There’s an exciting and unique addition to Calgary’s vibrant and entrepreneurial retail landscape.
“Smaller businesses have long wanted access to the same kind of shopping mall environment and the corresponding customer base enjoyed by larger businesses,” explains respected retail industry and developer expert Eli Swirsky, president of Torgan Group. “The New Horizon Mall breaks down the barriers for businesses looking for that retail advantage in a unique mall environment not found anywhere else in southern Alberta.”
The $200-million, 320,000-square-foot mall in Balzac, 20 minutes from downtown Calgary and directly across from CrossIron Mills, opened for business in early May and will soon feature more than 500 stores ranging in size from 285 to 855 square feet.
New Horizon Mall is a southern Alberta retail first. Each store is purchased outright; some stores have been purchased by the retailers themselves and some are purchased by investors and leased out.
A majority of the store spaces are privately owned by different investors who lease out the store space to individual retail tenants or directly to store owners.
Torgan retains ownership of about 30 per cent of the space and the units are governed by a set of common bylaws, similar to a condo corporation, with yearly maintenance fees.
The mall, which some are already calling “a small-business owner’s dream” is a sprawling, bright, modern “international bazaar,” featuring a food court with 26 restaurants and seating for 300 – serving up a variety of international cuisines and local specialties from dozens of national and independent owner-operated eateries.
The mall also has an underground parkade and outside surface parking.
In terms of the total number of actual stores, New Horizon is the largest mall in Calgary and second largest in Alberta, behind West Edmonton Mall.
“A key aspect of the New Horizon Mall uniqueness is, unlike other malls which are occupied primarily by large corporations and chains, New Horizon Mall is a collection of small businesses, family enterprises and local entrepreneurs bringing their products and services to the Calgary region,” Swirsky says.
“The physical design of New Horizon is different. It has intentional details which give smaller stores maximum retail exposure. It’s also different from other malls where the types of stores are usually limited and controlled – like only two clothing stores, only two shoe stores, one houseware store. We allow the marketplace to dictate. There is total control and a free market.”
He adds that New Horizon Mall may be the most culturally-diverse shopping destination in southern Alberta. Each retail space provides shoppers with international specialty products or services, including contemporary fashion, high-tech goods and exotic everyday items.
He acknowledges that consumer trends and other factors impact retail and mall operations and emphasizes that the New Horizon Mall location, across from the booming CrossIron Mills, is a positive.
“We don’t see it as competition at all. On the contrary,” Swirsky points out, “it’s not competition but complementary. We are next to a mainstream mall with mostly big stores. The smaller and culturally-diverse stores at New Horizon Mall enhance the consumer experience and the area.”