Property Biz Canada

Calgary’s multicultural New Horizon Mall to open in May


A unique multicultural mall in the Calgary region will open in May with more than 500 businesses which have purchased their spaces in the shopping centre, as opposed to the traditional retail practice of leasing.

The Calgary New Horizon Mall.

The multicultural Calgary New Horizon Mall is slated to begin opening in May. It’s 500-plus vendors will own their stores, not rent as in most retail shopping centres. (Robert Moroto photo)

New Horizon Mall, which is located along the Queen Elizabeth II Highway just on the outskirts of Calgary limits and in the Balzac area of Rocky View County, is 98 per cent pre-sold. It’s located near the CrossIron Mills shopping centre.

Eli Swirsky, president of The Torgan Group, which is developing the New Horizon Mall with the MPI Property Group, said the developers found the model to be very successful when it was launched in September 2014.

“The concept works, as we are almost sold out of stores,” he said.

Swirski said the mall will be completed by May, but store openings will be phased in until the summer.

“Not everybody is going to be in place. It’s going to take time to ramp up a mall like that, but everybody will be able to see this exciting new mall that’s coming to Calgary,” said Swirsky.

“It will be open in May but it will not be fully operational because a lot of the people will be closing (their unit space purchases) . . . and what we envision is a grand opening, an official opening, sometime in the summer  . . .  The whole month of May will be people getting their keys. We’ll be closing something like 25 units a day.”

New Horizon Mall 320,000 square feet

The new mall will have more than 500 retail stores in 320,000 square feet on two floors.

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Swirsky said spaces ranged in price from about $180,000 to $900,000 for the bigger restaurant space.

“The average price is about $250,000, $260,000,” he said.  “When you only pay for your own square footage, it becomes a very affordable proposition.”

The smallest unit is about 145 square feet, with the largest about 500 square feet.

The second level will feature 26 units in the food court and will seat more than 300 shoppers. The second level will also have a traditional Chinese stage that will serve as a cultural venue. Four sit-down restaurants will be located next to the food court.

Ledcor Construction Ltd., headed up the project.

There are more than 350 underground parking stalls as well.

CrossIron Mills shopping centre nearby

Swirsky said New Horizon Mall provides a unique opportunity for retailers to buy the store they occupy. As well, smaller merchants are often left out when it comes to setting up shop in a bigger mall.

“(Retailers) have the freedom to operate the way they see fit,” he said. “That’s very unusual and unique, especially in a mall setting. They certainly have the right to do that … if they own their own space.”

The New Horizon Mall will benefit both from the large amount of traffic along the busy Queen Elizabeth II Highway as well as its close proximity to CrossIron Mills, which opened in August 2009.

“It’s a different shopping experience,” said Swirsky. “We don’t compete with them. We actually complement them. So if you want certain things, you go over here. If you want certain things, you go over there.”

About Torgan Group, MPI Properties

Ontario-based Torgan Group was founded in the early 1980s by Swirsky and Sam Cohen. It has been involved in the development, ownership and management of more than 70 commercial projects totalling in excess of 3.5 million square feet.

Torgan is the largest privately owned developer and owner of medical centres in Ontario, and has also been involved in retail plazas, enclosed shopping malls, office buildings and institutional (courthouses).

This is not Torgan’s first multicultural, or international-style shopping centre, having also built the Pacific Mall in Markham, Ont. At more than 270,000 square feet, Torgan calls Pacific Mall the largest Chinese-style mall in the Western world and remains a recognized tourist destination.

U.S.-based MPI Property Group has been developing real estate across North America for more than 25 years. The company has developed many large-scale residential, commercial and retail projects throughout Canada and the U.S. 

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Mario Toneguzzi

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Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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