Tsawwassen Mills, the mega mall on Class 1 farmland between the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and Highway 99 opens today to breathless fanfare. As reported in the Delta Optimist  “A throng of eager shoppers is expected to descend on the 1.2-million-square-foot shopping centre, which has been intensely advertising incentives to lure those looking for deals.”

Located just off Highway 17 at 52nd Street, the mall will open with 180 stores including 16 anchor tenants, but will eventually have 200 retailers. Those retailers have had a tough time getting minimum wage workers to staff the mall, which does not have good transit connections and a dense population nearby to service the mall. Indeed on the Tsawwassen Mills website the hours of operation have been scaled back to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays from a more ambitious 10:00 p.m. closing.

The mall is estimating that up to 20 per cent of customers will be from outside Metro Vancouver, “including tourists and shoppers from other parts of the province”. 

The Delta Optimist happily predicts  “It remains to be seen if the 6,000 stalls in the parking lot will be enough for opening day, which is expected to clog local roads with traffic”.  Yes, in Delta, success is measured not in modal transportation splits but in parking spaces occupied. Motordom reigns on the south side of the Fraser.

The CBC  quotes retail consultant David Gray with a more cautionary note on how this largest of malls will be successful:

“It’s not going to be a slam dunk They’re not going to be a convenience mall or mall for locals. Sure, locals will shop there, but for them to be successful, they’re going to be what’s known as a destination mall or a mall where people are going to make some pretty major time investments for their shopping trips.”

If you are making the trek out to this mall of malls, do comment and let Price Tags know your observations and your predictions on the success of  this monolith to 20th century merchandising.