January 24, 2018 8:02 pm
Updated: January 24, 2018 8:22 pm

New Horizon Mall nearing completion northeast of Calgary

WATCH: Construction is nearing completion on Alberta's new multi-cultural mega-mall. New Horizon Mall is just south of Cross Iron Mills and offers a retail experience never seen before in the province. Global's Sarah Offin got one of the first tours inside.

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There’s still construction work to do inside Canada’s soon-to-be second-largest mall.

The first floor alone at New Horizon Mall is as big as three CFL football fields and there are three levels.

In May, 500 multicultural retailers will set up shop inside the mall, just south of CrossIron Mills. For many of them, it will be their first time owning their own sales space.

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“Most malls, you have to lease through one of the big companies,” Wasim Elafech, the listing agent for New Horizon Mall, said.

“With this mall here you can actually own your unit.

“You can lease it, you can own your shop if you had a dream of any kind of store.”

READ MORE: New mega mall planned outside of Calgary 

Stores at the new mall are a lot small than traditional big box stores. The smallest take up just 145-square-feet.

Developers said 99 per cent of the stores are now sold. Some businesses, however, have been reluctant to buy in.

Ren Ten’s Tea has been operating in Calgary for almost 20 years. The owner worries the mall’s opening will drive business away from her northeast location. She thought about buying a store at New Horizon, but she’s concerned the mall won’t regulate who sets up shop next door.

“You might see lots of popular stores repeating over there with a different brand name,” manager Jack Chen explained.

“If you walk in to any mall right now, there’s three or four eye wear places or there’s a few of the same… bubble teas, or even nail salons,” Elafech said in response. “You’re going to have that here with 500 stores but they’re going to have different names.

“Somebody will always have something unique they’re selling.”

READ MORE: Investors in Asian-style New Horizon Mall north of Calgary confident of success

While its unique retail strategy is proving attractive for many businesses, it’s too much of a gamble for Chen and the owner.

“It might be a good investment — it might be good, who knows? — but there’s just too much uncertainty.”

The mall is expected to welcome its first customers as early as this spring.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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