MONTREAL -- Canadian and American developers plan to build a high-end shopping outlet centre north of Montreal that's expected to create as many as 800 full- and part-time retail jobs and will be marketed as a tourist destination.
"Shopping and vacations go hand-in-hand, thankfully,'' said Michele Rothstein, spokeswoman for U.S.-based Premium Outlets, a division of the Simon Property Group, the major partner in the development.
Construction should begin this year on the outlet centre in the Town of Mirabel, becoming the second Premium Outlet Centre in Canada, Rothstein said Tuesday.
The other outlet centre is being built west of Toronto in the Town of Halton Hills.
It's expected the new centre, which will be called Montreal Premium Outlets, will also draw on Montreal-area shoppers, Rothstein said.
Indiana-based Simon Property Group Inc., Toronto's Calloway Real Estate Investment Trust and Toronto-area SmartCentres are developing the Quebec outlet centre, which will have at least 80 stores and restaurants.
Financial details weren't released, but the Simon Property Group will own 50 per cent of the roughly $150 million project.
Names of stores for the Montreal- and Toronto-area outlets haven't been released yet. Stores at U.S.-based Premium Outlets include: Burberry, Kenneth Cole, J. Crew, Perfume Outlet, Cole Haan, Chef's Outlet and Vans.
There will be between 600 and 800 full- and part-time retail jobs as well as construction jobs, totalling several thousand jobs associated with the project, Rothstein said.
She said many Canadians are already familiar with Premium Outlets in places like Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., and New York.
"We know that when you are on vacation and travelling, outlet centres are a fun destination to look for and to spend some time. To plan an afternoon,'' she said.
"We work with tourism bureaus locally and regionally to position the centre as a must-visit, but that doesn't negate the importance of the local and regional shoppers.''
Al Mawani, president and CEO of Calloway, said some of the tenants at the 350,00-square-foot Quebec outlet will be new to Canada.
"`You have a collection of high fashion stores priced at a bit of a discount to what you might get for the same merchandise, if you could get it, in the downtown stores,'' Mawani said.
Retail analyst John Winter said the Montreal outlet will bring more choice to consumers and isn't expected to hurt the downtown core.
"It's increasing the variety and the options,'' said Winter of John Winter Associates Ltd. in Toronto.
If it's close to a major highway, it will be easy for tourists to get to, he said.
"Consumers want choice. They will probably bring in some new establishments that will increase the range of choice in the Montreal area. If it is the magnet that developers argue, then the vicinity will be crowded with stores and services, too. So it will be a big node that will expand.''
Simon Property Group currently owns or has an interest in 337 retail real estate properties in North America and Asia.
Calloway is one of Canada's largest real estate investment trusts. It owns and manages approximately 25 million square feet in 127 retail centres.
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