By Mario Toneguzzi
The multi-million dollar mega retail project Les Avenues Vaudreuil, with its homerun location in the Montreal area, is set to expand its footprint in the unique development which encompasses four distinct properties.
Bill Harden, president and chief executive officer of Harden a family-owned real estate development company which is developing the massive venture, said Les Avenues Vaudreuil is a lifestyle shopping destination that goes beyond the expected and a social hub for Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario.
Les Avenues Vaudreuil combines four retail sites to create one major hub with each site representing its own Avenue - Mode for the latest fashion, Marché for the best in fresh food, Loisirs for sports and entertainment, and Avenir which is currently in the planning stages.
“Not only are we combining four different retail centres to create one major hub, we are also providing a gathering place where citizens and consumers, eager to enrich their lifestyle, can shop, eat, relax and be entertained. Les Avenues Mode, for example, incorporates the urban environment and a source of inspiration, placing an emphasis on the importance of cultivating a community spirit, including regular community events and a gathering place for the community,” said Harden.
“Our project was developed following thorough market research. We know for a fact that the Vaudreuil-Dorion area is a young and vibrant market and this is attracting new exciting Canadian and international retailers. People are looking for a great, integrated shopping experience and we deliver just that. Our concept is unique and our tenants were carefully chosen to cater to every need.”
Harden was established in 1985 and operates shopping centres throughout Quebec and Ontario.
Les Avenues Vaudreuil is located where Highways 20, 30, and 40 intersect in the Vaudreuil-Dorion region, which has been experiencing tremendous growth in recent years. Harden said the region has a population of about 42,000 people but the drawing population is very significant because it draws from Eastern Ontario.
“By the end of 2019, over 750,000 square feet of shops and restaurants on the Avenues Marché, Mode, and Loisirs will be up and running or under construction,” said Harden.
“We are extremely proud of the results and even more so to see that our retailers are delighted. For us, the best measure of Avenues Vaudreuil’s success is to see that our retailers are scrambling to include their sister companies.”
Here is a look at the four distinctive Avenues which includes up to 1.4 million square feet:
This Avenue will be the focus of a third and final phase of development with an additional 40,000 square feet of restaurant, store, and office spaces available by the summer of 2020. Once completed, Avenue Mode will be offering nearly 450,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, which will include retailers like Marshall’s, Winner’s, HomeSense, Sports Experts, Calvin Klein, and Old Navy.
“This is one of the most exciting success stories for ourselves,” said Harden. “We started building that in three phases - 2006, 2009 and 2012. As of the beginning of 2017, we decided we wanted to redevelop that shopping centre. We’ve spent $20.2 million to date by increasing the size of the shopping centre to very close to 400,000 square feet, bringing in new first-to-market retailers.
“And then what we did is we decided that we wanted that to become very family-oriented. We wanted it to become the central focal point for the community of Vaudreuil-Dorion and that’s what we’re doing today.”
There will be a total of eight restaurants. There is also a medical and dental component to the Avenue.
The Espace Famille, geared for relaxation and indoor family entertainment, is a family lounge featuring changing tables, private breastfeeding rooms, interactive art exhibits, and, in the near future, a new children’s playground. For the convenience of customers, a train, the Express Harden, will help shoppers to get around.
The Avenue features a 70,000-square-foot Sail, an outdoors retail store, as well as restaurants and cafés which include La Belle & La Bœuf, Carlos and Peppe’s, Souvlaki Bar, Pizza 900, and Starbucks, which are soon to be joined by many others. Avenue Loisirs is located on the south side of Highway 40, directly accessible via St-Charles Boulevard and the 40.
Harden said that in the fall phase two of the shopping centre will begin construction of an additional 60,000 square feet of retail space.
The Avenue will have about 155,000 square feet with the completion of this phase.
The Avenue, which is complete and comprises 225,000 square feet, includes Costco, SAQ Dépôt, and Rachelle-Béry. Strategically located on Highway 40 at the northern entrance to the City of Vaudreuil-Dorion, this site is the lifeblood of Avenues Vaudreuil.
It has numerous other tenants as well.
“It’s flavour is market. People will go there obviously to get their spirits, their beer, wine. They’ll go and buy their food and also they’ll go there for other experiences such as the Costco experience. There are restaurants too,” said Harden.
The Avenue is strategically located at the southern entrance to the city and on the main commercial artery. Also, this lot is halfway between the proposed regional hospital and the newly-designated downtown area. Numerous multi-purpose projects are currently under consideration for this with building construction of 425,000 square feet to 550,000 square feet anticipated.
“We’ve gone to the public and said ‘what do you need, what would you like now in Vaudreuil’. We haven’t decided exactly but we do know that right now there is the possibility of a hotel/convention centre. There is the possibility of doing additional residential. We also are looking into entertainment and that we’ve been very positive because we’ve had some very good feedback by some of the major players in Canada,” said Harden.
“Right now it’s a project that’s 2021. That would be the start date. We want to be able to complete 100 per cent the build out of Loisirs and 100 per cent the redevelopment and the build out of Mode.”
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.