One would think with space on Pembina Highway at one time being so highly sought out that Fort Richmond Plaza and the big empty space beside a two year super Sobey’s Extra would be attractive. And yet the former Zellers sat and sat some more. Perhaps it was the developer just waiting no matter how long it took to get the right tenant. Hard to say.
The transformation of Pembina Highway and the south Fort Garry, Fort Richmond area continues. It is the new Chinatown in and around the University of Manitoba. Travel down the street and it is possibly to bus seating with no English at all written. Many of the businesses are very focused on the Asian market that lives, works and goes to school in the area. Still, according to the census the area is still diverse and with St. Norbert and Richmond West nearby opportunities presented themselves.
Fort Richmond is a mature neighbourhood seeing many homes being used for university housing. The Fort Richmond Plaza had been somewhat dated for 25 years or more. After a while, there was no denying that the mall was in a free fall.
The large modern Sobey’s was one of the first good news story in a long while in that end of town. And now another store will take over part of the space next door in a completely re-worked former Zellers.
Peavy Mart will open their second city location using 33,000 of the 42,000 square feet space. It will be smaller than the first location on Nairn but still sizeable for the chain. The store will carry agricultural goods, greenhouse and garden supplies, housewares, sporting goods and a list of supplies unique to the store.
Peavy’s location on south Pembina is attractive to people just outside city limits coming into town for supplies. Deeper into the city is probably not a good a match for their customer base and for what they sell. In the end, the main commercial route into the city from the States runs down Pembina. It should always be possible for retailers to take advantage of that despite whatever local changes are taking place in the neighbourhood.
Having said that, it can’t be long before we see a Chinese mall in the area if space comes available. I think it is inevitable.
This has been a editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations