By Mario Toneguzzi
The Midtown shopping centre (formerly ‘Midtown Plaza’) in the heart of Saskatoon has seen a significant impact following the launch of its new Midtown Common food hall in July.
The new food hall is unique with its location on the second floor of the mall in previous vacated space by retailer Sears.
Midtown is about 650,000 square feet anchored by Hudson’s Bay on one end and it used to be anchored by Sears at the other end. But Sears left in January 2018.
“We had an old food court. It had been there 25 years. We decided we would move it into Sears on the second level. It’s completely changed the shopping centre. People from downtown are the customers,” said Terry Napper, Regional Manager of Saskatchewan and Northern Alberta for Cushman Wakefield Asset Services which operates and manages Midtown.
“The sales are going through the roof. It’s extremely strong. We are just getting sales for August, they’re really good. For Saskatoon, it’s really, really positive.”
The old food court was on the lower level and Midtown has leased that space to Mountain Equipment Co-op, which will open a store next May.
The new food hall is about 50,000 square feet with 16 vendors.
“The old food court used to do $1,700 a square foot (per year) and the new food hall will do somewhere between $2,200 and $2,400 a square foot. So quite an improvement really,” explained Napper, adding that the new food hall fills the previous empty space with a contemporary and welcoming gathering space illuminated by natural light, with comfortable seating, an inviting fireplace, and new and familiar food vendors.
“We believe that this beautiful new food hall will get the people of Saskatoon and surrounding areas excited about visiting Midtown,” he said.
The new food hall also includes 320 feet of floor-to-ceiling windows with views towards Riversdale and the South Saskatchewan River, 25 per cent more seating than the previous food court, a natural gas fireplace and communal tables that foster large gatherings as well as provide a space for smaller, intimate groups.
New tenants include Pi Co., KFC, MIA PASTA, Bourbon Street Grill and TCBY.
Napper said Midtown has recently opened The Shoe Company in about 4,500 square feet. A deal has been done with Bellissima Fashions which will open in early October. Another deal has been done with Shoppers Drug Mart which is currently in 8,000 square feet but will expand to 15,000 square feet to include its Beauty Boutique concept. That will open in November.
“Saskatchewan is the same as Alberta. The retail industry is tough right now. But sales were up in August. That’s a positive thing. But sales have been down most of the year,” said Napper.
“But I think we’ve turned the corner now in terms of sales. I’m expecting sales to increase between now and the end of the year. It depends on how we can continue to lease space and go forward.”
Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 51,000 employees in 400 offices and 70 countries. In 2018, the firm had revenue of $8.2 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, valuation and other services.
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: email@example.com.