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Bramalea City Centre Sees Pre-Covid Foot Traffic while Adding New Retailers as Brampton Population Grows Rapidly [Interview]

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Bramalea City Centre continues to evolve to meet the growing needs of the City of Brampton in the Greater Toronto Area.

Brampton is known as one of the fastest-growing urban centres in the country with a population now approaching 700,000 and over the years Bramalea City Centre has adapted to the rapid growth by redeveloping the mall and bringing in new retailers.

Bramalea City Centre has 1.5 million square feet of retail space at the corner of Queen Street and Dixie Road in the heart of Brampton. Bramalea City Centre is the fifth largest shopping centre in Ontario and seventh in Canada. Brampton is Canada’s second fastest growing city and the 9th largest city. The Province of Ontario has designated Brampton as an urban growth area and by 2031, the City’s population is expected to grow to 725,000.

The original shopping centre opened in the early 1970s.

Bramalea City Centre (Image: Morguard)

“It’s gone through a number of transformations since its original construction,” said Andrew Butler, General Manager of BCC. “Morguard purchased it in 2004 and then they undertook a renovation of the shopping centre and brought it up to sort of contemporary standards.

“Right now we stand at about 1.5 million square feet of retail space and over 300 stores in the enclosed mall. And we have a number of freestanding pads as well as an office complex. So it’s a fairly large property. Fairly large site.” 

The freestanding pads have about 27 tenants.

The office complex is about 80,000 square feet over three buildings.

Bramalea City Centre (Image: Morguard)
Activate at Bramalea City Centre (Image: Elle Marie)

A $165-million expansion project opened in September 2010. The project created 417,292 square feet of underground parking space, six new pad buildings constructed on the property, 325,000 square feet of new retail area on two levels, a new architectural centrepiece at the northwest corner of the property, and relocated loading docks and chiller units.

“We certainly feel that Bramalea is well positioned to take advantage of that growth (in Brampton). We’re located on Queen Street just to the east of the 410 Highway which obviously is a major thoroughfare that gets you to either the 407 or the 401 to other large highways in southern Ontario,” said Butler. 

“And our primary trade area we’re looking at 600,000 people and the secondary another 400,000 or so people. We service a large catchment area. It’s a good transit system that services the Peel Region which Brampton is in. We have a Peel Region bus terminal adjacent to the property on the east side. Brampton is such a growth market. Really strong demographics. A young demographic. A lot of families. Decent disposable income.

“Brampton is a key growth market. I think with the investments Morguard and the owners have made on the site we’re well positioned to take advantage of that growth.”

JD Sports at Bramalea City Centre (Image: Elle Marie)
JD Sports at Bramalea City Centre (Image: Elle Marie)

Butler said traffic in the shopping centre has reached pre-COVID levels and sales are exceeding pre-COVID numbers.

“We were fortunate. Our leasing team has been really strong and has done a lot of good work in adding to the merchandise mix. We experienced what everybody else experienced where you had the closures and the reduced traffic with only essential services,” he said.

“But I was really pleasantly surprised that when we came out of it we didn’t see anywhere near the failure rate that I thought was potentially going to happen. I don’t think we lost more than one or two tenants out of the whole process. With the reopening we’ve actually been able to secure some new deals on the property that have been really helpful. One of which has been Decathlon which just opened up for us.”

WLKN at Bramalea City Centre (Image: Elle Marie)

Recently, the shopping centre has seen the opening of Activate, JD Sports, Stokes and WLKN as well.

It also added CIBC and triOS College.

In the past year or so, some of the other new tenants include Church’s Chicken, uBreakiFix, Domino’s Pizza, Value Buds.

“We’ve got 100 per cent occupancy on our pad sites now,” said Butler. “We’re probably 95 per cent occupied now (in the mall itself). Despite what we all went through the retail side of it has actually come through pretty strong and I’m very optimistic that come the Christmas season we’re going to see some significant numbers for the property.

“Speaking with our leasing team, they’re pleasantly surprised with how the leasing market is evolving. There’s a lot of good opportunity out there and I think we’re well positioned to take advantage of it.”

Decathlon at Bramalea City Centre (Image: Decathlon)
Stokes at Bramalea City Centre (Image: Elle Marie)

In 2015, Bramalea City Centre  won the esteemed Outstanding Retail Building of the Year (TOBY) International Award at the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International Awards in Los Angeles. The TOBY Awards honour the best of the best in commercial buildings. In 2014 Bramalea City Centre was awarded the TOBY Award at the local level through BOMA Toronto.

For Bramalea City Shopping Centre, Morguard did extensive work in the years leading up to the award to enhance nearly every aspect of building’s operation and raise the standards of this building. 

Those investments included: 

  • Addition of energy efficient lighting retrofits;
  • Rooftop demand control ventilation systems to lower energy consumption;
  • Installation of building automation systems;
  • Retrofit of low flow fixtures to reduce water consumption;
  • Introduction of electrical charging stations for electrical vehicles;
  • Waste diversion – over 70 per cent of waste is diverted away from landfills;
  • Addition of a green roof on one of the Centre’s buildings and cisterns to collect rainwater for landscape irrigation.

Leasing Opportunities at Bramalea City Centre are available through Morguard.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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