Retail Insider continues its Photo Tour series of Canadian malls which began as a result of COVID-19 closures. We have been providing insights into shopping centres coast-to-coast which may otherwise be overlooked. This edition takes us to Tsawwassen Mills in Delta, BC – which is near the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal operated by BC Ferries – near Vancouver, BC.
The LEED® certified enclosed mall opened in October 2016 featuring 16 anchors and 180 retailers, 50% of which are ‘pure outlet’ stores. Tsawwassen marked the third ‘Mills’ centre for Ivanhoé Cambridge, following the opening of Vaughan Mills north of Toronto in 2004 and CrossIron Mills in Calgary in 2009 (see CrossIron Mill’s retail profile from March 2021). Tsawwassen Mills at the time of its opening was the largest shopping centre to be built in Canada since 2009.
Tsawwassen Mills is an indoor shopping centre which was developed — and is now owned and operated — by Ivanhoé Cambridge. The retail and designated tourist attraction has resulted in 4.5 million annual visits, $377 sales per square foot, and $236 million gross sales volume (all as of December 2019). The shopping centre sprawls across 1.2 million square feet and boasts 15 large format anchors which includes:
- Bass Pro Shops (149,277 square feet)
- Saks OFF 5TH (32,733 square feet)
- Urban Planet / West 49 (31,144 square feet)
- Sport Chek (30,796 square feet)
- Accents @ Home (29,383 square feet)
- H&M (26,273 square feet)
- Winners (25,261 square feet)
- Marshalls (25,256 square feet)
- Pro Hockey Life (24,656 square feet)
- Blue Lotus Gallery (24,574 square feet)
- Tommy Hilfiger (20,435 square feet)
- Nike Factory Store (20,353 square feet)
- Designer Depot (20,347 square feet)
- DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse (20,335 square feet)
- Old Navy (20,321 square feet)
History of Tsawwassen Mills
Vaughan Mills (near Toronto) and CrossIron Mills (near Calgary) were the predecessors and sister shopping centres to Tsawwassen Mills. The “Mills” were designed and built by Ivanhoé Cambridge based on the Mills Corporation highly-successful ‘race track’ format for outlet malls in the United States. Mills Corporation was subsequently acquired by Simons Property Group in 2007 and a year prior Ivanhoé Cambridge acquired the Canadian Mills properties. Ivanhoé Cambridge had originally planned for four Mills shopping centres in Canada, including:
- Toronto (Vaughan Mills in Vaughan, Ontario which opened in November 2004)
- Calgary (CrossIron Mills in Calgary, Alberta which opened in August 2009)
- Vancouver (Tsawwassen Mills in Delta, B.C.)
- Montreal (Laval Mills in Laval, Quebec which was abandoned in May 2011)
According to Ivanhoé Cambridge, more than $600 million went into building Tsawwassen Mills, which employed about 3,500 full-time and part-time staff at the time of its opening. The centre features a 6,000 stall parking lot with 14 electric vehicle charging stations. Other sustainable features include a LEED® certification as mentioned above, based partly on 20% of construction materials being recycled, as well as the planting of 2,000 trees on the property.
Construction began on the massive Tsawwassen Mills in January of 2014, which is located at Highway 17 and 52nd Street in South Delta — about 30 minutes north of the Washington State border and less than 5 km from the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. Tsawwassen Mills holds the unfortunate title of being the least productive “Mills” in the Ivanhoé Cambridge as it has the lowest productivity figures of the three “Mills” as of December 2019:
- 4.5 million annual visits
- $377 sales per square foot
- $236 million gross sales volume
- 1.2 million square feet of retail space
- 9.4 million annual visits
- $689 sales per square foot
- $547 million gross sales volume
- 1.2 million square feet of retail space
- 14.6 million annual visits
- $886 sales per square foot
- $883 million gross sales volume
- 1.3 million square feet of retail space
Tsawwassen Mills features a 1,100-seat food hall, four full-service restaurants, a children’s play area, a sports dome and six public entrances each featuring its own special design features.
The unique enclosed centre features five distinct shopping neighbourhoods – Fashion, Outdoor Life, Coast Salish, City, and Nature – each featuring its own custom artwork and design elements.
Zone 1 – Fashion Neighbourhood
The main ‘Entry 1″ of the shopping centre is in the middle of the “Fashion Neighbourhood”. The key anchor tenants include:
- Nike Factory Store
- DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
Other key retailers include MAC Cosmetics, Peoples Jewelry, BBW, Guess, Under Armour, Eddie Bauer, Aldo, Elements Outlet, Aldo, Roots, Nominou, Levi’s, Epic Menswear, Puma, Pastime Sports, Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, and Samsonite.
Midway through the Fashion Neighbourhood is the 1,100 guest food hall with artwork adorning the various aspects points of the eating space.
Continuing past the Food Hall at Tsawwassen Mills leads into the other half of the Fashion Neighbourhood where “Entry 2” is located and two additional anchor tenants reside:
- Saks OFF 5TH
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Accents @ Home
The remainder of the Fashion Neighbourhood included tenants Banana Republic, Aritzia, Michael Kors, Melanie Lyne, Kate Spade, Browns Shoes, Lululemon, Premier Fashion, Coach Outlet, Brooks Brothers, Harry Rosen Outlet, Anatasia Jewelry, Laura, The Rack by After Five, and La Vie En Rose.
The transition between the Fashion Neighbourhood and the Nature Neighbourhood has a seating area with trees for shoppers to catch their breath (face masks required as of press time).
Zone 2 – Nature Neighbourhood
The southwest section of Tsawwassen Mills is home to the Nature Neighbourhood. It faces a busy intersection with the commuters heading to the BC Ferry terminal and is where the massive “Entry 3” is located.
Just inside of the ‘Entry 3’ doors is a large open space which was configured to welcome visitors with a Christmas themed, Instagram-able display.
The main, anchor tenants for the Nature Neighbourhood included Winners and the Blue Lotus Gallery.
Other retailers in the Nature Neighbourhood included ECCO Shoes, Shoppers Drug Mart, Saje Natural Wellness, Lindt Chocolates, Showcase, Miniso, West Coast Leathers, Michael Hill, and Ardene.
This section of Tsawwassen Mills was home to Guest Services as well as several art installations.
Zone 3 – City Neighbourhood
A very short ‘neighbourhood’ on the northwest side of Tsawwassen Mills is home to the City Neighbourhood. It is also home to “Entry 4” with a large outdoor sculpture to welcome shoppers.
The main retail tenants for this neighbourhood included Marshalls and Old Navy Outlet.
Other retailers in the City Neighbourhood included Famous Footwear, Carters/Osh Kosh, Sketchers, Fairweather, Reitmans, Peekaboo Beans, Claires, Mastermind Toys, Children’s Place and Inka’s World.
Another seating area for shopping centre visitors was located between the “City Neighbourhood” and the “Coast Salish Neighbourhood”.
Zone 4 – Coast Salish Neighbourhood
The northern end of Tsawwassen Mills is home to the Coast Salish Neighbourhood. It runs across the north side of the Food Hall and is also home to “Entry 5” with a large outdoor sculpture to welcome shoppers.
The two main retail anchors for the neighbourhood are H&M (including an H&M Men) and the Designer Depot which replaced a former Forever 21 store.
The other retailers in this neighbourhood includes SoftMoc, Bikini village, OK Boot Corral, The Body Shop, Polo Ralph Lauren, RW&CO, Calvin Klein, GAP, Lucky Brand Jeans, Danier, Call It Spring, Purdy’s, American Eagle, Classic Designs, Dynamite, Garage, Aeropostale, Chique Boutique, Suzy Shier, and Adidas.
Zone 5 – Outdoor Neighbourhood
The final neighbourhood of Tsawwassen Mills is on the north east end of the shopping centre and is home to the Outdoor Neighbourhood. It is also home to “Entry 6” with a large outdoor sculpture to welcome shoppers.
The largest retail anchor for the shopping centre is Bass Pro Shops on the end of the mall which includes a themed bowling alley inside. Other major retail anchors for the neighbourhood include:
- Hockey Life
- Urban Planet
- West 49 (which includes a skate park within)
The Outdoor Neighbourhood has a number of art sculptures and seating areas for visitors.
The other retailers in this neighbourhood include Bluenotes, Mountain Warehouse, Dollarama, Tip Top Tailors, Just Cozy, Blackwell, Bentley, Running Room, Lids, Spencer Gifts, Champs, International Clothiers, Zumiez, Urban Kids, Journeys, Boathouse, Footlocker, Hot Topic, and Reebok.
We had a very interesting photo walk around Tsawwassen Mills near Vancouver and we hope you enjoyed coming along with us. Don’t forget to check out our other retail photo tours and thank you for taking this tour with us.
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