Nordstrom ready to tie the knot with Vancouver
After months of courtship, Nordstrom and Cadillac Fairview have finally said "I do."
Unfortunately, shoppers who yearn for the American retailer's first foray into Canada will have to put up with a long engagement. Nordstrom is not expected to open its doors until early 2015.
But judging by Vancouver architect James K. M. Cheng's drawing of the gorgeous new glass-clad edifice that will be built on the foundation of the current Sears store, the wait will be worth it. Gone are the massive white walls with no windows looming over Howe and Robson streets. Instead, above the three floors dedicated to Nordstrom (including the street level), there will be 280,000 sq.ft. of office space.
"Once it's fully occupied, there will be 2,000 jobs in the downtown core," says Tom Knoepfel, senior vice-president and portfolio manager at Cadillac Fairview, which owns the Pacific Centre, home of the new space.
As excited as he is about Nordstrom signing agreements to open four stores at Cadillac Fairview properties across Canada — Pacific Centre in Vancouver, Chinook Centre in Calgary, Sherway Gardens in Toronto and the Rideau Centre in Ottawa — he says the creation of the office space will attract companies to the downtown core. It will be the only place downtown where a company can rent 80,000 sq.ft of office space, he says, helping to reverse a trend to locate in the suburbs. One of the appeals will be the easy access to public transit and the vast array of restaurant and retail opportunities.
Knoepfel says that while no leases have been signed yet, there are some very strong leads on potential office tenants.
The arrival of Norstrom might have some existing retailers worried, but Knoepfel says that, "typically, retailers that are strong and successful like to be around other strong and successful retailers." Together, they create a shopping destination and, therefore, a larger consumer base. Nordstrom will also help solidify Pacific Centre as a premiere attraction for shoppers who, while appreciating the ease of internet shopping, still like to touch or try on products before they buy them.
Cadillac Fairview must obviously have a lot of faith to be spending so much money on the building. Knoepfel won't say how much the renovations are costing other than to say "a lot." (He also won't name the "new and exciting" stores that have expressed interest in locating in the lower level of Sears, which will become a 48,000-sq.ft. extension of Pacific Centre.
"It will really create an even more vibrant downtown," Knoepfel says.
Construction is set to begin in November. The new lower level retail space and office space is expected to open in late 2014, with Nordstrom hoping to open its doors in early 2015.