IKEA will be a tough act to follow, but local leasing agents say there will still be plenty of new retail developments for Winnipeggers to get fired up about in 2013.
Many of the names will be familiar to local consumers. They include Target, Marshalls, Lowe's, Cabela's, H&M, Kohl's, Dick's Sporting Goods, La Maison Simons, Dollar Tree and Famous Dave's.
Some, like Target, Marshall's, and Cabela's, had previously confirmed plans to open new stores in Winnipeg in 2013.
Others are retailers who have been eyeing the Winnipeg market for several years and, if the right location at the right price can be found, may be ready to take the plunge. That group, local commercial leasing agents say, includes Bed, Bath & Beyond (rumoured to be joining Marshalls in the Polo North development), Lowe's (long rumoured to be coming to the IKEA-led Seasons of Tuxedo development in southwest Winnipeg), Dick's Sporting Goods, Kohl's, La Maison Simons, H&M, and J.Crew.
A third group are retail chains that already have outlets here but want to open more. They include Famous Dave's, Taco Del Mar, and Dollar Tree. And Marshalls could be added to that list once they open their first store this spring.
"Like Winners, they're not here to do one store," said Ken Yee, senior executive vice-president of the Winnipeg office of Cushman & Wakefield. "They're here to do three or four stores."
Winnipeggers have seen a raft of new restaurant chains enter the local market in the last year or two, including Famous Dave's, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Fox and Fiddle, and State & Main. But there are still plenty of others waiting in the wings, according to Michael Stronger, a commercial leasing agent with Shindico Realty Inc.
"There are a lot of them looking at Winnipeg right now," Stronger said, although for business reasons he wasn't willing to name names. He said some are U.S. chains and others are Canadian operations.
"Right now, the major chains are interested in being anywhere they're not and where the economy is expanding," he explained. "And we're certainly a city that's growing and whose economic prospects are positive."
Yee said there are several Asian buffet chains looking to enter the Winnipeg market. But like Stronger, he wasn't ready to reveal their names just yet.
Stronger said if there's a retail development that has the potential to make the kind of splash IKEA's arrival made in 2012, it's the pending opening of the new Target stores.
"When those... Target stores open, it's going to create a real stir in the market. Everyone will want to check out Target."
Stronger said the Grant Park and Southdale shopping centres stand to benefit the most from the arrival of a retail magnet such as Target.
"For Polo Park and Kildonan Place, it will be an important but incremental addition. But adding a Target to Southdale and (Grant Park) -- you could call that transformational," he said. "It changes the draw dramatically."
Where Target opts to open its Polo Park-area store will also have a big impact on the local market. Its options are the Zellers location in Polo Park shopping centre and the 10.6-hectare Canad Inns Stadium site just north of the mall, where Cadillac Fairview and Shindico are planning a major new multi-use commercial development.
The betting is on the stadium site. If that's where it opts to build a 170,000-square-foot stand-alone store, it will free 90,000 square feet of space for redevelopment in the Polo Park mall.
"That's a lot of space to open up at all at once in a mall, especially a dominant one like Polo Park," Stronger said. He noted the last time a big chunk of space became available in the mall -- the former Canada Safeway spot -- "that allowed them to backfill it with some fantastic retailers, including Forever 21."
Polo Park general manager Deborah Green said they won't know where Target is going until Cadillac and Shindico finalize the deal to acquire the stadium site, and she said she's not sure how soon that will happen.
"But things are very positive and progressing," she said, noting city council has already approved a Target store for the site if the city finalizes a deal to sell the land to Cadillac and Shindico.
Green said if Target opts for the stadium site, Cadillac Fairview will have no trouble finding retailers to backfill the Zellers space, although she doesn't know when it will become available.
"A lot of retailers are still very, very interested in Winnipeg and want to get into this market," she said. "We're chatting with a lot of them, but I can't say who they are. But there is just so much going on on the retail front in Winnipeg."
Yee and Stronger said there are still lots of sites available for further retail development in Winnipeg, including the massive IKEA/Seasons of Tuxedo site, the stadium site, the Bridgwater Forest Townsite and several sites Shindico has on Portage Avenue West, on Taylor Avenue and Reenders Drive north of the Kildonan Place Shopping Centre.
Know of any newsworthy or interesting trends or developments in the local office, retail or industrial real estate sectors? Let real estate reporter Murray McNeill know at the email address below or at 204-697-7254.