Hudson's Bay store at Oakridge Centre closing this month for mall's redevelopment

Feb 4 2021, 4:03 pm

The longtime Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) store at Oakridge Centre will close before the end of next month, on March 24, 2021.

A spokesperson for HBC told Daily Hive Urbanized the department store will reopen within a new two-storey, 140,000 sq ft within the shopping mall’s redevelopment in 2024. Employees were notified of the store closure earlier today.

This will be a new store design for the retailer, using digital technology to enhance the customer experience. There will also be a new showroom concept that connects to their extended aisle and marketplace offerings, and enhanced pick-up and return options to meet the needs of customers’ evolving online shopping behaviours.

The future store’s footprint will be north of its current location, on the area of the former surface parking lot, which is currently a deep excavation site.

Businesses at Oakridge Centre have been winding down their operations at the mall over the last three years in preparation for the redevelopment, which will require the demolition of most of the mall property. Apart from the remaining businesses within the office building, nearly all of the mall’s offerings have already shuttered.

In September 2020, mall landlord Quadreal Property Group stated a decision had been made to accelerate the construction timeline of the redevelopment, specifically a significant portion of the retail, The Kitchen food hall, and most of the nine-acre public park on the mall rooftop. These components, previously slated to be completed in phases, will now be finished by 2024 instead of 2026.

oakridge centre vancouver

November 2020 artistic rendering: Oakridge Centre redevelopment parcel with the food hall and a portion of the indoor mall and rooftop public park. (Oakridge Centre project team)

oakridge centre vancouver

November 2020 artistic rendering: Oakridge Centre redevelopment parcel with the food hall and a portion of the indoor mall and rooftop public park. (Oakridge Centre project team)

The current impact of COVID-19 on brick-and-mortar retail was a major contributing factor to the decision to accelerate the timeline while visitation numbers are down.

HBC’s original lease for one of the three anchor store spaces within the shopping centre dates back to the mall’s past era when Woodward’s existed.

In 2018, the landlord reached an agreement to amend HBC’s long-held lease, providing $172.5 million to the retailer. A sum of $151.5 million was used to repay HBC’s credit borrowings, and the remaining $21 million was set aside for the interior of the new store.

HBC recently vacated some of its locations where it had deep roots, including a landmark location in downtown Winnipeg. It was also reported last month the retailer made a decision to layoff over 600 employees across the country.

Last fall, HBC announced the launch of a new real estate development division that maximizes the company’s over 40 million sq ft of gross leasable area across North America, including tapping into mixed-use redevelopment opportunities.

The landlord also recently submitted a revised rezoning application for the redevelopment that calls for additional density through wider and taller buildings for nearly 800 more homes, with a focus on market rental homes, and more office space.

The revised design calls for a 77,000 sq ft reduction of the new retail to a total of 1.206 million sq ft, which is still about twice the size of the old mall.

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