Chinook Centre expansion brings 'global brands'

A $280-million expansion of Calgary's Chinook Centre will be unveiled Wednesday.
Chinook Centre's new expansion, set to open Wednesday, carries a $280-million price tag. ((CBC))

A $280-million expansion of Calgary's Chinook Centre will be unveiled Wednesday.

The project will add 180,000 square feet of retail space and 71 new retailers to the mall.

The five-year-old endeavour will come full circle as different retailers open their stores over the next six months.

Chinook Centre general manager Terry Napper said the expansion would give Calgarians access to "global brands," many of which are unavailable in the city at the moment.

"You've got Michael Kors, you've got Browns. And in November, a 9,000 square foot flagship Armani Exchange is opening," said Napper. "That is a pretty good retail street. Maybe equal to Bloor Street in Toronto."

Other tenants include Abercrombie and Fitch, Apple, Hollister, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Forever 21, Harry Rosen, Stuart Weitzman, and Swarovski.

Napper said he hopes the new additions will attract locals and out-of-towners alike, predicting that it will bring in 60 per cent more shoppers.

With the recent expansion of the high-end Holt Renfrew store in downtown Calgary and the opening of the CrossIron Mills mega-mall north of the city, it looks like Calgary's retail climate might be changing.

There must be a market for these high-end brands in Calgary if they're setting up shop, said Haskayne School of Business assistant professor Debi Andrus.

"Before anybody is going to sign a long-term lease and go to the expense, they've done their analysis," Andrus said.

As for the expansion at Chinook, Napper says there is more to come — including a Victoria's Secret store opening next spring.