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Bower mall expansion earns accolades

June 4, 2009

By Harley Richards - Red Deer Advocate

Bower Place Shopping Centre’s multimillion-dollar renovation project has earned the Red Deer mall an award from an industry association and accolades from an architectural and design magazine.
The International Council of Shopping Centres has named Bower Place a 2008 Maple Leaf Gold Award winner in the design and development category for shopping centres with 400,001 to 750,000 square feet of retail space.

The ICSC praised the Red Deer mall for creating “a venue to celebrate the visual arts and showcase regional themes of history and culture.”

A news release issued by the New York-based council — whose 77,000 members include shopping centre owners, developers, managers and retailers — said the award was based on overall design qualities and creativity in development.

The Red Deer mall now qualifies for ICSC’s Global Awards, which will be presented in May.
The renovations also attracted the attention of Award magazine, which focuses on sustainable architecture, construction and interior design.

The Canadian publication featured Bower Place Shopping Centre in its October issue.
It described how the mall was “transformed from an ordinary shopping centre into an upscale community gathering place that showcases both western heritage and the arts.”
The five-year renovation project involved extensive cosmetic changes, the relocation of about 50 stores and the food court, and the creation of new corridors, entrances and a centre court. A number of new tenants, including Sears Canada, were added.

Bower Place Shopping Centre is owned by bcIMC Realty Corp. and Bower Place Property Corp, and managed by Vanreal Ltd.

When Vanreal president John van Haastrecht visited Red Deer in August to celebrate the completion of the renovation project, he said the work cost about $45 million.

“Red Deer people take it for granted, but we’re actually a very, very unique centre for the shopping centre industry,” said Joelle Brown, Bower Place Shopping Centre’s marketing director.

This uniqueness extends beyond the mall’s architectural design, she added.

“There are very few themed centres that have the extensive artwork that we have.”

Brown said she has received inquiries about the shopping centre from as far away as Europe.

“We’ve got operators and owners and presidents of brands and companies that come to the facility to see it and check it out and the feedback from them is that this facility, in the shopping centre industry, is like no other.”

Contact Harley Richards at


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