Cadillac Fairview Commences Repurposing Sears Spaces

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By Mario Toneguzzi

Vacant Sears space in the CF Champlain shopping centre in Dieppe, New Brunswick is being transformed into a TD Corporate Office.

The space will house the bank’s new Finance Operations and Business Services Centres.

Cadillac Fairview, which operates the mall, will invest $25 million to transform the current space “into a visually appealing, comfortable, efficient and modern workplace,” it said.

The new office will open January 2019 in the mall which has more than 140 retailers and food vendors.

The transformation is also an indication of what’s happening across the country as landlords look at creative and different ways to fill the thousands of square feet of empty space created with the collapse of the former retail giant, Sears.

 TD will open regional offices at CF Champlain near Moncton, NB. Rendering: Cadillac Fairview

TD will open regional offices at CF Champlain near Moncton, NB. Rendering: Cadillac Fairview

”Today’s top employers are redefining traditional workspaces, building innovative office spaces in amenity-rich environments to meet the evolving demands of their employees,” said Brian Salpeter, Senior Vice President, Development, Cadillac Fairview.

He said TD took up the entire former Sears site of 109,000 square feet on one level.

Cadillac Fairview is a national developer, owner and manager of mixed-use assets, including some of the biggest and most productive shopping centres in Canada.

The company said this is not the first time it is introducing an innovative office component to one of its shopping centres. It said it is leading a trend to transform some retail locations into highly sought-after office uses with similar, successful transformations across its portfolio.

 BMO will open offices above CF Toronto Eaton Centre's Nordstrom store, in a space that once housed Sears Canada's flagship. Rendering: Cadillac Fairview.

BMO will open offices above CF Toronto Eaton Centre's Nordstrom store, in a space that once housed Sears Canada's flagship. Rendering: Cadillac Fairview.

It recently announced BMO’s Urban Campus will open in CF Toronto Eaton Centre’s former Sears space. Also, CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver saw the former Sears building transformed into a unique office space for Sony Image Works, Microsoft and Miller Thomson.

The trend of converting former Sears space into office use simply makes sense. Shopping centres offer great amenities from retail outlets to personal services to parking.

“We looked at all our properties and decided what is the best mix for everything,” said Salpeter. “It’s not going to be the same for every single property but this is one where CF Champlain really is in the Maritimes the premier shopping destination and it’s part of a strategy in our retail centres to bringing in different uses and different uses that are going to have great synergies.

 The former Sears store at CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver now houses Nordstrom, several smaller retailers, as well as offices for microsoft and Miller Thomson. Rendering: Cadillac Fairview

The former Sears store at CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver now houses Nordstrom, several smaller retailers, as well as offices for microsoft and Miller Thomson. Rendering: Cadillac Fairview

“This is a great office space. It serves two purposes. One it serves to help transform the centre into more a mixed-use destination so it’s still focused on the best-in-class retailers with a large retail component, food and beverage component. But this also now brings in a great modern workplace with TD as a great employer who wants to create a great space to attract top talent and this is really going to be a great office presence for them and they’ll be a nice complement to CF Champlain and all of our retailers there. So it’s a really nice mix.”

Other former Sears space in the Cadillac Fairview portfolio is being looked at on an individual basis and the same strategy that was pursued at CF Champlain may not be the case for other shopping centres.

 One of several examples: Sears' former space at CF Fairview in Toronto WILL SEE NEW TENANTS IN A REDEVELOPMENT this year. Photo: Google Street View

One of several examples: Sears' former space at CF Fairview in Toronto WILL SEE NEW TENANTS IN A REDEVELOPMENT this year. Photo: Google Street View

“What we’re seeing now is a trend towards companies who are seeing what a modern workplace is. And there’s a need for everything. Employees want a mix of everything. So that’s why they want collaborative work space and that’s why this space (CF Champlain) is really nice because of the shape of it and how it’s going to be built out - creates a really collaborative work space for the employees and in a hub,” said Salpeter.

“Employees do want that convenience to be located next to all those amenities . . . but also public transportation. Our shopping centres are often hubs of public transportation as well and CF Champlain is no different. It’s a major bus hub as well.”

Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com.

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