Avalon Mall in St. John’s Newfoundland & Labrador has announced a number of new international and national brands for the shopping centre this year as part of its $112-million redevelopment.
Arie Bitton, Senior Vice President of Leasing & Operations for Crombie Real Estate Investment Trust which owns the property, said the redevelopment began in earnest in 2017.
“We began with the parkade redevelopment and when Sears exited, we ended up going through and demolishing a portion of the former Sears and designed a new racetrack layout that is going to be there for the grand opening this fall,” he said.
“Before, the mall terminated at a certain juncture and you couldn’t get all the way around. With this redevelopment and with the Sears demolition, we’re actually creating a racetrack that will enable the customers to go around the entire mall seamlessly.”
The shopping centre said SportChek, Tommy Hilfiger, Skechers, Bikini Village, and Michael Hill will open at Avalon Mall this year occupying approximately 40,600 square feet. Bath & Body Works, EB Games, and Bentley will relocate from their current locations, all in expanded footprints, and Tip Top opened their doors in a new expanded location in early February. Bentley launched a new store design last year and the new Avalon Mall location will become a flagship location.
The Brick will open its first store in Newfoundland & Labrador with a new 46,000-square-foot pad site. The expansion area of Avalon Mall is now approximately 90 per cent leased, with more retailers to be announced in the coming months. Total Avalon Mall gross leasing area is approximately 593,000 square feet.
Last year, Crombie announced that H&M, Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic would occupy approximately 53,000 square feet in the newly-constructed and renovated areas of the mall.
Earlier in 2019, the mall opened Winners and HomeSense (50,400 square feet) in their expanded location as well as The Rec Room by Cineplex (30,600 square feet).
“We are very pleased with the retailers that have joined us and with our existing retailers committed to expanding their presence at Avalon Mall as part of redeveloping this flagship property,” said Don Clow, President and CEO of Crombie REIT. “They enhance the experience of our shoppers and visitors, and are an integral part of what makes us the premier shopping and entertainment destination in the province.”
The REIT said securing strong global brands complements the existing mix of stores, entertainment and services at Avalon Mall, with product lines that appeal to a wide range of demographics and customer needs. The multi-phase redevelopment was aimed to enhance the mall’s position as the dominant shopping and entertainment centre in Newfoundland & Labrador.
The redevelopment also included interior common areas being transformed with contemporary porcelain tile and acoustic ceiling tiles, and updated LED lighting fixtures added. The food court has been expanded with modern finishes, additional seating and furniture, and sorting stations that allow the mall to divert organic waste to an on-site composter. A four-level, 875 space parking structure opened in 2018, and the project included a redesign and realignment of vehicular access to Kenmount Road.
Bitton said mall sales have held really, really well throughout the renovations of the last couple of years. For 2019, it had about $700 per square foot for a non-anchor tenant.
“What we’re doing is we’re trying to service the St. John’s customers. Newfoundland like other provinces is becoming more and more urban and what we’re seeing is growth within the city,” said Bitton. “Avalon Mall really is the premier destination in St. John’s.
“We started with the experiential Rec Room within the property. So that was the first Rec Room east of Ontario. Now we’re adding on some more of the fashion brands that don’t exist. A lot of what we’ve announced are really first to market and we’re really excited about that.
“We’re scheduling a grand opening for this fall.”