BROSSARD, QUEBEC—As lifestyle centers go, Canada’s first entry is a bit on the humongous side, and now the 1.9-million-sf project in suburban Montreal is adding another substantial element following the sale of a 17.5-acre parcel to Wal-Mart. The retailing giant’s Canadian arm is expected to commence site work shortly on the north end of Quartier Dix30, a $285 million entertainment and shopping complex being constructed jointly by RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust and several investment funds, with development and leasing assistance from Quebec real estate firm Divemco Inc.

“We are pleased to have Wal-Mart join the already outstanding lineup of retailers at Quartier Dix30,” says RioCan CEO Edward Sonshine, praising Divemco for executing a development and leasing campaign that has led to more than 100 stores already opening since last autumn and a like amount anticipated to come on line through next year’s fourth and final phase. By then, a 900-seat concert and theater hall will begin welcoming guests, joining other features such as a boutique hotel, gymnasium, spa and dozens of leading restaurants. The Montreal Canadians are building a $29 million sports training facility on an abutting site that will have 800 seats and include an indoor soccer field. According to Sonshine, Quartier Dix30 aims to create “an intimate, neighborhood-like feeling within a world-class shopping and entertainment district” on Montreal’s South Shore near the banks of the Saint Lawrence River.

Much like the host community, a suburb not yet a half-century old, Quartier Dix30 (1030) is defined by the roadway where it is situated, at the corner of Autoroutes 10 and 30. The lifestyle center aims to provide suburbanites access to leading international brands, many of which are already represented at Quartier Dix30. Tenants who have opened since the first phase was completed last autumn include American Eagle Outfitters, Circuit City, H&M, Nine West, Pier 1 Imports and Tommy Hilfiger. The remaining units should open by year’s end.

RioCan has a 50/50 ownership in Quartier Dix30, giving the Toronto-based REIT a portfolio of 30.7 million sf, all but 1.5 million sf of it retail. Of the company’s 198 retail investments, 125 are in Ontario. The Brossard complex gives RioCan 31 properties in Quebec, followed by 18 in Alberta and 13 in British Columbia. RioCan is providing management oversight of Quartier Dix30.

The Wal-Mart announcement comes amidst published reports that Divemco is now pursuing another Canadian lifestyle center in Montreal’s Griffintown district. As of press time, Divemco was not answering questions regarding that venture, which some are estimating would cost more than $1 billion to construct.

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