At one point, it seemed like opening the new $200-million outlet mall in time for the May 3 grand opening was an impossible task. However, paint was polished, signs were raised, and doors were opened just as planned.
Various restaurants, such as IHOP and McDonald’s, will open just outside the mall later this year. The Audi and Porsche dealerships continue to be under construction and the Hilton Hotel is nearing completion.
The mall inside, minus some notable exceptions, is complete and looks fantastic. Some of the biggest outlets stores are all done including DSW, Nike, Under Armour and Saks OFF FIFTH.
Entertainers, models and many dignitaries were in attendance. Nearly 60 retail executives from Ivanhoe Cambridge were there for the oprning. Politicians of every stripe and media of all kinds were in the crowd.
The Food Court was the site of a opening ceremony hosted by Ace Burpee. Speeches were made by Premier Brain Pallister, Mayor Brian Bowman and Claude Sirois, President of Ivanhoe Cambridge. They welcomed assembled crowd and the people outside.
General Manager of the mall, Dimitrios Cotsianis, announced that the mall would be giving $10,000 to a local charity. It would be up to mall patrons to decide who. He thanked all those who helped bring the mall to fruition. Nearly 2,000 workers came together in the final weeks to make the grand opening a reality.
During the open speeches, a train rolling through reminder everyone what the Seasons of Tuxedo site was just a few short years ago: a railyard. Also visible was a huge crowd snaking around the building (including a lot of kids who should have been school!)
Police and heavy security along Kenaston and Sterling Lyon directed people into the packed mall. Organizers estimated that there might have been 4000 people at the doors at opening.
Following the speeches, media was led to the door for the official grand opening. People literally ran inside. It wasn’t long before the stores were packed to the rafters and traffic flooded the surrounding streets.
More stores and restaurants (in and outside the mall) will open into the fall. Expect it to be busy for the next while!
Much of the photography by Matraisa Klippenstein. Thanks for her professional work that day.
This has been a editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations