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Vancouver Sun: New Metro Vancouver retail developments cluster around transportation hubs

Vancouver Sun, Evan Duggan, November 24, 2015

With the holiday shopping season ratcheting up, two large retail developments in Metro Vancouver are in the process of opening, with the developers touting the convenience of nearby public transit as a lure for shoppers.

Metro Vancouver’s retail sector is transforming, with retailers at Marine Gateway in Vancouver and Station Square in Burnaby opening new shops at dense, mixed-use projects located at transit hubs, with immediate connections to the SkyTrain, Canada Line and bus networks.

With retail openings taking place now through early 2016, Marine Gateway will include shops, a pub, offices, a fitness facility and an 11-screen Cineplex Theatre complex. The development, located at the Canada Line’s Marine Drive station near the South Vancouver Bus Loop, also includes 415 condominium and 46 rental units.

Retail activity is ramping up at Marine Gateway, said Andrew Grant, the president of PCI Developments.

He said several of the shops and services will be open by the end of November. “In December, we’ll have T&T Supermarket opening,” he said in an interview. “They’re anxious to get open before Christmas.” The Cineplex cinema is set to open in February or March, he added.

The commercial components at Marine Gateway are concentrated along a high-street style corridor. In addition to the grocery store and theatre, there will also be a drugstore, an Irish pub, a fitness centre, and a number of banks and fast food restaurants.

The neighbourhood previously lacked a commercial centre, Grant said, adding that he expects Marine Gateway to become a major residential, commercial and retail hub. He said “more than 500 buses a day come in, and 500 go out” from the South Vancouver bus loop.

PCI estimates that roughly 75 per cent of the bus passengers arrive and depart the bus loop from the Canada Line, he said. “Our tenants who came here, particularly T&T and Cineplex, were absolutely attracted by the transit connection.”

Grant said retailers and businesses recognize that dense urban developments come with a few compromises. “They don’t get the field of surface parking in front of them,” he said, adding that they also face a more complicated underground loading system, shared parking stalls, and less overall space.

“It’s not a traditional shopping centre, he said. “There’s lots of compromise, but they love the fact about the amount of people riding transit.”

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