The first Walmart in Delta will likely be going into one of Tsawwassen First Nation’s new mega malls, but its impact on existing retailers is still unknown.
Although news of the secured tenants for Tsawwassen Commons, a 53,000-square-metre retail centre, hasn’t been formally announced, the information is confirmed on a developer’s website.
LEAGUE Investment Services, which has partnered with Property Development Group to build Tsawwassen Commons, listed their biggest secured tenants as Walmart, Canadian Tire, and PetsMart. The mall is part of a larger 72-hectare, 167,000-square-metre retail/entertainment complex being developed by Ivanhoe Cambridge called Tsawwassen Mills, following the building plans of the mega malls Vaughan Mills near Toronto and Cross Iron Mills in Calgary.
A LEAGUE spokesperson declined to comment, but said the company would be making announcements shortly.
TFN’s director of public services, Tom McCarthy, also declined to comment, but said he wasn’t aware a Walmart is coming to Tsawwassen. He said TFN isn’t monitoring the prospective tenants of their mega malls, nor is choosing them under their purview.
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said Walmart has never tried to build in Delta because there isn’t the land base to accommodate their big box store needs.
“Without a huge piece of land it’s very difficult to contemplate one of these big stores,” she said, but added she doesn’t think anybody will be surprised about the news. “I think it is going to have an impact on all of us, of course, so we’ll have to just wait and see what is going to be contemplated.”
Jackson said TFN has its own government and Delta plans to meet with them on issues that could impact Delta, such as traffic flow. Plans for the malls call for upwards of 8,000 parking stalls.
“That’s a pretty substantial number of cars, as you can appreciate, so we’re continuing to monitor, and they’re trying to minimize the effects where they can,” she said.
McCarthy said TFN’s mall projects are underway and on schedule, despite their ongoing infrastructure problems, particularly with regards to sewerage capacity. Both Tsawwassen Commons and Tsawwassen Mills are scheduled to open sometime in 2015, while the Tsawwassen Shores housing development being undertaken by the Aquilini Development Group is building the first 52 homes.
According to the TFN’s approved neighbourhood plan, 1,500 single-detached homes and townhouses, and 280 apartment units will be built on 99-year leaseholds over the next decade.