Two years. That’s how long it took to do something with the 130,000 square foot Sears site on the north side of St. Vital Shopping Centre.
It hasn’t been much of a secret of what is coming to the Sears. Marshalls/HomeSense will take up 40,000 square feet and 25,000 square feet will be a Goodlife Fitness. They will both occupy two floors in a configuration yet to be revealed. Even though that covers quite a bit of the Sears space, there are two remaining retailers coming which haven’t announced yet.
The Marshalls/HomeSense and Goodlife Fitness should be open in spring 2020. Already the evidence of windows being built out to face the city can be seen under construction. This is very likely a group exercise studio. Signage is expected in March.
In addition to the aforementioned new tenants are two others Winnipeggers are familiar with. Warehouse One has moved into the mall and Dynacare has opened close to the entrance of the Silver City theatres. This will probably not be too bad during weekday hours when movies don’t kick into high gear till later in the day.
There is a bus terminus fairly close by which is helpful and the mall has had a friendly seniors walk early in morning which could all contribute to this Dynacare location being well suited. I was a bit more disdainful of the Seasons of Tuxedo location being distance to the mall and in a very busy restaurant parking lot.
Warehouse One is in the end east corridor where more fashion stores are opposite Garage. The successful Winnipeg retailer has generally avoided pricey malls but suffice to say, St. Vital needs retailers who know how to sale. And this one does.
The retail sector keeps taking steps forward and backward. More backward for certain. The malls need people and companies like Dynacare and and Goodlife bring people in during quieter times for malls. The first thing in the morning group exercises or the blood test after fasting will have people coming regularly. For several restaurants and retailers it will be a boon.
St. Vital has had several other closures. There are broken teeth throughout the mall but momentum looks good and by mid-fall, they will have their game face ready for Christmas.
It remains to be seen whether Polo Park gets their act together with their own empty Sears which is 3X bigger.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations