The Serruya family and Liberty Development Corporation have completed the purchase of the Promenade Shopping Centre in Thornhill, Ontario, from Cadillac Fairview. The regional mall is now owned by a newly formed entity called Promenade General Partner Inc., and Centrecorp Management Services Ltd. has been retained to manage Promenade Shopping Centre.
The 900,000 square foot Promenade Shopping Centre, which is anchored by Sears, T&T supermarket, Sport Chek, Old Navy, H&M and Imagine Cinemas, features more than 150 stores including popular brands such as Coach, Aritzia, Lululemon Athletica, Browns Shoes, Roots, Aldo, Urban Planet and Pandora. The mall is situated on a 50 acre site located close to the 407 ETR highway, and the nearby Vaughan Metropolitan Subway Station, which is due for completion in late 2017. The mall opened to the public in August of 1986, with former anchors including Eaton’s and Bretton’s. The area has since grown substantially and now boasts a trade area in excess of one million residents.
The Promenade is also home to Sears Canada’s latest retail concept, ‘WTS’, featuring a minimalist interior with concrete floors, an amended product selection, and a reduced footprint. The new store concept opened in the mall in the fall of 2016.
While under Cadillac Fairview’s ownership in 2009, the mall underwent a $45 million upgrade that included the redevelopment of the food court and common areas. The mall’s name was converted to ‘CF Promenade’ as part of Cadillac Fairview’s mall rebranding in September of 2015 -- the ‘CF’ is now officially dropped with the mall’s new ownership.
The Serruya family, which has extensive business and real estate holdings, might be best known as the founders of popular yogurt and smoothie retail concept Yogen Früz. The frozen yogurt and smoothie retailer was founded in 1986 by local teenage brothers Michael, Aaron and Simon Serruya, and the company has now grown to more than 1,400 locations in 46 countries.
Michael Serruya explained the significance behind the deal. “Promenade is where my brothers and I started our business careers as teenagers with the original Yogen Früz concept over 30 years ago,” he said. In 1986, the three brothers decided to open a location for their new yogurt concept in the mall. George Budahazy, then a senior vice president of leasing at Cadillac Fairview, took a chance and leased the Serruya brothers a 230 square foot retail space. The concept took off and spearheaded the family's wildly successful business empire, which continues to grow to this day. The brothers maintained a positive relationship with Mr. Budahazy over the years, and Michael Serruya revealed that the family has brought Mr. Budahazy out of retirement by hiring him as a consultant to further improve Promenade's offerings.
While some have speculated that Promenade's acquisition was for residential redevelopment, Michael Serruya explained that the mall will continue to operate as it is. “We are thrilled to now be in a position to invest in this property to ensure it reaches its full potential as a central hub for the Thornhill community. This is an important investment for us, but it also represents a deepening of our commitment to the community we call home," he said. The Promenade "has more parking than is necessary", he noted, saying that there's a possibility that the site could include some residential intensification at some point in the future. The new owners will focus on improving the mall in the meantime, recognizing its commercial potential in a booming suburban community.