How Larco Investments Has Turned Park Royal Into An Urban Village
Work is nearing completion on the extensive redevelopment of Park Royal, a decade-long endeavour by owner Larco Investments to transform BC’s second-largest shopping centre into a mixed-use urban village.
Larco VP Rick Amantea is overseeing work at the West Vancouver retail centre. In October, Le Maison Simons unveiled a 100k SF store at Park Royal South, the first in a nationwide expansion. And Rick notes 30k SF of retail was added on the south side of Marine Drive (American Eagle Outfitters, Aldo, La Vie en Rose), along with a revamped food court and upgraded interior finishes. This follows creation of Park Royal’s new Main Street, a promenade lined with 100k SF of aspirational retail (Anthropologie, Michael Kors, Kate Spade). The Keg Steakhouse + Bar opens this fall.
And now redevelopment of Park Royal North is underway, with a 45k SF Loblaws City Market launching this summer, along with a reno'd 35k SF London Drugs. Three other spaces will be added: one a 35k SF fitness club, and Rick says the two others will be occupied by retailers new to the North Shore (and possibly Metro Vancouver). The revamp of this section of the mall has focused exclusively on external retail, in an effort to adapt to a changing market. “We're returning Park Royal North to its original identity: an open-air shopping centre with an outward retail focus."
Park Royal will expand to roughly 1.5M SF by redevelopment's end. "It’s all about morphing away from being an enclosed regional shopping centre and becoming more of an urban neighbourhood,” explains Rick. “A community within the broader community.” Larco’s master plan calls for adding residential towers, which will benefit from Park Royal's already established high street and its variety of different retail precincts. (Fact: Park Royal was Canada’s first-ever department store-anchored mall; in 1950 Woodward's opened its first suburban location there.)
The redevelopment is paying off. Rick tells us gross sales at Park Royal are climbing “at a handsome rate” and the retail centre’s been seeing increased performance per square foot. And because Park Royal offers a unique retail experience—outdoor cafés and eateries, dynamic external water features and public art installations, plus five kilometres of bike lanes through and around the property—Rick notes they've been seeing an uptick in tourist traffic. "We’ve hit the right chord with our customers.”