West Georgia and Burrard retail space opens as Bell leaves

Telecommunications giant angles to take former Shoes.com space

Bell plans to leave space at the high-profile southwest corner of Burrard and West Georgia streets | Photo Google Street View

For the second time in less than a month, retail space has become available at one of the highest-traffic intersections in B.C.

Bell plans to move its phone and accessories store out of about 2,000 square feet of space at a site on the southwest corner of West Georgia and Burrard streets and into a similar amount of space one block south at 779 Burrard Street, where Shoes.com operated a store under its SHOEme.ca brand, CBRE vice-president Michael Mylett told Business in Vancouver April 18.

Bell’s new lease for the SHOEme.ca space is being finalized.

Shoes.com halted operations suddenly in January and went into receivership.

Rumour on the street is that Hermes is considering moving from its space at the corner of Burrard and Alberni streets (755 Burrard Street) and into the space that Bell is vacating.

That would set off a sort of musical chairs with 755 Burrard Street becoming available, likely for another high-end retailer. Cartier has been rumoured to be looking at opening a corporate store in Vancouver and pulling its current franchise at 456 Howe Street so it may be interested in taking the Hermes space. That would leave 456 Howe Street available.

(SHOEme.ca space at 779 Burrard Street has been available since Shoes.com abruptly halted operations in January | Photo: Glen Korstrom)

Regardless, Hermes’ move to West Georgia Street – or some other high end retailer's move to that space – would expand the progression of what has become a burgeoning luxury district. Alberni Street is the focus of Vancouver’s emerging luxury retail sector although Stefano Ricci opened recently on West Georgia Street, a little more than a block north of the Bell site, near the Trump International Hotel & Tower. 

Stefano Ricci's move and a possible Hermes relocation would help build West Georgia Street’s reputation as a potential destination for luxury retailers.

(Stefano Ricci, which recently moved to 1139 West Georgia Street has security guards who do not like being photographed | Photo: Glen Korstrom)

CBRE executive vice-president Mario Negris is the agent handling the Bell space but he would not reveal any details about who has expressed interest in the space.

“We’re working on something right now,” he said. “We’re going through the details. It’s as high profile [a location] as you get. It’s one of the top retail corners in the country. There’s certainly lots of interest in it but I’m under a confidentiality agreement.”

The corner of West Georgia and Burrard streets has high visibility not only for drivers stuck in the congested traffic that is often snarled outside during rush hour and other times of the day but also for the countless pedestrians that navigate the corner. 

That is similar to space that became available last month at the corner of West Broadway and Granville Street, although that vacancy arose because an art gallery did not pay its rent, according to a notice taped to the door.