Retail Profile: Brentwood Town Centre in Burnaby During COVID-19

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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.

Google Map of Vancouver with Brentwood Town Centre Highlighted

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.

The Amazing Brentwood Lease Plan – Photo by Shape Properties

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.

Town Centre Plaza from The Amazing Brentwood Lease Plan – Photo by Shape Properties

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.

Retail Complex under Construction in South East Corner in Town Centre Plaza – Photo by Shape Properties
Retail Complex under Construction at South-East corner of Town Centre Plaza – Photo by Geetanjali Sharma

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.

Sporting Life Exterior – Photo by Geetanjali Sharma

In addition, there were a few other hidden gems at ground level next to the parking area before you head up the staircase, including:

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.

Grand Hall Entrance in Town Centre Plaza – Photo by Shape Properties
Entrance to retail section of shopping centre – Photo by Geetanjali Sharma

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:

Positioned on Halifax Street (red star) facing SuitSupply (circled in red).
Suit Supply coming up soon, leading to another retail section. Photo: Geetanjali Sharma

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.

Positioned in front of the Nike showroom (red star) with entrance to interior retail shopping centre to its right (circled in red).
Nike Exterior, Brentwood Boulevard – Photo by Geetanjali Sharma

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’.

Brentwood Lower Level Map – Right Section

Retailers in the lower level ‘right zone’ included:

The remaining retailers on the lower level could be found in the ‘left zone’. These included:

Brentwood Lower Level Map – Left Section

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.

Brentwood Upper Level Map – Food Court Section

Looking at the lease plan from Shape Properties website, an entire section of the shopping centre will be dedicated to “The Food Lounge”.

The future Food Lounge on The Amazing Brentwood’s leasing plan. Red circled is the area noted as “Food and Beverage” tenant by the pink color within the lease plan.

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”.

Brentwood Upper Level Map – Right Section
ACCENTS @ Home at Brentwood Mall – Photo by Geetanjali Sharma

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:

Brentwood Mall Upper Level – London Drugs Location
London Drugs at Brentwood Mall – Photo by Geetanjali Sharma

The final retail area did not have a major retail anchor tenant, but the upper level ‘left zone’ had the following notable tenants:

Brentwood Upper Level Map – Left Section

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.

Article Author

Lee Rivett
Lee Rivett
Lee Rivett, based in Vancouver, supports the digital distribution and technical backend operations of Retail Insider. This includes providing technical support for the editors during the digital publication cycle, streamlining virtual tools for the cross-country team and a variety of other duties which keeps the publication running smoothly.

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