The construction across from the Seasons of Tuxedo on the Outlets of Seasons site continues to go on at breakneck speed. So far most of the work is prepping the site for above ground construction but residential components are already three and four floors high and look to be done sometime in the next several months.

Some of the apartment work is adjacent to Outlets of Seasons but should ensure that the area has a population day and night. In and around Polo Park, it can be pretty empty once the stores close.

In the aftermath of so many retailers closing across Canada, it is important to know that many continue to open. Location, location, location is the old axiom in business retailing. As Target found out, the old Zellers locations were not great, their approach to the Canadian market even worse and despite much anticipation and good will, they failed and mightily.

The location at Kenaston and Sterling Lyon should offer a huge advantage to retailers and restaurants. However, it is not a panacea. Just ask River City Sports which is closed in Seasons of Tuxedo. Once IKEA and Cabela’s went up, the retailing side stalled and the home improvement center site remains vacant as does the planned addition retailing beside the former River City Sports location. I have no doubts those areas will fill up but sometimes there is a price that is paid for being the first to be on a site.

So what will be in the Outlets of Seasons site? Well, the developer is still keeping that under wraps but the site outline is revealing. It shows a hotel and two luxury car dealerships facing out to Kenaston. This would seem to be second hotel in the planning phase along Kenaston and the second and third car dealerships. Already down the street Mercedes is building their luxury car dealership to replace their Portage Avenue location.

Also of note are the dozen or so restaurants scattered about the Outlets of Seasons site. To be sure there are a few restaurants across the street at Seasons of Tuxedo but they are lite on sit down casual dining. In short, where are the Earl’s, Moxies and Keg’s? It is highly likely something new will locate in that area that the city has not seen before. Mayhaps it could be a Milestone’s.

The centerpiece to the Outlets of Seasons site is an indoor factory outlet mall. To be sure this is more suitable for our climate. Size-wise, it looks as if 100 stores will be located inside. Outside there will be a mix of smaller and larger retailers. Four are listed as anchors.

In light of the many jobs lost as a result of Target’s closing, we can hope that this new mall will add that many jobs and more. Development appears more balanced as it incorporates far more residential than we have seen in decades. It is has already eased a terribly low vacancy rate, created pet friendly rental units and ones where all five appliances and storage is included.

The city needs to continue to push for sidewalk and bike path connectivity to surrounding areas. One missing component could be a grocery store.

Stay tuned for further developments.

This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations