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Old Posted Feb 13, 2016, 3:23 PM
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[Halifax] Halifax Shopping Centre Redevelopment | U/C

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Old Posted Feb 13, 2016, 4:49 PM
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Exciting times for the HSC, has a very Yorkdale look! Love the 2 storey flagship style retail spaces! Hope the fictitious LARA will actually be a ZARA.
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Old Posted Feb 13, 2016, 8:38 PM
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Is there a list of potential stores? Or new stores?

And what's shopping like in Halifax? I've always wanted to visit (and obviously this isn't the deciding factor), but do you guys have a great shopping scene?
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Old Posted Feb 13, 2016, 11:01 PM
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Is there a list of potential stores? Or new stores?

And what's shopping like in Halifax? I've always wanted to visit (and obviously this isn't the deciding factor), but do you guys have a great shopping scene?
Shopping in Halifax is like shopping in any other mid-sized city. Nothing overly special, especially in the mall.
If you're looking for good buys you should check out smaller shops downtown.

Though HSC houses the only Apple Store in the maritimes, so that's pretty cool I guess.
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Old Posted Feb 14, 2016, 2:57 AM
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Shopping in Halifax is like shopping in any other mid-sized city. Nothing overly special, especially in the mall.
If you're looking for good buys you should check out smaller shops downtown.

Though HSC houses the only Apple Store in the maritimes, so that's pretty cool I guess.
I think compared to other Canadian cities we're doing quite well for our size. Halifax is the only maritime location for a lot of stores, like Apple, Hollister, Michael Kors, Browns Shoes (all in HSC), Forever 21, Bench, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, MEC, and now IKEA!

I remember a few years ago thinking that I'd have to go to a bigger city to go to most of these stores
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Old Posted Feb 14, 2016, 12:09 PM
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And don't forget.
MEC
Lee Valley
Home Outfitters
Hudson Bay
Banana Republic (HSC)
Artizia
Lululemon
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Old Posted Feb 14, 2016, 4:46 PM
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As a transplanted Halifax native, I think Halifax is doing ok retail-wise. When I was a kid in the late 70's, downtown was thriving, Scotia Square was super-busy and served the downtown sort of like Pacific Centre serves Vancouver, Barrington was a little like our Granville Street with chain retail and great landmark movie theatres like the Capitol and Paramount. Then came the era of the business parks, Bayer's Lake and more recently Dartmouth Crossing. These were mega-developments for a metro the size of Halifax and seemed to destroy the downtown retail. I was shocked, years later, to see Scotia Square gutted and Barrington reduced to a few coffee shops and vintage retail. Spring Garden also seemed to be hanging by a thread, Park Lane, poorly conceived originally, was half empty and SGR had only a handful of mediocre national brands like HMV and Le Chateau.

HSC seemed to be the only centre thriving but it's still a mall and not downtown. To me a downtown defines and validates a truly vital city so I'm glad to see it crawling back slowly. The densification will certainly help, but as a Vancouver resident, witness to our incredible development boom over the last 15 years, it take a lots of residents, towers, new developments to really make a change. I'm glad to see chains like Urban Outfitters banking on the the change but I'd really love to see progressive urban chains bypass HSC and set up shop on SGR and Barrington. I personally could see Barrington becoming a furniture and design hub with stores like EQ3, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel and CB2, SGR would be a great place for fast-fashion like ZARA, Topshop, as well and fitness-lifestyle like Kit and Ace.

I'm excited about the changes to HSC but it will likely serve as another pull from downtown's potential.

People will flock downtown if there are offerings more unique than malls and not found elsewhere that cater and speak to their urban lifestyle. Duplicating mall retail simply won't work, especially during the winter months so landlords and planners should strive for innovation and offer incentives to those types of retailers who will commit to improving the downtown retail-mix and attracting business.
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Old Posted Feb 14, 2016, 7:08 PM
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My impression is that Halifax is okay too. It has a fairly wide selection of big chains but it's always going to be more limited than, say, Toronto, so in that respect it's not much of a shopping destination for people outside of Atlantic Canada. Some of the local and regional stores do have a unique local flavour and I think those are worth a visit. For the most part they're food and drink related.

I first visited downtown Halifax in the 90's. Even back then there were more stores in areas like Historic Properties and Scotia Square, but I think all of that hit a low point by about 2000. Aside from largely obsolete businesses like HMV I can't remember any types of businesses that downtown had in the early 2000's but doesn't now. It seems like it is improving and like the process is accelerating.

One shift that has taken place since 2000 is that there is less talk of "revitalizing" the downtown by luring in chain stores and adding parking to attract suburban shoppers. That strategy was doomed to fail. In this era there are lots of people who want to live, work, and shop in an urban setting and they will be the bread and butter of downtown retail, with tourists (including suburbanites basically) adding a bit extra. Now that there's lots of residential construction happening this seems like it'll take off soon. Proportionally speaking the construction happening in downtown Halifax right now reminds me of Vancouver's major condo construction boom periods.
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Old Posted Feb 14, 2016, 7:30 PM
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Thanks someone123, similar perspectives. I think the real test will be seeing if pioneers like Urban Outfitters stick around, I'm sure others are watching. If they survive I see many other urban-oriented players taking a stab, especially once The Roy, Maple and Nova Centre are complete. Right now the HSC option is too tempting and too easy a gamble for most new entries to Halifax.
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Old Posted Feb 14, 2016, 7:39 PM
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Thanks someone123, similar perspectives. I think the real test will be seeing if pioneers like Urban Outfitters stick around, I'm sure others are watching. If they survive I see many other urban-oriented players taking a stab, especially ones The Roy, Maple and Nova Centre are complete. Right now the HSC option is too tempting and too easy a gamble for most new entries to Halifax.
When the Apple Store opened up in HSC, it came out that one of their shortlisted retail sites was on Spring Garden Road. One of the factors mentioned by the potential SGR landlord was that there just weren't any quality retail spaces available along the street. Everything was small/cut up and/or outdated; think of Mills, the old Winsby's building, etc. The Doyle Block development is controversial because of associated heritage demolition, which I agree is bad, but I wonder if Apple wouldn't have chosen a building like that had it been available a few years back. The Roy Building similarly looks like it's going to have some great retail space that I could actually imagine a major chain leasing out.

As an aside, one of the counter-intuitive things is how long it takes for construction to have a positive impact on an area. It feels exciting to have cranes up everywhere but from the perspective of retailers the construction period itself is negative. Even after the buildings are finished the disruption is mostly done but it can take a while for all the units to fill up (Vancouver had this with the Olympic Village, which was meant to be completed for 2010 and is just now starting to feel like a real neighbourhood). I think we'll only be able to accurately assess the impact of this current round of construction in 2018 or so. I can't help but think that it will have a significant net positive impact but some older parts of the urban core may "move downmarket".
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Old Posted Feb 14, 2016, 8:00 PM
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As an aside, one of the counter-intuitive things is how long it takes for construction to have a positive impact on an area. It feels exciting to have cranes up everywhere but from the perspective of retailers the construction period itself is negative. Even after the buildings are finished the disruption is mostly done but it can take a while for all the units to fill up (Vancouver had this with the Olympic Village, which was meant to be completed for 2010 and is just now starting to feel like a real neighbourhood).
I agree, like Yaletown, years of construction can have a medium-term negative impact. I do see the difference being that Barrington and Spring Garden Road have previously been very successful retail streets with a long and established history. Olympic Village, for example, did not. Vancouverites had to get accustom to visiting and patronizing a previously industrial area.

I see the transformation of SGR and Barrington similar to the Robson St. changes during the 80's which transitioned, rather effortlessly, from Robsonstrasse, a European influenced street of deli's and cheese shops, to a high-street full of chain-stores. Robson Street was already very well-known and already had the foot traffic.
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Old Posted Feb 15, 2016, 1:26 AM
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When the Apple Store opened up in HSC, it came out that one of their shortlisted retail sites was on Spring Garden Road. One of the factors mentioned by the potential SGR landlord was that there just weren't any quality retail spaces available along the street. Everything was small/cut up and/or outdated; think of Mills, the old Winsby's building, etc. The Doyle Block development is controversial because of associated heritage demolition, which I agree is bad, but I wonder if Apple wouldn't have chosen a building like that had it been available a few years back. The Roy Building similarly looks like it's going to have some great retail space that I could actually imagine a major chain leasing out.

As an aside, one of the counter-intuitive things is how long it takes for construction to have a positive impact on an area. It feels exciting to have cranes up everywhere but from the perspective of retailers the construction period itself is negative. Even after the buildings are finished the disruption is mostly done but it can take a while for all the units to fill up (Vancouver had this with the Olympic Village, which was meant to be completed for 2010 and is just now starting to feel like a real neighbourhood). I think we'll only be able to accurately assess the impact of this current round of construction in 2018 or so. I can't help but think that it will have a significant net positive impact but some older parts of the urban core may "move downmarket".
I always thought the old HMV space was perfect for the Apple store. Certainly was bigger and more attractive than the boring block in the HSC.

Apple also seems to traditionally have its flagship shops downtown. Very sad that ours ended up in mall. At least it's well serviced by transit...
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Old Posted Feb 15, 2016, 1:30 AM
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As a transplanted Halifax native, I think Halifax is doing ok retail-wise. When I was a kid in the late 70's, downtown was thriving, Scotia Square was super-busy and served the downtown sort of like Pacific Centre serves Vancouver, Barrington was a little like our Granville Street with chain retail and great landmark movie theatres like the Capitol and Paramount. Then came the era of the business parks, Bayer's Lake and more recently Dartmouth Crossing. These were mega-developments for a metro the size of Halifax and seemed to destroy the downtown retail. I was shocked, years later, to see Scotia Square gutted and Barrington reduced to a few coffee shops and vintage retail. Spring Garden also seemed to be hanging by a thread, Park Lane, poorly conceived originally, was half empty and SGR had only a handful of mediocre national brands like HMV and Le Chateau.

HSC seemed to be the only centre thriving but it's still a mall and not downtown. To me a downtown defines and validates a truly vital city so I'm glad to see it crawling back slowly. The densification will certainly help, but as a Vancouver resident, witness to our incredible development boom over the last 15 years, it take a lots of residents, towers, new developments to really make a change. I'm glad to see chains like Urban Outfitters banking on the the change but I'd really love to see progressive urban chains bypass HSC and set up shop on SGR and Barrington. I personally could see Barrington becoming a furniture and design hub with stores like EQ3, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel and CB2, SGR would be a great place for fast-fashion like ZARA, Topshop, as well and fitness-lifestyle like Kit and Ace.

I'm excited about the changes to HSC but it will likely serve as another pull from downtown's potential.

People will flock downtown if there are offerings more unique than malls and not found elsewhere that cater and speak to their urban lifestyle. Duplicating mall retail simply won't work, especially during the winter months so landlords and planners should strive for innovation and offer incentives to those types of retailers who will commit to improving the downtown retail-mix and attracting business.
This is a great snapshot of downtown's decline.

The business parks really killed downtown. I lay that directly at the feet of greedy developers, compliant bureaucrats, and clueless city politicians and their "race to the bottom" competition among municipalities before amalgamation and then just more greed and stupidity to the same end, after amalgamation.

For a small-to-mid-sized-city, we sure have a lot of business parks...

Even the "Halifax" Chamber of Commerce is in Burnside.

They should re-name it the Burnside Chamber of Commerce and stop the deception.
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Old Posted Feb 15, 2016, 3:30 AM
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This is a great snapshot of downtown's decline.

The business parks really killed downtown. I lay that directly at the feet of greedy developers, compliant bureaucrats, and clueless city politicians and their "race to the bottom" competition among municipalities before amalgamation and then just more greed and stupidity to the same end, after amalgamation.

For a small-to-mid-sized-city, we sure have a lot of business parks...

Even the "Halifax" Chamber of Commerce is in Burnside.

They should re-name it the Burnside Chamber of Commerce and stop the deception.
I think that in most large cities business parks aren't identified as such, they are just large areas that are zoned industrial. If you have flown into the Toronto Pearson International Airport you will have seen many square miles of such industrial areas. It is a good measure of the health of a city, especially if the business parks are full of manufacturing and distribution warehouses that wouldn't normally be located in a city's downtown area.

Halifax needs lots of industrial areas (i.e. business parks) that are actually filled with manufacturing and distribution warehouses to provide jobs for people who want to live in the city.
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Old Posted Feb 15, 2016, 3:34 AM
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Totally agree, as I referenced, the Bayer's Lake and Dartmouth Crossing developments dwarf almost anything we have in metro Vancouver, a metro of 2.5M! No one should have allowed that sort of scale, especially during the peak of the big-box craze! In Vancouver, those types of developments were much further away, in fact the City of Vancouver only recently approved a Walmart within the city limits.

Downtowns are vital to a city's existence, soul and fabric and should never be put at risk. I'm glad it's on the rebound but it lost 20 - 30 years in the process.
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Old Posted Feb 15, 2016, 3:35 AM
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This project deserves a thread of it's own:


Source: MMC Architects (http://mmcarchitects.ca/halifax/)

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Are there any other large structures with glass ceilings like this in Halifax? I can't think of any.
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Old Posted Feb 15, 2016, 3:48 AM
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I think that in most large cities business parks aren't identified as such, they are just large areas that are zoned industrial. If you have flown into the Toronto Pearson International Airport you will have seen many square miles of such industrial areas. It is a good measure of the health of a city, especially if the business parks are full of manufacturing and distribution warehouses that wouldn't normally be located in a city's downtown area.

Halifax needs lots of industrial areas (i.e. business parks) that are actually filled with manufacturing and distribution warehouses to provide jobs for people who want to live in the city.
I'm fine with *industrial* parks. They serve the function you note. The problem is that our business parks are not strictly industrial. Bayers Lake, Dartmouth Crossing, and even parts of Burnside, include significant retail and office space. That is what significantly hurt downtown, not legitimate warehouses and industrial operations.

And as for the size, let me quote connect2source:

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Totally agree, as I referenced, the Bayer's Lake and Dartmouth Crossing developments dwarf almost anything we have in metro Vancouver, a metro of 2.5M! No one should have allowed that sort of scale, especially during the peak of the big-box craze! In Vancouver, those types of developments were much further away, in fact the City of Vancouver only recently approved a Walmart within the city limits.

Downtowns are vital to a city's existence, soul and fabric and should never be put at risk. I'm glad it's on the rebound but it lost 20 - 30 years in the process.
As connect2source says, what we have in HRM "dwarfs" anything in Vancouver's metro area, which is literally 5 or 6X the size of Halifax Metro.

None of this is to discount that these parks have a role to play. They do. But we don't need the massive business parks we have. It's overkill. And our downtowns in Dartmouth and Halifax have paid a price. We're still trying to recover. It will probably take decades, if it ever happens.
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Old Posted Feb 15, 2016, 10:40 AM
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As connect2source says, what we have in HRM "dwarfs" anything in Vancouver's metro area, which is literally 5 or 6X the size of Halifax Metro.

None of this is to discount that these parks have a role to play. They do. But we don't need the massive business parks we have. It's overkill. And our downtowns in Dartmouth and Halifax have paid a price. We're still trying to recover. It will probably take decades, if it ever happens.
I think the real reason is: when downtown Vancouver and downtown Toronto were being developed in the 60's and 70's the focus was on multi-level malls. On the other hand, the newer suburb areas have "power centers" for a couple of reasons:
1) Retailers want to be able to open for extended hours if they so please without having to pay the overhead associated with security and overhead of an entire mall. They also want to have parking in close vicinity to their store.
2) Consumers have shown that they prefer the power center concept where they can just drive up to their selected store without wandering through a mall. This is evidenced by all the dead, dying and demolished malls in North America. I don't think it is a good idea to try to force malls on people who don't want them. However, since the younger generation doesn't seem to drive as much, maybe that will change?

Here are a couple aerial map links to power centers in Mississauga - https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.59841.../data=!3m1!1e3 and https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.61440.../data=!3m1!1e3. The second Mississauga example dwarfs Dartmouth Crossings - https://www.google.ca/maps/@44.70503.../data=!3m1!1e3. The Mississauga example is a mix of industrial and expansive commercial/retail (so if you include Burnside with Dartmouth Crossing they might be comparable). It may not be pretty, but it certainly is popular.


Well, you might be thinking that this is just Mississauga ; however, I can give examples of power centers in Milton, Oakville and Burlington; and these are just in the western suburbs of Toronto.

Here is a smaller one that is popping up in Hamilton - https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.19494.../data=!3m1!1e3. Just a positive note: consider Hamilton that was going through a period of slow growth due to reductions in the steel industry, its power center on the mountain looks rather small; isn't it somewhat encouraging that the Halifax Metro area can support the Dartmouth Crossing, which will get much larger once IKEA opens? Let's face it, places like IKEA would not have located in the developed areas of central Halifax.

I could go on and on with examples, but I have failed in my attempt to keep this post concise

Last edited by fenwick16; Feb 15, 2016 at 11:11 AM.
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Old Posted Feb 15, 2016, 2:16 PM
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I think the real reason is: when downtown Vancouver and downtown Toronto were being developed in the 60's and 70's the focus was on multi-level malls. On the other hand, the newer suburb areas have "power centers" for a couple of reasons:
1) Retailers want to be able to open for extended hours if they so please without having to pay the overhead associated with security and overhead of an entire mall. They also want to have parking in close vicinity to their store.
2) Consumers have shown that they prefer the power center concept where they can just drive up to their selected store without wandering through a mall. This is evidenced by all the dead, dying and demolished malls in North America. I don't think it is a good idea to try to force malls on people who don't want them. However, since the younger generation doesn't seem to drive as much, maybe that will change?

Here are a couple aerial map links to power centers in Mississauga - https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.59841.../data=!3m1!1e3 and https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.61440.../data=!3m1!1e3. The second Mississauga example dwarfs Dartmouth Crossings - https://www.google.ca/maps/@44.70503.../data=!3m1!1e3. The Mississauga example is a mix of industrial and expansive commercial/retail (so if you include Burnside with Dartmouth Crossing they might be comparable). It may not be pretty, but it certainly is popular.


Well, you might be thinking that this is just Mississauga ; however, I can give examples of power centers in Milton, Oakville and Burlington; and these are just in the western suburbs of Toronto.

Here is a smaller one that is popping up in Hamilton - https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.19494.../data=!3m1!1e3. Just a positive note: consider Hamilton that was going through a period of slow growth due to reductions in the steel industry, its power center on the mountain looks rather small; isn't it somewhat encouraging that the Halifax Metro area can support the Dartmouth Crossing, which will get much larger once IKEA opens? Let's face it, places like IKEA would not have located in the developed areas of central Halifax.

I could go on and on with examples, but I have failed in my attempt to keep this post concise
I agree, Fenwick. Vancouver is a special case in Canada because of its geography. The city has by necessity built up more than out. Not unlike what is seen in Hong Kong.

There are many small/mid-sized Canadian and American cities with large suburban style power-centres. It has been the go to style in North America for the last few decades. I don't like them, but I also don't think its fair to single out Halifax as a unique case that lost 20-30 years because of poor and over-ambitious suburban planning.

Yes, we had more retail downtown in the 70s and 80s, some of it national branded, but it was small scale and already headed towards obsolescence. A tiny Woolco and Sobeys in Scotia Square were about the biggest draw downtown could boast. MicMac Mall and HSC were already drawing away more shoppers than downtown could pull in.
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Old Posted Feb 15, 2016, 2:56 PM
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They had better think about snow removal for that glass roof......
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