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VAUGHAN, ONTARIO-In a 50-50 joint venture with Ivanhoe Cambridge of Montreal, Quebec, The Mills Corp. of Arlington, VA is moving dirt for a 1.2-million-sf enclosed shopping, dining and entertainment venue in the City of Vaughan, Ontario, that should open in fall 2004.

Located on a 200-acre site at the southeast corner of Highway 400 and Rutherford Road, north of Toronto, Vaughan Mills is ultimately slated to include 15 anchor tenants, 200 specialty shops and several restaurant and entertainment options. Mills is holding back details about its design and anchor tenants until its groundbreaking ceremony, to be held on-site on June 16.

Mills EVP Steven Jacobsen tells GlobeSt.com that finidng a location in Canada was “of extreme importance” to the cmpany’s international initiative, in large part because it is right next door. With the time it has taken to assemble the necessary acreage and get through the approval process, the groundbreaking has been three years in the making, says Jacobsen.

Some 7.5 million people live within 60 miles of the site, according to Mills, and the center will be one of the largest in the region. The project is Ivanhoe Cambridge’s first joint venture with The Mills. Ivanhoe’s President and CEO Rene Tremblay described the relationship as bringing together his company’s expertise in the Canadian retail market and the proven Mills concept.

Ivanhoe Cambridge is one of Canada’s largest real estate investment, development and management companies. Focused on urban shopping centers, the company has a portfolio of more than 46 million sf of retail space in 50 regional and super-regional shopping centers. Ivanhoe Cambridge is a member of CDP Capital, the asset manager for the giant Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec public pension fund. Amongst its shareholders, the company also counts four Canadian pension funds.

The Mills Corporation is a self-managed REIT that owns, develops, leases, manages and markets a portfolio of 21 retail and entertainment destinations totaling approximately 26 million sf. The company has seven projects under construction and/or development around the world. Its share price on Thursday was $33 in afternoon trading, off $0.19 on the day but still within $0.43 of its 52-week high that occurred on May 28.

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