Chinook Centre
Chinook Centre is the largest enclosed shopping mall (by area) in Calgary, Alberta (1,175,000 square feet / 109,161 m²). It is also the most visited. It is located near the geographic centre of the city on Macleod Trail, just north of Glenmore Trail about 5 km (3 miles) south of downtown, and three blocks west of the Chinook C-Train station. The mall is owned by Cadillac Fairview, one of Canada's largest real estate property managers and developers.

In 1960, with Calgary's population and city limits rapidly expanding, the original section of Chinook Centre was opened on the site of the Chinook Drive-In Theatre. Designed as an open-air complex, the mall was anchored by Woodward's, Holt Renfrew, a bowling alley, and a branch of the Calgary Public Library, in addition to a variety of other higher-end stores. The centre was enclosed a few years later, and quickly became a focal point of social life for affluent Calgarians. In the mid 60's, a separate mall, Southridge, was opened across the street from Chinook. Built to be a competing centre with Sears and approximately 30 other stores, Southridge operated separately until 1974, when the malls came under common ownership and an expansion was built to bridge the centres together. The new, much larger mall was renamed Chinook Ridge Shopping Centre, and included a major enclosed parking structure, an office tower, and a food court. A major expansion and renovation in the early 1980s saw the addition of a new department store (fashion retailer Bretton's), a new 2-storey wing of specialty retailers, and a movie theatre (which closed down a few years later). The expansion also brought the mall's store count to approximately 300. The piece-by-piece construction had resulted in a disjointed, ill-conceived layout which confused and frustrated shoppers. By the mid-1990s, the centre had become extremely outdated. While it was still the largest mall in Calgary, other local malls were attracting more shoppers and new stores with expansions of their own. Overhaul Planning for a complete overhaul of Chinook Centre began in 1995. In 1998, after several setbacks caused by a change in mall ownership, the massive, $300 million renovation project was launched. The entire complex was stripped to its structure and completely rebuilt in 3 phases, while remaining open for business during the three-year construction period. Overall, the square footage of the centre was not significantly increased. However, the move to 'flagship' retailers requiring more space reduced the number of stores to approximately 200, down from 300 at its peak. This re-merchandising program was unkind to smaller, locally owned and operated retailers, who were squeezed out by soaring rents and the 'upscaling' of the property. A coin collector shop, comic book store, British goods shop, and pet store were some of the casualties. The Calgary Public Library also closed its Chinook branch during the redevelopment. Expansion Construction launched in February 2008 on a 180,000-square-foot (17,000 m 2) expansion to the mall's northeast side. The plan includes two underground parking garages, two floors of retail space, and between 60 and 80 higher-end stores. A valet parking service is also planned. Work is expected to be completed by Fall 2010. Stores confirmed to anchor the new wing are; BCBG MaxAzria, Coach, Diesel, Geox, Guess, Harry Rosen, Kiehls, Lacoste, Mexx, Michael Kors, Oakley, Skechers, and Teenflo . Chinook Centre also announced that Abercrombie & Fitch, associated brand Hollister Co., and Apple Store will be opening with the expansion . A walk way direct from the C-Train, to the food court is still in the design process . It would allow direct access into the mall and help reduce traffic congestion problems on the 61st Avenue and Macleod Tr. intersection. The City of Calgary has approved for the area re-development around the Chinook C-Train Station . Chinook Centre today Chinook Centre is home to three major department stores, 200+ stores, and several full service restaurants. It still contains its original bowling alley, as well as the city's largest movie theatre complex, the Famous Players Scotiabank Theatre Chinook (formerly the Paramount), with 16 screens and an IMAX. The mall also provides opportunities for more prominent retailers to design their own exterior facades. Today, Chinook has the 3rd highest sales per square foot of any mall in Canada, at approximately $805 (numbers from June 2006). Only Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto have higher sales. As such, it is home to many higher-end stores, many of which are not found anywhere else in Alberta. The focal point of the new mall is a 4-storey high rotunda, with a fibre optic 'constellation' ceiling and a time capsule at the centre's axis, set to be opened in the year 2999. The floor ornaments resemble a map of Calgary's rivers, the Bow and Elbow, with the time capsule placed where the mall would be located relative to the city. Also at the centre of the mall is a vast food court which was the largest in Western Canada when completed. The title was lost in 2005 to Metrotown Mall's new food court in Burnaby, British Columbia. Roughly the size of a football field, containing seating for 900, and offering 20-some food vendors, the food court overlooks 'Scraptor', a 20-foot (6.1 m) tall dinosaur fashioned out of old farming equipment parts. The mall contains three architecturally distinct ‘zones’, which also categorize store types to some extent. The north end contains mostly mid-priced ‘family’ oriented merchants, mid-to-upper-priced ‘young adult’ tenants occupy the south end, and higher-priced ‘lifestyle’ stores are clustered around the central rotunda. Chinook Centre also hosts one of the world's largest free pancake breakfasts. This event is traditionally held on the first Saturday of the Calgary Stampede.

Chinook Centre is anchored by Sears, The Bay, and Zellers department stores. Junior anchors include Old Navy, Chapters, Sport Chek, and GAP. In late 2005, the upscale US chain Williams-Sonoma opened a 4,500 square foot / 418 m² location, the fifth Canadian store in the chain, and the first store outside of the Toronto area. Its opening day sales were the second highest of any location in the company's history, second only to Manhattan's flagship store. The store was followed shortly by a 15,500 square foot / 1,440 m² Chinook Centre Pottery Barn (a division of Williams-Sonoma), the first Alberta store. There was speculation that Apple Store would open in 2007, however those plans fell through and the Apple Store was opened at Calgary's Market Mall instead. Sephora Cosmetics selected the centre for its first Western Canadian store which opened in 2007. Anchors

  • East Side Mario's
  • Ginza Asian Cuisine
  • Joey Tomato's Mediterranean Grill
  • Moxie's Classic Grill (Closed in 2009 due to mall renovations)
  • Chop Steakhouse (Opening summer 2010)

Anchor Area Type The Bay 203,342 sq ft (18,891.1 m 2) department store Chapters 20,889 sq ft (1,940.7 m 2) bookstore Chinook Bowladrome 23,808 sq ft (2,211.8 m 2) bowling alley Cineplex Entertainment 90,000 sq ft (8,400 m 2) movie theatres Gap 21,538 sq ft (2,000.9 m 2) clothing Jacob 15,696 sq ft (1,458.2 m 2) clothing Old Navy 19,223 sq ft (1,785.9 m 2) clothing Sears 172,986 sq ft (16,070.9 m 2) department store Shoppers Drug Mart 15,059 sq ft (1,399.0 m 2) drug store Sport Chek 19,980 sq ft (1,856 m 2) sports equipment store Zara 14,278 sq ft (1,326.5 m 2) clothing Zellers 115,586 sq ft (10,738.3 m 2) department store

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