Two leading North American develop-ers, The Torgan Group and MPI Property Group, have committed to the construction of a unique retail experience just north of the Calgary city limits. Adjacent to the Cross Iron Mills mall off Queen Elizabeth II Highway, the growing area is fast-becoming a retail destination in Southern Alberta.
In June 2016, shovels broke ground to begin work on what will soon be the New Horizon Mall. With S2 Architecture & In-terior Design taking on the role as prime consultant and Ledcor Construction Ltd. heading up construction, this new retail outlet will be a reflection of the entrepre-neurial and cosmopolitan spirit of Alberta.
"The international marketplace theme is different from the standard North American model as each individual space is purchased by the store owner versus most malls where spaces are leased," says Brian Corkum, principal in charge of New Horizon Mall at S2 Architecture.
Within its footprint of 220,000 square feet, the New Horizon Mall will house more than 500 individual stores – twice as many as the largest mall in The City of Calgary. An extensive food court with 26 international food outlets, a traditional Chinese stage, and a children's play place will share the second level.
Last fall, Perma-Cast Concrete Con-tracting Ltd. began pouring the concrete strip and pad footings along with the underground parkade and the two up-per floors of the structure. "It was a good project," says John McLeod, president and CEO at Perma-Cast. "We were able to bring in our part under schedule."
There are over 300 parking stalls in the underground parkade with a total of 1,314 parking stalls overall.
"Perma-Cast was able to complete al-most the entire concrete structure durng the winter season," says Tracey Bye, senior project manager at Ledcor. "That meant the subcontractor, Metal-Fab Industries Ltd., could get busy on the main and second floor structural steel in April 2017 with completion expected in September."
S2 Architecture incorporated some unique details into the building design to reflect the international theme. The curved roof steps in a number of loca-tions will have vertical clerestory curtain wall glazing, installed by Alberta Glass Company Inc., along with all the exterior glass, maximizing the amount of natural light coming into the volume of the space.
With the roof structure being stepped at different levels as well as curved, the roof trusses needed to be custom-engi-neered to realize the design. At each en-trance on the east and west portion of the mall, the roof system curves and ties into the curved walls below, and each roof step has approximately 300 feet of segmented windows. The structural standing seam and metal roofing sys-tem (BEMO), being installed by Western Canada's Thermal Systems, is naturally curved north to south with an approximately 300-foot engineered spreader bar – the highest point being in the middle.
nside, 500 Commercial Retail Units (CRUs) range in size from the smallest at about 145 square feet to larger spaces of almost 900 square feet. "Each retail space is designed to reflect the small shops typically seen in Asia," explains Corkum. "Similar to an outdoor marketplace or bazaar, the mall circulation has been designed with narrow streets and avenues to promote greater activity around the stores."
Constructed on top of the floor tile using Hollow Steel Structural (HSS) columns and a storefront system glass wrap, each CRU will have open ceilings with a steel-framed ceiling grid system for each shop owner to mount individual lights. These will add to the interior lighting coming from fixtures mounted in the high-roof area, only one aspect of the massive electrical component of the project being completed by Custom Electric Ltd.
The S2 Architecture team designed the electrical system feeding each store so that it is hidden from sight. "The electrical component of the shops is sleeved through the slab from the parkade level below in a custom trackway system, allowing each store the flexibility to adjust individual power requirements,” says Corkum.
And then there is the incredible amount of interior glass being installed by Alpine Glass Inc
Most boutiques will have corner lo-cations, and all will have generous dis-play windows secured by the overhead structural-steel support system. In order to avoid any potential challenges with the glazing, the height of the glass was limited to 10 feet, still adding up to over 320 square feet of glass for each store.
"For CRU advertising and way-find-ing, there will be a structural-steel sign band running continuous on top of the glass storefronts," says Bye. "That steel sign band is supported by HSS columns that will be exposed and located on the end of the drywall demising walls."
Taking care of the mechanical work, Arpi's Industries Ltd. is installing the specially-designed ventilation system. In considering the open ceiling concept of the shops, Corkum's team allowed for two central mechanical space controls capable of feeding the entire mall with no requirements for additional venti-lation in any of the shops.
Another unique aspect to the con-struction of the mall was the extensive work that had to be done to meet with the requirements of the Alberta Building Code.
"For example," says Corkum, "due to the volume of the space and the requirements of each shop to be fire-rated from each other, we worked with the authorities to develop an alternate solution for a sprinkler design that exceeds the stipulations of the code. This plan eliminates the requirements for rated ceilings within each shop and provides smoke evacuation systems to limit the risk of smoke accumulation within the high volume of the mall's roof space."
He adds that because this building is unlike most indoor retail malls, there needed to be additional analysis to confirm that people could evacuate the building safely. With the aid of com-puter modelling, his team was able to illustrate the time it would take for people to exit the building and prove that the design will exceed the life-safety requirements of the code.
The design challenges didn't end inside. Bye explains that a separate con-crete structure under the west end of the parking lot, approximately 45,000 square feet and eight feet high, was built to control and retain storm water in order to comply with requirements of the Rocky View storm water system. Through a pump and sprinkler system, this water will then be used to irrigate the landscaping.
Meanwhile, in order to accommodate future traffic flow – and there will be a lot – the turning lane from CrossIron Boulevard to Writing Creek Crescent is being doubled.
The building envelope will be fin-ished with an Exterior Insulation & Finish System (EIFS) and four-inch masonry block veneer with a curtain wall system at each of the three entrances.
And then it's opening day with an an-ticipated finish date of spring 2018. By the end of August this year, over 95 per cent of the stores had been sold at prices ranging from $170,000 to $750,000 for the larger anchor tenants.
Under the experienced leadership of S2 Architecture and Ledcor Construction Ltd. and with the skills and hard work of the more than 1,000 tradespeople on the job, Alberta will have once again demonstrated its strength in business and opportunity.