January 8, 2019 8:57 pm

New Horizon Mall businesses benefiting from free rent in Calgary

WATCH: An incentive from the New Horizon Mall's developers to fill shops by Christmas resulted in a jump in the number of stores moving in. Michael King reports.

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Most of New Horizon Mall’s halls are still filled with empty storefronts, but a pre-Christmas bonus is helping attract more tenants in the Calgary shopping centre.

The 320,000-square-foot shopping centre features 517 privately-owned stalls that are rented out to business owners.

The Torgan Group, the developers of the mall, offered a $5,000 incentive to any owners who could fill their spaces by Christmas.

Scott Smith, the mall’s general manager, said the incentive seems to have worked.

“It certainly helped open some stores that we wouldn’t have seen open prior to Christmas,” Smith said. “I think it was well-received and it was a nice incentive.”

The incentive is no longer being offered, he said.

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


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Ram Rashed, the mall’s project coordinator, said the number of stores nearly doubled in December, partly due to the bonus. Sixty-seven shops are up and running, and another 60 are available to move in.

“We’ve actually broken our goal,” explained Rashed. “And we will exceed every goal we have in the future.”

Rashed said the mall’s target is to have half of the 517 stores filled by June 2020.

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

Some owners used the incentive to subsidize the cost for business owners, offering three to six months of free rent.

Chioma Osi opened Flawless Rack, a women’s clothing store, in late December and was given three months free rent.

She said the financial boost helped her focus on getting her store started.

“It was really huge for me because I didn’t think that I would get [free rent],” said Osi. “It’s so amazing. I don’t need to worry about anything.”

Osi added that she’s seen an uptick in traffic since her shop opened.

“I’ve seen huge changes between [December] and now, so I’m really hopeful that in about three months, there’s going to be a huge difference.”

Smith said the mall will be focusing on better advertising in the hopes of increasing sales for stores.

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