Ivanhoé Cambridge sinking $230-million into Oshawa shopping centre

Before you think that Ivanhoé Cambridge’s $230-million investment to expand and redevelop a shopping centre in Canada’s motor city of Oshawa represents a strategic shift to smaller metropolitan markets, think again.
Oshawa Centre is actually quite large, something over 1 million square feet today and if you compare it to a Vaughan Mills, which we own, which is over 1 million sq. ft., this is right where we want to be,” said David Baffa, the real estate giant’s Vice-President of Retail Development for its Central Region.
The redevelopment in the Ontario city an hour east of Toronto, which begins this summer and is slated for completion in spring 2016, includes the addition of 260,000 sq. ft. of retail space, the redevelopment of the existing mall, redevelopment of existing retail into a different format, and additions to customer parking.
“It is not hugely complex but it does require a certain amount of care in terms of keeping the centre operational and keeping it functional during the whole construction phase,” said Baffa.
“In terms of the capital amount, it is a fairly large nut for us,” he added. Within my region I have a number of expansions underway and this is top of the heap.”
Zellers makes it happen
The impetus for the Oshawa Centre makeover came from the closing of the Zellers store, which took up about 90,000 sq. ft. on two levels. “It presented more opportunity for us. We had been looking at expansion of Oshawa for a number of years, so we had some preliminary designs and this gave us an additional opportunity.”
When it is finished, the Oshawa Centre's gross leasable area of the shopping centre will exceed 1.25 million square feet, and the mall will add more than 60 retailers who will be new not just for the mall but the Durham market itself. The centre also includes 61,000 sq. ft. of office space.
Ivanhoé Cambridge describes its mall as the largest super regional shopping centres within the Durham Region, one of the fastest growing regions in Canada.
“Oshawa is perceived as a GM town,” said Baffa. “It is clearly different today with less industrial base focus and more in terms of office professional white collar type jobs. We are seeing a shift in the demographic in Oshawa and Durham Region. The city’s investment in both technology, and education with the two universities, have meant substantial investment outside of the traditional GM town” image.

What’s in store?
At the end of the process, shoppers will see cosmetic changes in terms of tile, lighting, paint, furniture and signage. The design of the centre will also be changed from a “dumbell” design, which is “up one side, down the other, north-south,” which will be transformed into a racetrack design, allowing customers to have a hopefully more enjoyable circular shop through the space. Currently a number of retailers occupy space that is not connected to the rest of the mall and that will be remedied with the renovation and expansion.
Renovation Details
· Over 60 new retail concepts, including two additional large format retailers
· New 1,000-seat, sophisticated food court
· New main entrances on the east side
· New and updated entrances on the west side
· Upgraded seating area elements, including floor and ceiling treatment
· Fully renovated washrooms with modern upgraded finishes
 
Other expansions on deck
Baffa’s group will not be spending all of its time overseeing the remake of the Oshawa Centre, given Ivanhoé Cambridge’s extensive retail holdings in central Canada.
“Right now I have Bayshore Shopping Centre in Ottawa under expansion where I am having to rebuild the parkade and add on, at Vaughan Mills we announced expansion plans last week, I have completed projects at Conestoga in Waterloo, Mapleview in Burlington, those are all additions. “The expansions to existing centres are more challenging but it is what we know how to do quite well.”
Ivanhoé’s Central Region is also building the new Outlet Collection 500,000 sq. ft. outlet shopping centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The $178-million centre, which is slated to be complete during the tourist mecca in the spring of 2014, has been described as a complement to other Ivanhoé Cambridge malls like Vaughan Mills and CrossIron Mills in Alberta, “which are hybrid centres that incorporate the best attributes of regional malls, power centres, outlet centres and entertainment venues in a single concept.”
The company has also been in the news recently for its projects in the U.S., where a major tenant has been signed for its new 45-storey River Point office complex in Chicago.
Ivanhoé Cambridge, a real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, is one of the world's 10 largest real estate companies. As at December 31, 2011, its assets totaled more than $30 billion and could be found in over 20 countries around the world. 



Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

Read more

Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

Read more




Industry Events