PCL poised to pick up Bayshore expansion contract

Floor space to increase by 31%

PCL Constructors appears set to lead the massive expansion of Bayshore Shopping Centre, a project that will add more than 200,000 square feet to Ottawa's fourth-largest mall, documents filed with the city show.

Upon completion, Bayshore will have a total of 915,000 square feet of gross leasable floor area spread over three floors of commercial retail units. That's up 31 per cent from its current 698,500 square feet, according to a planning rationale prepared by Delcan Corp. for Ivanhoé Cambridge, the Montreal-based property management and development firm that owns the west-end shopping centre. The document was drafted to support a rezoning application approved by city council last year.

The four-year expansion plan is scheduled to begin this spring and includes demolishing the 800-stall east parking structure to make way for a new three-storey retail area with 175,500 square feet of additional space, connected to the original building.

The additional space will accommodate new commercial tenants - some that are debuting in the Ottawa market, according to the document - and an expanded, relocated food court.

Interior renovations to the existing structure will include the relocation of various commercial retailers as well as corridor modifications and will make up the remainder of the extra floor space, said Ronald Clarke, Delcan's manager of planning.

The existing parking structure on the north side of the property will be demolished and replaced with a new five-level parking garage. When completed, the 39-year-old mall will have 4,110 parking spaces, an 18-per-cent increase from the 3,470 current spots.

Bayshore's general manager Denis Pelletier would not comment on the construction contract until details are finalized, saying many "obstacles" need to be resolved first.

"We're hopeful that it'll be sooner than later," he says of the contract's completion. "There's a demand (for retail space) now, and if we can satisfy the demand that would be great."

Cushman & Wakefield Ottawa reported a retail vacancy rate of 0.6 per cent at the end of last year for large power centres and regional malls such as Bayshore.

These low vacancy rates are part of the rationale for the expansion, Mr. Pelletier says, adding that the property is aging and in need of a reinvestment to prevent deterioration.

WHO WILL FILL THE NEW SPACE?

Bayshore should be targeting trendy specialty stores, says Barry Nabatian, director of the market research division at Shore Tanner & Associates. He highlighted H&M and British men's clothing brand Topman as shops that would do well in Bayshore, adding that he's heard rumours of an Apple store coming to the mall.

Well-known stores such as these could elevate Bayshore's profile, but the expansion is unlikely to change the local pecking order, says Mr. Nabatian.

"I doubt that Bayshore will ever surpass the Rideau Centre," he says, noting expansions of both the Rideau Centre and St. Laurent Shopping Centre are expected in the coming years.

Bayshore currently hosts two department stores, three major retailers and more than 160 commercial retail units.

PCL declined to comment on the contract until details are finalized.

Bayshore did not put a price tag on the expansion, but media reports estimate it to be around $150 million.