The unpopular white shell will be stripped from the high-profile property at the intersection of Granville and West Georgia, and replaced with glass window walls.
Officials with Cadillac Fairview say the renovation is expected to take up to two years and the Nordstrom store is expected to open in 2015.
Another 48,000 square feet of multi-tenant retail space is being added to the lower mall level of the building, to open in late 2014.
The top four levels of the building will also be converted to premium office space.
The project was designed by renowned Vancouver architect, James K. M. Cheng, who also designed the Shangri-La, Fairmont Pacific Rim, and the Shaw Towers.