Business

Fitness centre a portent of change for Lougheed Town Centre

A string of empty storefronts on the second floor of change coming to Lougheed Town Centre. A number of retailers have closed or been moved to other locations in the mall to make way for a new 18,000 square foot Steve Nash Fitness World fronted by smaller store spaces. It
A string of empty storefronts on the second floor of change coming to Lougheed Town Centre. A number of retailers have closed or been moved to other locations in the mall to make way for a new 18,000 square foot Steve Nash Fitness World fronted by smaller store spaces. It's the beginning of a transformation that will eventually include residential towers, office and commercial space and the largest transit hub outside of Vancouver.
— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER

A new fitness centre scheduled to open in Lougheed Town Centre later this year is just the beginning of the process that will transform the mall site into a mixed-use area that includes residential towers, office and commercial spaces.

Darren Kwiatkowski, the executive vice president of development for Shape Properties, the owner of the mall, said renovations to accommodate the 18,000-square-foot Steve Nash Fitness World will begin “imminently,” with opening scheduled for later this year. The fitness centre will have a new opening to the outside, as well as inside the mall, where it will be fronted by a string of smaller 1,000- to 2,000-square-foot stores. A number of existing retailers where the centre will be located have been moved to other areas of the mall or closed.

Kwiatkowski said the re-imagining of the mall is a response to changing consumer behaviour. “You’re seeing a social shift in how people shop.  Shopping is becoming more interspersed with your daily life.”

That includes working out.

And if people are going to the gym four or five times a week, said Kwiatkowski, that creates opportunities for retailers. In anticipation of this changing dynamic, the mall has made a concerted effort to attract more convenience retailers like tea and bread shops.

“They’re natural extensions of your daily life,” said Kwiatkowski. “It’s good for the vibe.”

A large fitness centre will be an attractive amenity as the area transforms to include high-density residential towers and offices, said Kwiatkowski. It’s also a good lure to get people to dodge the construction of the Evergreen SkyTrain guideway up North Road to the east of the mall, and the new transit hub being built at the south end of the property.

Although, said Kwiatkowski, so far the impact of that work has been minimal.

“We haven’t seen a drop off at the shopping centre,” he said. “SkyTrain has been really good. They’ve done it a number of times and the process seems pretty dialed in.”

When that work is completed, Lougheed Town Centre will be the converging point for two SkyTrain lines and the new regional bus service to the Fraser Valley, making it the busiest transit hub outside of Vancouver.

“That’s driving future plans for the site,” said Kwiatkowski. “The way people live, how you can reach out from that location, is second to none.”

 

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