December 23, 2015

Planes, trains and shopping McArthurGlen success-but don't use the "m" word

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First opened in June 2015 on the grounds of the Vancouver Airport Authority, the  McArthurGlen shops owned by a London based company exceeded their footfall projections by 66 per cent in the first 90 days.
But is it a mall? The current retail manager does not use the “m” word, noting the fifty stores and 240,000 square feet of retailing has a resort feel akin to Whistler Village, or UBC’s Wesbrook Mall shopping area. The CEO of the McArthurGlen group states “we are thrilled by the reaction we’ve seen from our shoppers there and their positive response to our European day-out shopping concept”.
 
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The consumer response has been positive, with several retailers who expected to have 5 million dollars in sales reporting sales of 10 million dollars. With 2,000 parking spaces and 30 per cent of trips by public transit (Templeton Canada Line Station)  or bike, McArthurGlen says that 60 per cent of their shoppers are local.  The company  expects to break ground on phase 2  with an additional 140,000 square feet of retail space in the new year.
Stories from the Vancouver Sun and Business in Vancouver are referenced below.
http://www.mcarthurglengroup.com/news/vancouver-wins-mapic-awards.aspx
http://www.vancouversun.com/business/richmond+outlet+centre+takes/11605504/story.html?__lsa=22b4-35da

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Comments

  1. I was there last week on a rainy evening. Despite the holiday season it was dead. Slogging around outside on a cold and wet winter evening obviously couldn’t compete with the warm cozy confines of Richmond Centre. I felt bad for some of the stores that had absolutely nobody in them. I would guess the parking lot was about 10% occupied. They are going to have to add some restaurants with a draw if they want more evening traffic, at least in the off season. Otherwise they are going to be the mall equivalent of a place like Steveston that has to attract large summer season crowds to subsidize the rest of the year.

  2. I am always troubled when I see commercial interests trying to replicate a town and attempting to create instant history. This is not New England, so why reference it it such a cartoonish way? Moreover, I’d bet a toonie that is not a public street.

    1. What’s the alternative? These retail facades are far more interesting to look at than generic ones that we normally get. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a Santana Row type development built along (NE) False Creek. It’s faux whatever, but far nicer than sad and depressing examples like Union St. In Chinatown.
      I wish developers would leave a blank slate for the retail tenant to work with. We see what great results you get when the businesses owners are allowed to design the facade – see 16th Ave around Kingsway and Fraser.

      1. Logan, you asked, What’s the alternative?”, then went on to provide one: leave the retailers to adorn a blank canvass.
        I can certainly agree with that but within reason. I love seeing their wares on the sidewalks, but rain protection and unambiguous guidelines about clearances and sizes of signs should be provided.
        What bothers me most are the imported, plasticized references to regional architecture that doesn’t exist here. Abosolutely no originality.

  3. There is nothing about this that isn’t a mall. It’s even worse than a mall as it pretends to be something it isn’t, it’s just a disneyland shopping experience for suckers. Look how they brand this thing: http://www.mcarthurglen.com/ca/mcarthurglen-vancouver/en/the-experience/
    It’s comical. The culinary delights include a noodle house and coffee shop. The ‘more than just a fantastic shopping experience’ includes a gift wrapping service. The ‘fun for the whole family’ is just a list of stores than sell kids stuff.

    1. They’re definitely overselling it but a little more programming would help it deliver some of those things.
      It’s preferable to the outlet malls just south of the border where you wander through stores scattered around the edge of a parking lot. The large square could host some good events, right now it has a bautiful huge cut Christmas tree.