Billings Bridge Plaza
|Location||Ottawa, Ontario, Canada|
|Opening date||October 1954|
|Management||20 VIC Management Inc.|
|Owner||Capital City Shopping Centre Ltd.|
|No. of stores and services||87|
|No. of anchor tenants||2|
|Total retail floor area||488,000 sq ft or 45,300 m2|
|No. of floors||2|
The Billings Bridge Plaza is a shopping centre located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is a medium-sized community mall with about 90 stores. Roughly 6 million people visit the mall every year and sales were about $516/sq foot. When built it was the first strip mall in Ottawa, although it has since become an enclosed mall.
It is located immediately south of the Rideau River on the corner of Bank Street and Riverside Drive, beside a large athletics complex, the RA Centre. The anchor stores are Target and Your Independent Grocer.
When it was built it had only six stores, of which only Reitmans remains to this day. CIBC and Fairweather were also very early tenants which remain. In 1962 the mall underwent a major expansion to 23 stores which made it one of the largest shopping centres in Ottawa at the time. A 1961 Ottawa Citizen article covering the mall expansion claimed "the new centre by its accessibility to through highways, will become not only one of the largest shopping plazas in the district but one of the finest in the country."
Iconic Ottawa department store Ogilvy's opened a location at Billings Bridge in the 1962 expansion. Later Ogilvy's was replaced by Robinson's, which was itself replaced by discount retailer Zellers in 1996 and by Target Canada in 2013.
It did not become an enclosed mall until 1972 and a twelve-storey office tower was added during a subsequent expansion in 1975.
The late 1990s saw a "remerchandizing program," in which a number of new stores were brought in to replace old ones and "provide the proper tenant mix to suit this particular trade area and the shopping centre's customer base." In 1998–99 extensive renovations were carried out at a cost of $7 million; they added a new glass two storey atrium as a main entrance, a modern food court, and an "updated look." In July 2006 another major renovation programme was started, expanding the mall by 25,000 sq ft (2,300 m2).
In 2004 Brian Card, president of Corporate Research Group argued, "Billings Bridge's proximity to public transit, office buildings and growing population centres has helped it to withstand competition from big-box power centres when other shopping centres have been hard-hit."  A 2005 article by Ottawa Business Journal quoted 'experts' saying that the "lack of a major anchor department store has kept it from becoming a regional centre." In 2004 Barry Nabatian, general manager of Market Research Corporation, argued that the South Keys Shopping Centre had taken the role as 'regional mall' in the south of Ottawa, as it was larger, more popular, and had higher sales/sq foot. Today the mall is considered a 'community' shopping centre.
Billings Bridge is named after Braddish Billings, an original settler of Ottawa. The bridge carrying Bank Street over the river, near the site of the current mall, came to be known as Billings' Bridge as it led to his property.
- Your Independent Grocer (29,636 sq ft or 2,753.3 m2)
- Target (98,950 sq ft or 9,192.8 m2) - closing 2015
- "Billings Bridge Plaza Property Description" (PDF). 20Vic Retail. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- Goff, Kristin (4 September 2004). "Billings Bridge turns 50: From 1950s Strip Mall to Landmark". The Ottawa Citizen.
- "Look Back: Retailers cash in on lucrative local market". Ottawa Business Journal. 6 January 2005. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Billings Bridge comfortable with community role". Ottawa Business Journal. 6 September 2004. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "UPDATE: Four Ottawa Targets to open in 2013". Ottawa Business Journal. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Billings Bridge". Ottawa Business Journal. 8 September 1999. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Archive of Billings Bridge Plaza Property Description" (PDF). 20Vic Retail. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "New leg of Transitway opens near Billings Bridge: 1.8-km section should aid service to southeast Ottawa". The Ottawa Citizen. 3 November 1996.