Toronto-area shopping malls were inseparable from suburban culture through the latter half of the 20th century and into the new millennium, but waning traffic, rising land values, and the brick-and-mortar retail collapse of 2020 have property owners scrambling to maximize their vast swathes of land with new development.
A plan has been brewing for a few years now to add new density to the sprawling surface parking lots surrounding CF Markville shopping centre at McCowan Road and Highway 7 in Markham.
Though some mall owners have plans to demolish their massive retail properties, Cadillac Fairview plans on retaining Markville Mall as the anchor of a new community, building out the facility’s surrounding parking lots with towers and mid-rises while relocating surface parking to new multi-level garages.
Plans call for a dozen towers as tall as 44 storeys, largely concentrated along the site’s Highway 7 frontage, as well as blocks of midrises to the north and west of the mall.
A conceptual phasing strategy submitted to the City of Markham back in December reveals how the tallest towers would be constructed as an initial phase to the southeast of the current mall.
The second phase would follow to the north, while phases three and four would wrap around the mall’s west side.
The mall’s east frontage along McCowan Road would remain as the main gateway to the shopping centre, though new pedestrian paths carved through the community would help support interconnectivity between the surrounding streets and concentration of retail within.
All of this new density would be supported with new parkland, further drawing pedestrian traffic toward the mall.
Suburban malls facing redevelopment or intensification include Square One, Bramalea City Centre, and Dixie Outlet Mall in Mississauga, with Markville in Markham now joining the growing list.
It’s an even longer list in Toronto, where mall intensifications include Scarborough Town Centre, Yorkdale, Sherway Gardens, Fairview Mall, the ongoing redevelopment of Galleria Mall, Yorkgate Mall, Jane Finch Mall, Agincourt Mall, Atrium on Bay, Dufferin Mall, Centrepoint Mall, Cloverdale Mall, and Malvern Town Centre.