Abandoned mall from ‘The Last of Us’ to gain new life as mixed-use destination

In early 2022, just before the Northland Village Mall in Calgary, Alberta, was slated for demolition, it became one of many places in the Canadian province to be taken over as a set for the HBO zombie apocalypse series “The Last of Us.” Photos from the set show the mall’s shuttered interior portion strewn with debris and rubble, with signs reading “No Public Access” and “Business Open as Usual.”

While “The Last of Us” was the last hurrah for Northland Village Mall as it was, the 52-year-old venue is slated for new life as a mixed-use destination.

To that end, Calgary-based architect Dialog and Toronto-based developer Primaris REIT have preserved portions of the exterior frame structure for the site’s upcoming rebirth as an open-air retail development with broad avenues and two new residential towers. The cost of the project has not been disclosed.

A rendering of the upcoming Northland mixed-use development.

Permission granted by Dialog


Northland Village, the new residential community being developed by Regina, Saskatchewan-based Deveraux, is a 229-unit multifamily development split across two buildings, currently under construction on the south end of the Northland site and expected to be completed in 2025. Units will range from studios to three bedrooms in size, according to the developer’s website. 

Amenities will include a fitness center, outdoor kitchens and grilling stations, a dog run and pet wash station, a clubhouse with an entertainment lounge and concierge services. 

“[Northland] has a lot of older homes around it, where people have raised their kids,” Susan Carter, partner at Dialog, told Multifamily Dive. “A lot of them want to stay in the neighborhood but move into something smaller. So it’s just a really great place for a rebirth.”

A rendering of a retail building on a wide street full of people.

A rendering of the retail component of the Northland development, including The Avenue, its main thoroughfare. GoodLife Fitness and Winners, a Canadian off-price retailer, are existing tenants of Northland Village Mall.

Permission granted by Dialog


A new concept

The current redevelopment project picks up from a previous iteration 10 years ago, which was put on hold by an economic downturn. Many of the original retail tenants for the redevelopment left at this stage, so the project’s retail component needed to be re-leased when it was restarted, according to Carter.

The new urban grid “de-malls” the site, creating a new main artery along the south end through new retail spaces, a central courtyard and the Northland Hills residential development. “The avenue [is] the basis of connection,” Carter told Multifamily Dive. “That’s where the retailers are, the energy, the restaurants, bars and a central plaza as well.”

New retail and parking spaces will be located on the original mall footprint, between two of the existing big box stores, Walmart and Best Buy. These locations will remain open in newly renovated buildings. 

“When we tore down that mall, we kept some of the embodied carbon of the building,” Carter said. “We’ve kept some of the the steel, some of the roof, as much as we could so that we’re not just tearing everything down and starting fresh.”

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