By Mario Toneguzzi
The Centre mall in Saskatoon is undergoing $43 million in renovations, adding a new Cineplex pad and continuing to refit the former Target space to add new retailers.
Projects for the mall, which is owned by Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust, also include modernizing the interior and the exterior of the property.
David Bubnick, General Manager of The Centre, said there’s a sense of excitement in the air over what’s taking place at the shopping complex.
"The next phase of our transformation will provide a fresh new look and an even more convenient, complete shopping experience for our guests,” he said.
“It’s just great timing to see us do this change and really it’s elevating our experience here for both customer and retailer.”
The Centre is a regional shopping centre anchoring the east side of Saskatoon. The property was constructed in 1972 and renovated in 1995. The existing facility was created by linking together two previously separated shopping centres. The property is located at the intersection of Eighth Street (a major east/west arterial route through Saskatoon) and Circle Drive. The mall contains over 100 stores and is anchored by Co-op Grocery, GoodLife Fitness, Best Buy, SportChek, Ardene and Shoppers Drug Mart. The Centre will also be home to a new Cineplex pad operation in 2019, aggregating 30,000 square feet.
Total square footage for the mall is 513,277.
“Centre East is undergoing redevelopment. Cineplex is inside our shopping centre today but they’re going to be relocating out to a brand new pad and it will be a seven-screen cinema,” said Bubnick. “They’re going to be opening later this year. They’re also going to be including I understand Escape Entertainment Centre within it. We’ll end up getting their existing space back and so that will of course allow us to repurpose their space to retail CRU (commercial retail units).”
He said the Cineplex space within the mall is about 17,000 square feet. The mall is looking to add about five retailers to go into that space. It is currently identifying the best opportunities for retail and services for that location.
“The Cineplex pad will have mall access. It will take us about a year to get there but it will be connected to the mall,” added Bubnick.
Bubnick said The Centre also still has a small portion of the former Target space it is looking to repurpose. An Ardene superstore occupies a portion of the former Target space along with an expansion of GoodLife Fitness.
“What we have currently is external only space left in that Target bay. We’re just looking to see what would be our best opportunity for that space,” he said.
“Saskatoon is continuing to grow. The Centre actually is in the current along with the future growth of Saskatoon. Certainly there’s new neighbourhoods that are popping up still within the city. As the city is growing, retailers are still looking to Saskatoon. So it’s exciting. And the city is growing.”
Planned work on the mall includes:
Modernization of the interior of the shopping centre, including new flooring and ceilings, expansive skylights and an updated colour scheme;
Upgraded appearance and layout for the food court, with enhanced seating options and modern washrooms;
A new Guest Services kiosk in the LINK walkway connecting Centre East and Centre West; and
Modernization of the exterior entranceways.
"We're happy to make this significant investment in The Centre and show our commitment to the City of Saskatoon," said Andrew Tamlin, Chief Financial Officer of the Trust, in a statement. "Morguard is dedicated to providing a best-in-class experience that reinforces The Centre's position as a leading retail and entertainment destination in the community."
The “modernization” will take place in phases. Work is expected to begin in early 2019 and be completed in 2020.
"Our team at The Centre is delighted to reveal our vision for the property with a beautiful modern interior, enhanced dining area and a rejuvenated exterior," said Margaret Knowles, Senior Vice President, Development at Morguard. "The redevelopment will create a contemporary, connected space that can be enjoyed by our guests and existing tenants while paving the way for exciting new retailers and service providers in the future."
The Centre benefits from its location being just off of Circle Drive which connects the entire city.
The Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust is a closed-end real estate investment trust, which owns a diversified portfolio of 49 retail, office and industrial income producing properties in Canada consisting of approximately 8.6 million square feet of leaseable space.
*Editor’s note: Retail Council of Canada’s 2018 Canadian Shopping Centre Study is now released, discussing Canada’s top malls and what makes them successful.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.