Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brentwood Mall 'High Street' will create nightlife

Each day as the evening approaches, the area around Bentwood Mall becomes a gloomy void as street-level human activity significantly wanes when the stores in the mall begin to wind down their operations.  With no amenities other than the disorganized chaos that is Zellers and the London Drugs at the rear of the mall opening outside regular mall hours, the place becomes quite desolate.

The Brentwood Redevelopment, if planned well to create a good balance of retail and entertainment amenities, should jolt the area out of its current pattern of falling into a sleepy lull by 8pm.  Along with the introduction of an entertainment plaza that will include restaurants and a movie theatre, the redevelopment will include a "High Street" running from the northwest to the southeast of the mall site between Willingdon and Beta Avenues, north of Lougheed Hwy.  This street will have 2 distinct sections with a "Fashion District" towards the northwest end and a "Village District" at the southeast end of the site.

The Village

According to the retail brochure from Shape Properties, 10, 000 sf of retail space will face out at street level on Lougheed Hwy and Beta Ave in the SE corner of the development.  This retail space will be situated between Beta Ave and a new entrance off of Lougheed Hwy.  Immediately above this retail space will be another 10, 000 sf of retail along with 82, 000 sf more of retail space throughout the Village at the first level.  The second level will include more than 26, 000 sf of additional retail space in the west end of the Village near the Alpha Ave entrance.  The corner of Beta and Lougheed will see a 40-story, 320-unit residential tower above the retail space there.  West of this tower will be a 50-story, 400-unit residential tower above the retail space just east of the Alpha Ave entrance.

Considering the size of the retail space envisioned in the Village, we can expect a grocery store to serve the 3000 plus new residents of the site (half of them in the Village itself) and the existing residents immediately east and north of the mall.  An IGA marketplace-type of grocery store would be a nice fit here (though nothing has been confirmed) and it may be a bit of a stretch, the recent closure of the IGA in the Montecito area near Burnaby Mountain Golf Course is fuelling my speculation.  Other amenities in the Village might include a coffee shop or two, a family restaurant, a neighbourhood pub, medical clinic, specialty bakery, a liquor store,  a dry cleaner or other service-related business.

Pedestrian access from the northeast end will be facilitated by stairs into the Village from the single family residences there.  The pedestrian access will go to/from Beta across the street from Ridgelawn Drive.  The new entrance off Lougheed will provide access to the scores of pedestrians that currently enter off Beta Ave from Brentwood Drive.  The entrance on Beta Ave will be closed to make room for retail space.

Fashion District

Although I'm not a "fashionably astute" consumer, it will be nice to see a variety of clothing and footwear choices for the odd day that I need to replenish my "wardrobe".  For me, this stretch of "High Street" will merely serve as an access to and from Brentwood Station or the entertainment area next to it...unless a Tim Horton's steeped tea gives me good reason to make a stop along this stretch.  Here's hoping.

As one walks westward towards the "Fashion District" (FD), the atmosphere should begin to take on a livelier tone with the presence of commuters going in and out of Brentwood Station/Bus Loop.  This part of the street will have shops that will tend to open later than the stores inside the mall and will certainly see a spill-off of people from the station and the entertainment plaza next to it.

The street-level entrance to the FD off of Alpha Avenue will include 6, 700 sf of retail space at the east corner  (Village) and 9, 000 sf at the west corner (Entertainment Plaza).  The first and second levels of the FD will each include over 85, 000 sf for a total of over 170, 000 sf of retail space.  Now that's a lot of clothing and shoes.

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