Thursday, August 27, 2009

CrossIron Mills Shopping Mall...what's the big deal?

I was in Airdrie last night and found myself with 2 hours to kill, so me and my 11 year old son decided to head over to the newest "Mega Mall Extravaganza", CrossIron Mills. Having heard all the hype all week long about this fantastic shopping destination, I was actually pretty curious to see what all the full was about. After all, there has not been an enclosed mall built in Alberta for over 20 years.

And now I see why.

Maybe I am a little biased as I grew up with Chinook Centre and SouthCentre as the malls of choice in Southwest Calgary, but this CrossIron Mills really is a DUD! After walking around the mall, I found that it really does not offer anything different than any Calgary mall. ( But wait...what about BassPro Shops? Well my friends, I do not hunt, fish or camp on a regular basis so this Bubba Supercentre is just not for me!)

Bulleted List
The mall has a ton of parking, which is a good thing. ( I am trying to find some positives.) They have seriously odd decorations, including a creepy "statue" of a frozen caveman in the middle of a hallway, but I had to get real close to tell what the heck it was supposed to be. I also found the mall floor switching from hardwood to carpet randomly, which looked like"rushed" construction in my opinion. This was just the beginning of the fromage fest that is CrossIron Mills!

Now, I know we are in a recession and the economic situation is not great, but I believe that this mall may run into some serious financial trouble given time. If you look at the mall's current tenants, it is somewhat impressive. They have been able to attract some "big" name tenants, which is absolutely necessary. Look closer though, and you may see some cracks appearing...

1) The mall is still looking for 3-4 more Anchor Tenants. ( And Holt Renfrew pulled out of the mall at the very last moment, leaving a empty store in the middle of the "fashion" wing. YIKES!)

2) Some of the tenants are already "odd". I saw two (yes two!) Calender Club stores in the mall, in very key locations. Ouch. There is already one big Dollar Store and I predict there will be 2-3 more in the coming years. The funniest tenant I saw was "Blue Grass Garden Centres"....uhm, ok?

If you really look around, there are some spots that look like they were leased out simply to avoid the embarrassment of an "empty mall". This does not look good at all!

3) The mall was busy, busy, busy this week. But is also hype driven, back to school traffic. And most of the people I saw last night did not have armloads of bags, as it appeared that they were just coming to the mall to see what all the talk was about!

Now I know that the Airdinians will love this location. I imagine that most of Coventry Hills, Harvest Hills and the other Crowded NW Hills will find this convenient. But look at Deerfoot Mall. This was once touted as a great destination for the NW shopper. It is now a 2nd rate outlet mall. I cannot see people from South West, West or Deep Southeast Calgary driving to CrossIron, so I imagine the same fate awaits it.

Anyways, what do I know. I am sure that Ivanhoe Cambridge knows what they are doing. I am just a consumer after all, one that will stick to Chinook Center.



  1. Too bad, I was going to check out the hype too, but now I'm way less excited. Love the 'fromage fest' haven't heard that in ages.

  2. Thanks Tatiana for posting... it is really not that great.

  3. I visited Cross Iron Mall for the first time today.

    It's hard to believe, but a place I despise more than West Ed now exists. The same crowds and poor service as West Ed, but even more restricted parking and a single, yes folks a single, access road to the site.

  4. Doesn't even come close to comparing to West Ed... doesn't even compare to Market Mall. Save your gas and go to Market, Chinook, or Soutcentre.

  5. i couldn't agree more! when i walked past blue grass i just had a most puzzled look on my face. it is obviously just a way of advertising for their store! with 98 percent clothing and shoe stores, i was bored within 10 minutes and was surprised to be through the mall within 1 hour. I thought this was one of the biggest malls in the world? Lame! west ed at least has neat restaurants, an amazing waterpark, and galaxyland to look at if you don't want to just shop. i was truly dissapointed as well since i can get all the same stores in market mall. oh yeah, a car lifting store selling elevator lifts for garages? gimmee a break! I give about 50 of the 200 stores a year and they will be gone!

  6. I have to admit the mall is quite the experience, however to rate it fairly I'd give them a 6 out of 10(10 as in excellent) for a couple reasons. I can't deny the fact that I adore shoes, clothes, and shopping for the occasional home improvement piece, but I'm also concerned with the lack of male content in the mall. True they do have B.P.S. on site, the car lift guys, and a couple clothing/sports stores, but leave out the other hobbies a vast number of men(and women) partake in, such as Automotive stores that cater to tuner or classic car enthusiasts, or the DIY'ers that require a store to purchase Quality tools and project materials. From living in Airdrie and the couple towns north of the city, I must admit that the mall, though it holds a vast number of up to date fashion stores holds nothing else for me and I, as well as a number of people I know, must still make the journey into the reaches of Calgary(or beyond) to purchase items we require. Thanks for the 1 hour walk but I usually go to malls to purchase STUFF, not excercise.
    On another note, I agree with Shane, They do have a big parking lot, I may go out and see about doing some donuts in the future.

  7. Terrible design. I had such high hopes. To build a mall in a somewhat risky location requires some risk on the design part in my opinion, without it there is no appeal or draw to make people wanna drive the long distance to see it. The design is bland, cheesy and has nothing anyone hasn't seen before.

  8. This mall is located close my acreage which is right on Country Hills Blvd... and man, what a mess! They built 1 road to get in and out of that stupid place. And it's overrated. And the food court is tiny. And there are no bargains, really. MALLS MALLS MALLS MALLS - it's all people ever seem to do in this city. Come Downtown for a change. Art Central. Now that's a cool place to hang out. Fuuuuuuu malls!

  9. Croos Iron would have been alot better if the recession hadn't of scared most of the big US retailers away like Holister, American Eagle, Hurley, Reebok, Nike & Puma that were originally coming.

    It's not entirely a dud though... shops like Lucky Brand, Tommy Bahama & Sketchers will still bring me back. Not to mention the Movie Theater and the Big Box Power Center (CrossIron Commons) being built on the north end of the complex.

    CrossIron will do fine, there's alot of money in this city and once the road from Stoney Trail directly to the mall is complete, there won't be as much of a traffic nightmare either.

  10. As a Rocky View county taxpayer (and provincial) my concerns are the subsidies we provide to Ivanhoe Cambridge to build out in the sticks. I assume Ivanhoe would have preferred to be closer to the city consumers and employees but they were "given" $50 million worth of sewer, water, fire, etc. to build at Balzac.

    Ivanhoe is paying for some of the road work but the connection to Stoney Trail and eventual twinning of the Balzac overpass will likely be paid for by provincial tax payers.

    I could support a little bit (not a lot) of government largess to help a wealth creating enterprise but new retail just moves consumers around and does nothing to help the economy.

    My other major concern is the urban sprawl enabled by the mall. There are large tracts of land within the city that would have been a much better place for Cross Iron Mills.

    As to the shops (even the big US retailers) I seriously doubt they have anything different to offer than is already available in Calgary.

  11. Frankly, free parking is all that CrossIron Mills has going for it, from my perspective at least. In terms of retail, it's not worth the trip for Calgarians. Calgary needs to focus on building unique retail and experiences, not the same stuff you find everywhere else in Calgary. Sorry guys, free parking won't get me there, a unique experience will: that's the difference between car driven suburban sprawl that really has "no uniqueness" and urban environments which are unique. I'll take a challenge to park , and I always find a spot no matter where I go by the way, for a unique experience over dull, un-inspiring parking lot driven retail anyday. CrossIron Mills, you'll never see a cent of my money....

  12. anything for a few old middle aged ladies - will have good runners on


  13. Malls. Malls. Malls Oh, and Big Box Power Centres too.

    The same bland, repetitive, sterile, manipulative chains that populate virtually every mall and power centre offering the same products and prices from Mexico through the US to Canada siphoning off big dollars to faraway head offices on the back of cheap retail labour and huge municipal, provincial/state tax relief all the while despoiling our landscape with more and more urban sprawl.

    Yeah. That's lovely. Yeah. That's choice.

    Shopping locally and supporting local businesses HELPS the local economy. Over $0.70 of every dollar of profit, however slim, remains in the local economy supporting local entrepreneurs, local (and usually better paid) staff with benefits, and supports local accountants, lawyers, graphic artists, publishers, consultants et cetera. Chains deliver far less locally and socially.

    Support your local entrepreneurs. Un-chain yourselves. Get out of the malls and into the various shopping districts loaded with Calgary businesses - Kensington, Marda Loop, Beltline, Stephen Avenue Mall and elsewhere.

  14. While I am no fan of malls, nor am I a big sporting fan, CrossIron on both counts probably has what it takes to draw business. My son loves to go to Bass Pro and there are yet to be a few stores aimed at replacing the loss of Linen's N Things as I hear it. It is not an easy place to visit and only recently was the highway exit finished. Getting back out will remain a problem until the Roadworks growing pains are resolved (in Calgary that means another 2 years). By that time the staying power of the tenants will be know, largely predicted by the customers that come and spend. If management are smart a big push will come for holiday season shoppers. If not, shorten the timeline to as one person put it, CrossIron becoming a bigger Deerfoot Mall.

  15. daBoss,

    Regarding helping local businesses, Crossiron Mills is one of the few malls that actually allow new local businesses to lease space from them. I know of five stores in the mall (I'm sure there are more but I only know these five) that are owned by local entrepreneurs. As a matter of fact I knew the owner of a store in calgary that became a chain throughout calgary malls and is owned by and operated by a calgarian. Not all stores in malls are faceless corporations. Two of said stores in Crossiron actually sell products made in calgary by calgarian. So you can shop locally and support local entrepreneurs by shopping at a mall.

  16. Its a redneck mall, only white hilbillies shop there. Coloured people get wierd looks.

    1. Well, it's a nice change to the rich snobby yuppy looks we get from South Centre, Chinook Centre, or Market Mall. It's Calgary, "Cow Town". Of course there are rednecks. But I still love the city.

  17. american eagle is being built there atm, but i was hoping for a hollister ):

  18. it the best but not that much...and right is same as the other malls dont waste gass

  19. Well, I may not agree with those who believes going XIron Mall is wastage of time. I'v been there couple of times since it was opened and found very very good deals from Gaps, Banana Republic, Tommy Hilfiger, The Children Place, Guess, etc those deals were never launched in Chinook, Market Mall or South Center in last 3 years at least. You dont have to wait for parking spot like other Calgary Malls plus dont need to stair up for other shops. Everything is on ground floor for you!
    David Miller

  20. I can say much of the same things about West Edmonton Mall. But then again both Kingsway and Southgate here in Edmonton both went under renovation and are experiencing the same hype numbers of people walking through the mall with no bags-in-hand.

  21. It's interesting to see people remarking about people with no bags. Everytime I go to CrossIron I actually make note of the fact everyone I see is carrying at least one, often multiple bags. Maybe your timing is bad (or mine is good). I like CrossIron Mills and have in fact made a point of shopping there in lieu of the environmental footprint-heavy, car-dependant big box developments. Give me an indoor mall anytime -- especially after our rain and snow-filled spring!

  22. June 3, 2010
    Just cruised through Cross Iron out of curiosity t'other day and was less than impressed. The big fishing/boat shop looked interesting, but nothing else. What's new about another Bath and Beyond or whatever, Laura, Tommy Hilfiger? Funniest thing was the signs saying there's no way out - not built yet to connect to H'way 2, so we drove around and around the complex until stumbling on a way out via some mysterious side road. No detours/exits marked.
    Oh yeah, I hate big boxes anyway, and I'm from Edmonton - home of the South E Common, WEM and other monstrosities.

  23. I think the mall looks quite beautiful the way it was designed, but tthe owners of the mall, are way to srs about the rules they have going on. The people that work at the kiosks can't leave for over 5 mins, and they are watched constantly. Its pretty retarted if you ask me.

  24. I was very disappointed it didn't have a fun park for young kids like WEM does. I would be there every weekend if they had something like that. There are so few places a parent can bring young kids in Calgary. XIron Mills failed big time by not capitalizing on parents.

    We don't need more stupid shops. We need more indoor entertainment. WEM has that by the bucketload. Calgary has nothing!

  25. I don't know where those people were shopping .I think that it is a great mall with something for all age groups

  26. There seem to be some irritated people giving negative comments about Cross Iron Mills. They are probably just upset as they live in the south and have to deal with the nightmare of getting to Chinook or the overrated Southcentre or Market malls. Fact is it was the first part of a continuing plan to provide a shopping and entertainment destination, give it time and stop the hating.

  27. CROSS IRON is a wonderful place for shopping and family fun day with a kids park included, but be aware of ANN-LOUISE JEWELERS, i bought a watch from there it fell apart with in 9 months took it back to get fixed they made it worse, the refused to fix it and banned me from the store so id stop bugging them, if you are getting jewelery go to poeples or ben moss never had a problem with them, so be aware and happy shopping