Viewpoint Vancouver has been covering the story of Metro Vancouver’s latest mega mall, the 1.2 million square foot Tsawwassen Mills that was built and owned by Quebec pension fund based Ivanhoe Cambridge. The mall has 8,000 parking spaces and a second “more local serving” mall of 600,000 square feet, designed to drain local retailing away from Ladner and Tsawwassen. Ivanhoe Cambridge leases the land the mall is on from the Tsawwassen First Nation.
Ivanhoe Cambridge’s philosophy is to build large “destination” malls that are served by good highways, and that are classified as a long journey, so that potential customers are more inclined to buy goods.
Tsawwassen Mills has struggled to maintain tenants as well as to increase their sales per square foot, which lagged behind the figures of the other two megamalls in their portfolio, located in Vaughan Mills and north of Calgary at CrossIron Mills.
Ivanhoe Cambridge has just announced that after five years of running Tsawwassen Mills the mall has now been sold to Central Walk, chaired by Weihong Liu. As reported by Kenneth Chan in the Daily Hive,the sold price has not been revealed although the assessment value of the mall is 407 million dollars.
Ms. Liu and her development group have already purchased the Mayfair Shopping Centre in Victoria and the Woodgrove Centre in Nanaimo. Their plans are to incorporate new development and/or residential towers on both of these retail malls, which were also purchased from Ivanhoe Cambridge.
Ms. Liu is based on Vancouver Island but also has a company in China, the Yijing Corporation. Ms. Lu’s group also owns the the Arbutus Ridge Golf Club at Cobble Hill on the island, and sold the Empress Hotel to Nat Bosa in 2014. She also developed a 1.2 million square foot mall called Central Walk in Shenzhen, China, so has familiarity with the size and operations.
Ivanhoe Cambridge’s strategy has been to divest itself of some of its shopping mall holdings and purchase more multi-use properties in Asia.
With its lower sales revenue per square foot and massive paved parking lots, expect a development proposal in the near future for a mixed use development that concentrates on higher form housing on the Tsawwassen Mills megamall site.