Grant Park Shopping Centre is in the midst of a $12-million-plus three-phase redevelopment project that includes extensive upgrades to both the interior and exterior of the River Heights mall.
Grant Park's general manager said a combination of factors prompted mall owner Primaris Retail REIT to undertake the mall's first major upgrade/renovation project since 1996.
"I think part of it was that it was time, and part of it was the MLCC's (Manitoba Liquor Control Commission's) need to expand (its store in the mall)," Sandra Hagenaars said in an interview.
"And Target coming has certainly helped to push that as well," Hagenaars said in reference to the Target department store that will be opening late next year in the current Zellers location.
Hagenaars said the plan is to have all three phases of the project completed by the time the Target store opens next November.
"They are going to be a fabulous addition (to the mall)," she added.
Primaris is currently about halfway through the second phase of the redevelopment project, which got underway in the summer of 2011 when about a dozen mall tenants had to be moved to make way for the MLCC expansion.
Hagenaars said a startup date for Phase III hasn't been determined yet, but it likely will be soon after Phase II is completed.
Phase I, which cost $6.4 million, took about a year to complete. It included extending the MLCC store to the front of the shopping centre to create a new 15,500-square-foot outlet, realigning and upgrading almost 11,500 square feet of common-area space in the west wing of the mall and installing a new marquee entrance for the west wing, which is where the MLCC store is located.
Phase II, which will cost about $5.4 million, includes adding about 5,000 square feet to the front of the Shoppers Drug Mart store in the east wing of the mall, upgrading 5,000 square feet of common area near the centre of the mall, the re-leasing and re-merchandising of approximately 23,000 square feet of retail area in the mall and expanding and upgrading the public washrooms.
Hagenaars said some of the Phase II common-area upgrades are already done and the rest will be completed in January, after the Christmas shopping rush is over. That's also when the washroom renovations will get underway. They should be done sometime next spring.
The final plans for Phase III are still being worked on, but are expected to include similar upgrades and renovations to the common areas in the west wing of the mall, as well as adding space on the front of the future Target store.
Hagenaars said Primaris officials also feel upgrading the mall and giving it a fresh look will help attract new tenants and customers. There's evidence that is already happening.
Hagenaars said same-store sales are up about three per cent this year even though renovations are only partially completed. And three new stores are opening this month, with more expected in March next year.
"So it (the redevelopment) was a good move and will continue to be a good move," she said.
The three new stores opening this month are Glitz, which is relocating from Academy Road, Magic Cuts, which is relocating from the Zellers and a Rogers outlet.
Hagenaars said the 386,000-square-foot mall currently has about 65 tenants. That number is expected to grow to about 75 by the time the redevelopment is done.
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Another new condominium development is being planned for the St. Norbert area of south Winnipeg.
Eccelso Construction Consulting Services, which is owned by Jared Devloo, plans to build a four-phase, 30-unit condominium development on a vacant lot at 3373 Pembina Highway.
Architect Otto Cheng, of Otto Cheng Architect Inc., said the land has already been rezoned for residential use. He said the builder/project manager, Merit Construction Services, hopes to obtain building and foundation permits before the end of this month and to begin excavation work in January.
The condos in the Chateau Versailles Condominiums development will be two-storey, townhouse-style units with a partial basement, a garage, a driveway and a private entrance.
Most of them will be two-bedroom units, about 1,000 square feet in size, Cheng said. However, there may be a few three-bedroom corner units as well.
The condo pricing is still being finalized, and the projected cost of the project is not being disclosed, he said.
Cheng is also the architect for another proposed condo development in St. Norbert. That one, which was first reported in May last year, is on a vacant lot at 3411 Pembina Highway.
It was originally supposed to include a 56-room boutique hotel and 32 condo units in a single, French-chateau-styled complex. But Cheng said the property has since been sold to another developer, who now plans to do condos only.
He said the new redesign plans are still being worked on, and no further details will be released until plans are finalized.
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.