MUJI – Fans of minimalism rejoice! The Japanese retailer MUJI have announced that they will open not one, but two Vancouver stores in 2017. Both stores are expected to be the biggest in Canada with one of them to be considered the flagship location. These locations will be a street-front store on Robson Street (spanning 10,000 square feet) and a mall location at the Metropolis at Metrotown (spanning 8,000 square feet) in Burnaby. Seeing as the invitations for MUJI’s Vancouver pop-up store (running from Jan 27 to February 28) ran out of mandatory (!) reservations in a matter of hours, we suspect MUJI fans are very happy with this development.
Foreign Buyers Tax – In order to combat Vancouver’s growing housing problem, the BC province had slapped a tax of 15% against foreign buyers purchasing real estate in Metro Vancouver. Having been in place since August 2016, it has already resulted in a drop in number of offshore purchasers. Any unintended side effects will take more time to notice but it has already resulted in a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in BC Supreme Court that is arguing that the tax violates over 30 international treaties that commits Canada to treating foreign nationals favourably. There is little doubt that this much-talked-about tax will continue to make waves in the New Year; we’ll be keeping our eyes and ears open for developing news.
Empty Home Tax – Vancouver City Council also formally approved a 1% tax on empty homes in the city, which is intended to encourage landlords to rent our properties. It’s another step in Vancouver’s long term efforts to solve the severe housing shortage. There will, of course, be exemptions to the rule, among which include if the owners are undergoing medical care; if the owners use the property for at least 6 months per year for work within the city of Vancouver; or if the home is currently undergoing major renovations. Find out more here: http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/empty-homes-tax.aspxb
Google Retail – The Vancouver Best Buy location at 2220 Cambie is how home to a large-scale Google shop, along with Best Buy stores in three other Canadian cities. Potential customers can now experience Google products first-hand in what Google Canada is calling a ‘shop-within-a-shop’. May we suggest popping by and experiencing Google’s Portal? It’s a fully immersive experience where customers can ‘fly’ anywhere through Google Earth!
Opening of Tsawwassen Mills – Owned by Montreal-based Ivanhoe Cambridge, Metro Vancouver’s latest mega-mall opened in October 2016 to much fanfare, with scores of shoppers visiting the 1.2 million square feet of retail space that span over 200 shops, outlet stores, restaurants, 1,100-seat food hall and a huge indoor skate park. This $600 million project attracted thousands of customers during its opening weekend and is shaping up to be a major player in the regional retail landscape. Across from the Mills mall is Tsawassen Commons, scheduled to make waves in 2017 with the addition of major tenant including a 150,000 square-foot ‘super’ Walmart.