By whom was the west Edmonton mall constructed?

Travel Destinations

By Felicity Long

West Edmonton Mall is one of the largest shopping complexes in the world, located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It houses a variety of attractions, including an indoor amusement park, a water park, an ice-skating rink, and a miniature golf course, as well as over 800 stores and restaurants. The mall attracts millions of visitors every year, making it a major tourist destination. But who was responsible for bringing this massive project to life?

The Vision of West Edmonton Mall

The idea for West Edmonton Mall was conceived by the Ghermezian brothers, who immigrated to Canada from Iran in the 1960s. The Ghermezians had previously built a successful business in Montreal, but they wanted to embark on a new venture that would allow them to showcase their innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit. They saw an opportunity to create a shopping and entertainment destination that would be unlike anything else in the world. The Ghermezians’ vision for West Edmonton Mall was to create a place where people could shop, eat, and play all under one roof, regardless of the weather outside.

The Development of the Project

To turn their vision into reality, the Ghermezians acquired a large plot of land in west Edmonton. They began working on the project in the late 1970s and continued to develop it over the next decade. The Ghermezians faced numerous challenges during the planning and construction phases, including city zoning regulations, financing issues, and environmental concerns. However, their persistence and determination paid off, and West Edmonton Mall opened its doors in 1981.

The Architect Behind the Design

The architectural firm responsible for the design of West Edmonton Mall was Bregman + Hamann Architects. The firm was based in Edmonton and had extensive experience in designing commercial buildings. The design of West Edmonton Mall was unique, as it incorporated several different architectural styles, including Art Deco, Romanesque, and Victorian. The goal of the design was to create an immersive environment that would transport visitors to different eras and places around the world.

The Construction Company

The construction of West Edmonton Mall was carried out by Triple Five Corporation. The Ghermezians had founded Triple Five Corporation in the 1960s as a real estate development firm. The company had experience in building large commercial projects, but West Edmonton Mall was by far its most ambitious undertaking. The construction of the mall took several years and involved thousands of workers. It was a massive project that required careful planning and execution.

The Financing of West Edmonton Mall

The financing for West Edmonton Mall was a combination of equity and debt. The Ghermezians invested a significant amount of their own money into the project, but they also secured loans from several different banks. The financing for the project was complicated, as the Ghermezians had to convince lenders that their vision for the mall was financially viable. However, the success of the mall today is a testament to their foresight and business acumen.

The Construction Process

The construction process for West Edmonton Mall was complex and involved several different phases. The first phase of the project involved building the shopping center, which included over 800 stores. The second phase involved the construction of the amusement park, water park, and other attractions. The final phase of the project involved the completion of the ice-skating rink, miniature golf course, and other entertainment options. The construction process took several years and required careful coordination between the different contractors and workers involved.

The Challenges During Construction

The construction of West Edmonton Mall was not without its challenges. One of the biggest challenges was the weather. Edmonton has a harsh climate, with cold winters and hot summers. The construction workers had to contend with extreme temperatures and weather conditions, which sometimes caused delays and setbacks. Additionally, the sheer size of the project presented logistical challenges, as the workers had to transport materials and equipment around the massive construction site.

The Completion of West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall was completed in 1981, after several years of construction. The mall was a massive success from the start, attracting millions of visitors in its first year alone. The completion of the project was a major milestone for the Ghermezians and Triple Five Corporation, as it demonstrated their ability to successfully execute a vision that many people thought was impossible.

The Grand Opening

The grand opening of West Edmonton Mall was a major event, attended by thousands of people. The opening ceremony was hosted by then-Premier of Alberta, Peter Lougheed. The mall was opened to the public on September 15, 1981, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. People were amazed by the size and scope of the mall, and the variety of attractions it offered.

The Impact of West Edmonton Mall

The impact of West Edmonton Mall on Edmonton and the surrounding area has been significant. The mall has created thousands of jobs and has contributed to the growth of the local economy. It has also put Edmonton on the map as a major tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. The mall has had a profound influence on the retail industry, inspiring other developers to create similar shopping and entertainment complexes.

The Legacy of West Edmonton Mall

The legacy of West Edmonton Mall is one of innovation, creativity, and perseverance. The Ghermezians and Triple Five Corporation demonstrated that with vision, determination, and hard work, anything is possible. The mall has become a symbol of Edmonton’s entrepreneurial spirit and has inspired generations of business leaders. Its legacy will continue to be felt for decades to come.

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Felicity Long

Felicity Long, a seasoned travel journalist with 15+ years of experience, specializes in exploring Europe, family travel, and skiing, as evident in her book "Great Escapes: New England" (The Countryman Press). She edits the Europe eNewsletter and contributes significantly to TravelAsker's destinations sections. Felicity has received esteemed awards, including the Cacique and Yo Leonardo Awards, in recognition of her outstanding international travel writing accomplishments.

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