Parts of Downtown Vancouver could undergo a substantial transformation in the next five years, as luxury retailers seek out space for new stores. We interviewed one broker who, on the condition of anonymity, let us in on some updates what we might see in the next while.
Our source tells us that there are several potential deals in the works for Vancouver's Alberni Street, including the possibility of Gucci occupying a corner retail space in The Carlyle, located at the corner of Alberni and Thurlow Streets. Gucci would occupy about 4,700 square feet over two levels, replacing a 7-11 store in a once less-upscale retail complex.
Other retailers, including Mulberry, have already secured retail space in Vancouver but don't want to announce it just yet, according to our source.
Alberni Street itself will be upgraded, according to Downtown Vancouver BIA President Charles Gaultier. In an interview with Mr. Gaultier a few months ago, it was revealed that the 1000 block of Alberni Street will eventually be revamped to include wider sidewalks and new street lighting and furniture. Furthermore, our broker source explains that there will be a concerted effort to transform Alberni Street into Vancouver's equivalent of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. For more on Alberni Street improvements, we direct you to this article by Glen Korstrom of Business in Vancouver Magazine.
Our source goes on to tell us that there are plenty of retailers, as well as luxury retail groups such as LVMH, looking for Vancouver real estate. As tenants sign on to Alberni Street and within the Hotel Vancouver, he says we'll likely see a "rush" of retailers join for space in Downtown Vancouver's "luxury zone". He speculates that we'll see the likes of Chanel, Prada, Tod's, Fendi, Bulgari and Bottega Veneta in Downtown Vancouver within the next few years, joining a clustering of luxury department stores around Pacific Centre (including Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew and possibly an entirely new anchor store that we'll discuss at a later date).
Downtown Vancouver is already home to plenty of luxury retail. Cartier, Escada, Versace and Salvator Ferragamo have been in Downtown Vancouver for years. In the past decade more luxury retailers have moved in, including the likes of Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Frey Wille, Omega, MontBlanc and others. Our source says that we can expect the number of luxury boutiques in Vancouver to as much as double in the next five years, complete with updated sidewalks and storefronts, creating a more exciting, upscale downtown Vancouver.
You can rest assured we'll continue to report on luxury retail in Vancouver.