CrossIron Mills

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CrossIron Mills
CrossIron Mills FC.jpg
Main food court in CrossIron Mills, 2013
Location Rocky View County, near Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Coordinates 51°12′18″N 113°59′24″W / 51.205°N 113.99°W / 51.205; -113.99
Opening date August 19, 2009
Developer Ivanhoe Cambridge
Management Ivanhoe Cambridge
Owner Ivanhoe Cambridge
No. of stores and services 206
No. of anchor tenants 17
Total retail floor area 109,440 m2 (1,178,000 sq ft)
Parking 6,000
No. of floors 1
Website www.crossironmills.com

CrossIron Mills is a fully enclosed shopping centre development just outside the northern city limits of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and immediately east of the hamlet of Balzac in Rocky View County. It was developed by Ivanhoe Cambridge, a major Canadian real estate company. It's the first Mills-type mall to be opened since Pittsburgh Mills in 2005 and the 2007 demise of the predecessor, the Mills Corporation. Completed in August 2009,[1] the mall is the largest single-level shopping centre in Alberta, containing approximately 109,440 m2 (1,178,000 sq ft) of retail and entertainment space. Immediately east of the CrossIron Mills property, the United Horsemen of Alberta (UHA) are planning to open and operate an equine racetrack facility and casino, and in fact the track was originally scheduled to be in operation by 2007, however the UHA is encountering financial issues which have delayed the opening of the facility.[2] The UHA site remains technically under construction as of the fall of 2012.

The first tenant to open in the mall was the first Alberta franchise of Bass Pro Shops, which opened its doors in the spring of 2009, while the rest of the mall was under construction. The majority of the mall opened on August 19, 2009.[3] A final phase referred to as The Entertainment Neighbourhood opened in Summer 2010 featuring a multiplex movie theatre.

CrossIron Mills is a sister mall to Vaughan Mills, a previous Ivanhoe Cambridge development in Vaughan, Ontario, outside Toronto. The Calgary area mall shares several of its major retailers (including Bass Pro Shops), as well as some design features.

Location[edit]

CrossIron Mills is located in Rocky View County, on the southeast corner of the QEII Highway (the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor) and Highway 566.[4]

CrossIron Mills

As of July 2007, when the City of Calgary expanded its boundaries, this places the property just outside the city limits, as well as just outside the hamlet boundaries of Balzac (Highway 566 links to 176th Avenue N.E. in Calgary). The southern city limits of Airdrie are only a few kilometres to the north. When driving north on the QEII, there are two exits that provide access; Exit 273 (CrossIron Drive) and Exit 275 (Highway 566). Exit 275 provides access for southbound traffic as well. A year after the mall opened, Exit 273 was expanded to include an overpass allowing southbound egress from the area (initially, 273 was open to northbound traffic only); it opened on November 12, 2010.

Additional access to the mall via Dwight McLellan Trail, an extension of Calgary's Metis Trail, north from Stoney Trail opened in December 2009. On Oct. 29, 2011 an extension of Metis Trail was completed allowing direct access to the CrossIron Mills area from the Metis Trail/36 Street N.E. corridor, allowing an alternate north/south access to the area to Deerfoot Trail.

At present, there is no transit connection to and from the mall from Calgary or Airdrie. However, there is an employee shuttle bus that stops in two locations in Calgary and one in Airdrie.

Design[edit]

The shopping centre follows the Mills Corporation's premium brand outlet retail format that was popularized in the United States, and imported to Canada in 2004 at Vaughan Mills in Vaughan, Ontario. The concept combines large format anchor stores and premium brand outlets alongside major entertainment components.

The design utilizes a single level "race track" layout to maximize storefront exposure,[5] with up to 17 anchor stores bordering the centre. In addition to the anchor tenants, there are over 200 retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment outlets.

Like all Mills shopping centres, this project is divided into several architecturally themed ‘neighbourhoods’, making way-finding easier and providing a more interesting visual experience. The 'neighbourhoods' are Fashion, Ranch, Resources, Fossils, Sports & Entertainment, with the latter opening in Summer 2010. The centre also includes several themed courts including a themed food court called the Happy Trail Food Court. The other courts are the Rodeo Court, the Wildlife Court, the Fine Arts Court, the Campfire Court, the Wind Court & the Play Court.

CrossIron Mills is the first new fully enclosed shopping centre to be constructed in Alberta in 20 years. Since the early 1990s, traditional malls have been eschewed in favour of development of big box retail "power centres" (examples in Calgary include Deerfoot Meadows, Crowfoot Towne Centre, and Shawnessy Towne Centre). Despite this trend, virtually all of Calgary's existing enclosed shopping centres have undergone extensive renovation and expansion and, in several cases, reconstruction and rebranding, since the early 1990s.

Retailers[edit]

Instead of traditional department stores, CrossIron Mills contains a variety of anchors, including many premium brand outlets. Each anchor store has between 20,000 to 50,000 square feet (5,000 m²). According to the CrossIron Mills Website, the anchor stores include Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, H&M, Bed, Bath & Beyond, The Children's Place, La Senza, Laura, Forever 21, Revolve Furnishings, Pro Hockey Life, Sport Chek, Indigo, Toys 'R' Us Babies 'R' Us, Tommy Hilfiger Outlet, Winners, and HomeSense. Specialty retailers are similar to those found at other super-regional malls, however, many at CrossIron Mills are larger premium brand outlet stores.

Many retailers that (as of August 2009) were new to Alberta can also be found. Some first-time retailers include: Bass Pro Shops, BCBGMAXAZRIA (Outlet); Bed, Bath and Beyond; Browns Shoe Outlet; Calvin Klein Jeans (Outlet); Fossil Outlet; Jones New York Outlet; Lucky Brand (Outlet); Sixty Outlet; Naturalizer Outlet; Olsen Europe Outlet; Oakley Vault; PÜSCH Outlet; Quiksilver Outlet; Skechers Outlet; Tommy Bahama Outlet; Town Shoes Outlet; and Underground Outlet. Since the mall opened, some of these retailers such as Bed, Bath and Beyond have opened (or plan to open) other locations in the Calgary region and elsewhere in Alberta; for example, Bed, Bath and Beyond opened a new location in West Edmonton Mall in the spring of 2010 with another location near Calgary's Chinook Centre opening in the fall of 2010. As of the end of 2012, however, CrossIron's Bass Pro Shops store remains unique to Alberta.

Also, many retailers have opened their largest-in-Alberta stores at CrossIron Mills. They include: Toys R Us; La Senza, H&M, The Children's Place, Tommy Hilfiger Outlet, Laura Outlet and Forever 21.

The mall's retail lineup continues to evolve, with a number of day-one smaller stores closing after the 2009 Christmas season, with most soon being replaced with new retailers. As of August 2011, one of the mall's anchor bays, originally earmarked for a Holt Renfrew location that was cancelled in 2009, is now occupied by Revolve Furnishings after having sat vacant for more than a year. One major outlet, a branch of Brooks Brothers, opened in August 2010 in a bay that had been marked with an "opening in 2010" sign since the mall opened.

Ivanhoe Cambridge is also constructing a big box retail development, CrossIron Common, immediately to the north of CrossIron Mills. A Lowe's store opened in September 2010 and a Costco opened up in October 2010 in this area, with more large-format retail development planned. Petro-Canada opened a station northeast of the mall in December 2011. The area to the east and south of CrossIron and the UHA property is intended to develop as a business/industrial park, though other than road and utility construction construction of this area, as of the fall of 2012, is still in its early stages.

Entertainment Neighbourhood[edit]

Not all phases of CrossIron Mills were completed by the August 2009 opening of the mall. Construction of its Entertainment Neighbourhood began in the early Summer of 2009 and opened the doors to the Cineplex Entertainment 7-screen SilverCity Cinemas and Xscape Entertainment Centre on June 30, 2010. The main screen at SilverCity features the new UltraAVX audio visual experience which includes a giant wall-to-wall screen, digital projection, digital sound system, large rocker seats and reserved seating. The over 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) Xscape Entertainment Centre features over 80 video and interactive games and a licensed lounge. The rest of the Entertainment Neighbourhood opened in late 2010 featuring additional retail space and room for several licensed restaurants although, until late 2012, only a Boston Pizza franchise was in operation along with a couple of smaller food outlets including a franchise of Nathan's Famous, although at the end of 2012 a second restaurant opened in a bay formerly occupied by a car dealership. A laser tag operator and a flex space used by a succession of different businesses is also located in this section. The movie theatre and opened businesses only occupy about two-thirds of the expansion's footprint; a large northeast section of the phase remains to be occupied.

Controversy[edit]

At the beginning of its development, CrossIron Mills had some difficulty securing water because the province of Alberta was no longer accepting new applications to draw water from the Bow River. CrossIron Mills will instead draw its water from the Western Irrigation District.

In late August 2007, CICT-TV reported that there is growing concern in the nearby city of Airdrie over possible effects the mall might have on local businesses (Airdrie's commercial core is physically closer to Crossiron Mills than the nearest commercial hub in Calgary). However more recent coverage in publications such as the local magazine Airdrie Life indicated a more accepting attitude as the mall approached completion.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

CrossIron Mills opened to large crowds, with approximately 250,000 people visiting the mall in the first five days of the Grand Opening Celebration.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]