV asked Burns if Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) would return to the shopping centre.
"Apple is a long-term partner with us," she said. "They were at Oakridge Centre before. They would love to come back. We have more interest in the retail space than there is space we have to lease, which is the best place to be."
The future mall is set to be 650,000 square feet, or 76,080 square feet (13.25 per cent) larger than the 573,920-square-foot mall that existed pre-pandemic, and was the most productive mall in B.C. in terms of sales per square foot.
It is unclear exactly how many tenants will lease space as many leases are yet to be finalized and store footprints for future tenants are flexible.
Burns said that the mall's previous main anchor tenants – the Bay and Safeway – would each downsize their footprints but that each would take space in the new facility.
The only tenant that was able to stay open during the construction, because of its location with an exterior door near the Canada Line station, was Crate & Barrel. It will continue to operate in the new mall, Burns said.
The previous Oakridge Centre sometimes featured art exhibitions and put luxury vehicles on display in its mall concourses. Burns said these kinds of events and festivals are likely in the future both in the enclosed mall and other places within the Oakridge Park neighbourhood.
Food retailers yet to be named
The multinational TimeOut Market will curate a 41,000-square-foot food area, which will not be like a traditional food court, Burns said.
She explained that franchised operations such as A&W and Subway are not likely. Instead, TimeOut Market will look for elite local chefs and provide them space to sublease and operate. That could mean that “the best won tons in town, the best sushi” could be in the TimeOut managed space, Burns said.
Stand-alone restaurants will provide other food options.
It is not clear whether White Spot, which leased a restaurant for decades in the former Oakridge Centre, will return to the new shopping centre.
"I can't name any [restaurants,]" Burns said. "Throughout the year, we'll be making announcements."
New mall is to be hub for 28-acre development
The Oakridge Park enclosed mall set to open next spring is part of a larger 28-acre footprint that includes condominium towers, a community centre and a large park integrated throughout, Burns said.
A second phase of the project is likely to be complete in 2028. It would include what Burns calls a "high street," with about 200,000 square feet of outside retail space. The project is also eventually slated to have a residential rental building and an office building.
In 2019, the co-developers' plan for the two-phase project was to have a comparatively small first phase. The plan was to build half the project, with half of the retailers allowed to stay open. Those businesses would then shift to the newly built space so vacated space could be torn down to complete the project’s second phase.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed that plan. The mall was largely empty in spring 2020 so the co-developers chose to close the retail space completely and bring on phases of the mall that would have been in Phase 2 into Phase 1.
Quadreal parent BCI and Westbank have no plans to flip the property, Burns said. Condominiums will be sold to owners, and the community centre’s ownership would transfer to the City of Vancouver.
BCI and Westbank would own an office tower on the northeast corner of the site, a residential rental building, strata office space throughout the development and the enclosed mall and high-street retail space, she said.
Quadreal would then manage that property.
Headquartered in Vancouver, Quadreal manages a portfolio valued at more than $73.8 billion and situated across Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Europe and the Asia-Pacific, according to its website.
The Oakridge Park project's cost was originally pinned at $1.5 billion, in 2014, and then grew to be $5 billion in 2021.
"That number has changed," Burns said this week. "We're not readily confirming that number."
The developers were able to reach an agreement with TransLink to build an underground entrance to the Oakridge Canada Line station.
The plan is for transit riders to have two exits from the station: first, to ride an escalator up to a public plaza, or second, to walk along a corridor into the shopping centre.