Retail Insider continues its Photo Tour series of Canadian malls to provide a window into shopping centres which may be less frequented lately due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This edition takes us to Brentwood Town Centre (now known as “The Amazing Brentwood”) in the north side of Burnaby just east of Vancouver.
History of Brentwood Mall
Brentwood Town Centre opened in 1961 and is older than any other shopping centre in Burnaby including Metropolis at Metrotown (see our latest photo tour of Metrotown as well). The grand opening of Brentwood included anchor tenants Eaton’s and Zellers department stores in an open air strip-mall style which was covered in a renovation/expansion in the early 1970s.
Other than a second floor and food court addition in the late 1980s, the Brentwood Town Centre Skytrain station opened in 2002 establishing it as a major transportation hub for North Burnaby. Shape Properties purchased the shopping centre in 2010 as the centre reached 125 retail stores and services. Shape began redevelopment plans to create a master-planned neighbourhood which would incorporate office, residential and retail components.
The plans included increasing retail space from 500,000 sq. ft. to over 1.1 million square feet.
Construction was still ongoing in December 2020 when Retail Insider headed onsite to see how the mall has progressed. For perspective, Shape Properties had a Leasing Plan available on their website which includes the layout of the future state of the shopping centre, including the new “Town Centre Plaza” at the bottom left and the legacy shopping centre in the upper right which is receiving an overhaul and a new food court.
Town Centre Plaza – Social Areas
From the lease plan above, the “Town Centre Plaza” is at the bottom left where our first-impressions of the mall were made. The eye-popping corner of Willington and Lougheed highway has a modern architecture which was obviously intended to impress visitors as they approach.
The red star on the lease plan above shows the perspective and grandeur of the façade from the street perspective:
Town Centre Plaza Fountain Area
Ascending the stone staircase with inset LEDs which change color, we arrived at the “Town Centre Plaza” itself with a water feature with a tree in the centre. The south side of the plaza hosted a Starbucks with an amazing view towards the future entertainment and cinema space.
Town Centre Plaza – Future Retail Complex (South East Side)
At the south east corner of the Town Centre Plaza was a new retail complex which remained under construction. The main tenant appeared to be Sephora based on the construction hoarding that was in place and is a prime location as the Brentwood Skytrain station platform connects to the shopping centre at this point.
Town Centre Plaza – Retail Aspects
It is safe to say that the Town Centre Plaza has that impressive factor. Looking into the retail offerings around the plaza identified their major commercial anchor tenant was Sporting Life.
In addition, there were a few other hidden gems at ground level next to the parking area before you head up the staircase, including:
- Body Energy Club (related article ‘Body Energy Club’ Opens 4 New Stores Amid Retail Expansion)
- Express News
Excited to get into the retail interior section, we headed towards a large glass wall to what we presumed would lead to the retail centre marked on the map below with a red star. The lease plan notes this as the entrance to the “Grand Lobby” with a large “WELCOME” sign above the doors; however, the double doors were locked solidly and was not open to the public.
Passing the locked “WELCOME” doors, we passed through the exterior corridor in the photo above which brought us to an additional exterior section with retail storefronts hidden behind construction hoarding with promotional marketing proclaiming their future opening. Examples include:
- Suitsupply (related article Suitsupply to Significantly Expand Canadian Presence with Multiple Store Openings)
- Adidas (related article Beyoncé’s “Deal of a Lifetime” with adidas as Latest Creative Partner)
Continuing to the left of SuitSupply was the exterior of the original shopping centre. There were a few retailers already open for business, including a Nike showroom and some food trucks. Construction hoarding proclaimed Adidas and Saku would be coming soon as well. To the right of the Nike showroom was the entrance to the interior retail section.
Interior Retail Shopping Centre – Lower Level (Right Side)
Heading into the older, legacy portion of the shopping center, we should point out that there were two levels which were called the lower level (ground) and an upper level (second floor). Using the map below, we came into the mall using the entrance marked with a red star. The first interior retail area we visited in the lower level was the ‘right zone’.
Retailers in the lower level ‘right zone’ included:
- Naturalizer (related article Naturalizer Shoes Shutting All Stores)
- Roden Jewellers and
- Champs Sports (related article Foot Locker Opening 2 “Community Power Store” Flagships in Canada)
The remaining retailers on the lower level could be found in the ‘left zone’. These included:
- Suzy Shier (related article Engaging in a Noisy World: the Case for Suzy Shier)
- Core Games
- Daniadown and
Moving up to the upper (second) level, we emerged at the centre of the floor noted by a red star in the map below. Construction hoarding was in place keeping visitors from entering the area and the signage attached to the hoarding promoted their future ‘The Food Lounge” which was coming soon.
Looking at the lease plan from Shape Properties website, an entire section of the shopping centre will be dedicated to “The Food Lounge”.
Moving along from the future food court area, the upper level “right zone” was anchored by Sears Canada while it was operating but you can see by the map that Shape Properties hasn’t updated their online mall maps yet. It was currently occupied by “Accents @ Home”.
Other retailers in the vicinity include:
There were some other non-retail services operating, including Wanna Do Beauty Studio and Instant Tailoring
As we headed to the last retail area for the mall on the upper level, adjacent to the future food court location was the London Drugs anchor tenant at the top of the map:
The final retail area did not have a major retail anchor tenant, but the upper level ‘left zone’ had the following notable tenants:
- Wireless Wave
- Vitamin Centre
- Shoe Warehouse (related article DSW Inc. Changes Name as it Maps Out 3-Year Canadian Expansion)
- Channel 3 (clothing)
- Match Front (clothing)
Looking back at the Brentwood Town Centre, there is mounds of potential as a community hub in addition to the retail possibilities. The redevelopment still underway is hampering the full potential as of December 2020 but when construction completes (and hopefully COVID-19 eases along with the associated restrictions) we absolutely want to return to see how the The Amazing Brentwood blossoms.
Plans are in place to include a corridor of luxury stores and it’s not clear how far leasing activities have gone in terms of securing those tenants. L Catterton, the investment arm of LVMH, acquired a stake in The Amazing Brentwood in 2017 and plans were in place for a luxury run that would have been anchored by a Holt Renfrew store, according to sources. Holts is said to have since cancelled plans for a second Vancouver-area store.
Don’t forget to check out the Yorkville photo tour in Toronto that came out earlier this month.