Pacific Mall proposal would double its size, add hotel
Posted: March 12, 2010, 6:40 PM by Rob Roberts
By Alex Keshen, National Post
An ambitious expansion proposal for Markham’s Pacific Mall — the largest Asian mall in North America — would double its size, add tunnels into its parking lot, and build an on-site hotel.
Stephen Wong, chairman of Living Realty Inc., said the expansion announced today would include two storeys of retail space sandwiched between one underground level of parking and a four-tiered parking garage on top.
He anticipates the expansion would add approximately 250,000 square-feet of retail space and 450 stores. There are currently 500 stores spread across the existing 270,000-square-feet of mall.
“It’s been a very successful venture to start with, so people want to make it even better,” he said.
The mall, which sits at the northeast corner of Kennedy Road and Steeles Avenue East, is a popular tourist attraction: It’s “like Christmas shopping there every weekend,” said Mr. Wong, who has been in charge of marketing and sales for the mall since it began selling units in 1993.
Unlike conventional shopping centres, the Pacific Mall has cubicle-like units, starting at a standard 145 square feet. Stores are comprised of one or more units. Due to the small nature of the stores, Mr. Wong said the mall often attracts new immigrants looking to start businesses.
Sam Cohen, president of the mall’s board of directors, said there are often wait lists for commercial space.
“People are coming into the mall and they want to get space,” Mr. Cohen said. “It’s very hard to accommodate them because it’s not too often new stalls come available.”
Mr. Wong said the proposal includes underground traffic tunnels for cars turning left from Steeles into the mall. The tunnel, similar to one at the nearby IBM campus on Steeles, would “make traffic a lot smoother rather than queuing up and blocking the road,” he said.
Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, commissioner of transportation services for York Region, said they already receive many complaints about traffic congestion in the area.
“Our job will be to make sure we build the infrastructure and engineer solutions that certainly won’t make anything worse, and ideally we’ll try and find things that will make it better,” she said.
The project has not yet been approved by the Town of Markham. Mr. Wong said he estimates the project will be completed in about four years.
With the proposed Remington Centre development at Market Village next door, and future phases of Splendid China Tower across Steeles Avenue, Kennedy and Steeles will get really interesting. Forget all day GO Train service... I think this place will need a subway connection!
MODS: I'd like to change the thread title to "Pacific Mall Expansion"