By Maxime Frechette
Ivanhoé Cambridge has revealed that it will spend $44 million to overhaul its Carrefour de l’Estrie shopping centre in Sherbrooke, Quebec. The mall is the largest in the region, with 170 stores on two levels and anchors including Sears, Hudson Bay, Simons and a former Target space on two levels, which will be redeveloped as described below. A number of freestanding stores surrounding the mall are also part of the property, including: Winners-HomeSense, Best Buy, Rona, Bureau en Gros (Staples), Maxi&Cie supermarket and several others.
"Carrefour de l'Estrie has a dominant position in the region, and we're very pleased to invest in its modernization," said Claude Sirois, President, Ivanhoé Cambridge Retail. "This initiative is part of our strategy of injecting capital into our shopping centres to maintain and enhance their competitive positioning, for the benefit of our discerning customers in the Sherbrooke area."
The Carrefour de l’Estrie revitalization will be divided into four Phases. 'Phase 1' involves the former Target space, which will be turned into four separate stores as follows:
Super C (value-priced grocer operated by Metro) will occupy 45,000 square feet of the available 63,603 square feet on the ground level of the former Target space. Super C will feature entrances from both within the mall as well as in the parking lot, and will cost about $5 million to build.
Sports Experts/Atmosphere will open a 29,800 square foot store on the upper level of the former Target space. The flagship will feature technology similar to the recently opened Sports Experts at CF Carrefour Laval and Sport Chek on Vancouver's Robson Street, including an interactive RFID shoes wall, e-commerce screens and an interactive video wall.
Two other tenants are currently in negotiations to take the rest of the space. A reliable source tells us that an interested tenant includes Los Angeles-based fast-fashion retailer Forever 21, and that Globo Shoes is now confirmed to be taking part of the space.
The exterior cladding of the former Target store will be replaced, and a storefront window and glass wall will be installed on the upper level to bring more natural light into the centre. Also, two new loading docks will be added on the south and east sides to better serve the new retail space.
'Phase 2' will include a new entrance with a canopy and a glass wall on both levels, which will be built in the eastern portion of the shopping centre. The strategic location of the entrance will improve shopping experience and brightness in the centre. Inside the centre, plans call for removal of an escalator and harmonization of the architectural details of the balconies. The work will also include revitalization of the exterior cladding to the west of the new entrance and the installation of a window on the upper level.
'Phase 3' will involve reconfiguring the space previously occupied by Super C and Sports Experts. New windows and canopies will be installed on the facade for new restaurants. Landscaped areas, with trees and other vegetation, will be planted around the centre to combat the 'heat-island effect'. Sources say that Old Navy and Sephora are in ongoing negotiations to open in the current Sports Experts space, but this is unconfirmed by Ivanhoé Cambridge or these retailers.
'Phase 4' will include 'standardization' renovations to the centre in order to create the same look and feel in the rest of the mall as in Phases 1 and 2 above, with the vast majority of the existing floors and ceilings to be updated.
The only part of the centre with no plans at this point is the current Sears Decor space. In a consolidation effort, Sears Canada has decided to close this under-performing store on August 12, 2016, but the Sears store in the mall will remain open.