The retail landscape is one that is in constant flux. Anchored to a myriad of factors and influencers that include market trends, consumer sentiment and behaviour, the advancement of technology, and even the weather, to name but a few, the industry and its operators are required to meet the flux with continuous innovation in order to succeed and flourish. Much of the innovation developed by retailers is rightly focussed on the consumer and is reflected in enhancements to in-store service, evolving digital offerings, the provision of multiple purchasing options, and a multitude of other initiatives, in concerted efforts to create and support ideal conditions for the consumer to shop within. With this omnipresent retail objective in mind, and driven by a desire to transform the very notion of urban living, Lakeview Community Partners Ltd (LCPL) is developing a one-of-a-kind mixed-use community that is set to revitalize southeast Mississauga’s Lake Ontario waterfront and reinvigorate the retail experience.
A Different Approach to Community Development
Envisioned as a confluence of retail and cultural amenities and residential units, the Lakeview Village project is a joint venture partnership involving some of the Greater Toronto Area’s leading community builders, including TACC Construction Limited, Greenpark Group, CCI Development Group, Branthaven Homes, and Argo Development Corporation. With the goal of creating a “complete community” and a place where residents and visitors can connect with the Lake Ontario waterfront, LCPL’s proposal stands out by virtue of the holistic approach through which planning has been conducted. Including considerations from economic and environmental sustainability to the clever use of placemaking and open-space connections, and just about everything in between, Lakeview Village’s overall design seems to offer something for everybody. And, according to Rob Spanier, President of the Spanier Group and LCPL development advisor, it’s a design that will result in an urban living environment unlike any other in the country.
“There are many other large-scale mixed-use projects that currently exist or are under development,” he admits. “But what helps set Lakeview Village apart is the fact that we’ve started from the concept of ‘place’, allowing for all other aspects of the community to be built around it. If you create the horizontal place, you can plant all of the uses to truly deliver an incredible development. When we worked through design of the concept, we knew that we had to consider everything, including the ground floor, the appropriate retail programming and tenant mix, and the public realm. And through the establishment of a successful combination of retail, food and beverage and neighbourhood services, we’ve been able to achieve the true essence of ‘place’. Lakeview Village is not a new subdivision. It’s a truly complete community that complements Mississauga’s incredible development pace of the last thirty years and offers a destination that everyone in the Greater Toronto Area will be able to visit and enjoy.”
An Open Space Network
Located in southeast Mississauga’s Lakeview neighbourhood, Lakeview Village is comfortably situated, just seven kilometres from Mississauga’s City Centre on the western edge of Toronto. And, supported by established transit infrastructure and the community’s close proximity to major highways, it’s a destination that promises convenience for its residents and ease of accessibility for visitors.
With plans to bring the community to life, syncing occupancies with the completion and opening of its many parks, Lakeview Village will be home to an anticipated 20,000 residents occupying somewhere in the region of 8,000 units, including townhomes, mid-rise and condo buildings. And, designed within the context of an open space network, the area will be dotted by parks and green spaces, for everyday active and leisure use, within a continuously linked system that provides an uninterrupted connection to Lake Ontario, from east to west Mississauga. Lakeview Village is also intended to be a multi-modal district with an emphasis on the utilization of transit and active transportation. To support its commitment, the community will be intersected by a network of cycling and walking paths. And, to ensure a more pedestrian-friendly environment, a ‘fine-grain’ network of roads with frequent intersections has been developed in order to limit the speed of vehicular travel within the community and further secure the safety of residents and visitors.
The weight that LCPL has placed on ensuring that these open space features are present within its design reflects its mandate to keep the public realm at the forefront of its considerations throughout the planning process. In addition, says Brian Sutherland, Vice President of ARGO Development Corporation, the attention that’s been paid to these aspects of Lakeview Village’s design represent yet another significant point of differentiation for the development, enticing prospective residents and visitors alike with an unmatched lure and attraction to the area.
“Lakeview Village is a truly unique project,” he says assuredly. “The former use of the land was very utilitarian. For decades it served as a coal burning plant for the province. And since the plant’s closing more than fifteen years ago, the land has sat dormant, cutting off access to this entire piece of waterfront land. Through this project we have the opportunity to reconnect people with the nature that surrounds the Lake Ontario waterfront and create an amazing urban community where people will come to live and work as well as a destination for people to visit for so many different reasons. It’s exciting to be part of a project like this and to be involved in an initiative that is focused on revitalizing an area that’s been so under-used for so long and reimagining it in such a special way.”
Retail at the Heart
As impressive as these revitalization efforts are, however, and as critical as the residential and community infrastructure components might be toward the Lakeview Village master plan, the heart of the entire project is Lakeview Square — the vibrant cultural and retail hub of the mixed-use destination. A focal point of the project, located in the southeast quadrant of Lakeview Village, the Square opens up to the waterfront and represents the centre of civic and commercial activity. It’s where cultural, commercial, office, institutional, and recreational open spaces are meant to converge, creating a hub of activity and engagement and sustained local traffic to peruse the wares of merchants occupying the estimated 200,000 square feet of retail space that will be available in the Square. It’s this kind of placemaking, through a thoughtful approach and effective execution, that’s making Lakeview Village such an interesting proposition for retailers. And, as Spanier points out, it helps to create the perfect environment for retailers to engage with residents and visitors and to become a critical part of the community.
“Lakeview Village presents a really unique opportunity for retailers and business owners to thrive,” he asserts. “By leveraging innovative and forward-thinking placemaking and master planning, we’ve been able to create an environment that not only provides an incredibly vibrant district to engage with residents and visitors, but one that promotes those interactions. Lakeview Square will connect to virtually everything within the community, serving as a central conduit for activity and interaction and an unbelievable mixed-use waterfront experience.”
Attracting Visitors and Patrons
Another important feature of Lakeview Square is the fact that it will also provide the setting for arts and culture within Lakeview Village. The space will include an outdoor performance area, and will incorporate multicultural programming, specialty uses, and waterfront attractions, drawing on the diverse backgrounds and experiences of residents within the City of Mississauga and beyond, attracting people of all ages and backgrounds, encouraging them to stop and spend time in Lakeview Village. And, with 1,800,000 square feet of space available near the Square for other employment uses, the community will potentially result in the creation of more than 9,000 long-term job opportunities for residents of Lakeview Village and the surrounding area. Each of these features, based on their individual merits, would add life and vigor to any neighbourhood or location. However, in concert with one another, they combine to result in LCPL’s vision of a “complete community”.
A Place for Small Businesses to Thrive
In addition to creating the ‘place’ and planning and plotting out the placemaking of the sites, attractions, and residential and commercial spaces, LCPL has also been careful and diligent in ensuring that the right retail tenant mix is achieved to properly serve the community’s residents and visitors. The team have also conducted extensive research around the trends that are impacting retail and the drivers and levers involved in providing exceptional retail experiences. This deep understanding and comprehensive knowledge of the industry, explains Spanier, combined with learnings from the COVID-19 global pandemic, has enabled the LCPL team to make the right decisions for the future of the Square and its retail tenants.
“Lakeview Village and the unique features that it will include are all part of the vision and the understanding of LCPL concerning the differences between simple development and the creation of a community and destination that combines indoor space and outdoor space within an overall safe environment,” he says. “The impacts of COVID have made everyone innovate to find ways to allow people to continue to get together and interact and to create an environment in which retailers and restaurateurs can thrive. Our strategy is to provide smaller indoor spaces and larger, more flexible outdoor spaces that include patios and terraces. But, in the end, it’s about providing better retail experiences. The offering throughout Lakeview Square will include a curated mix of ground floor specialty retailers, handpicked non-nationals who I affectionately refer to as ‘Mom and Pop shops’ that deliver best-in-class experiences and services. It’s these small businesses that will provide the heartbeat of Lakeview Square and the community in general.”
Over 60 different retail businesses will call Lakeview Village home when it opens in just a few years. The experience and service that they each provide will individually complement the character and liveliness of the community while collectively reflecting the unique environment that LCPL hopes to create. And, with an eye on adding to and supporting the unique Lakeview Village experience even further, the development partners are currently looking ahead, considering the future of retail and mobile and digital technologies that can enable greater interaction and engagement between retailers and guests of the area, and to help deliver a seamless experience that is second-to-none.
Something for Everyone
The project, which represents a massive undertaking that’s been years in development, is quite impressive in its scope and the evidence of considerations that have been paid to just about every aspect of urban living. It’s an accomplishment by virtue of its planning and organization alone, and just might set a precedent for future community development. LCPL will be opening a Discovery Centre in late Summer 2021 where prospective residents and business owners can learn more about the community, its features and the dynamic environment it promises to create. And, as Sutherland advises, it’s an environment that will offer something for everyone, presenting an incredible opportunity for retailers to become part of something special.
“This is a project so holistic in its endeavour that everyone involved will benefit. It’s not just about the resident, the office space, the destination guest or the retailer. Lakeview Village is for everyone living within a reasonable distance of the community to experience and enjoy. It’s about living, working and playing in an active and vibrant community. And it’s a culmination of forward-thought and an approach to development that’s transformative in nature. We’re certain that when we’ve completed Lakeview Village and the framework for the future of the community, people around the world are going to be visiting to understand how to properly and effectively integrate residential accommodations, retail services, arts and cultural programming and outdoor living to create more similar communities. It’s been exciting watching it all come together, and we can’t wait to see the community and destination in action when we open to residents, visitors and retail businesses soon.”