On Wednesday, QuadReal Property Group and Westbank announced that the new and improved shopping centre at Oakridge Park is on pace to welcome shoppers in spring 2025, with a roster of prestigious luxury brands set to call the retail hub home.
Louis Vuitton, Prada, Brunello Cucinelli, Moncler, Versace, and MaxMara will make up the inaugural group of brands that will set up shop at Oakridge Park, which is also expected to include the first standalone boutiques in Vancouver for Maison Margiela, Miu Miu, Christian Louboutin, and Alexander Wang.
QuadReal and Westbank, who are together transforming what was formerly called Oakridge Centre into Oakridge Park, say that the shopping centre will provide a top-tier retail experience with over 100 of the world's top brands across 650,000 sq. ft of retail space.
Previous anchor tenants such as Hudson's Bay and Safeway will both be returning, along with a new BC Liquor Store. All of the above is expected to open simultaneously in spring 2025, with more retail announcements expected later this year.
Also set for Oakridge Park is the second Time Out Market in Canada, which will span 51,000 sq. ft (originally 69,000 sq. ft) and "showcase a curated collection of the city's best culinary and cultural experiences," according to a previous announcement. It will feature a curated collection of 17 live-cooking kitchens, three bars, a coffee shop, a stage, an open-air patio, and cultural space, while a mezzanine will include a signature cocktail lounge, demonstration kitchen, and event space. The first Time Out Market in Canada opened in Montreal in 2019.
"Oakridge Park is exactly an example of what we're moving towards," says Chrystal Burns, Executive Vice President of Canadian Retail for QuadReal Property Group, "which is elevating our existing retail by adding additional interactive and experiential uses, especially food and beverage, wellness, and health. We want to make sure that when guests come to our shopping centres, they are doing things that they can't just do on a screen at home and that it's memory-making, because that's what drives people to our assets and into the stores and into the restaurants."
Burns is also feeling good about the Canadian retail market at large.
"If I were to describe the retail market for 2023, it would be 'surprisingly resilient,'" she says. "The retail sales at the QuadReal properties across Canada have been strong. We've seen retail sales grow over the prior years' levels, we've had strong interest from retailers, and that's all despite the Canadian consumer dealing with high interest rates, increasing debt, and [other] economic factors."
She adds that she's "cautiously optimistic" heading into 2024 and believes that the retail industry will get healthier as it continues to figure out the needs of consumers, which were significantly altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oakridge Park, at full build-out. (QuadReal Property Group, Westbank)
Oakridge Park is also one of the earliest examples of the growing trend of mall redevelopments across Canada, which primarily entail the owners of shopping centres redeveloping large portions of their properties in order to add in residential uses.
At full build-out, Oakridge Park, which spans 28 acres, is set to have over 3,000 homes, 700,000 sq. ft of office space, 850,000 sq. ft of retail space, multiple live music venues, a community centre, a library, and a nine-acre park. A portion of the residential component is also expected to be completed by Spring 2025.
Burns says she expects to see this redevelopment trend continue to grow, because populations will continue to grow, cities will need to become more dense, and many shopping centres were originally constructed in strategic locations that now make them prime sites to have residential uses.