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

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.

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“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. 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.

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