By Darlene Casten
Filipino investors are just a few of the 500 store owners in a new ethnic mall north of Calgary.
New Horizon mall opened to shop owners May 3. Over the next few months shops will start setting up and others will be leased out.
The public grand opening of the mall is expected to happen in the next couple of months.
Originally billed as an Asian mall, modeled after Pacific Mall in Markham, Ontario, New Horizon is now being marketed as an ethnic mall.
Filipino restaurant owner, Ron Ala, bought a shop in New Horizon in 2013.
Ala visited Pacific Mall and says he liked what he saw.
“It’s a boutique of different products – exotic products you can’t see in other malls, he says.
When New Horizon was first announced in Calgary, Ala was interested.
“First when I went there I was looking in the food court, for the Pacific Hut restaurant,” Ala says. “They weren’t selling in the food court, so I ended up buying a stall.”
Rather than selling cooked food, Ala thought he would sell Pacific Hut’s bread and baked goods. However, when he found out a grocery store will be a tenant in the mall, he decided he’d try to supply the grocery store with his baked goods and sell his store in the mall.
Ala says if he is unable to sell his storefront, he will lease it out, like many of the other tenants in the building.
New Horizon Mall’s concept is different than most malls, where shops are tenants that pay rent to the mall owner, explains Eli Swirsky, president of the Torgan Group, developer of the mall.
“This mall is unique, first of all because its small stores it gives small owners the chance to operate, number two its owned by the merchants so it has a different type of commitment when you own a store and you own a business, it’s a higher level of commitment than when you are a tenant in a mall,” Swirsky says. “It worked very well in Toronto because people liked to own their stores and they liked to own the business.”
New Horizon Mall is $320,000 square feet and with 500 stores and 26 food court vendors. It cost $200 million to build.
New Horizon is located just south of CrossIron Mills. Swirsky says he expects many of the 9.5 to 12 million shoppers from CrossIron will also shop at New Horizon.
“We expect our shoppers to go over there and their shoppers to go over here,” he says. “We actually complement each other very well.”