Regional shopping centre planned for southeast Seton area


By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald - October 21, 2014

About 200,000 square feet of retail development

Warren Paulsen, vice-president of commercial for Brookfield Residential.

Photograph by: Lorraine Hjalte , Calgary Herald

CALGARY - New retail development planned for the Seton area in southeast Calgary is aimed at meeting huge demand from shoppers in the area.

Warren Paulsen, vice-president of commercial for Brookfield Residential, told the Herald the next phase of retail development for Seton will include about 200,000 square feet of space on more than eight hectares of land in a regional shopping format.

“The area requires these services. It’s been part of our plan going back to 2000 when we started the land-use and outline plan process with the city,” said Paulsen. “We’ve been in the planning stages of this thing for a long time and we waited for the hospital (South Health Campus) to really get nearer completion. We didn’t want to be building out there on our own. And we needed rooftops to support our initial tranche of retail.

“We’ve always characterized Seton as being the urban core for a city of 100,000 people. When you put it in the context of Alberta cities, it’s bigger than Red Deer.”

He said the next phase of retail development is currently in the pre-leasing stage as the developer looks for regional tenants that will draw customers from not just the immediate area.

Paulsen said Brookfield hopes to break ground on the project in May 2015 and it would take about two years for completion.

The open format regional shopping centre will have about 20 stores with retail space ranging from 1,500 square feet to 32,000 square feet.

Paulsen said the estimated population in the surrounding communities of Cranston, Auburn Bay and Mahogany is about 30,000 people today. The surrounding area south of Highway 22x (Marquis de Lorne Trail) will be home to approximately 120,000 people on build out which is estimated to be between the years 2030-2035.

“Everything south of (Highway) 22 we’re underserviced effectively. We’ve been studying the retail market down there for many years. That area could handle more retail. There’s more than enough demand,” said Paulsen.

Seton’s first phase of retail development, the Gateway district, is completed with about 130,000 square feet that includes the Save-On-Foods grocery store, Shoppers Drug Mart, BMO and TD Bank as well as other stores and restaurants.

A 100,000-square-foot medical office building is just breaking ground right now with the expectation of completion by the summer of 2016. Paulsen said about 60 per cent of the building is pre-leased with the anchor tenant being EFW Radiology. The building will also house a walk-in clinic, pharmacy, optometrist, dentists.

“We’re going to have a lot of construction going on down there next year,” said Paulsen.

Loblaws is also planning to build a 100,000-square-foot Superstore with an anticipated opening by year-end 2015.

Also, Cineplex has submitted a development permit for a movie theatre hoping to start construction in the spring with completion a year later, said Paulsen.

A new Marriott Hotel is targeting completion for October of next year. The first phase of a new seniors’ care facility of 300 units should be completed by mid next year.

Also, the city is planning to build a future recreation centre and library for Seton. And a high school is also planned for the area.

“Retail always follows the rooftops and as residential development continues across the deep southeast sector of Calgary, Brookfield’s Seton project will be a welcome addition to an underserved sector of the city,” said Michael Kehoe, an Alberta-based retail specialist with Fairfield Commercial Real Estate Inc. in Calgary.

“Retail, foodservice and personal services are in high in demand in Seton and this evolving commercial node will cater to the expanding primary trade area and the South Health Campus a major traffic generator and employment centre.”

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