CrossIron Mills and Southgate expansion

Two of the largest commercial retail construction projects in western Canada of late-CrossIron Mills shopping centre in Balzak and the Southgate Shopping Centre expansion in Edmonton-tie for this year's Top Project in the Commercial category.

A source of excitement since Ivanhoe Cambridge announced it, CrossIron Mills shopping centre, valued at around $450 million, has drawn more than a million visitors since its mid-August opening.

The 1.4 million sq. ft mall is the first Mills project in western Canada. The Mills Corp. in the U.S.
developed the Mills concept. It combines retail with entertainment to create buildings that offer much more than shopping.

The concept also combines the best of traditional enclosed malls with the best of power centres. The mall boasts 17 anchor tenants with more than 20,000 sq. ft each. Many of the retailers have their own exterior entrances as well as interior entrances.

In other firsts, CrossIron Mills is the first enclosed mall built by Ivanhoe Cambridge since 1990.

Bob Hildenbrandt, VP of Ledcor Construction Ltd. in Calgary, says construction came in on budget and schedule in spite of a delay related to water service. Most of the mall is open. An entertainment wing is scheduled to open next summer.

Major subcontractors include Western Electrical, DCM Mechanical, Collins Industries Ltd., and Skyline Drywall.

The other notable retail construction project completed in Alberta this year is the $100 million-plus Southgate expansion. Contractor PCL says the structure was completed about six months ahead of schedule.

The main 510,000 sq. ft addition contains more space for commercial outlets as well as a new food court, parking space, and loading docks. The structure is reinforced concrete. PCL says about 21,000 sq. ft of the existing part of the mall-which remained open during the two years of construction-was changed to accommodate the expansion.

The expansion features 155,000 sq. ft on the ground level and two levels of parking directly above. The new west exterior incorporates the existing brick with metal cladding and glazing to give Southgate a decidedly urban feel. That dovetails with the upscale look of the interior, which has become home to a number of new high-end retailers such as Coach.

The addition officially opened Aug. 5. While largely complete, the existing food court on the north end of the building is being converted into additional retail space. PCL says that work should wrap up early next year.

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