Fieldgate, Plazacorp unveil unique mall revamp and expansion in Mississauga

The Shops at Westwood Square, a newly renovated and expanded mall in Mississauga, illustrates the growing trend of developers refurbishing shopping centres in lieu of greenfield building.
Jointly owned by Fieldgate Commercial Properties and Plazacorp Retail Properties Ltd., Westwood Square is billed as the largest indoor South Asian mall in Canada and is characterized as a mix of that format as well as more traditional shopping centre components.
“It is a unique mall. It is basically a fusion or a synergy of a classic retail mall that is wholly owned by one landlord who leases out shop space to retailers combined with a section of the mall that is comprised of retail condominiums,” said Matt West, vice-president of operations with Fieldgate, the managing partner of Westwood Square.
Usually, retail condo projects “stand on their own” as do more traditional retail formats, he added. Fieldgate and Plazacorp, which purchased the mall from a private owner in 2010, decided the hybrid shopping centre would prove a winning formula.

A solid anchor
The success of Westwood Square will likely hinge on its anchor tenant, Walmart, which is situated in a new-construction, 95,000-square-foot SuperCenter. Of the mall’s existing 318,000-square-foot footprint, about 80,000 square feet has been converted to retail condos and the remainder is in the process of being renovated for conventional mall tenants.
Other anchor stores in the mall include a new FreshCo supermarket, LCBO and The Beer Store outlets, a Shoppers Drug Mart and branches of four of the country’s five major chartered banks.
The two-level mall’s renovation and expansion was designed by Kohn Partnership Architects. It features retail outlets surrounding a large circular walkway for ease of navigation in the “light, airy interior,” and a series of pathways runs off the central circle.
The retail condo component project will comprise approximately 260 separate units owned through a condominium corporation.
Combining retail condos with traditional shopping centre formats is “very complicated” and does not make sense for most malls. Given the ethnic mix in the surrounding community, it worked for Westwood Square, however.
The mall’s owners began the process of selling retail condos a year ago and sold 90 per cent of the units. Due to that strong demand, it expanded the number of condos that would be included in the mall and has begun marketing and sales for its “phase two” expansion.

Reno way to go
Renovating a 40-year-old mall can be more cost-effective than building a centre from scratch, West noted.
“The zoning process is getting more difficult, development charges and things like that are getting more expensive, so buying existing assets and upgrading them and renovating them, assets that have a strong customer base already … definitely that is what we are looking to do here,” he said.
“Definitely there are a lot of other developers who are looking to do that as well.”
Together, Fieldgate and Plazacorp are sinking $60 million into the renovation and expansion of the mall.
“It is a great community service as well,” he added. “These malls, they are older, and they need to be upgraded but they still have their home in the market and their loyal customer base.”
The mall is located near the nexus of Highways 407, 427 and 401.
Fieldgate a retail player
Best known as a land developer and residential home builder for more than a half century, Fieldgate Homes ventured into commercial real estate about a decade ago and today owns about 4.5 million sq. ft. of retail space made up of approximately 30 shopper centres across the Greater Toronto Area.
Fieldgate Commercial’s bread-and-butter strategy is to develop outdoor retail shopping centres in and around growing communities.



Paul is a writer, editor and media trainer based in Toronto with over 25 years of experience as a business reporter. He has written for Canada’s major news services on…

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Paul is a writer, editor and media trainer based in Toronto with over 25 years of experience as a business reporter. He has written for Canada’s major news services on…

Read more




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