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‘Tinseltown’ for sale: Vancouver’s International Village mall hits the market

The northwest entrance to the International Village mall.
The northwest entrance to the International Village mall. Credit: CBRE

Just a day after it emerged that St. Paul’s Hospital was up for sale, another significant Vancouver property has hit the market.

International Village mall, which sits on a 3.38-acre site at Pender and Abbott streets, has been listed by commercial real estate firm CBRE.

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The firm has not listed a price for the property, but BC Assessment valued it at $45.65 million in 2018.

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“International Village is an attractive and well-built 195,000 [square-foot] shopping centre marking the crossroads of downtown Vancouver’s Central Business District, Stadium District, and Chinatown,” reads CBRE marketing material for the property.

READ MORE: Vancouver’s iconic St. Paul’s Hospital hits the real estate market

“The building is considered to be a notable architectural landmark with unique features such as a grand atrium, skylights, a [green] roof, and a sundial located atop the building.”

International Village was developed by Henderson Developments as a part of a master plan that included the shopping centre, six high-rises and several low-rises. It opened in 1999 anchored by a movie theatre — now a Cineplex property — that gave it the nickname of “Tinseltown.”

The location of International Village mall on the edge of Vancouver\’s Chinatown and Downtown Eastside.
The location of International Village mall on the edge of Vancouver\’s Chinatown and Downtown Eastside. Credit: CBRE

As initially envisioned, it would also have included a food market with fish, meat and produce along with a “fashion boulevard” anchored by a Benetton store, according to a 2008 lawsuit against the developer.

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But the mall initially failed to attract many of the hoped-for shops, resulting in a hefty award of damages to a Vancouver restaurant who alleged the developer had misrepresented the commitment of key anchor tenants.

The mall has struggled to fill storefronts at various times since its opening, a fact hinted at in the CBRE marketing materials.

“International Village’s vast retail space and superb location is remarkably under-utilized in its current form,” reads the sales brochure.

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“Investors are offered the opportunity to dramatically increase International Village’s visitation and revenue by implementing a new space planning and tenant positioning strategy.”

In recent years, the mall has found success with tenants such as Japanese budget home goods store Yokoyaya 123, a Rexall drug store, and the city’s first cat cafe.

Henderson is also selling an adjacent property, Paris Square, at 181 Keefer Place, which houses at T&T Supermarket as a part of a mixed-use retail/ office plaza.

That property is valued by BC Assessment at $34,378,000.