Tsawwassen Mills entering homestretch

Less than four months to go until 200-store mall opens its doors

Tsawwassen Mills is rapidly taking shape.

Set to open in just under four months, the destination shopping mall at the Tsawwassen First Nation will be a centre that can easily be described as unique in B.C. Tsawwassen Mills general manager Mark Fenwick and development director Jeff Brown gave the Optimist a tour last week of the 1.2-millionsquare-foot mall, which will feature 200 stores, including 16 anchor tenants. Many of the retailers will be making their first appearance in B.C. For years, tenant news had been limited to Bass Pro Shops until Saks OFF 5TH and Designer Shoe Warehouse announced they would also be locating at the mall. More recently, the names of a couple dozen retailers were made public, including what will be Canada's largest Nike Factory Store.

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"We'll be announcing more tenants this summer and we're pleased with the mix that we've achieved," said Fenwick.

Located at the corner of Highway 17 and 52nd Street, the Ivanhoe Cambridge project will be mostly a fashion-oriented centre with a mix of outlet and other retailers, but it will also have a wide range of other products and services.

In addition to shopping, it will have an 1,100-seat food hall (they're not calling it a food court) and full-service restaurants Milestones Grill Bar and Montana's Bar Grill. Other features of the mall include a children's play area and space where husbands can watch sporting events on big screens while their wives shop.

"We want to make this a shopping experience where there's something for everyone," added Fenwick.

The mall is scheduled to open Wednesday, Oct. 5. It's based on the company's huge CrossIron Mills mall outside of Calgary and Vaughan Mills in the Greater Toronto area.

Interior construction is well underway and tenants have started to take possession of their spaces to work on their unique finishes. Wood and metal paneling is being installed while the mall floor, which will be mostly high-end hardwood, has already been installed. On the outside, facades are now being installed.

Coast Salish native artwork, featuring contributions from members of the TFN, including Chief Bryce Williams, will be prevalent throughout the complex.

The mall has created around 2,000 construction jobs and 4,500 permanent jobs will be available once it opens. A job fair is planned for June 25 and 26 in Vancouver, although some retailers have already listed job postings.

Separated by a new road called Canoe Pass Way, Tsawwassen Mills will have Tsawwassen Commons as a neighbour. That 550,000-square-foot outdoor mall will feature 100 or so retailers, including Rona, Canadian Tire and Walmart. Some of the buildings are well underway, while work recently began on the Walmart site. It is also scheduled to open in October.

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