In two weeks, a new major outdoor shopping centre will open near the Canada Line’s Templeton Station, just minutes from the Vancouver International Airport terminal building.
The first phase of McArthurGlen Vancouver Airport Outlet Mall is set to open on Thursday, July 9 with approximately 50 shops and food and beverage operators.
McArthurGlen has 20 outlet locations in Europe, including locations in Germany, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom, and this will be the company’s first outlet centre location in North America.
The project’s first phase consists of 240,000 square feet and 600 jobs. A second phase will open in 2017 to increase the mall footprint to 400,000 square feet with up to 50 additional stores, employing an additional 400 people.
During a site tour on Wednesday, McArthurGlen Vancouver general manager Robert Thurlow said its rare for an outlet centre to be located near a major urban centre, at an international airport and along a rapid transit rail line. With these proximities, the outlet centre is expected to be a major draw for both tourists and locals.
“Given our unique location with great proximity to downtown, a local attachment with Vancouver and Richmond and with our joint venture partner YVR and being here at YVR, our blend will be about a 60-40 split between local consumers who live in the area and tourists,” he said.
With year-round discounts of up to 70 per cent, similar to the outlet centres in Washington State, the Vancouver outlet centre could potentially attract American tourist spending and help keep local shoppers on the Canadian side of the border.
“I think for the American consumer it’s certainly worthwhile now to come to Canada and have your money go so much further,” said Thurlow. “And for our Canadian customers who live in the area who are the local consumers for us, whether they be in Vancouver or Richmond, this is great that they’ll be staying home and doing their shopping, hopefully, with us.”
Brands that have already been announced for the outlet centre include Armani, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, J. Crew, Nike and Tommy Hilfiger.
“I think first and foremost it’ll be the mix of brands,” Thurlow added. “I think the brands that people will find here at this location you’ve probably had to traverse previously to multiple centre to find the brands. Here they’re all together located in one place.
But mall operators hope shoppers will not be coming just for the brands but also the experience.
The outlet centre is built with intricate art and architectural features that mirror Whistler Village, Gastown and McArthurGlen’s European heritage. The main entrance into the outlet centre features chateau-like towering structures that pay homage to the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
Large piazzas are designed to become gathering areas and locations for events and performances.
The main entrance piazza into the outlet centre consists of a large Cafe Artigiano as its centrepiece while the larger piazza boasts a significantly-sized chrome art piece.
The mall will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Food and beverage operators will be open later into the evening to provide Sea Island employees and tourists with additional late night options.