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Calgary’s New Horizon Mall shop owners remain optimistic despite low traffic

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WATCH: Since opening in the summer, 11 shops have opened at the New Horizon Mall out of a possible 500. As Christa Dao explains, despite low traffic, shop owners at the mall are trying to remain optimistic – Oct 4, 2018

The New Horizon Mall near Balzac has been opened since the summer but as of Thursday, only 11 shops have opened.

Owners of Eye Optix, which has only been open for a week, said traffic has been slow and quiet.

“Maybe a dozen people a day come through here. On weekends it is a lot busier but again, it’s kind of quiet,” owner Adrian Wong said.

“It is a new mall, we expected it to be slow. We’re riding it. We’re giving it a year and then we’ll see,” he said.

He, like other shop owners, are trying to remain optimistic. The 320,000 square foot megamall is modelled after the wildly successful Pacific Mall in Toronto.

Retail shops are individually owned – much like a condo – and are individually leased.

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READ MORE: Calgary’s eerily empty New Horizon Mall postpones grand opening

Other retailers like Printgenic, a printing shop, are also banking on an increase in shops opening, which they hope will drive up sales in return.

“We’re very happy. It just worked out that If we open at the mall, we’ll benefit from foot traffic rather than being in an enclosed office,” Mirza Tahir said.

While the cavernous mall remains largely empty and quiet, developers insist it’s all part of the process.

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

“When I look at what happened at Pacific Mall (in Toronto) — which is the mode this is fashioned on — it took 18 months to be major occupancy, which is 75 per cent, but it took two years,” The Torgan Group president Eli Swirsky said.

Silk Road (pictured) is one of 11 shops that have opened since the summer. Dani Lantela / Global News

Swirsky claims a total of 39 stores are expected to open in the coming weeks. He lamented the real estate game is a waiting one.

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“You don’t buy real estate for today, you buy real estate for tomorrow,” Swirsky said. “This is going to be more successful than Pacific mall.”

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