Simons and Eataly opening in the former Nordstrom store space in downtown Vancouver?

La Maison Simons, more commonly simply referred to as Simons, announced today it will open two new urban store locations in Toronto.

In late 2025, it will open new major locations at CF Toronto Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto and Oxford Properties’ Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

Simons will take over 50% of the former Nordstrom store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre — 110,000 sq ft over three levels within 220,000 sq ft of former Nordstrom space. At Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Simons will be similarly sized at about 118,000 sq ft, taking over 63% of the mall’s former Nordstrom space.

The Quebec-based clothing and apparel retailer, which carries a wide range of products for men, women, and children, ranging from in-house fast fashion brands to international luxury brands, will invest over $75 million to refit the former Nordstrom spaces at CF Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre to Simons’ specifications.

Furthermore, Canadian commercial property giant Cadillac Fairview (CF) also announced today that much of the remaining former Nordstrom space at CF Toronto Eaton Centre not leased for the future Simons store will become an Eataly food hall and flagship Nike store.

Today’s various formal announcements represent the first permanent new major uses for the vast department store spaces vacated by Nordstrom across Canada in early Summer 2023, when the luxury retail chain withdrew its operations from the Canadian market.

CF Toronto Eaton Centre’s Eataly will span 25,000 sq ft over two levels and be the fourth Eataly location in Canada. Nike will relocate from its existing location in the mall to an expanded 18,000 sq ft space over two levels. Both Eataly and Nike will also open in 2025.

“We believe in the vitality and competitiveness of the Canadian retail landscape and are excited about the future here and about growing here,” said Bernard Leblanc, president and CEO of Simons, in a statement today.

“We are committed to listening to our customers from coast to coast and continuing to expand our unified physical and digital footprint, across the country, to meet their needs.”

Previous condition with Nordstrom:

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Previous condition of Nordstrom at CF Toronto Eaton Centre. (Google Maps)

Future condition with Simons, Eataly, and Nike:

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Artistic rendering of the exterior changes to the former Nordstrom building at CF Toronto Eaton Centre. (Cadillac Fairview/Simons)

This begs the question, are there similar plans in the works behind the scenes for Cadillac Fairview’s major urban mall in downtown Vancouver? Will Simons and Eataly open within the former Nordstrom space of CF Pacific Centre?

Shortly after Nordstrom announced its closure, Daily Hive Urbanized wrote an opinion article in March 2023 that suggested the former Nordstrom space at CF Pacific Centre could technically be divvied up for multiple retailers and businesses, depending on the desired size of the commercial tenants.

As Daily Hive Urbanized suggested at the time, theoretically, the 230,000 sq ft, three-level Nordstrom space at CF Pacific Centre could fit Simons, Eataly food hall, a flagship Uniqlo store, and an urban IKEA concept store (smaller than its suburban warehouse stores). If this were to be a full-sized Simons store, similar to the CF Toronto Eaton Centre location, the potential would be removed for one or two of the other smaller retailers.

These brands were selected in our opinion article as they have all previously expressed an interest in expanding into key urban markets in the country, but only if there is suitable, attractive, and centrally located space. It is vitally important for the former Nordstrom space to be tenanted to businesses that will bring sustained high foot traffic to downtown Vancouver.

In more recent months, there have been some rumours on social media that Simons, Zara, and Nike have signed on to take over CF Pacific Centre’s former Nordstrom space, with Simons taking over two of the three levels. Daily Hive Urbanized has not been able to confirm this.

In response to Daily Hive Urbanized’s inquiry today following the CF Toronto Eaton Centre tenant announcements, a spokesperson for Simons says there are no formal announcements planned for an expanded presence in Vancouver at this time.

“Generally speaking, Simons is always up for a challenge and is carefully analyzing potential opportunities in all Canadian markets. At this moment, however, no announcement is planned,” the spokesperson told Daily Hive Urbanized today.

“Right now, the team is excited about the recent opening of our Halifax store and the announcement of the two new stores in Toronto. We are not rushing things. We are patient in finding the right opportunity, at the right moment, at the right place, in the right conditions.”

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Previous space of Nordstrom at CF Pacific Centre in downtown Vancouver. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

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Mural by Billion Buns at the previous space of Nordstrom at CF Pacific Centre in downtown Vancouver. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Moreover, prior to today’s announcements, Cadillac Fairview already had a close relationship with both Simons and Eataly, as the retailer and upscale Italian food hall operator have a major presence in several other Cadillac Fairview-owned properties in Canada.

“We’re thrilled to continue our long-standing partnership with La Maison Simons and welcome this beloved Canadian retailer to downtown Toronto at CF Toronto Eaton Centre,” said Sal Iacono, president and CEO of Cadillac Fairview (CF), in a statement today.

“This highly anticipated store will inspire and delight millions of shoppers and tourists that visit our flagship shopping centre each year, while bringing a new vibrancy to the iconic intersection of Yonge and Dundas.”

Currently, Simons’ only location in British Columbia is at Park Royal mall in West Vancouver. This 100,000 sq ft location over two storeys opened in 2015.

It remains to be seen when the void left by Nordstrom in downtown Vancouver will be filled, but the immediate area’s retail landscape is already in a state of flux with major new additions and changeovers in the pipeline.

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La Maison Simons at Park Royal mall in West Vancouver. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

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La Maison Simons at Park Royal mall in West Vancouver. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Just half a block south from the former Nordstrom, later in 2024, Cineplex is expected to finally open its 45,000 sq ft The Rec Room entertainment centre within the Granville Entertainment District.

Winners, currently just across the street from the former Nordstrom, will be relocating more than a block north into the former Steve Nash Fitness World space — next to the Hudson’s Bay department store and SkyTrain Granville Station entrance. Another TJX-owned retail brand will take over the existing Winners space at the northeast corner of the intersection of Robson and Granville streets. TJX’s brands within Canada entail Marshalls, Winners, and HomeSense.

To the west in and around the intersection of Burrard Street and Robson Street, the former Victoria’s Secret will become a flagship 35,000 sq ft Adidas store, and the former Club Monaco flagship store will become a JD Sports store of about 10,000 sq ft. Esprit will also be making a big two-storey return to the same Robson Street block later this year.