$360M Redevelopment Takes CF Rideau Centre To The Next Level
After a three-year, three-phase, $360M makeover, Ottawa’s CF Rideau Centre is ready for its close-up. Cadillac Fairview SVP Danielle Lavoie tells us how the mall's enhancements will lure shoppers and grow market share.
That’s Danielle second from left at the grand opening for the revamped CF Rideau Centre. Cutting the ribbon is Donald Simons. His family’s 100k SF store anchors the final phase of the redevelopment, which added four levels and 230k SF: 28 retail spaces and 21 new shops/restaurants. (To Danielle’s left is mall GM Cindy VanBuskirk; to her right is CF development EVP Wayne Barwise; to Donald’s right is Ottawa mayor Jim Watson, councillor Mathieu Fleury and Simons CEO Peter Simons.) A 35k SF dining hall opened in 2014, and Canada’s second Nordstrom launched in the former Sears last year.
Danielle, CF’s Eastern Canada portfolio manager, says CF Rideau Centre’s redevelopment—which includes a three-level underground parking garage and façade improvements along Rideau Street—is aimed at upping traffic and market share by offering a broader spectrum of options, “from top luxury store banners to everyday commodities you need.” Most retailers in the project's third phase are first-to-market for Ottawa, like Strellson, Massimo Dutti, Anthropologie and Frank + Oak. “This is the final step in making this a first-class destination retail property for downtown Ottawa.”
The shopping centre, a block east of Parliament Hill, will have three direct light rail transit access points to Rideau Station, a stop on OC Transpo's new Confederation Line, which opens in 2018 and will deliver “even more traffic,” Danielle tells us. With over 19.5 million annual visitors, CF Rideau Centre is among CF’s most productive properties. “But now we’re taking it to the next level." CF’s other flagship centres—CF Toronto Eaton Centre, CF Sherway Gardens, Calgary’s CF Chinook Centre and Vancouver’s CF Pacific Centre—have undergone similar transformations.
While Danielle acknowledges e-commerce is “a reality we can’t fight," a website can’t offer the mall experience: pairing shopping with dining and entertainment (above is CF Rideau Centre's new food court). In upgrading its properties, CF is ensuring they remain relevant globally—drawing major players like Nordstrom—and as local hubs. “Malls are community gathering places—some things don’t change.” It’s early days, so the impact of CF Rideau Centre's remodel is hard to assess. But it’s been a construction zone for three years, and traffic hasn’t trended down. Danielle calls that "a good indicator of future success.”