By Mario Toneguzzi
Some exciting developments are taking place at the Willowbrook Shopping Centre, in Langley, B.C., where the mall is planning to expand by about 190,000 square feet of open-air space.
The expansion is expected to be completed by 2020.
Part of the overall plan included the expansion and relocation of Toys R Us and Sport Chek to the former Target space and both are now open. H&M has also chosen Willowbrook to locate its 20,030 square foot newest store which will open in September of this year in the existing mall.
One of the anchors of the lifestyle expansion space will be a grocery store in about 38,000 square feet – the grocery operator will be announced in the near future.
“By renovating and expanding this property, we are looking to create a very unique, experiential and best-in-class shopping destination with an offering that’s compelling to our customers,” says Chrystal Burns, Senior Vice President, Retail for QuadReal Property Group. “In short, we are trying to build something that gives our community what they’re looking for . . . a place to shop, eat, socialize and connect. Fortuitously, with the benefit of Sears’ departure from one of the highest visibility areas on the site, we have the opportunity to actively pursue some of the uses — including entertainment, food, fashion and fitness — that these younger, affluent families are clamouring for.”
“The Township of Langley is in full support of the development and have designated Willowbrook’s site as the Township’s new ‘Town Centre’. We are now full steam ahead on pre-leasing, and are talking to many exciting groups. What we are creating here will be a very unique experiential shopping destination, and we are diligently working on our merchandise mix.
The shopping centre currently has about 150 stores and that is expected to rise to at least 200 with the expansion. Willowbrook will be adding a cluster of local and national quick service food offerings, large scale restaurants and the mix of national brands that it has not been able to accommodate to this point due to lack of space.
QuadReal has taken inspiration from best in class lifestyle developments across North America. It’s a very cool open concept and we’re really working to make sure that the existing mall is upgraded first and that the entrances are very well connected so the mall is contemporary and inviting before the expansion opens.”
Langley has been the fastest growing community in British Columbia for the last six years and it’s only anticipated to continue on that path.
Willowbrook opened its doors in 1979. The shopping centre says the expansion project will be a vibrant, sustainable lifestyle-oriented retail development that will be seamlessly linked to the newly-renovated and expanded centre, “embracing the true west coast lifestyle.
“Accented by an abundance of natural beauty, modern west coast architecture, wood details, outdoor gathering spaces and contemporary landscaping, Willowbrook will leave visitors with an organic meeting place in the community,” it says.
Willowbrook is easily accessible from a number of major traffic arteries. It anchors one of the largest, most dynamic, retail nodes in the province, comprising over 2.5 million square feet in every possible format. Most major retailers are represented and for many, it was their first to market store.
It has about six million annual shopper visits and 68,000 daily drive by traffic.
Its current gross leasing area is about 650,000 square feet.
Willowbrook’s trade area also has average annual household income of $100,070, which is 30.6 per cent higher than the national average.
For more information, contact Larissa Jacobson, Senior Director, Leasing, Retail Services: email@example.com or: 604.975.9086.
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.